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Offenses fizzle in Ravens-Broncos matchup

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Offenses fizzle in Ravens-Broncos matchup

Two Super Bowl-winning quarterbacks squared off on Sunday in Denver, and the result was an absolute dud offensively.

How bad was it? The only touchdown passes thrown by Denver's Peyton Manning and the Ravens' Joe Flacco went to the wrong team, and both teams had serious offensive shortcomings exposed in the Ravens' 19-13, season-opening loss.

Manning finished 24-of-40 for 175 yards, and he looked every bit of his 39 years. Manning was sacked four times, and his arm strength looked suspect. He rarely took a shot downfield, and when he did, he was badly off the mark more than once. For the first time since 2003, Manning did not throw a touchdown in the season-opener -- except for the 24-yard interception return by Jimmy Smith.

That proved to be the Ravens' only touchdown, because Flacco proved to be less effective than Manning. Flacco finished 18-for-32 for 117 yards, the fifth-lowest total of his 113 regular-season games. His rating of 38.2 was his lowest since 2011.

"It was an ugly one. It wasn't too fun to be a part of," Flacco said. 

"We got a lot to work on obviously... We're a lot better than that."

Without injured rookie Breshad Perriman, the Ravens had no deep threat, and receivers struggled all day to get separation, which was a concern throughout training camp. 

Steve Smith caught two passes on the team's opening possession but did not have another catch all day. A potential go-ahead touchdown bounced off his fingertips in the final minute. Marlon Brown finished as the team's top receiver -- with 25 yards on two catches. 

Flacco was sacked twice, hit nine times and harassed throughout by the Broncos pass rush led by DeMarcus Ware and Von Miller. The Ravens lost starting left tackle Eugene Monroe to an early concussion, and the fact that the Ravens couldn't get much going on the ground (23 carries, 73 yards overall, 11-for-28 in the first half) compounded the problem.

"We got to be able to spread them out a little more, and just not let them pin their ears back and come after us," Flacco said. 

Denver coach Gary Kubiak said, "It might have been the greatest defensive football game I've ever been a part of as a coach, on both sides of the ball."

That's one way to look at it. The other is that just one week into the season, both of these teams are staring at major offensive issues. 

MORE RAVENS: Sudden injury forces Ravens to look at life beyond Suggs

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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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