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Harbaugh doesn’t change much but feeds Rice, Pierce

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Harbaugh doesn’t change much but feeds Rice, Pierce

Coach John Harbaugh insisted he’d shift players around after the bye week, particularly on the offensive line which has given up 18 sacks of quarterback Joe Flacco which is five more than a season ago at this point.

He even hinted the Ravens might slow down the no-huddle offense.

He didn’t do any of that to start Sunday’s game at the Cleveland Browns, but the Ravens gave the ball to Ray Rice, who scored their first first-quarter touchdown since Week 2 and just their second touchdown on the road this season.

On the Ravens’ opening drive, Rice ran the ball six times for 32 yards, including from eight yards out for the score. In the Ravens' last game before the bye, a 43-13 loss to the Houston Texans, Rice only had nine total carries as Harbaugh admitted they abandoned the run too quickly.

Bernard Pierce, Rice's backup who averages more than 5 yards per carry, also got into the action early. On the Ravens' second drive, he carried the ball three times for 10 yards. He scored his first TD of the season on third-and-goal from 12 yards on a pitch back from Flacco.

With the Ravens in inside the Cleveland's 10-yard line, Pierce ran for a first down to the 3 but was called for a 15-yard penalty after the play. But he made up for it. 

Pierce ended the quarter with four carries for 25 yards. Rice had 11 for 58. 

Harbaugh’s change to the defensive line was out of necessity though expected because of a thigh injury to Pernell McPhee (thigh). His backup, Arthur Jones, got the start.

The Ravens forced the Browns into consecutive three plays-and-out possessions, stopping them twice on third-and-1 plays. 

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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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