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Brown: Ravens have been knocked down, not out

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Brown: Ravens have been knocked down, not out

OWINGS MILLS – The Ravens aren’t making enough plays, but at least they aren’t making excuses.

If you are looking for signs that the Ravens have surrendered, or fractured, you won’t find them talking to players or coaches at their practice facility. That doesn’t mean jack, unless the Ravens start performing a lot better. But players say their coach, John Harbaugh, is bringing the same confident attitude to work this week, despite the team’s unexpected 1-4 start and a slew of injuries.

“He hasn’t been MF-ing guys, or chewing guys out, or kind of putting on a persona or anything like that,” said guard Kelechi Osemele. “He’s just been a straight professional about it. He calls guys out, and he’s going to let you know if he thinks you need to improve…that’s just how he’s been.”

Most people believe the Ravens’ playoffs hopes are down the drain. If the Ravens start believing that, they’re toast. Instead, the Ravens believe the same approach that has allowed their franchise to make the playoffs six of the last seven years will allow them to weather this storm.

If the 2015 Ravens aren’t good enough, Joe Flacco says the players will eventually have to accept that. But nobody in the locker room is accepting that in mid-October, heading into Sunday’s road game against the 49ers.

“I think it starts with John and the way he’s leading us,” Flacco said. “I think we’ve had a great mindset coming out here and practicing and being able to put some of that stuff behind us, but it’s not easy. That’s the thing you have to love about the NFL. If you’re not a good enough team, it’s going to show up at some point or the other, and it’s going to be very blatant, and that’s kind of how it has been so far. We just haven’t been good enough, and going out there and playing on Sunday makes it very obvious, (that) you don’t win games if you’re not good enough.”

You would rather hear your quarterback say that, instead of harping on how close the losses have been. Every Ravens’ game has been decided by six points or less. But when Flacco is asked about that, two words come to mind. 

Nobody cares.

“I think a loss is a loss,” Flacco said. “I don’t think you can stand here and say, ‘But we only lost them (by a close margin). We had a chance to win.’ You’re going down a slippery slope when you start doing those things. It’s almost like you’re looking for an excuse and pointing the finger.”

If the Ravens lose Sunday to the 49ers (1-4), talking about next season will become much more relevant. However, the Ravens arestill focused on trying to salvage this year.

Sunday’s home loss to the Browns was a punch in the gut. How the Ravens respond Sunday will tell you if they have been knocked down, or knocked out.

MORE RAVENS: How can the Ravens save their season?

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Ravens agree to terms with first-round pick Hayden Hurst

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USA TODAY Sports

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."

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