There's no question that some things will be different when the Ravens return next week. The coaches are working on ways to help on both sides of the ball, and there's going to be changes somewhere.
Here's a few predictions for what might look a little different:
1. Ray Rice will get the ball a lot more. This issue's been discussed ad nauseum so far, but even if the Ravens want to play with that no-huddle offense, they've got to get the ball into his hands. He's one of the top backs in the NFL and what makes him so dangerous is that he can run and catch. Not every good back can do that. He can lift the offense all by himself.
2. Bernard Pierce should get more action. He can fill the role that Ricky Williams did, giving Rice a break, and giving the Ravens a good powerful runner that defenses won't love to see.
3. Vonta Leach should get more action. He's a brutal blocker at fullback. Add these first three together, and, to me, it's easy to see why the Ravens might run more in the second half.
4. The defense is going to improve for a few reasons. First, Terrell Suggs is back, and that changes a lot of things. Second, the younger players are working at learning the game and learning their roles. That stuff just takes time. They aren't going to make major moves, so the Ravens are going to have to see what they can do with who they've got.
5. The cornerbacks will do better. Jimmy Smith played stronger in the second half of last year, and Cary Williams will do the same this season. He's coming back off of some health problems in the off-season and is showing signs of finding his way again. Plus, with Suggs back and a better pass rush in place, that will help everything.
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.
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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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.