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McKinnie back on the field

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McKinnie back on the field

ATLANTA Ravens tackle Bryant McKinnie has been a first-team player in the NFL from the day he was drafted by the Minnesota Vikings in 2002.

Of his 148 career appearances, 147 have been starts and the outlier came a decade ago in his rookie season. Since then, he has started 140 straight regular-season games.

Thus it felt strange, to say the least, when he found himself on the bench for the Ravens first four offensive series in their preseason opener against the Atlanta Falcons Thursday night in the Georgia Dome.

Sitting there trying to stay in the game and stay warm (after warming up), that was a little different, McKinnie said with a smile in the locker room after the Ravens 31-17 victory. Someone asked me when was the last time I didnt start, and I was like, I dont know, this might be the first time.

Almost.

After watching the first quarter, McKinnie made it onto the field and played left tackle during the second and third quarters.

I was able to get a lot of reps in the no-huddle. That lets me know where I am, and I felt good, he said.

His health and conditioning have been major issues, but competing mostly against rookies and backups Thursday night, he appeared to move well and handle his assignments easily. Asked if he felt he was effective, he said, I was. I definitely had some aggression I wanted to release. Ive only had one day of practice in pads.

McKinnie is penciled in as the Ravens starting blind-side tackle but is playing catch-up after reporting late to training camp, reportedly because of a back injury suffered in a fall at his home in Florida. The Ravens have since patched together a Plan B offensive line with Michael Oher in McKinnies left-tackle spot and rookie Kelechi Osemele on the right side, but it is assumed McKinnie will regain his job in the end as long as he is healthy, in shape and effective. Oher would then switch back to the right side.

Oher and Osemele started Thursday night, but the line struggled early, as quarterback Joe Flacco was sacked twice.

McKinnie, meanwhile, looked solid, albeit against backups.

I have more confidence in my abilities this year, he said. Compared to last year, I just feel a lot better this year.

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Ravens agree to terms with first-round pick Hayden Hurst

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USA TODAY Sports

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."

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