As we countdown to training camp, Clifton Brown and Bo Smolka will take turns putting 25 key Ravens under the microscope this month.
They’ll speculate on a best-case, worst-case scenario for at least one player every day. They’ll begin with players looking to carve out a role, or a roster spot. They’ll end with the Ravens’ most important players, concluding with quarterback Joe Flacco on July 25.
UNDER THE MICROSCOPE -- Zach Orr, third-year inside linebacker
Best-case scenario: Orr starts at inside linebacker.
Why it could happen: Orr is the favorite to replace the departed Daryl Smith (Buccaneers), starting next to C. J. Mosley. Orr’s playing time increased late in the 2015 season, especially in obvious passing situations. Orr has a history of taking advantage of opportunity, making the team as an undrafted free agent in 2014. If he outplays Arthur Brown and rookie Kamalei Correa during training camp and preseason, Orr’s ticket as a first-time starter will be punched.
Worst-case scenario: Orr struggles during camp, the Ravens sign a veteran linebacker to start, and Orr remains a backup and special teams player.
Why it could happen: The Ravens’ linebackers have struggled in pass coverage, and if Orr doesn’t look ready to start, the Ravens have other options. They have the salary cap room to sign a veteran if they don’t think Orr is ready. In addition, the Ravens plan to use multiple coverages – some that may feature C. J. Mosley as the only inside linebacker. If the Ravens have to use five or six defensive backs in pass coverage to become less vulnerable against the pass, they’ll do it. That could leave Orr as the odd man out.
On Wednesday, February 14, a horrific school shooting claimed the lives of 17 innocent people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla.
The tragic event impacted people far and wide, and hit especially close to home for Ravens running back Alex Collins.
The former Arkansas star was born in Plantation, Fla., a suburb of Fort Lauderdale and went to high school just 15 miles south of Douglas High School.
In the offseason, Collins took Irish dancing lessons to improve his footwork, and following the act of terror, the Ravens' tailback learned that one of his dance partners had been killed in the mass shooting.
17-year-old Cara Loughran attended The Drake school of Irish Dance with Collins in addition to two other Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School students and was fatally shot by the gunman on Wednesday afternoon.
Collins took to his Twitter account to issue this heartfelt message.
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“The school shooting yesterday hit home,” Collins wrote.
“We received confirmation a few hours ago we lost one of the girls, Cara Loughran. Two other girls saw and experienced unspeakable tragedy. My heart goes out to these girls, all their families and their teacher Chrissy.”
BALTIMORE -- The Baltimore Ravens and Chicago Bears will launch the NFL's 99th season by playing in the annual Hall of Fame game on Aug. 2.
The Ravens' first appearance in the Hall of Fame game, which launches the league's 2018 Enshrinement Week. Former Baltimore linebacker Ray Lewis is among the inductees, along with former Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher.
Lewis, who played 17 seasons with the Ravens, and Urlacher, who played all of his 13 seasons with Chicago, both were elected on the first ballot.
Lewis joins Jonathan Ogden as the only Ravens in the Hall of Fame. Both were selected by Baltimore in the first round of the 1996 draft.
The other members of the Class of 2018 include Bobby Beathard, Robert Brazile, Brian Dawkins, Jerry Kramer, Randy Moss and Terrell Owens. All will be inducted on Saturday, Aug. 4.
This will be the record-tying fifth time that the Bears will play in the Hall of Fame game. They won the previous four, most recently 27-24 over Miami in 2005.
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