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Ravens-Browns preview

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Ravens-Browns preview

Ravens vs. Browns
at Cleveland Browns Stadium, 1 p.m. ET

The line: Ravens -4

Series: Ravens lead 20-7  

Last meeting: Ravens won 23-16 on Sept. 27 in Baltimore.

Last week: Ravens had a bye; Browns beat the San Diego Chargers at home 7-6.

Burning question: Will the hurry-up offense slow down and allow RB Ray Rice to finally get more touches?

Keys to victory on offense: The Ravens only average 15 ppg on the road, 17 fewer than they score at home. They plan on simplifying the play-calling to help with the crowd noise, which they attribute to their inconsistent play, and vary the pace. That means better ball control to extend drives and better protection of QB Joe Flacco, who was sacked four times in the first meeting. This offense is much more effective when playing with a cushion rather than from behind. The Ravens have scored only one TD in their last 10 quarters on the road. And they've failed to score a TD in the opening quarter since Week 2. For Flacco gets this offense back on track, those dry spells have to end.

Keys to victory on defense: It has allowed an average of 207 yards rushing in the last three games. But Browns RB Trent Richardson was held to 47 yards on 14 carries when these teams met during Week 4. Richardson, however, appears healthy and over a rib injury that had limited him in recent games. LB Terrell Suggs should be closer to top form since his Achilles injury, but the Ravens aren't totally healthy. DT Haloti Ngata won't be at full strength and DE Pernell McPhee is out. That'll mean Arthur Jones steps into McPhee's spot and Terrence Cody makes his way onto the defensive line for more snaps. They need to get pressure on rookie QB Brandon Weeden and not allow him to throw for 300-plus yards again and help a secondary that's missing CB Lardarius Webb (knee) for the season.

Injury list: RAVENS -- Out: DE Pernell McPhee (thigh); Questionable: DT Haloti Ngata (shoulder), WR LaQuan Williams (ankle); Probable: WR Jacoby Jones (foot), CB Jimmy Smith (abs), CB Chykie Brown (ankle), TE Ed Dickson (hand), WR Tandon Doss (illness), LB Dannell Ellerbe (hand), S James Ihedigbo (hand), DT Ma'ake Kemoeatu (knee), OT Bryant McKinnie (thigh), OT Michael Oher (ankle), OT Kelechi Osemele (ankle), S Bernard Pollard (chest), S Ed Reed (shoulder/chest), LB Terrell Suggs (ankle), DeAngelo Tyson (foot), G Marshal Yanda (shoulder)

BROWNS -- Out: DB Dimitri Patterson (ankle), DL Brian Sanford (knee); Doubtful: DL Ahtyba Rubin (calf); Questionable: LB D'Qwell Jackson (foot/toe), WR Josh Cooper (thigh); Probable: DL John Hughes (arm), DL Juqua Parker (injury not listed), RB Trent Richardson (chest/rib), DB Ray Ventrone (hand/calf), DB T.J. Ward (hand/shoulder), DB Johnson Bademosi (hip), DB Tashaun Gipson (knee), OL Shawn Lauvao (groin), WR Mohamed Massaquoi (hamstring), LS Christian Yount (shoulder), QB Brandon Weeden (groin/thigh), OL Jarrod Shaw (illness), DL Frostee Rucker (shoulder/toe), RB Chris Ogbonnaya (chest/toe), LB James-Michael Johnson (knee/groin).

Prediction: Ravens 24-17.

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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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