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O-line: Tough task keeping Flacco safe

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O-line: Tough task keeping Flacco safe

In the aftermath of last weekend's debacle -- the Ravens' fourth consecutive victory -- overshadowed by the abysmal run defense is the improved play of the offensive line.

Quarterback Joe Flacco only was sacked once against the Dallas Cowboys. In the two previous games, Flacco was taken down eight times.

A key adjustment was veteran Bobbie Williams being inserted into the starting lineup at left guard in place of Ramon Harewood. It was Williams' first start as a Raven since he was acquired as a free agent.

Sunday, the Ravens travel to play the Houston Texans and dominant defensive end J.J. Watt, who stands 6-foot-5 and can singe-handedly change a game with his ability to get to the quarterback and knock down pass attempts.

"He does everything. He's big, he's powerful. He's athletic, quick. If you could point to one thing it would just be his motor," Ravens center Matt Birk said. "You got to block the whole play and then some. He's certainly not the only guy they have. They put four guys in there to rush the passer, all those guys are capable of getting there. It's tough to single out one guy."

Right guard Marshal Yanda marvels at the Texans, too.

"They're just a really talented front, Watt and Smith and them guys in the inside. They're damn good players," Yanda said. "Especially Watt. He's so tall with long arms. He can bat the ball down. They're teaching that and it definitely helps. They're just good at it.

"They'll be one of the best fronts we'll see all year. It seems like we say that every week, but it's a different animal every week."

Keeping Flacco free from Watt is a priority. If he has time to pass, he can exploit a Texans secondary that allowed 338 passing yards and six touchdowns in a 42-24 loss to the Green Bay Packers last week.

"There's batting down passes, hits on the quarterback, just getting in the quarterback's face so he can't step, follow through, that affects the passing game," Birk said of Houston's defense. "You get a feel for when the ball is coming out. They have great instincts and great sense to stop and get their hands up to affect it in other ways.

"Nobody has done that great a job against them. It's not like there's a blueprint, but we'll prepare hard like we always do."

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Baltimore Ravens Roundup: Wide receiver battle underway

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Baltimore Ravens Roundup: Wide receiver battle underway

Kick off your Tuesday with the latest Baltimore Ravens news.

1. Aside from the battle at left guard, the Ravens also have a battle going on at wide receiver. 13 of the 90-man roster are wide receivers, and when asked who have been standouts at practice thus far, many said Antoine Wesley and Sean Modster. 

2. Just for fun: The Ravens' team photographer Shawn Hubbard took these amazing portraits of the team that will get you hyped up for this season.

Looking Ahead:

July 15: 4 p.m. ET 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 for news points.

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Baltimore Ravens Roundup: Left guard competition heating up

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Baltimore Ravens Roundup: Left guard competition heating up

Kick off your Monday with the latest Baltimore Ravens news.

1. The Ravens are still looking for a left guard and the competition is "wide open" according to Ravens media. Last week, Coach Harbaugh tried out 2017 fifth-round pick Jermaine Eluemunor in the spot, acknowledging his hard work there.

2. Linebacker Kenny Young is expected to be a big playmaker this season. Now that C.J. Mosley is gone, Young is expected to fill that void. “I’m not going to make expectations for myself so soon, but what I expect to do right from the get-go is compete hard and make plays,” Young said to Ravens media. “My expectation is to make plays. That’s it. Make plays.”

Looking Ahead:

July 15: 4 p.m. ET 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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