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Battle kicks up a notch


Battle kicks up a notch

The battle between Justin Tucker and Billy Cundiff kicked up a notch in terms of intrigue on Thursday night at M&T Bank Stadium, with Tucker handling all the Ravens kicking duties and Cundiff saying afterward that he was shocked with that arrangement.

Tucker, the rookie from Texas who has been superb all training camp, was 2-for-2 on field goals, hitting from 33 and 53 yards, and made all six of his extra-point attempts in the Ravens 48-17 rout of the Jaguars. Tucker also kicked off nine times, with five touchbacks.

Ravens coach John Harbaugh, though, cautioned against reading too much into that.

I think we know Billy, Harbaugh said in discussing the decision to go solely with Tucker. Billy would have come in here and made every one of those kicks. Billy is proven. Tuck is not proven. This is something that he needed. We needed to see if he could handle a whole game from beginning to end, and have the pressure on him, and obviously he handled it very well.

Tucker said he was told on Wednesday night that the Jaguars game was all his.

I was basically told from the get-go that they want to see how Im going to approach a game knowing that Im going to be the guy all four quarters, Tucker said, adding that he was pleased and happy for the opportunity.

That is in contrast to Cundiff, who said he had no idea until before the game that he would not be used. I felt like I had a really good week of practice. So itll just play itself out, he said.

Both kickers have excelled this preseason. Tucker is now 5-for-5 on field-goal tries in the three preseason games, including 2-for-2 from 50-plus yards. He has routinely hit 50-plus kicks in practice, and nailed a 63-yarder in the open practice at M&T Bank Stadium earlier this month.

Cundiff, whose miss in the AFC Championship Game last season is still fresh in some fans minds, is 2-for-2 in the preseason games and has also been impressive in practice.

Billy has had a great, great camp. Hes done really well, Harbaugh said.

But with one preseason game left and a final cutdown to 53 players due next Friday, somethings got to give.

We have to make some decisions here again next week, Harbaugh said. So well just have to see how that goes.

Said Tucker: All I can do is put my foot to the ball and use my training and go from there.

This is a professional atmosphere, he added. We come to work every day with a good attitude, and whatever happens, happens.

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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."