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3 defensive issues arise for Ravens in loss to Redskins


3 defensive issues arise for Ravens in loss to Redskins

BALTIMORE -- Ravens defensive end Chris Canty summed up his team’s defensive performance Saturday night in one word.

“Lackluster,” Canty said, following a 31-13 loss to the Redskins. 

In three preseason games, the Ravens are surrendering an average of 33 points per game. They have given up 100 yards rushing against the Saints, 238 yards rushing against the Eagles, and 111 yards rushing against the Redskins. 

The Ravens’ second string and third string units yielded most of that yardage, and defensive coordinator Dean Pees hasn't shown his hand yet.  However, the Ravens can’t be lured into thinking that the defensive light switch will turn on automatically Week 1 against the Broncos.

“We’ve got a lot of things to clean up,” Canty said. “Defensively, we’ve got to find a way to stop the run. We’ve got to find a way to create some turnovers. We’ve got to find a way to put pressure on the passer. Those are just things that we did not do well tonight. Those are things that have been our trademark, our calling card, so to speak, the last couple of years.”

Here are three potential problems for the Ravens’ defense:

1.  Defensive tackle Timmy Jernigan’s health.

Jernigan left Saturday night’s game with a knee injury Saturday night, and coach John Harbaugh said he did not have an update at his post-game press conference. The loss of Jernigan for Week 1 would leave the Ravens with another void to fill defensively, both against the run and the pass. 


2  Outside cornerback depth

Lardarius Webb (hamstring) did not play Saturday, David Greenwood was helped off the field late with a knee injury, and rookie Tray Walker had a rough night, giving up one TD pass and missing a tackle that led to another TD. Rashaan Melvin started in place of Webb and did a decent job. But despite the offseason additions of cornerbacks Kyle Arrington and Cassius Vaughn, Jimmy Smith and Webb remain crucial to the secondary because of their one-on-one coverage skills outside the numbers. If Webb isn’t 100 percent by Week 1, expect Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning to find some mismatches to his liking.

3. The pass rush

Terrell Suggs made an outstanding interception Saturday night, and both he and linebacker Elvis Dumervil look ready for Week 1. But despite having those two elite edge rushers, will the Ravens but as much pressure on opposing quarterbacks as last season, especially if Jernigan misses significant time?

The Ravens will spend the next two weeks addressing those issues. But so far this preseason, their offense has looked ahead of their defense.

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Ravens agree to terms with first-round pick Hayden Hurst


Ravens agree to terms with first-round pick Hayden Hurst

The Ravens have their entire 2018 draft class locked up.

The team agreed to terms with first-round pick Hayden Hurst, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport.

Hurst's rookie contract - like all first-round picks - is a four-year deal with a team option of a fifth year. According to the Collective Bargaining Agreement, the 25th overall pick is due $11.1 million. 

The 24-year old, who was a walk on at South Carolina at 21-years old after being drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2012, finished his three-year career with 100 receptions, 1,281 yards and three touchdowns.

Standing at 6-foot-3, Hurst will be a nice addition to the TE corps with Nick Boyle and third-round draft pick Mark Andrews. 

Fellow first-round pick Lamar Jackson signed his rookie contract on June 5th.

Training camp kicks off for the Ravens July 19th. 


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Ravens experimenting with getting Joe Flacco and Lamar Jackson on field at same time

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Ravens experimenting with getting Joe Flacco and Lamar Jackson on field at same time

Since drafting Lamar Jackson, the Ravens have made it clear that Joe Flacco is their starter. That doesn't mean they're not experimenting with having them both on the field at the same time, however. 

During this week's minicamp, the team has been lining Jackson up at multiple positions. 

"Gosh, I sure like him out there helping us," coach John Harbaugh said of Jackson during Tuesday's minicamp, via ESPN.com.

"If you put two quarterbacks on the field at once, what options does it create for our offense? That's what we're trying to figure out."

While at Louisville, Jackson rushed for 4,132 yards and 50 touchdowns in three seasons. That's more rushing yards than No. 2 overall pick Saquon Barkley. That unique skill set could be the creative options the Ravens are looking for. 

While at the NFL Combine, however, Jackson refused to workout at any other position than QB. 

"I have a lot of fun seeing what they come up with and what they're going to come up with next," Jackson said. "We'll see where it goes. You have to use your good players."

The Ravens are already viewing Jackson as one of those 'good players.' 

"Once he gets out of the pocket, it's like watching a young Michael Vick," LB C.J. Mosley said after minicamp practice. "It's amazing to watch. When you're defending him, you just have to act like you're tagging off -- you don't want to be on the highlight reel."

Harbaugh has alluded to the fact that the rookie will be active on game days, just exactly how they get the most out of him is what's in play.

"There's a lot of considerations that go into that," Harbaugh said of using two QBs at the once. "Everybody has an opinion. I've read a few. You want to find a way to get the most out of all your guys."

While Flacco isn't the fasted QB in the league, he has shown glimpses of running ability in the past. Figuring out how to utilize Flacco when Jackson is under center is where things will get interesting.

Interesting - as long as it works - is what Ravens fans have been searching for over the last several seasons. 

"Joe has to be able to do other things if [Jackson is] throwing the ball," Harbaugh said. "It gets the creative juices flowing for our offensive coaches, and they've worked hard on that."