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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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Baltimore Ravens Roundup: Lamar Jackson has his best practice yet

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Baltimore Ravens Roundup: Lamar Jackson has his best practice yet

Kick off your Friday with the latest Baltimore Ravens news.

1. The Ravens are hopeful Earl Thomas will be a leader for their new defense which Thomas called "very complex." "This defense is very complex compared to what we were doing in Seattle,” Thomas said to Ravens media. “We were just playing Cover-3 all the time. Now, we’re making calls on the fly. That’s the biggest adjustment for me.”

Additionally, Thomas told media members after practice that he's made "fast friends" with quarterback Lamar Jackson. "He's a very funny guy, I don't know if you all know that," Thomas said.

2. Speaking of Lamar Jackson, he reportedly had his best day of practice so far this offseason according to Ravens media. Jackson's throws looked much better and he was quick in the pocket.


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: Baltimore Ravens and Rotoworld for news points.

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RG3 likens KD's desire to play hurt to his own injury in 2012

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RG3 likens KD's desire to play hurt to his own injury in 2012

Like most athletes, Robert Griffin III was empathetic towards Kevin Durant when he first went down, taking to Twitter on Monday night to voice his concern. 

Today, the Ravens' veteran quarterback told ESPN's The Undefeated that he's all too familiar with Durant's decision to play and subsequent injury. RG3 likened it to his own brief playoff stint in 2013. Just four weeks removed from an injury to a knee that required reconstructive surgery in college, RG3 started – only to get hit late in the fourth and watch both his season and career come to a screeching halt. 

But that's not how RG3 views it. 

"I was looking at it like I'm out for here for my brothers. I'm out here for my team. And that was the only place I wasnted to be." 

And Griffin doesn't believe he's alone in that thought process, suggesting it was KD's mindset ahead of Game 5 as well.

"Most of us are built to fight. So whenever we get a situation where we’re a little injured or a little banged-up, our first reaction isn’t to get out of there and rest. Our first reaction is to figure out how we can keep going. That’s what makes a guy like Kevin Durant great." 

It remains to be seen whether KD's recovery will be smoother than RG3's. The former Heisman Trophy winner never came close to matching his breakout rookie season, eventually losing his starting job in Washington in 2014.

Durant will miss all of next season, meaning the former Montrose Christian star's next NBA appearance would be as a 32 year-old.