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Ravens-Jaguars Instant Analysis


Ravens-Jaguars Instant Analysis

Ravens 48, Jaguars 17
M&T Bank Stadium

The defense didn't give up the big plays and the offense made them Thursday night as Baltimore had five touchdown drives of 80 yards or more as they scored their most points in a preseason game in more than a decade.

Coach John Harbaugh played his first string for the first half and they took a 13-3 lead at the break behind quarterback Joe Flacco and the no-huddle offense. Then the reserves, led by quarterback Tyrod Taylor, poured it on.

"We're starting to grow at it," Flacco said of the no-huddle. "But I still think we have a ways to go to get it to where we really want it to be and really successful with it."

The 48 points was the most scored in the preseason by the Ravens since 2001 vs. the New York Giants when they posted 38.

The first-team defense didn't allow an offensive touchdown though it primarily used basic coverages.

"The first two preseason games, we don't game plan for anything," said safety Bernard Pollard. "For the little game-planning we did tonight, we stepped in and played well. We're still trying to keep everything simple with our defense."

Player of the game: Flacco went 27-for-36 passing for 266 yards, two TDs and one interception for a 102.3 passer rating. He completed passes to nine different receivers, including 11 to wideout Torrey Smith. Flacco exited after the first series in the third quarter.

Telltale stat: Flacco insisted he wanted to be less predictable in the red zone, which means passing more on first down, and he got his wish. Flacco went 7-for-10 passing inside Jacksonville's 20-yard line. Baltimore got there three times with Flacco, scoring touchdowns twice en route to a 20-3 lead before this departure.

Turning point: The hurry-up offense finally paid dividends with a touchdown as the Ravens took a 10-0 lead in the second quarter. While the running game was non-existent on the drive, Flacco went 8-for-9 for 87 yards passing. He hit rookie Bobby Rainey on a wheel route out of the backfield for 17 yards on third down to keep the drive alive and finished it by finding Anquan Boldin in the back of the end zone on play action on third and short.

Highlights: After the secondary was shredded in the first two preseason games, it was far better this time. Of course, Jags quarterback Blaine Gabbert isn't Atlanta's Matt Ryan or Detroit's Matthew Stafford. Gabbert finished 11 of 21 for 117 yards, no touchdown passes and a 68.9 rating. ... Rookie kicker Justin Tucker made his case to win the job from veteran Billy Cundiff. Tucker nailed a 53-yarder with room to spare in the second quarter. He went 2-for-2 for the game. ... A block by Anthony Allen opened a hole for Jacoby Jones to return a kickoff 51 yards in the second quarter ... Pernell McPhee, who had been excused from camp last week because of a death in the family, got a hand on a field goal attempt by Josh Scobee that hit the crossbar in the third quarter. ... Receiver LaQuan Williams caught a pass from backup quarterback Tyrod Taylor, spun out of a tackle and went 35 yards. That led to a eight-yard touchdown catch by a well-covered Williams. ... Taylor engineered three touchdown drives. ... Rainey caught a check down pass from Taylor near the line of scrimmage and ran it 48 yards for a score. ... Rookie Deonte Thomspon returned a kickoff in the fourth quarter 63 yards.

Lowlights: Rookies Bernard Pierce and Rainey, in a heated battle for the No. 2 spot at running back next to Ray Rice, combined for just 42 yards on 12 carries. .... Safety Emanuel Cook went down in the third quarter on kick return coverage. He had his right leg wiped out by Allen in a collision and had to be carted off the field. ... Cornerback Corey Graham went down in the third quarter and was taken to the locker room to be evaluated for a concussion. ... Taylor made a poor throw into coverage and was intercepted by Antonio Dennard who returned it 55 yards for the Jags' first touchdown.

Notables: Bobbie Williams started at right guard in place of Marshal Yanda, who sat out with a knee injury. ... Albert McClellan started at rush linebacker in front of rookie Courtney Upshaw.

Up next: It's nail-biting time as roster will be trimmed to 75 players on Monday. ... The Ravens close the preseason at the St. Louis Rams on Thursday at 7 p.m. ET.

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Baltimore Ravens 2018 Training Camp preview

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Baltimore Ravens 2018 Training Camp preview

The Ravens’ 2018 season is one of the most anticipated seasons in the last decade. 

From the coaching staff to the quarterback, the future of the franchise will be determined over 16 weeks. The work, however, beings now. 

The Ravens’ first training camp practice kicks off Thursday and there is a lot to keep a close eye on. Let's take a look at the many talking points of the 2018 preseason.

The Great Quarterback Debate:

Unless you’ve been in hiding since the NFL Draft, you know what all the hoopla is about. Joe Flacco remains the Ravens’ starter, but the competition at QB1 just got a little more interesting. The addition of Lamar Jackson has hopefully ignited a fire under Flacco and Jackson will get a year to learn under the 11-year veteran. If the season starts to go south early on, Jackson could come in as their starter and begin his role as the team’s next franchise quarterback. 

A lot could happen at the quarterback position over the next year, but one thing that is certain is all eyes will be on Lamar Jackson when he hits the field at training camp. You can't deny your intrigue. The Heisman winner had success both in the air and on the ground over his three years at Louisville, racking up record-breaking numbers. How the Ravens utilize Jackson will be interesting. Coach Harbaugh has already stated he will be active on game days and that they're experimenting with having Jackson and Flacco on the field at the same time. 

