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First and 10: Ten predictions for Ravens-Browns


First and 10: Ten predictions for Ravens-Browns

It's time again to look into our crystal ball, where we see ... regular officials! Here's what else we expect to see at M&T Bank Stadium tonight: 1. The Brownswill not score on their opening possession.The Browns havebeen outscored 21-6 in the first quarter this year, and although the Ravensdefense has shown its cracks, it will shut down the Browns on their openingdrive. Overall Cleveland averages 19 points a game, which ranks 28th in theleague.2. Ray Rice willrush for 100 yards.Rice averages96.9 yards against Cleveland, but that's mainly because of a whopping 204-yardrushing effort in Cleveland last season.In eight career games against the Browns, he's topped the 100-yard markonly twice. The Browns rank 22nd in rushing defense, allowing 122.7 yards agame. The Ravens have stayed with their young offensive line all season, withrookie Kelechi Osemele at right tackle and first-year player Ramon Harewood atleft guard, and their run blocking has been solid.3. The Ravenswill have a pass play of 40 yards.The Browns arestill without Joe Haden, their top cornerback who is serving a four-gamesuspension for a violation of the league's policy on performance-enhancingsubstances. Ravens receiver Jacoby Jones said he tries his best to "blowthe top off" the defense, and with Haden out, the opportunity will bethere for Joe Flacco to go deep to Jones and Torrey Smith. 4. Tyrod Taylorwill play.Coach JohnHarbaugh has said that he wants to get Taylor on the field more this season totake advantage of the backup quarterback's athleticism. So far, he's appeared only in mopup duty inthe rout of Cincinnati. Tonight, either in that role, or showing a newoffensive wrinkle in a Wildcat-type formation, Taylor will see the field.5. The Ravensdefense will have at least two interceptions.Browns rookiequarterback Brandon Weeden has had his growing pains, with a league-high sixinterceptions through three games. Granted, four of those game in his firstcareer start, and he's thrown only two since. But tonight, he'll be missing histop receiver, Mohamed Massaquoi, out with a hamstring injury. Will Ed Reed getanother pick? He has 10 in his career against the Browns, tied for the mostagainst any opponent.6. The Ravenswill have at least three sacks.Pressure has beena major issue for the Ravens in the early going. The Ravens have eight sacksthrough three games, with Dannell Ellerbe and Haloti Ngata leading the way with2 12 each. But now facing a rookie quarterback who is missing his topreceiver, the Ravens will turn up the heat.7. Browns RBTrent Richardson will average less than 4 yards per carry.The Browns wouldbe wise to try to make this a grind-it-out game with long drives led byRichardson, the tank of a running back who was the No. 3 overall pick in theApril draft. But the Ravens have been stronger against the run than the passthis season. Led by Ngata in the middle of the defense, the Ravens have allowed3.3 yards a carry, the fifth-lowest average in the league. Richardson, who ranfor 109 yards against the Bengals, has averaged 3.5 yards a carry.8. The regular officials will draw huge cheers... and then some boos. The replacementofficials are gone. When the regular zebras hit the field, they will draw hugecheers, maybe even a standing ovation. When has that ever happened? But theywill see a defensive holding, or a face mask, or some other call the fans don'tlike, and they will be booed. They are, after all, still refs.9. The Ravenswill lead by 10 or less at halftime....True, it'sanother nationally-televised game for the Ravens, and big AFC North matchup aswell. But it will a challenge for them to be as fired up for the 0-3Browns as they were for New England, oras emotionally charged as they were playing hours after Torrey Smith's brotherdied. Look for them to start slowly before finding their stride.10. .... but thenwill pull away. Ravens 34, Browns 16Coming four daysafter the emotional win over New England, this game could carry all the makingsof a trap if it were in Cleveland. But as they did against the Bengals, theywill pull away to their 13th straight win at M&T Bank Stadium and can enjoythe long weekend with a 3-1 record.

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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."