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A blurry line


A blurry line

Tackle BryantMcKinnie and center Matt Birk both returned to action with the first teamoffensive line on Monday, just in time for guard Bobbie Williams to sit outpractice. You get thefeeling the Ravens' projected starting offensive line won't play together forthe first time until the regular-season opener on Sept. 10. The unsettled nature of the line was apparent in the preseason opener, when some miscommunication breakdowns led to quarterback Joe Flacco being hit hard a few times in his one quarter of work.
McKinnie, whoreported to camp a few days late and is still working into shape, had playedwith the second team in the preseason opener on Thursday in Atlanta. Birk (back spasms)didn't play at all in that game after missing practice in the week leading upto that game.Williams,expected to be the starting left guard, is nursing a swollen ankle. Coach JohnHarbaugh said after practice Monday that Williams will be given another day off onTuesday to rest the ankle. "He reallyhas been working hard, but he needs it and it will be good for him,"Harbaugh said. "It will help him."In Williams'place, rookie Kelechi Osemele took reps with the first team at left guard.Before McKinnie returned to the first unit, regular right tackle Michael Ohershifted to the left side to spell McKinnie, and Osemele had played at righttackle. Second-yearlineman Jah Reid, who has been sidelined all camp by a calf injury, also returned to the field Monday, playing right tackle, though Harbaugh said Reid will also get alook at guard. When Ben Grubbsleft via free agency, Reid was considered one of the leading in-housecandidates to replace him as the Ravens starting left guard. But then theRavens signed Williams, and Reid's preseason has been slowed byinjury.If it seems as ifthe Ravens are doing a lot of mixing and matching with the offensive line rightnow, it's because they are. And it appears that will continue, perhaps all theway through the preseason. "I thinkits important to look at guys in different spots," Harbaugh said."In the end, it will pay off for us, because guys will be more versatile,and we want to make sure we dont miss anything. So, we have an opportunity todo that now.

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Reaction: Peter King picks Ravens 12th in 2019 Power Rankings

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Reaction: Peter King picks Ravens 12th in 2019 Power Rankings

With OTAs underway, Peter King has released his 2019 NFL preseason power rankings and of the biggest surprises is the Baltimore Ravens landing at No. 12 on the list. Although stud Lamar Jackson surprised people last season, given the substandard state of their defense and the burden on Jackson to shoulder the load offensively, King may have the Ravens ranked a few spots too high. 

Let's start with the defense; it's got more holes than a slice of swiss cheese. Most notably they lost linebacker Terrell Suggs, the heart and soul of their defense for the past decade. Although past his prime, Suggs is still a productive player and they will undoubtedly miss his leadership. They released defensive back Eric Weddle, who was coming off two straight Pro-Bowl appearances. Their justification was that he's 34 and by releasing him, they could allocate the money to re-signing All-Pro linebacker C.J. Mosley. Solid reasoning, if Mosley didn't sign with the New York Jets in the offseason.

Credit must be given, however, to the four-year, $55 million contract given to former Seattle Seahawks All-Pro safety Earl Thomas. Coming off a broken leg, he is easily the biggest X-factor for this defense. If he produces like the Earl Thomas of old, it'll more than makeup for the loss of the Weddle. They'll also be getting back defensive tackle Willie Reed from injury, who's young and hungry.

Although last years' defense was one of, if not the top unit in the NFL, all anyone could manage to talk about was the dynamic offense led by rookie quarterback Lamar Jackson. Coach John Harbaugh threw caution to the wind and handed the reins to Jackson in Week 10, and the Ravens proceeded to win six of their next seven games behind a run-dominated offense.

It's a toss-up if they'll be able to replicate that success this season. On the one hand, the unconventional attack took the league by storm last year and one could argue the league just needed time to adapt to this new-look offense. On the other hand, the Ravens did add some electric new pieces to the offense to replace the losses of wide receivers Michael Crabtree and John Brown. 

They added Mark Ingram who is one of the best dual-threat running backs in the league when healthy. Their first-round pick, wide receiver Marquise Brown, is one of the fastest players Todd McShay has ever evaluated. Third-round pick wide receiver Miles Boykin was one of the 20 fastest players at the draft and fourth-round pick  Justice Hill registered the fastest 40 time for running backs at the combine. Adding young, electric talent will enhance Jackson's already stellar playmaking ability. 

At tight end, they're one of the deepest teams in the NFL, headed up by Nick Boyle and Hayden Hurst. Keep in mind, however, that this is the NFL: it all starts with the quarterback. Jackson completed passes at a 58.2% clip last season. If the Ravens are serious about building around him, he'll have to improve as a passer. 

Taking the defensive deficiencies and questions on offense into account, and 12 is too high for the preseason power rankings; 16 is more appropriate. In his article, King writes about the Ravens saying, "They could win 11. They could win six." If I had to choose one outcome I'd take the latter. 



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Baltimore Ravens Roundup: OTAs Day 1

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Baltimore Ravens Roundup: OTAs Day 1

Kick off your Tuesday with the latest Baltimore Ravens news including a recap of the first day of OTAs.

Player/Team Notes: 

1. Yesterday, (Monday) was the first day of the Ravens' OTAs. OTAs continue today (Tuesday) as the Ravens work on developing a new offense. Check out some of the highlights here. 

2. The Baltimore Ravens have officially announced the full 90-man roster that will be competing for an official team roster spot in OTAs this summer. 

Looking Ahead:

July 15: 4 p.m. deadline to get a long-term deal done with designated franchise tag players.

The 2019 NFL schedule is set! See the Baltimore Ravens defend the AFC North at M&T Bank Stadium this season. Get your tickets now at www.BaltimoreRavens.com/tickets.

Credit: Baltimore Ravens for news points.