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Five thoughts after an unpredictable Ravens cutdown day

Five thoughts after an unpredictable Ravens cutdown day

Five thoughts after an unpredictable Ravens cut-down day:

1. Don’t be shocked if running back Justin Forsett returns to the Ravens.

Cutting Forsett saved the Ravens around $3 million in cap space. But if they re-signed Forsett after Week 1, his contract would not be guaranteed. Forsett is now free to sign with anyone. However, if he wants to come back, Forsett may just sit tight while the Ravens make other moves, and then expect a phone call from Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome in the near future. As Forsett tweeted Saturday, “The plot thickens.” No matter how it plays out, the decision to cut Forsett was a stunner, and a gamble by the Ravens. Stay tuned.

RELATED: FANTASY FOOTBALL: FORSETT OUT MEANS WHAT FOR RAVENS?

2. Signing free agent punt returner Devin Hester makes sense.

Hester has had two tryouts and a physical. With Michael Campanaro and Keenan Reynolds no longer on the roster, the Ravens’ return situation was unsettled and the Sept. 11 regular season opener against the Bills is looming. Signing Hester then makes sense, assuming he has recovered from his toe injury.

3. Keeping just five wide receivers wasn’t expected.

The talk was that the Ravens would keep at least six wide receivers, maybe seven. Instead, their initial 53-man roster includes just five – Steve Smith Sr., Kamar Aiken, Mike Wallace, Breshad Perriman, and rookie Chris Moore. Smith didn’t play the entire preseason and is coming off Achilles surgery. Perriman has a history of knee injuries and has never played a regular season game. Still, there wasn’t room on this roster for Jeremy Butler, after his strong camp and preseason? That’s a surprise.

4. Reynolds may be a good NFL player one day, but the practice squad is the best spot for him.

Asking Reynolds to make the quick transition from Navy’s quarterback to NFL wide receiver – returner was asking a lot, even for a player with his talent and determination. The Ravens hope nobody claims Reynolds on waivers so they can return him to their practice squad where he can continue to develop. If the Patriots or another team claims Reynolds, the Ravens will wish him well, but won’t kick themselves. Coming off a 5-11 season, the Ravens need 53 players on the roster who can help them win - now.

5. Running back Terrance West may be the biggest beneficiary of Saturday’s developments.

With Forsett cut, and rookie Kenneth Dixon injured, West looks like the lead back heading into Week 1 against the Bills. The last year has played out well for West, a Baltimore native and former Towson star. He’s back in his hometown. He has shown dedication by dropping 15 pounds since the end of last season. He has been impressive in training camp and preseason. After failing to stick with the Browns and Titans, this is West’s golden opportunity to seize the moment.

MORE RAVENS: QUICK ANALYSIS OF RAVENS INITIAL 53-MAN ROSTER

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Baltimore Ravens' 2018 regular season matchups, dates and times

Baltimore Ravens' 2018 regular season matchups, dates and times

We've known the Ravens' 2018 preseason and regular season opponents for some time now, but the NFL finally released their full schedule with exact dates and times.

As they do every year, the Ravens will be seeing the Bengals, Steelers and Browns twice. 

For the ninth consecutive year, Week 16 and 17 will be divisional games with playoff implications.

The Ravens will also be playing in the Pro Football Hall of Fame preseason game against the Chicago Bears in Canton, Ohio, bringing an extra preseason game to their schedule.

In the regular season, the birds will be flocking south to take on the Panthers, Falcons and Titans. They haven't seen the Panthers or Falcons since 2014 - both ending in wins - and came up just short against the Titans in their 23-20 loss last season.

The Ravens will only have to travel to the west coast once when they take on the Los Angeles Chargers, who they last saw in 2015 and earned a 29-26 win.

Not including AFC North rivals, the last time the Ravens saw their remaining five home opponents they came away with wins. Hopefully history will repeat itself.

Prime-time games, which the Ravens have two of, will kick off at earlier times than in the past. Monday Night Football will now start at 8:15 p.m. while Thursday and Sunday Night Football will start at 8:20 p.m.

Ravens 2018 Regular-Season Schedule:

Week 1: Sunday, 9/9 vs. Bills, 1:00 p.m.

Week 2: Thursday, 9/13 @ Bengals, 8:20 p.m.

Week 3: Sunday, 9/23 vs. Broncos. 1:00 p.m.

Week 4: Sunday, 9/30 @ Steelers, 8:20 p.m.

Week 5: Sunday, 10/7 @ Browns, 1:00 p.m.

Week 6: Sunday 10/14 @ Titans, 4:25 p.m.

Week 7: Sunday, 10/21 vs. Saints, 4:05 p.m.

Week 8: Sunday 10/28 @ Panthers, 1:00 p.m.

Week 9: Sunday 11/4 vs. Steelers, 1:00 p.m.

Week 10:  BYE week

Week 11: Sunday 11/18 vs. Bengals, 1:00 p.m.

Week 12: Sunday 11/25 vs. Raiders, 1:00 p.m.

Week 13: Sunday 12/2 @ Falcons, 1:00 p.m.

Week 14: Sunday 12/9 @ Chiefs, 1:00 p.m.

Week 15: Sunday 12/16 vs. Buccaneers, 1:00 p.m.

Week 16: Saturday 12/22 or Sunday 12/23 @ Chargers, TBD

Week 17: Sunday 12/30 vs. Browns, 1:00 p.m.


PRESEASON 

Hall of Fame Game: Thurs., 8/2, vs. Chicago Bears (Canton, OH), 8:00pm (NBC).

Week 1: Thurs., 8/9, vs. Los Angeles Rams

Week 2: Mon. 8/20,  at Indianapolis Colts (Monday Night Football, ESPN).

Week 3: at Miami Dolphins*

Week 4: Thurs., 8/30 at Washington Redskins

* - Game date and time not yet determined

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As 2018 NFL Draft approaches, Ravens to host QB Lamar Jackson per report

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USA TODAY Sports

As 2018 NFL Draft approaches, Ravens to host QB Lamar Jackson per report

With 10 days until the 2018 NFL Draft, quarterback Lamar Jackson is set to visit the Ravens this week, per Ian Rapoport of NFL Network. 

The former Heisman Trophy winner is a projected first-round pick as he has proven to have success in the air and on the ground. 

While at Louisville, Jackson had 9,043 passing yards and 69 touchdowns. He also rushed for 4,132 yards and 50 touchdowns. His NFL draft profile compares him to Michael Vick. 

RELATED: BEST QUOTES FROM RAVENS PRE-DRAFT PRESS CONFERENCE

The Ravens are in search of Joe Flacco's successor, but spending a first-round pick on a quarterback when there are other glaring needs is up in the air. However, assistant general manager Eric DeCosta isn't ruling out the possibility

"I feel like if there is a guy there that we think is really too good to pass up, we're going to take him," DeCosta told the team's website on the chance of drafting a quarterback in the first-round.

At their pre-draft press conference, GM Ozzie Newsome and DeCosta kept reiterating we could be surprised by who they pick at No. 16, if they do at all. 

While Jackson's numbers are impressive, he continues to be considered a late first-round pick as his build isn't up to typical NFL QB standards and scouts are concerned with his accuracy. What he does have in his favor is speed.

While fans are hoping for an offensive weapon, having Jackson learn under Flacco for a year (and maybe RGIII?) could rev up some excitement. 

RELATED: RGIII READY TO MOVE FORWARD AS NEW, GROWN PLAYER