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Cowboys' Witten is 'a huge task'

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Cowboys' Witten is 'a huge task'

The Ravens defense had all sorts of trouble with Eagles tight end Brent Celek in Week 2, and they face a similar challenge this week in Cowboys All-Pro tight end Jason Witten.

Celek caught eight passes for 157 yards in the Eagles' 24-23 win over the Ravens, frequently finding open spots underneath as the Ravens needed to account for deep threats DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin, or working himself open as Michael Vick extended a play with his scrambling.

Since the Eagles game, the Ravens have done good job neutralizing opposing tight ends. Patriots All-Pro tight end Rob Gronkowski had just two catches for 21 yards, and the Chiefs tight ends were held without a catch in the Ravens' 9-6 win at Kansas City last week.

But unlike the Chiefs, who struggled to get any passing game going, or even the Patriots, who don't often take shots deep downfield, the Cowboys' passing game recipe looks more like the Eagles: Stretch the field with deep threats Dez Bryant and Miles Austin and open up space underneath for the 6-foot-6, 261-pound Witten.

Ravens defensive coordinator Dean Pees said earlier this week that the task of covering Witten will fall on "all linebackers and the safeties. There are very few times you are going to have a corner really matched up on him. It’s going to be the safeties and linebackers in there. All of them are going to have to have a part in it."

"The biggest effect that we can have on them," Pees added, "is affect No. 9 [quarterbackTony Romo].”

Added linebacker Albert McClellan: ""We got to be physical right off the line of scrimmage, and pretty much just give him a handful throughout the whole game and see who lasts the longest."

"It's a task," McClellan said. "We're always up for any challenges, so it's a huge task, especially for me as an outside linebacker."

Witten got off to a slow start this season after missing most of the preseason with a lacerated spleen sustained in the preseason opener. But in the Cowboys' most recent game, against the Bears, Witten finished with 13 catches for 112 yards.

A former third-round draft pick out of Tennessee, Witten hasn't missed a start in six seasons and has had three 1,000-yard receiving seasons in the past five years. He ranks third in NFL history for receptions (717) and receiving yards (8,097) by a tight end ‑- just ahead of Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome.

 At age 30 and in his 10th NFL season, Witten "is still a dominant force," Pees said. "He is still a good run blocker. He is still one of the best tight ends in the league."

 

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Baltimore Ravens Roundup: Wide receiver battle underway

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Baltimore Ravens Roundup: Wide receiver battle underway

Kick off your Tuesday with the latest Baltimore Ravens news.

1. Aside from the battle at left guard, the Ravens also have a battle going on at wide receiver. 13 of the 90-man roster are wide receivers, and when asked who have been standouts at practice thus far, many said Antoine Wesley and Sean Modster. 

2. Just for fun: The Ravens' team photographer Shawn Hubbard took these amazing portraits of the team that will get you hyped up for this season.

Looking Ahead:

July 15: 4 p.m. ET 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.

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Baltimore Ravens Roundup: Left guard competition heating up

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Baltimore Ravens Roundup: Left guard competition heating up

Kick off your Monday with the latest Baltimore Ravens news.

1. The Ravens are still looking for a left guard and the competition is "wide open" according to Ravens media. Last week, Coach Harbaugh tried out 2017 fifth-round pick Jermaine Eluemunor in the spot, acknowledging his hard work there.

2. Linebacker Kenny Young is expected to be a big playmaker this season. Now that C.J. Mosley is gone, Young is expected to fill that void. “I’m not going to make expectations for myself so soon, but what I expect to do right from the get-go is compete hard and make plays,” Young said to Ravens media. “My expectation is to make plays. That’s it. Make plays.”

Looking Ahead:

July 15: 4 p.m. ET 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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