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LB Ellerbe key to pass defense

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LB Ellerbe key to pass defense

Among the Ravens’ wounded, linebacker Dannell Ellerbe is the most overlooked.

Linebackers Ray Lewis (triceps) is expected to practice as early as Wednesday and Terrell Suggs (biceps) could be out for Sunday’s game at the Washington Redskins.

Cornerbacks Jimmy Smith (groin surgery) and Chris Johnson (hamstring) have been out. While Smith’s return doesn't appear imminent, Johnson could work his way back after missing the last two games.

Ellerbe missed his first game of the season in last week’s 23-20 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers that ended their 15-game home winning streak.

Ellerbe, who has started five games this season, has 4.5 sacks. He went down less than two weeks ago in the second quarter vs. the San Diego Chargers.

He was in pass coverage, went untouched, fell down with a foot and ankle injury and never returned. Ellerbe already has been playing with broken thumbs.

“Dannell Ellerbe is continuing to work, and we anticipate he’s got a chance to get back this week,” coach John Harbaugh said. “We were hopeful for this past game, but it just didn’t work out. We took him right to gameday, and he was unable to go.”

In the Ravens’ first six games, Ellerbe was playing just less than 52% of the defensive snaps. In his four games before his injury in San Diego, Ellerbe played 100% as the defense has improved gradually.

Steelers quarterback Charlie Batch, a third-stringer, had his best game since 2001 as he feasted on a Ravens defense that was soft in the middle where Ellerbe would usually drop into coverage.

In particular, tight end Heath Miller had 5 catches for 97 yards – his best game of the season. Batch helped produce five plays of 20 yards or more.

 

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Lamar Jackson, Ravens rookies report to training camp

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USA TODAY Sports

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.

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