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After Smith, who will emerge as Flacco's go-to guys?


After Smith, who will emerge as Flacco's go-to guys?

Here’s one of the important questions facing the Ravens heading into training camp. Who will emerge as Joe Flacco’s go-to targets after Steve Smith?

Smith led the Ravens in catches (79) and receiving yards (1,065) last season, at age 35. Nobody else on the team caught 50 passes, and the Ravens lost both wide receiver Torrey Smith and tight end Owen Daniels in free agency.

Smith shows no sign of slowing down at age 36, but other targets will need to step up for the Ravens to have a potent passing attack. That’s why the wide receiver competition in camp will be both interesting and important. Who will win the starting job opposite Smith? Will it be first-round pick Breshad Perriman? Marlon Brown? Kamar Aiken? And will any of them establish themselves consistently as third-down and red zone targets?

The same question can be asked at tight end, where Maxx Williams and Crockett Gillmoer will try to build more chemistry with Flacco during camp. Flacco loves throwing to tight ends, but with veteran Dennis Pitta on the PUP list, there is a need for a tight end to emerge in the passing game.

I think Perriman will emerge as the No. 2 receiver, but I also think running back Justin Forsett will catch more passes this year.  New offensive coordinator Marc Trestman loved throwing to running back Matt Forte in Chicago, and I think Forsett will be used in a similar manner.

The Ravens may not have a 1,000-yard receiver if Smith doesn’t reach that mark. However, they should have enough weapons for a consistent passing attack.



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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."