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Ravens-Falcons: The basics

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Ravens-Falcons: The basics

Who: Baltimore Ravens at Atlanta Falcons

What: 2012 preseason opener

When: Thursday, Aug. 9

Where: Georgia Dome, Atlanta

TV: WMAR (Ch. 2) and WBAL Plus

Radio: WBAL (1090 AM), 98 Rock (97.9 FM)

Records: Last season the Ravens went 12-4, won the AFC North and were eliminated from the playoffs in the AFC title game, while the Falcons went 10-6, finished second in the NFC South and lost in the wild-card round

Ravens newcomers: The following veterans will make their Baltimore debuts after signing with the team as free agents during the offseason: receiverreturner Jacoby Jones, safety Sean Considine, cornerback Corey Graham, guard Bobbie Williams, nose tackle Maake Kemoeatu.

Injuries: Dennis Pitta (broken hand), David Reed (knee) and Terrell Suggs (Achilles) are out, and a number of other Ravens might not play, including Matt Birk (back), Jimmy Smith (back) and Courtney Upshaw (shoulder).

Six questions to be answered:

1) How does Paul Kruger fare against the run?

Few Ravens are under more scrutiny than the fourth-year linebacker, a starter for the first time in 2012. He fared well as a pass rusher last season but the Ravens really want to know if he can set the edge of a run defense, which is job No. 1 for a Baltimore defense. Thats one skill that can be determined to a degree in a preseason game.

2) How does Bryant McKinnie look if he plays?

The Ravens might elect to wait a week to put him on the field, seeing as he just returned to practice earlier this week. Theres little doubt Michael Oher will start at left tackle, with rookie Kelechi Osemele on the right side. But the Ravens only have a month to make sure McKinnie is still their man after his turbulent offseason, and they might want to get started.

3) Do any of the backup running backs emerge?

To this point, none of the four guys vying for the job of Ray Rices backup has stood out in training camp. Anthony Allen, Bernard Pierce, Damien Berry and Bobby Rainey should all get carries and looks in this game. Pierce, a third-round draft pick, is the guy who should do it, but if no one steps forward, the Ravens might go out and sign a veteran.

4) Does rookie Justin Tucker get the first field-goal attempt?

He is trying to take Billy Cundiffs job, and his performance in the first weeks of training camp has been lights out, even Cundiff admits. Although Cundiff remains the favorite, the Ravens are understandably curious to see if the kid with the huge leg can kick as well in a game as he does in practice.

5) How do the two rookie offensive linemen hold up?

Aside from Osemele, who has looked rugged in practices, Gino Gradkowski is expected will start at center instead of Matt Birk, who is being rested for the season. Both young linemen have exceeded the teams immediate expectations and could be in line to become regulars as early as next year. How they fare in their first game action could be telling.

6) Is Sergio Kindle really that much better?

His position coach recently said yhe young linebacker had made a quantum leap in his third season. Yet he was recently seen getting stonewalled by Osemele in a one-on-one drill. It has taken him a long time to know the game well enough to possibly show what he can do. That opportunity starts now.

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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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