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Flacco, Lewis unload on replacement refs

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Flacco, Lewis unload on replacement refs

The replacement officials just became an even bigger story after the Ravens-Eagles game Sunday.

While the Ravens regretted their missed chances on offense to extend their lead to secure a victory, the locker room was almost a powder keg of emotions after the 24-23 loss. Michael Vick scored the game-winning touchdown on a one-yard run after the two-minute warning.

"There are calls that the regular refs, if they were here, we know how the calls would be made," said linebacker Ray Lewis, suggesting there hasn't been any consistency in how the game is being officiated for two weeks.

There was the offensive pass interference call on Jacoby Jones that erased a 25-yard touchdown pass from Joe Flacco with 5:35 left in the fourth quarter.

Jones refused to say what he really thought of the call, but Flacco didn't hesitate to address the officiating on that play, which didn't actually draw a flag even though a call was made. Regular officials have been locked out by the NFL.

If that touchdown had counted, the Ravens would've had a two-possesion lead at 27-17.

"I think those guys were on us tight like that the whole game and there was a lot of holding and grabbing going on for them to make that call was kind of crazy," said Flacco who finished 22-for-42 passing after going 21-for-29 a week ago. "He didn't even throw a flag. He threw a blue beanie and then put his hands in the air like offensive pass interference...I mean, come on."

"The NFL and everybody always talks about the 'integrity of the game' and things like that and I think this is kind of along those lines. And not to say these guys are doing a bad job, but the fact that we don't have the normal guys out there is pretty crazy."

Lewis took it a step beyond that.

He argued that the Eagles never should've had the ball for Vick to score on their next possession. Haloti Ngata hit Vick and appeared to jar the ball loose. It originally was called a fumble as Ma'ake Kemoeatu recovered. The Ravens likely would've closed out the game with a win.

However, a review from the booth determined Vick still had control of the ball and tried to throw it when he was hit and it therefore was an incomplete pass.

"For Haloti to make that play and for the ball to be coming out, clearly, if you watch the play you can watch it a thousand timeshow can you overturn that?" Lewis said. "You have to have certain type of evidence. You can't overturn that because somebody tried to push the ball with their hand.

"I believe if the regular refs here, that call doesn't get overturned."

Lewis believes the Eagles also had just cause to be upset with how the game was officiated.

"You're looking at the film and you're saying 'Wow.' How can you call that pass interference? How can you not call that? It's nothing about them personally. We're not directly attacking them but we are saying we need the guys that does their regular jobs.

"The league is being affected by it. It's not just this game. If they want the league to have the same reputation that it's always had then address the problem. Get the regular referees in here. Let the games play themselves out. We already have controversy enough with the regular refs."

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Ravens cancel Saturday's open practice at M&T Bank Stadium

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USA Today Sports

Ravens cancel Saturday's open practice at M&T Bank Stadium

The Baltimore Ravens cancelled Saturday night's free open practice at M&T Bank Stadium due to a forecast that calls for heavy rain and inclement weather.

There is no official word from the team on whether this practice will be resheduled, but it seems like Sunday may be an option, even though there's rain in the forecast then too.

Ravens fans who were looking to see first-round draft pick and potential future starting quarterback Lamar Jackson will have to wait for another day. His presence at training camp, an inevitable competition with the incumbent, Joe Flacco, and potential two-quarterback packages involving both of them are set to be some of the biggest storylines of Ravens camp this summer.

As a Heisman Trophy winner, Jackson was one of the most dynamic players in college football during his time at Louisville. If he can replicate that kind of performance in the NFL, he will be at plenty more training camp sessions for Ravens fans to watch.

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After breakout 2017 season, Ravens running back Alex Collins isn't getting too comfortable

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After breakout 2017 season, Ravens running back Alex Collins isn't getting too comfortable

This time last year, running back Alex Collins wasn't a part of the Baltimore Ravens.

After being released by the Seattle Seahawks at the end of the 2017 preseason, the Ravens placed the 23-year-old on their practice squad, and by Week 2, Collins was already making plays.

As the season progressed, Collins found himself as the Ravens' top running back. He finished 2017 as the team's leading rusher with 973 yards while Javorius "Buck" Allen followed behind him with 591 yards.

If the 2018 NFL season began today, Collins would likely be the Ravens' starter, which is quite ironic considering the fate of his 2017 preseason.

"I always go back to where I started and where I am now, and I use that as my motivation," Collins said after Thursday's training camp practice.

"No matter the day, no matter how tired I am, I think to myself, at this time last year, I didn’t know my position, where I was, where I’d end up. So just having that security behind it is definitely my motivation to keep it this way and keep pushing forward and keep trying to get better instead of being complacent.”

Over the course of 15 games, Collins proved he had the strength and speed to make an impact on the team after Danny Woodhead suffered a hamstring injury on the first drive of the Ravens' Week 1 game and Kenneth Dixon sat out the entire season with a torn meniscus. 

While job security is something we all strive for, Collins isn't getting too comfortable with the hierarchy. 

“I don’t want to say necessarily ‘comfortable,’ because when I use that word, it makes me feel like I’m too relaxed and lackadaisical," Collins said.

"I’m more focused. I don’t want to get comfortable. I don’t want the team or our group to get comfortable, because we just want to get better every day. So, in the position I am, it’s a great feeling, but I’m always pushing myself to be better.”

While Collins has set personal goals for himself – like a 1,000-yard season – he is equally as focused on making the Ravens backfield one of the best groups in the National Football League. 

“I expect that," Collins said on being the Ravens' starter.

"I would hope that all the other running backs expect [to be the starter] as well, and that’s what kind of drives our group – when we all know that we have that capability to be the No. 1 guy, and we’re out competing and push each other and try to be the best. No matter who’s out there during the game, you’ll see a productive play out of that person. So, I have that mindset. I want to be the guy. I have that fire in me, and I hope [that is] as well as the other running backs, as I encouraged them as well.”

Collins noted that he's coming into training camp a bit heavier. He added five pounds to his 200-pound frame "just to see how that feels," but is still maintaining the stamina and strength he's always had. 

Collins – who was one of several veterans released from practice early as the team begins to adjust their way into the extended preseason – finished his media availability with a friendly warning to fantasy football owners: "Draft me now before it’s too late, guys."

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