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Hurry-up offense punishes Jaguars


Hurry-up offense punishes Jaguars

If this is what the Ravens look like on all cylinders with the no-huddle offense, look out.

They scored the most points in a preseason game in more than a decade Thursday in a 48-17 rout of the Jacksonville Jaguars as quarterback Joe Flacco spotted the reserves a 17-point lead.

Coach John Harbaugh stuck with his first-team offense through the first series of the third quarter as Flacco completed 27 of 36 passes for 266 yards and two touchdowns.

In the previous two exhibition games, the Ravens' first-team offense only had one touchdown. It was the most points scored by the Ravens since they had 38 vs. the New York Giants in 2001.

"He was accurate with his throws," Harbaugh said of Flacco. "Guys made catches for him, timing was good, real decisive."

Flacco emphasized going into this game that he wanted the offense to take more risks throwing the ball, particularly in the red zone. In three trips inside the Jags' 20-yard line, Flacco passed 7-for-10 and registered both of his TD passes.

"It's when you get simple looks," Flacco said about passing on first down in the red zone. "You can kind of catch defenses by surprise here and there, and if you make a play you make a play. If not, you come back on second down and have your choice. So I think it's not only in the red zone, it's just all throughout."

His favorite target was wideout Torrey Smith who had eight catches for 103 yards. Flacco's first touchdown pass was to Anquan Boldin from five yards out and then from eight yards to Vonta Leach as the Ravens led 20-3 early in the third quarter.

"Their quarterback executed better than our defense did," Jags linebacker Paul Posluszny said. "He played a good game and, defensively, we didn't have our best effort. We're not happy with how we did."

Tyrod Taylor relieved Flacco and had his best game of the preseason, too, as the floodgates opened for the offense. The second-year quarterback completed 7 of 9 for 139 yards.

He connected with LaQuan Williams on an eight-yard touchdown pass, ran in another from five yards and checked down to Bobby Rainey at the line of scrimmage for a 48-yard catch-and-run for a score. Just before that, Taylor threw interception that was returned 55 yards by Antonio Dennard to give Jacksonville its first touchdown and make the score 34-10.

Taylor didn't get gun-shy.

"It was good to see Tyrod because that's the type of Tyrod that we've all seen in practice," Harbaugh said. "It was good to see him take that to the game. He played well."

Curtis Painter came in behind Taylor to toss a 33-yard touchdown strike to Tommy Streeter.

In between all of that offense, the Ravens' defense played its most physical game yet. Jags quarterbacks Blaine Gabbert and Chad Henne completed just 16 of 31 passes for 174 yards and had no touchdown strikes.

With the exception of a drive late in the second quarter when he compiled most of his yardage, Rashad Jennings was held in check with 57 yards rushing on 13 carries. He entered the game averaging more than five yards per carry.

The defensive line had three sacks (Haloti Ngata, DeAngelo Tyson, Courtney Upshaw) after just one in the previous two preseason games combined.

"We're putting it all together now," defensive back Lardarius Webb said. "I can see where we're going, where we're headed. ... The guys were flying around to the ball. They were playing Ravens defense tonight."

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Baltimore Ravens Roundup: Lamar Jackson is his own biggest critic

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Baltimore Ravens Roundup: Lamar Jackson is his own biggest critic

Kick off your Friday with the latest Baltimore Ravens news including how quarterback Lamar Jackson has fared during OTAs.

Player/Team Notes: 

1. Following a January surgery on his left ankle, safety Tony Jefferson remains sidelined after the first week of OTAs. Originally, Jefferson was expected to return 4-6 weeks after surgery. However, now that it's 5 months later, his return timetable is becoming more and more concerning. 

2. Quarterback Lamar Jackson spoke with Ravens media Thursday about his progress not only learning the new offense implemented by Offensive Coordinator, Greg Roman, but learning the names of his new teammates as well. After another day of OTAs, Jackson was his biggest critic despite a solid day of running plays namely passing drills. “I’d say my first day, I sucked,” Jackson said to Ravens media. “Second day, I did better. Today was alright, but it could have been better. I always try to be perfect in practice. It was alright for the first week.”

Looking Ahead:

July 15: 4 p.m. deadline to get a long-term deal done with designated franchise tag players.

The 2019 NFL schedule is set! See the Baltimore Ravens defend the AFC North at M&T Bank Stadium this season. Get your tickets now at www.BaltimoreRavens.com/tickets.

Credit: Rotoworld and Baltimore Ravens for news points.


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'I started to realize that I’m not broken': Steve Smith opens up about mental health and depression

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'I started to realize that I’m not broken': Steve Smith opens up about mental health and depression

Former Carolina Panthers' star receiver Steve Smith spoke in front of a crowd of over 400 people at the fifth annual Wake up for Wellness breakfast that was sponsored by Mental Health America of Central Carolinas.

The 16-year veteran and current NFL Network analyst touched on the importance of seeking help for bouts with depression and spoke of battles that he has faced with the disease.

“On the outside you’ll see a tough exterior. But on the inside, I’m just broken or I believe even more broken than the average man. ... Because when the stadium goes dark and the cheers stop, you’re still looking for that pat on the back,” Smith said. “Throughout my whole career, I struggled with that.”

Smith discussed that in the beginning, he was so concerned about the stigma regarding mental health, that he opted for the professional to meet him for housecalls, and as time passed he realized the importance of speaking up.

“I started to realize that I’m not broken,” he said. “I’m not being sent back to the manufacturer ... I get up every morning and figure it out.”

Smith's comments on the issue came to light just a day after the NFL and NFLPA announced new legislation that focuses on mental well being.

The newly formed Comprehensive Mental Health and Wellness Committee will develop programs for members of the NFL in addition to collaborating with local and national mental health and suicide prevention organizations. Each team will be mandated to retain a Behavioral Health Team Clinician for assistance that will be required to be available to players at the individual team facilities for at least 8-12 hours per week and must conduct mandatory mental health education sessions for players and coaching staff.