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Bubble watch: Offense


Bubble watch: Offense

The Ravenstrimmed their roster from 90 to 75 this week, and although the decision to cutkicker Billy Cundiff certainly caused some pain at the Under Armour PerformanceCenter, the easy part of cut-down week is now over. Most of the other14 moves made so far were fairly predictable,and some of them, such as putting Terrell Suggs on thePhysically-Unable-To-Perform list, were foregone conclusions.Now the realteeth-gnashing begins. By Friday night, the Ravens must further trim the rosterdown to the final total of 53. (Although the 53 are never really final; aplayer waived by one team this week could end up with the Ravens, thus forcingout one of the 53 initially kept.) This means 22more players must be shown the door by Friday night. And while there areseveral locks to make the team, there are many players sitting squarely on thebubble right now, hoping one final strong practice week, and one final strongpreseason game at St. Louis Thursday night, puts them on the right side of the53.With that inmind, here's a bubble watch, first looking at the offense. By our count, the offense takes 24 spots, leaving 29 spots for defense and specialists:QUARTERBACK(total on final roster: 2):Locks (2): JoeFlacco, Tyrod TaylorOn the bubble: CurtisPainterAnalysis: TheRavens have suggested Taylor will get some action this year in various ways, ala the Wildcat, so the might want to keep Painter around in the event Taylor(or Flacco) is injured. The bet here is Painter will go. Keeping Painter wouldmean the Ravens keep one fewer defensive back, or perhaps one fewer specialteams linebacker. The needs are greater elsewhere.RUNNING BACK (4):Locks (3): VontaLeach, Bernard Pierce, Ray RiceOn the bubble:Anthony Allen, Damien Berry, Bobby RaineyPierce got a latestart but seems to have solidified his status as the No. 2 back behind Rice.All indications are undrafted rookie Bobby Rainey will win the No. 3 back job.He has proven the ability to run, catch and return. Allen's stock has fallen,and though he has made contributions on special teams, he had no carries in thegame against Jacksonville. If the Ravens keep four running backs, he won't beone of them.OFFENSIVE LINE(9):Locks (8): MattBirk, Gino Gradkowski, Bryant McKinnie, Michael Oher, Kelechi Osemele, JahReid, Bobby Williams, Marshal Yanda On the bubble:GC Justin Boren, T Ramon Harewood, GTony WraggeThe line has beenunsettled all camp, but if all the veterans are healthy for Week 1, they willstart and rookies Osemele and Gradkowski will be well-practiced reserves. Reidhas been slowed by injury all camp, but his roster spot appears secure assuminghis calf injury isn't more complicated. It's likely there is one roster spotavailable for Boren, Harewood or Wragge. Do the Ravens feel a more pressing need atguard or at tackle? That could decide it.TIGHT END (3):Locks (2): EdDickson, Dennis Pitta
On the bubble:Billy BajemaWith both Dicksonand Pitta banged up all training camp, and not likely to return until Week 1,Bajema makes the team. He can serve as the No. 3 tight end, and the seven-yearveteran has the experience to step in if either Dickson or Pitta aggravatestheir injury. WIDE RECEIVER(6):Locks (3): AnquanBoldin, Jacoby Jones, Torrey SmithOn thebubble: Tandon Doss, Logan Paine, TommyStreeter, Deonte Thompson, LaQuan Williams.You can justabout slide Doss and Williams into the 'lock' category. If the Ravens keep sixreceivers, that leaves one spot for Paine, Streeter or Thompson. I'll takeThompson based on his blinding speed and big-play capability in the returngame, which he's showed this preseason. Streeter, the sixth-round draft pick,could easily land on the practice squad to develop for a year.

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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."