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Old Ravens nemesis Palmer still going strong

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Old Ravens nemesis Palmer still going strong

It's been a long, sometimes strange trip since his last visit to Baltimore, but quarterback Carson Palmer returns Sunday with the Raiders as someone who has been a considerable thorn in the side of the Ravens for the better part of the past decade.

A year removed from a nasty divorce from Cincinnati that ended with a midseason trade to the Raiders, Palmer went 9-4 against the Ravens while quarterback of the Bengals from 2004-10.

But his time with the Bengals ended in a mess, with Palmer refusing to play in 2011 and demanding a trade. The Bengals at first refused, relegating their former star quarterback to a spectator as rookie Andy Dalton took over. But the Bengals then agreed to move Palmer when the Raiders offered a deal the Bengals couldn't pass up: a first-round draft pick as well a conditional second-round pick in 2013 that becomes a first-rounder if the Raiders reach the AFC title game.

Given that hefty price tag, the Raiders were hoping Palmer could elevate them to the playoffs. That didn't happen last year, as Palmer went 4-5 as the Raiders starter after the October trade. It didn't help that top running back Darren McFadden missed the last half of the season with a foot injury.

McFadden, who has a sprained ankle, has been ruled out for Sunday's game as well, but the Ravens have seen enough of Palmer over the years to know he can still be a problem.

"He is one of those underrated quarterbacks that can make every throw, especially if he gets in a groove," said Terrell Suggs, who has faced Palmer since the two were Pac-10 rivals in college, Suggs at Arizona State and Palmer at USC.  " You all saw it when he was in Cincinnati. I remember, vividly, games I thought we had won, and Carson Palmer got in his groove, and he torched us."

One such game came late in 2004, Palmer's first season as a starter. The Ravens took a 20-3 lead into the fourth quarter, but Palmer threw three  touchdown passes in the final 15 minutes and the Bengals stunned the Ravens in Baltimore, 27-26.

That was eight years ago, but the 6-foot-5 Palmer, now 32, can still chuck the ball around, as he showed last week in the Raiders' 42-32 loss to Tampa Bay. When the Bucs' Doug Martin wasn't running wild, Palmer was throwing a career-high 61 times, completing 39, for 414 yards.

"When I first thought about it this week when I started looking at them, I thought ‘OK, I will probably see a quarterback that has probably diminished a little bit.’ " Ravens defensive coordinator Dean Pees said. "I don’t see it. I don’t see it. I saw a guy throw a 15-yard comeback from the opposite hash, which he has done before. He stands in the pocket. He stands tall. He delivers the ball. I don’t see a lot of difference in Carson Palmer now than when we used to play him.”

Cornerback Cary Williams said the key to countering Palmer -- and speedy receivers Darrius Heyward-Bey (Maryland) and Denarius Moore -- is to get physical.

"You try to get your hands on 'em, focus on disrupting the timing between (Palmer) and the wide receivers, try to get after these guys physically," Williams said. "Make it a physical game. ... That's the way we play defense."

Palmer, Williams added, "has the ability to throw the long ball, he can throw with accuracy and he can make split-second decisions and hurt you. He's been doing it for years."

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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.