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Defense still working to improve

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Defense still working to improve

So maybe this is the way its going to be for awhile. The Ravens might not be the dominating, domineering defense that stops teams from scoring. Theyll be more of the bend-but-dont break kind of a defense that gives up yards but tries not to allow touchdowns.
The Ravens again looked more like the latter than the former on Sunday night in the 31-30 win over the Patriots. Its kind of also the way they looked against the Eagles last week and for part of the opener versus the Bengals.
Theres no question that this team has some things to fix on defense. The pass rush is still suspect, and the pass coverage has been below par throughout the season.
At times, however, everything clicks. Its just hard to figure out when thats going to happen. Against the Pats, it happened in the fourth quarter and was a big reason the Ravens rallied to win.
We just went out there and played, said safety Bernard Pollard after the game. We werent worried about how many points we were down, when we were down. We just went out and played, and I think for us, we played the Raven way towards the end of the game.
They stopped the Pats twice after New England had a 30-21 lead in the fourth quarter. That opened the door for Joe Flacco to drive the Ravens to a touchdown and then for Justin Tuckers game-winning field goal as time ran out.
Its not surprising the defense is taking some time to come together. Theres a lot missing from last year and some new people in place, and its going to take some time for everything and everyone to click.
Plus, the Ravens have gone against three very good quarterbacks in the first few weeks. So, as one coach said last week, its kind of a work in progress for the defense.

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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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