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Can Ravens' run defense be strong minus Ngata?

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Can Ravens' run defense be strong minus Ngata?

The Ravens’ “next man up” philosophy will be tested this coming season the most in one particular area — run defense.

Haloti Ngata, a rock in the interior of the Ravens defensive line for nine seasons, is gone to the Detroit Lions. Can the team still put up a formidable front against opposing rushing attacks? The question was put to ESPN.com’s AFC North correspondents.

Jeremy Fowler, who covers the Pittsburgh Steelers, answers in the affirmative, citing tackle Brandon Williams, who already has proven himself a capable run disrupter. Williams was ranked among the NFL’s top 10 at his position in stopping the run in a couple of measures by Pro Football Focus, and he may find himself being used on first, second and third downs with Ngata’s departure.

Cleveland Browns reporter Pat McManamon also mentions Williams’ presence while giving a more qualified yes to the question. Though Ngata was so accomplished, keep a couple of things in mind: The Ravens did fine while he was suspended for four games last season, and general manager Ozzie Newsome has proven adept at knowing just when to let veteran players go.

Coley Harvey, who covers the Cincinnati Bengals, says the Ravens will get back to being a top 10 run defense, but not this season. Tim Jernigan will be adapting to a bigger role in 2015, and it may take him a year to establish himself. After that, though, it likely will be business as usual for Baltimore’s run defense.

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Baltimore Ravens Roundup: Lamar Jackson has his best practice yet

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Baltimore Ravens Roundup: Lamar Jackson has his best practice yet

Kick off your Friday with the latest Baltimore Ravens news.

1. The Ravens are hopeful Earl Thomas will be a leader for their new defense which Thomas called "very complex." "This defense is very complex compared to what we were doing in Seattle,” Thomas said to Ravens media. “We were just playing Cover-3 all the time. Now, we’re making calls on the fly. That’s the biggest adjustment for me.”

Additionally, Thomas told media members after practice that he's made "fast friends" with quarterback Lamar Jackson. "He's a very funny guy, I don't know if you all know that," Thomas said.

2. Speaking of Lamar Jackson, he reportedly had his best day of practice so far this offseason according to Ravens media. Jackson's throws looked much better and he was quick in the pocket.


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 and Rotoworld for news points.

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RG3 likens KD's desire to play hurt to his own injury in 2012

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RG3 likens KD's desire to play hurt to his own injury in 2012

Like most athletes, Robert Griffin III was empathetic towards Kevin Durant when he first went down, taking to Twitter on Monday night to voice his concern. 

Today, the Ravens' veteran quarterback told ESPN's The Undefeated that he's all too familiar with Durant's decision to play and subsequent injury. RG3 likened it to his own brief playoff stint in 2013. Just four weeks removed from an injury to a knee that required reconstructive surgery in college, RG3 started – only to get hit late in the fourth and watch both his season and career come to a screeching halt. 

But that's not how RG3 views it. 

"I was looking at it like I'm out for here for my brothers. I'm out here for my team. And that was the only place I wasnted to be." 

And Griffin doesn't believe he's alone in that thought process, suggesting it was KD's mindset ahead of Game 5 as well.

"Most of us are built to fight. So whenever we get a situation where we’re a little injured or a little banged-up, our first reaction isn’t to get out of there and rest. Our first reaction is to figure out how we can keep going. That’s what makes a guy like Kevin Durant great." 

It remains to be seen whether KD's recovery will be smoother than RG3's. The former Heisman Trophy winner never came close to matching his breakout rookie season, eventually losing his starting job in Washington in 2014.

Durant will miss all of next season, meaning the former Montrose Christian star's next NBA appearance would be as a 32 year-old.