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Pees says Ravens' secondary will be 'so much better'

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Pees says Ravens' secondary will be 'so much better'

Asked about the Ravens’ secondary Monday, defensive coordinator Dean Pees made a bold statement.

“We’re going to be so much better than we were last year,” Pees said.

To win a championship, the Ravens’ secondary will have to be better. It was the weak link of the defense in 2014, especially after season-ending injuries to cornerback Jimmy Smith, cornerback Asa Jackson, and safety Terrence Brooks. In their 35-31 playoff loss to the Patriots, the Ravens could not hold 14-point leads on two separate occasions, as quarterback Tom Brady completed 33 of 50 passes for 367 yards.

Certainly, the Ravens will need better health to have an improved secondary. But here are three things the Ravens want from their secondary.

1. Fewer deep balls allowed

Teams knew the Ravens were vulnerable to big plays last season, and took full advantage, especially after Smith went down. But Pees likes what he has seen during OTA’s, even without contact.

“I think we’ve had less big balls thrown on us this camp than in a lot of camps,” Pees said.

The Ravens have more depth at cornerback behind Smith and Lardarius Webb, after signing free agents Kyle Arrington and Cassius Vaughn, and drafting Tray Walker. However, Arrington has played more in the slot than on the outside in recent seasons. If either Smith or Webb suffers an injury, the Ravens will need someone to step forward and play well in the role of No. 2 corner.

2. Steadier play at safety

Darian Stewart is gone, after a disappointing one-year stint in Baltimore. Enter Kendrick Lewis, signed as a free agent from the Texans. Lewis looks like an upgrade and is expected to start at free safety. Although Brooks may not be ready for Week 1 following knee surgery, he is already practicing and on the road to a full recovery. The bigger question mark is at strong safety. Matt Elam faces a pivotal season after underachieving for two years. Will Hill must prove he can be counted on for 16 games, after being suspended the first six games last season for violating the NFL’s substance policy.

3. Better tackling

On too many occasions, the Ravens missed the initial tackle after allowing a catch. Until the Ravens play preseason games, it will be difficult to tell if the tackling has improved. But it needs to.

At this point, Pees is not afraid to say the Ravens’ secondary will be better. The Ravens will certainly hope he is correct.

 

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Baltimore Ravens Roundup: DeCosta looking at 2019 NFL Draft as opportunity to address remaining needs

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Baltimore Ravens Roundup: DeCosta looking at 2019 NFL Draft as opportunity to address remaining needs

Here's the latest Baltimore Ravens news as general managers and head coaches gather in Phoenix, Az for the NFL Annual League Meeting. 

Player Notes: 

- General manager Eric DeCosta likes the way the Ravens' secondary is looking with Jimmy Smith, and said it would be "foolish" to turn a strength on the team into a weakness by potentially parting ways with the cornerback.

“It’s a very fluid process," DeCosta said via the Ravens' website. "We’re in good shape right now salary-cap wise. Jimmy’s a good player. We’ve got a really, really good secondary and it’s a passing league. I think that’s important.”

Smith carries a $15.85 million salary cap hit in 2019.

- The Ravens are looking at the 2019 NFL Draft as an opportunity to address their needs at wide receiver and pass rusher, according to comments made by DeCosta Monday. Free agency brought the departures of Michael Crabtree, John Brown, C.J. Mosley, Terrell Suggs and Za'Darius Smith leaving huge holes to fill in both areas. 

- The door hasn't been shut on re-signing free agent defensive end Brent Urban. In 2018, Urban appeared in all 16 regular season games for the Ravens posting 27 combined tackles and two passes defensed. 

- QB Robert Griffin III is being sued by his former agent Ben Dogra for unpaid marketing and endorsement fees, according to Charles Robinson of Yahoo Sports. Dogra claims RGIII owes him over $650,000 as part of an agreement for 15% share of marketing and endorsement deals negotiated while he was Griffin's agent. The QB fired Dogra back in 2018. 

- One of the many potential rule changes being discussed this week at the Annual League Meeting is expanding replays during a game. The potential rule change has come front and center after the NFC Championship game between the New Orleans Saints and Los Angeles Rams, and it's something head coach John Harbaugh is in favor of. 

“If we can put somebody up there in the box that’s got a better angle that can help officiate the game from up there, let’s do that," Harbaugh said back in January. "Because at the end of the game, it’s about the credibility of the sport.”

Click here to see a few of the potential changes being discussed. 

Looking Ahead: 

March 24-27: Annual League Meeting in Phoenix, Az.

April 15: Voluntary OTA's may begin

April 19: Deadline for restricted free agents to sign offer sheets

MORE RAVENS NEWS: 

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Baltimore Ravens Roundup: Get to know Earl Thomas and Mark Ingram

Baltimore Ravens Roundup: Get to know Earl Thomas and Mark Ingram

We are here to help you get your workweek started with the latest Baltimore Ravens news.

Player Notes: 

Running back Mark Ingram is bringing two Pro Bowls, 1,321 rushing yards and 50 rushing touchdowns to the Ravens, but there's a lot about him you may not know. Did you know that his father, Mark Ingram Sr., was drafted at No. 28 overall just like his son? Probably not. Here's five things to know about Ingram via the Ravens' website. 

Safety Earl Thomas isn't just talented on the field, but off the field as well. Thomas can play piano, drums, saxophone and the organ. During his freshman year of high school, Thomas would change out of his football uniform at halftime into his band uniform to perform and then back again. Here's five things to know about Thomas via the Ravens' website

Former Ravens wide receiver Jeremy Maclin is retiring from the game. The 30-year-old made the announcement at his wife's baby shower over the weekend. Selected 19th overall by the Eagles in the 2009 NFL Draft, Maclin played for the Eagles, Chiefs and the Ravens.

Outside linebacker Tim Williams is ready to be a defensive leader for the Ravens in 2019. With the departures of Eric Weddle, Terrell Suggs, C.J. Mosley and Za'Darius Smith in free agency, Williams is ready to be "that man" for the NFL's No.1 defense. 

Williams has yet to play a full season for the Ravens after being drafted in the third round of the 2017 NFL Draft. In 2018, the linebacker saw action in only sevens games due to hamstring and ankle injuries. 

In AFC news, Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski announced his retirement from the league Sunday via Instagram. The 29-year-old finishes his career with 521 receptions for 7,861 yards, 79 touchdowns and three Super Bowl championship. 

Looking Ahead: 

March 24-27: Annual League Meeting in Phoenix, Az.

April 15: Voluntary OTA's may begin

April 19: Deadline for restricted free agents to sign offer sheets

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