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Linebackers lost in coverage


Linebackers lost in coverage

The Ravens' secondary is among the NFL's best, with the likes of Ed Reed, Bernard Pollard, Lardarius Webb and Cary Williams.

A.J. Green of the Cincinnati Bengals was held to 70 yards on five receptions. And though Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick passed for 371 yards, his blazing-fast receiving corp of DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin combined for nine catches and 137 yards.

The problems in the pass coverage for the Ravens, however, have come underneath. They have a seasoned linebacker in Ray Lewis, 37, but relative neophytes in Courtney Upshaw (rookie), Albert McClellan (second season), Jameel McClain (fifth) and Paul Kruger (fourth).

Eagles tight end Brent Celek had eight receptions for a career-high 157 yards, almost 20 yards per catch, in their 24-23 victory.

The Ravens chalk up the failure to the secondary and linebackers not communicating properly in their zones.

It was Upshaw's first start as he filled in for Kruger, who was out with a back injury.

"He had some good pass rushes. He had some hits on the quarterback," defensive coordinator Dean Pees said of Upshaw. "He has to just keep learning the system, knowing he pass drops. That is what usually always the outside 'backer's biggest learning curve is all the pass drops because they haven't had to do it in college."

McClellan had the best chance at a game-changing play in the third quarter when Vick hit him in his hands with what should've been an easy interception. Instead, McClellan couldn't grasp it as the Eagles were able to kick a field goal to tie the score at 17.

On Philadelphia's game-winning drive, Celek had catches of 24 and 13 yards to set up Vick's one-yard touchdown run.

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Ravens agree to terms with first-round pick Hayden Hurst


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."