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Raiders' backfield banged up


Raiders' backfield banged up

High ankle sprains could keep running backs Darren McFadden and Mike Goodson on the bench for Sunday's game at the Ravens.

Neither practiced for the Oakland Raiders on Wednesday or Thursday, but coach Dennis Allen wasn't ready to declare them out for Sunday's game.

"The great thing for me is that I don't have to make that decision right now,"Allen said. "I am going to let the week play out and see where they are at the end of the week. We are taking off Friday afternoon, so I'll know by then whether they're going to be able to play or not."

Also, defensive tackle Richard Seymour (knee/hamstring) and cornerback Shawntae Spencer (foot) didn't practice for the second day in a row.

Oakland had trouble running the ball before they went down. McFadden has 455 yards rushing on 139 carries, just an average of 3.2 per carry, and only two touchdowns.

In 2011, McFadden rushed for 614 yards on just 113 carries, a 5.4 average, in seven games because of a foot injury.

Not having to game plan for him should be a relief, but not the way Ravens coach John Harbaugh sees it.

"It's a little bit unpredictable. We'll probably see as the week goes along, but we're really not worried about it," Harbaugh said. "You just can't be. They are going to run their offense and whoever they put there at running back is going to run the same plays they are running."

The Ravens have had trouble stopping the run. They allowed the Cleveland Browns to rush for 116 in last week's 25-15 win, a massive improvement over their previous three games in which they allowed an average of 207 yards pe game.

Still, after being the NFL's second-ranked defense against the run a season ago at 92.5, the Ravens have plummeted to 28th by allowing 139.5 per game. That's the worst ranking of any team with a winning record.

"They're not going to change their whole offense. The may, obviously, lean in some direction based on which back is back there. Maybe they will sign somebody, but we'll try to defend the offense."

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Ravens agree to terms with first-round pick Hayden Hurst


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."