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 - Kenneth Dixon, rookie running back
Dixon is one of the top two running backs and scores several touchdowns.
Why it could happen:
First of all, the guy knows how to reach the end zone; Dixon finished with 87 career touchdowns at Louisiana Tech (72 rushing, 15 receiving), second in NCAA history only to his new teammate, former Navy quarterback Keenan Reynolds. Dixon's proven ability as a receiver adds to his versatility and is well suited for Marc Trestman's offense. Dixon will probably enter camp vying for the No. 3 running back job behind Justin Forsett and Buck Allen, but injuries could easily change that. Allen was the presumptive No. 3 back when last season began and he ended up starting six games as a rookie. The Ravens invested a fourth-round pick in Dixon and like his potential.
Dixon fails to find footing in the backfield and is relegated to special teams.
Why it could happen:
The backfield competition will be fierce with Forsett, Allen, Lorenzo Taliaferro and Terrance West all among those vying for playing time. None will hand anything to Dixon. Dixon will have to adjust to NFL size and speed, and at 5-10 and 215 pounds, he's smaller than Allen and Taliaferro. If the Ravens are looking for a short-yardage or goal-line back, it might not be him. With the Ravens running back depth, it's easy to see the Ravens bringing Dixon along slowly.
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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