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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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Lamar Jackson, Ravens rookies report to training camp


Lamar Jackson, Ravens rookies report to training camp

Football is back in session for the Ravens.

Their rookies are set to report to the Ravens' training facility in Owings Mills, Md Wednesday. Veterans report next Wednesday, the 18th.

The team is reporting to training camp a bit earlier than most NFL teams. Due to Ray Lewis being enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame Aug. 4 in Canton, Oh, the Ravens will face the Chicago Bears in the annual Hall of Fame Game on Aug. 2. Teams participating are eligible to begin training camp earlier.

This rookie class is already generating national attention. While the Ravens stand by Joe Flacco as their QB1, first-round pick Lamar Jackson could cause a shakeup at some point during the season. And when it comes to much-needed offensive help, tight ends Hayden Hurst and Mark Andrews could begin to provide relief. 

Third-round pick Orlando Brown Jr. begins his journey with the Ravens in a more sentimental fashion. His father, Orlando "Zeus" Brown, also played tackle for the Ravens from 1996-98 and then again from 2003-05. Brown passed away in 2011. 

Stay with NBC Sports Washington throughout the next several weeks as we keep a close eye on the Ravens' preseason. 


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Early 2018 NFL playoff odds have Ravens in similar situation

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Early 2018 NFL playoff odds have Ravens in similar situation

There's only six months until the NFL playoffs and we've got no time to waste.

OK, maybe we're getting a little ahead of ourselves but online betting site, Oddshark, released their early 2018 NFL playoff odds and the Ravens are in a similar situation as previous years.

The Ravens are sitting at +135 — tied for 13th with the San Francisco 49ers — for the best odds to play January football. This would place them in the seventh seed among AFC teams and just outside contention.

The Patriots (-1500), Steelers (-550), Chargers (-145), Jaguars (-140), Texans (-135), and Chiefs (+120) are seeded above them respectively. 

During the 2017 season, the Ravens were constantly in the hunt for the fifth or sixth seed in the AFC playoff picture. Several weeks ahead of training camp, Vegas is predicting that to be the case in 2018.

Playoff odds in July mean nothing, but considering their offseason changes, the Ravens' 2018 season should bring positive change.

They added weapons for Joe Flacco in free agents Michael Crabtree, Willie Snead and John Brown, and drafted tight ends Hayden Hurst and Mark Andrews.

Then there was the late first-round draft pick of QB Lamar Jackson. Flacco remains the starter for now, but it will be interesting to see if that changes midway through the season or if they get them both on the field at the same time.