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Can Bengals run with big dogs?

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Can Bengals run with big dogs?

The Bengals, who visit M&T Bank Stadium Monday night in the season opener, wereone of the surprise teams in the NFL last season.Entering the 2011season, their quarterback situation was a mess, they were coming off a 4-12season in 2010 and coach Marvin Lewis was on the hot seat. But by season's end,they had splendidly solved the quarterback problem -- fleecing Oakland in atrade that sent disgruntled Carson Palmer to the Raiders, which opened the doorfor the ascendancy of rookie Andy Dalton -- went 9-7 and reached the playoffs.In fact, led byDalton and receiver A.J. Green, they became just the second team in NFL history to reachthe playoffs with rookies leading their team in both passing and receiving. But for all theiraccomplishments last season -- and there were many for a franchise that hasbeen an NFL laughingstock -- here's what the Bengals did not accomplish:beating Baltimore or Pittsburgh.
The Bengals have their sights set on the topof the AFC North, but first they have to figure out how to beat thefront-runners. Last season, the Bengals went 0-7 against playoff teams -- 0-8counting the playoffs -- 9-0 against everybody else. That seems like a pretty clear demarcation line separating pretenders from contenders.
The Ravens sweptthe Bengals, 31-24 at M&T Bank Stadium and 24-16 in Cincinnati. Pittsburghbeat the Bengals twice, too, 24-17 in Cincinnati and 35-7 in Pittsburgh. "We hadthree tough games with those guys two close ones with Baltimore, and one withPittsburgh," Dalton said at Bengals training camp earlier this summer. "So we cant make mistakes in thegame, we cant turn the ball over. Those things cost us last year.The Bengals areafter their first back-to-back winning seasons since 1981-82.
"This teamis quickly becoming one of the more interesting young teams in theleague," writes former Ravens coach Brian Billick in a Foxsports.com AFCNorth preview, "and while it will be tough to supplant Baltimore andPittsburgh as the class of the division, they are definitely poised to make arun at it."

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Baltimore Ravens Roundup: Ravens place Marquise Brown, Jaylon Ferguson on reserve/NFI list

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Baltimore Ravens Roundup: Ravens place Marquise Brown, Jaylon Ferguson on reserve/NFI list

With training camp just six days away, here is the latest news surrounding the Baltimore Ravens.

1. Ian Rapoport reported that the Ravens have placed Marquise Brown, Jaylon Ferguson and two others on the reserve/NFI list. He later added that Brown is still recovering from Lisfranc surgery but is "progressing well" and Ferguson is dealing with a "minor hamstring" injury.

2. The entire Baltimore Ravens class is officially under contract after the signing of wide receiver Miles Boykin. Boykin was a third-round pick out of Notre Dame.

3. Michael Vick joined The Sports Junkies on 106.7 The Fan Friday morning and when asked which young quarterbacks in the NFL most emulate his style, he answered: "Lamar Jackson" along with Kyler Murray and Cam Newton.

Looking Ahead:

July 24: Ravens training camp begins. Rookies are set to report a week earlier on Wednesday, July 17. 

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: Rotoworld and Baltimore Ravens for news points.

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A big Year 2 ahead, Lamar Jackson isn’t worried about Madden ratings

A big Year 2 ahead, Lamar Jackson isn’t worried about Madden ratings

The number eight is sports royalty in the city of Baltimore thanks to Cal Ripken Jr.

If Lamar Jackson has the career many are hoping for, he’ll be another reason for that one day down the road.

For now, he’s a young, athletic quarterback entering his second season in Charm City. But his successful rookie year hasn’t been reflected in Madden NFL 20’s newest ratings.

Jackson came in with an overall rating of 76, tied for 24th among all quarterbacks. Unsurprisingly, his athleticism is highly-regarded, as he leads all signal-callers in speed, acceleration, agility, and elusiveness.

Questions abound about his throwing abilities, leading to the low rating. But that’s not a concern for Jackson himself.

“I can’t feel no way,” the quarterback told media members prior to throwing out the first pitch at the Orioles-Nationals game Wednesday night. “You know, I don’t make Madden. That’s them. But I feel like our team, we’re going to show ‘em this season.”

Jackson continued to praise the Ravens roster. When asked about the high ratings for teammates like Marquise “Hollywood” Brown and Earl Thomas, Jackson put his thoughts quite succinctly: “We look stacked!”

Of course, with speed and acceleration ratings like Jackson has, it’s fun to imagine how he might fit in on a baseball diamond as well.

“Whew, somewhere in the middle, to make a play,” Orioles manager Brandon Hyde decided when asked where the Ravens quarterback might play on his roster.

“I’m looking forward to meeting him. I’m a big football fan, so watched him play a lot. And if he wanted to play center field or up the middle, it’d be great,” Hyde continued.

The speedy quarterback agreed, though it came with a caveat.

“Probably,” Jackson quickly answered when asked about his best fit being center field. “But you know, I’m the Ravens QB right now, so I’m good.”

He doesn’t know what his walk-up song would be if he played baseball, but Jackson was definitive about one thing at least: his hot dog preferences.

“I don’t really eat mustard,” he emphasized. “So I just put ketchup, relish...I just go from there. Pretty standard.”

When he’s not eating hot dogs, Jackson is working hard to build chemistry with his new receiving corps, and he seemed optimistic about the results it will bring on the field.

“Looking pretty good,” he described. “You’ll have to see for yourself.”

Knowing how many dual Orioles and Ravens fans there are in Baltimore, Jackson was also happy to provide a little hope as the city’s attention starts to shift from baseball to football. He gave a message to O’s fans who have sat through months of losing baseball and are looking to the Ravens to bring winning back to the city.

“Look forward to us coming out and balling,” he said. “Can’t say too much right now, [the] season’s not here!”

The Ravens season will be here soon enough, and when it is, Jackson will be ready to go out and show both local and national fans what he can do, regardless of what his Madden rating says.

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