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Three ways Ravens can help Flacco perform better against blitz

Three ways Ravens can help Flacco perform better against blitz

Did blitzing Joe Flacco bother him more than most quarterbacks last season?

It did according to statistical analysis done by ESPN Stats & Information. The study said Flacco had a 37.9 quarterback rating against the blitz in 2015. The analysis also said that Flacco had the second-highest interception rate against the blitz (3.4 percent) since 2013.

Here are three ways the Ravens can help Flacco perform better against the blitz in 2016:

1. Make opponents pay for blitzing by hitting on more big plays.

The Ravens didn’t have enough deep speed at wide receiver last season to take full advantage of one-on-one coverage. Now with a healthy Breshad Perriman, and the additions of Mike Wallace and Chris Moore, the Ravens hope Flacco will connect on more deep passes, particularly when opponents are bold enough to blitz and leave cornerbacks on an island.

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2. Avoid obvious passing situations.

Finishing 5-11, the Ravens often trailed late in games, and also had too many third-and-longs. That made it easier for opponents to bring extra pass rushers at the right time. If the Ravens avoid falling behind as often, it will become easier for Flacco to do his job.  

3. Provide Flacco with better pass protection.

Flacco was hit more often than the Ravens liked last season and suffered a season-ending knee injury, missing the first starts of his career. Left tackle Eugene Monroe has been in and out of the lineup the past two seasons, which is one reason the Ravens drafted left tackle Ronnie Stanley in the first round, and took offensive lineman Alex Lewis in the fourth round. Ravens coach John Harbaugh said the Ravens would play “the five best guys” on their offensive line in 2016. No matter how the line shakes out, giving Flacco a split-second more time would help him be more efficient against the blitz.

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Fellow dance student of Ravens' Alex Collins fatally shot in Florida school shooting

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USA Today Sports

Fellow dance student of Ravens' Alex Collins fatally shot in Florida school shooting

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.”

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Baltimore Ravens to take on Chicago Bears in Hall of Fame game

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USA Today Sports

Baltimore Ravens to take on Chicago Bears in Hall of Fame game

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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