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Ravens: Injuries are no excuse for struggles

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Ravens: Injuries are no excuse for struggles

The rash of injuries that has decimated the Ravens is undeniable: During the Ravens’ stunning 33-30 overtime loss to Cleveland on Sunday, the Ravens lost three cornerbacks, linebacker Elvis Dumervil and starting running back Justin Forsett.

And that was after the Ravens were already without top receiver Steve Smith, linebacker Terrell Suggs, defensive end Chris Canty and tight end Crockett Gillmore. Meanwhile, top draft pick Breshad Perriman still hasn’t played a down.

But even as the losses mount – the Ravens are 1-4 for the first time in franchise history – the Ravens say they won't use the injuries as an excuse.

“No excuse,” cornerback Jimmy Smith said. “The next man has got to stand up. We practice this all the time, so it’s no excuse.”

At one point against the Browns, the Ravens had lost three cornerbacks – Will Davis, Lardaruis Webb and Kyle Arrington. That left rookie Tray Walker – who had not played a defensive snap all season – as the nickel back.

Quarterback Joe Flacco, who had to run the Ravens offense without his top receiver (Smith), his top tight end (Gillmore), and, in overtime, his top running back, said injuries are “just part of the game, and you can’t use that as an excuse.”

“It’s not fun, but it’s part of the game,” defensive lineman Timmy Jernigan said. “We just have to be better as a whole. Everybody has to be ready to play when their number is called.”

“At the end of the day, everyone gets paid. ... Your rank on the depth chart doesn’t matter. You have to be ready to go.”

“If you come in the game, you’re a starter,” safety Kendrick Lewis said .”If a starter goes down, that’s part of the game. Injuries are a part of the game.”

And they are a major part of the Ravens narrative this season, a season that has spiraled downward faster than anyone could have imagined a month ago.

MORE RAVENS: Stunned Ravens face mammoth hole they may not escape

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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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