Heading into training camp, you could make a case that cornerback Jimmy Smith is the most important player on the Ravens’ defense. The Ravens’ secondary was never the same last season after Smith went down with a season-ending foot injury in Week 8. That secondary became the most vulnerable part of the Ravens’ defense -one that Tom Brady and the Patriots picked apart in January during the playoffs.
Smith told BaltimoreRavens.com that watching the playoff loss to the Patriots was difficult.
“I feel like if I was out there, it would have been a little bit different,” Smith said. “I feel like I could have made some plays to get us in the Super Bowl. That sits in the back of my head.”
The Ravens recognized his importance by signing Smith to a four-year, $48 million contract extension during the offseason. Before his injury, Smith was playing the best football of his career. Bill Barnwell of Grantland.com compiled his list of the NFL’s top 100 players, and put Smith at No. 91.
If Smith puts together a full season like his start to 2014, I think he should be ranked even higher. Smith’s ability to matchup with top receivers one-on-one takes pressure off the entire secondary, and allows defensive coordinator Dean Pees to dial up some coverages and blitzes that he can’t use when Smith isn’t available.
The Ravens will see several of the NFL’s top receives next season, including Antonio Brown of the Steelers (twice), A. J. Green of the Bengals (twice), and Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders of the Broncos.
Smith relishes those kinds of matchups, knowing that playing well in those games only raises his national profile. The Ravens head into training camp already knowing what Smith is capable of. Their main goal for Smith during training camp can be summed up in two words – stay healthy.
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Enjoying a game at M&T Bank Stadium just became a little more affordable.
On Thursday, the Ravens introduced their new "Flock Friendly Fare," reducing the price of 21 of their most popular food and beverage items.
The change comes as the organization focuses on revamping the fan experience in 2018. Fans will see an average of 33 percent in total savings and up to 53 percent savings on a single item.
"As a lot of you probably know, after every game we survey fans to see how we're doing; what have we done well and what have we not done well. Over the years, one of the biggest criticisms we received was for the gameday concessions prices," Ravens President Dick Cass said on the team's website.
Alcoholic beverages were all reduced by $1 with the addition of domestic 12 ounce beer for $5.
Chicken tenders with fries went from $11 to $7, while a slice of pizza went from $8.50 to $6. No single item will cost above $9.
On average, you will now be able to feed a family of four for $44 compared to $66.75 in years past. To see all of the reductions, click the arrow in the post below.
In 2017, the Atlanta Falcons reduced their concession prices upon opening their brand new Mercedes-Benz Stadium. The Ravens, however, are expecting to lose $1.5 million in concession revenue due to the change.
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Vegas has spoken and they are not optimistic about rookie Lamar Jackson starting under center for the Ravens in 2018.
Bovado, an online gambling site, has set the odds on how the top 2018 rookies will perform and they have Jackson getting 0.5 starts this season.
That number will come as a surprise considering the popular narrative that Lamar Jackson will be the Ravens' starter in no time. The team made it clear they are planning for life after Flacco when they traded back into the first-round of the 2018 draft to select the quarterback out of Louisville at No. 32.
Flacco - who is entering his 11th season with the organization - is experiencing a decline in his performance of late, one that can not be put entirely on his shoulders as the team has failed in finding him valuable weapons to throw to. Nonetheless, Flacco's projected 2018 season is very much up in the air and it appears Vegas is betting on the one-time Super Bowl MVP to bounce back.
However, the Ravens have failed to make the playoffs four of the last five seasons, and if that trend continues into 2018, the rookie could get his shot at flipping the script.
If you're a betting man, it could payoff to bet the over on Jackson. Low risk, seemingly high reward.
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