Oh, and then there's Robert Griffin III. We think you might know who he is.

The Ravens signed him to a one-year deal back at the beginning of April, but now with the addition of Lamar Jackson, another big training camp question arises. Do the Ravens keep a third QB on their active roster or do they send him on his way? RGIII has mentioned he's looking forward to mentoring the fellow Heisman Trophy winner in his first year in the league, but how much of that he'll get to do remains unseen.

A New Core Of Offensive Weapons: 

Flacco's declining numbers cannot be placed entirely on his shoulders. His options at wide receiver and tight end have been limited, but Ozzie Newsome – in his last year as general manager – made sure that would no longer be an issue.

Michael Crabtree, Willie Snead and John 'Smokey' Brown became Ravens in free agency and Breshad Perriman will fight for his final chance with the team after they declined the fifth-year option on his rookie contract. There is also 2018 draft picks Jaleel Scott and Jordan Lasley and undrafted free agents Jaelon Acklin and Andrew Levrone. Veteran Chris Moore and Quincy Adeboyejo will also be competing. Flacco mentioned during OTAs that he would be rounding up his receivers outside of practice to build chemistry. Come Thursday, we will see if the sparks have begun to fly.

The tight end depth chart will be looking very different for the Ravens as well this season. There was, of course, the additions of Hayden Hurst and Mark Andrews – a pair of Top 100 picks – in the draft and undrafted free agent Nick Keizer. Veterans Nick Boyle and Maxx Williams are returning, but who will be their starter Week 1 will be interesting to watch. Boyle was on the field for 66 percent of the Ravens' offensive snaps in 2017, but injuries have hindered both Boyle and Williams. Williams missed 12 games in 2016 with a knee tear and five games in 2017 with an ankle sprain. Where he sits on the depth chart will rely heavily on how healthy he remains during an extended training camp. 

Critical Year for the Coaching Staff:

The 2018 season is the most critical one of John Harbaugh's 10-year tenure. As you've read many times this offseason, the Ravens haven't seen the postseason since 2015. And if that trend continues into the 2018 season, big changes to the offensive playcallers should be imminent. 

At his annual State of the Ravens press conference in February, owner Steve Bisciotti was questioned as to why no coaching changes – from head coach to offensive coordinator – were made after the Ravens' offense clearly had trouble getting things going all season long.

"I’m not going to give a ‘playoff or bust’ edict to you all, or to my coach," Bisciotti said.

"He’s under as much pressure, probably, than he’s ever been in his life, and I expect him to keep his chin up and take his positivity and his talents and make the most of this season. I may as well replace him now if I’m going to tell him, ‘Make the playoffs or you’re out of town next year.’ That’s just not the way to run a business.”

That mindset is understandable. Bisciotti noted Flacco has been through four offensive coordinators in five years and was comfortable with OC Marty Mornhinweg. Harbaugh's contract was extended through 2019, but if the season doesn't pan out as expected, the offensive could have a very different look in 2019. 

A Fast and Furious Defense:

Linebackers coach, Don 'Wink' Martindale was promoted to defensive coordinator after Dean Pees' departure. Harbaugh hired within the organization to keep the defensive vision cohesive, but Martindale is bringing something different to the table. 

"He's just putting his personal fix on our defense and expanding it, giving the guys confidence to play fast," safety Eric Weddle said in a recent interview. "The idea is to do what's best for the defense, not what's best the individual."

It appears this year's defense will rely heavily on the instincts of its star players like Pro Bowlers Weddle, Terrell Suggs and C.J. Mosley. The defense has never had an issue being dominate, but you may be seeing a more creative defense come game days with players given the freedom to make decisions in real time. How well it works will be exciting to see. 

Other Notes: 

The Ravens placed six players, G Marshal Yanda, TE Vince Mayle, DE Brent Urban, CB Jaylen Hill, LB Bam Bradley and WR Quincy Adeboyejo on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list to begin training camp. Yanda missed 14 games last season after suffering a season-ending ankle injury. Placing him on the PUP list to begin training camp is most likely out of precaution. He did not participate in any offseason workouts. 


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Lamar Jackson, Ravens rookies report to training camp


Lamar Jackson, Ravens rookies report to training camp

Football is back in session for the Ravens.

Their rookies are set to report to the Ravens' training facility in Owings Mills, Md Wednesday. Veterans report next Wednesday, the 18th.

The team is reporting to training camp a bit earlier than most NFL teams. Due to Ray Lewis being enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame Aug. 4 in Canton, Oh, the Ravens will face the Chicago Bears in the annual Hall of Fame Game on Aug. 2. Teams participating are eligible to begin training camp earlier.

This rookie class is already generating national attention. While the Ravens stand by Joe Flacco as their QB1, first-round pick Lamar Jackson could cause a shakeup at some point during the season. And when it comes to much-needed offensive help, tight ends Hayden Hurst and Mark Andrews could begin to provide relief. 

Third-round pick Orlando Brown Jr. begins his journey with the Ravens in a more sentimental fashion. His father, Orlando "Zeus" Brown, also played tackle for the Ravens from 1996-98 and then again from 2003-05. Brown passed away in 2011. 

Stay with NBC Sports Washington throughout the next several weeks as we keep a close eye on the Ravens' preseason.