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Pees said bye came at right time for his defense

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Pees said bye came at right time for his defense

One of the worst-kept secrets of the first half of the season was that the Ravens' defense needed a break. They had a bunch of injuries, big and small, and getting a week off truly came at the right time.

That's something defensive coordinator Dean Pees talked about when speaking with the media on Thursday. His group really was battling a number of health problems, and the break couldn't have come at a better time if they had scripted one themselves.

"We had a lot of guys – even if they weren’t out – a lot of guys that were banged up, so we needed some time to try to rest and recuperate," Pees said. "The other thing that we needed the bye week for as a staff was to sit back and evaluate where we are and why we’re playing sometimes like we’re playing."

Pees said coaches use the bye week to take a hard look at what's working on the field and what isn't. The Ravens did that, especially because they came into it after a poor performance  in the final game before the bye week, a loss to Houston. 

"You do that whether you are playing well or whether you’re not playing well," Pees said. "That’s what you always use the bye week for, but sometimes you really have to sit back and say, ‘OK. Here’s who we have personnel-wise. Things have changed. Guys are out. Guys are banged up. Here’s our scheme. What can they do well within that scheme?’

Now comes the final nine games of the season. It will be interesting to see what the defense does to try and improve their problems playing both the run and the pass, which have been surprising in the season's first half. 

But at least at first, the defense will benefit from that week to rest as the Ravens try to keep control of the AFC North.

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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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