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Ravens LB Lewis, CB Webb lost for year

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Ravens LB Lewis, CB Webb lost for year

OWINGS MILLS, Md. (AP) Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis will miss the remainder of the season with an arm injury, an enormous blow to an already depleted defense that has uncharacteristically struggled this year.

Lewis tore his right triceps during Sunday's 31-29 victory over Dallas. The 37-year-old Lewis leads Baltimore in tackles and is the voice of experience in the huddle.

``Ray in the locker room afterward, we didn't know (the extent of the injury) but he was worried about it,'' Ravens coach John Harbaugh said Monday. ``He said some things about his faith. He said some things that I'll never forget.''

Over a spectacular 17-year career, Lewis has been invited to 13 Pro Bowls, was named Super Bowl MVP and is a two-time NFL defensive player of the year. He turns 38 in May, so it's possible that Sunday's game was his last.

``That's for Ray to speak on,'' Harbaugh said.

Baltimore also lost cornerback Lardarius Webb for the year after he tore the ACL in his left knee Sunday. The injury occurred when Webb collided with Dallas wide receiver Dez Bryant in the first quarter.

Neither Lewis nor Webb spoke after Sunday's game and both were unavailable for comment on Monday.

For Harbaugh, it was more about the players than the impact losing them would have on the team.

``I'm disappointed for those guys,'' Harbaugh said. ``It doesn't matter how I or someone else feels about it. It's their thing. These are guys that put so much effort, heart and soul into what they do.''

Webb missed the latter part of his rookie season in 2009 with a torn right ACL, and now he's facing surgery again.

``Lardarius was distraught. I could see it when I walked onto the field, on his face,'' Harbaugh said. ``He kind of knew because he's been through it before. I just felt like he knew. He was just beside himself.''

The loss of Webb took some of the edge off Baltimore's third straight win.

``I'm hurting for that guy right now,'' safety Ed Reed said. ``I know how hard he works to be out here and what he brings to the game. We have to play for him and pick him up because he's young.''

Webb, who turned 27 last week, probably has many years left to play. Lewis' status is not as certain.

Lewis missed four games last year with a toe injury. During the week and on game day he cheered for his teammates and offered encouragement. That, evidently, will be his job over the next few months.

``When you look at his situation and what he's accomplished, and what he was hoping to accomplish this year, he's going to have to accomplish those things in different ways because that's the way it's gone,'' Harbaugh said. ``He puts his faith in providence. That's where he's going to go with that.''

Jameel McClain and Dannell Ellerbe will fill the void left by Lewis' absence. It's the same role they filled last year.

``Those guys have played a lot of football and we've got a lot of confidence in those guys, Jameel and Dannell,'' Harbaugh said. ``We feel good about that.''

Jimmy Smith will probably step in for Webb.

The manner in which the Ravens rebound from the loss of Lewis and Webb will determine if they make the playoffs for a fifth straight season.

``I feel great about our guy's chances to fill in,'' Harbaugh said. ``That's something we've been able to do in the past. Obviously, that's going to define what we're going to be able to accomplish this year. That's something we're going to need to do, from a leadership standpoint and from a playing standpoint. Our chances of doing it? I won't put odds on it. That's just something that we're going to have to get done.''

The Ravens (5-1) have struggled to make up for the loss of linebacker Terrell Suggs, who is recovering from a torn right Achilles tendon. Baltimore yielded 489 yards, a franchise-record 227 on the ground, against Dallas on Sunday.

Now that the defense is without its leader and best cornerback, the Ravens may have to abandon its usual method of success.

``There have been many, many times where we've won because of our defense has carried a heavy, heavy burden over the years,'' Harbaugh said. ``For our offense to carry some of that burden, and for our special teams to carry some of that burden, is a great thing. I'm quite sure our defense is going to do the same during the course of the season. I've got a lot of confidence in those guys. We're going to play really good defense as the year goes on.''

Next on the schedule for Baltimore is a trip to Houston (5-1) in a rematch of last year's playoff game.

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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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Ravens D-coordinator Don Martindale puts personal stamp on unit

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Ravens D-coordinator Don Martindale puts personal stamp on unit

OWINGS MILLS, Md. -- There are no dreary work days for Don Martindale, who has overwhelmingly embraced his new role as defensive coordinator of the Baltimore Ravens.

After serving for five seasons as the team's linebackers coach, Martindale was promoted to coordinator in January after Dean Pees left the post.

Enthusiastic doesn't even begin to describe Martindale's attitude about being in charge of the defense.

"Ever since we've made this transition, it's been a joy to just come through those gates every day. I love it," Martindale said after Wednesday's mandatory minicamp practice.

This isn't the first time Martindale has been put in charge of molding a defense. In 2010, he watched over a unit in Denver that was the worst in the NFL in both yards and points allowed per game.

Given a second chance, the 55-year-old Martindale is putting together a defense that will rely heavily on the instinct of several of its most proven players, most notably safety Eric Weddle and linebackers Terrell Suggs and C.J. Mosley.

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

Martindale called Mosley "the quarterback" of a fluid unit that can make a snap-change from drop-back coverage to an all-out blitz. In that regard, Mosley believes this defense is superior to the one that in 2017 yielded 18.9 points per game, sixth-best in the NFL.

"The way we're able to use our core guys, put them in different spots and do some of the same things just from different positions, it's more creative, I would say, than where we were last year," Mosley said.

Baltimore coach John Harbaugh promoted Martindale rather than go outside the organization because he wanted to extend his vision of a defense that has evolved since his arrival in 2008.

"All we're doing is forwarding John's plan," Martindale said. "We're remodeling the package. It's still Ravens football, it's still Ravens defense, but we've streamlined it. It's the elegant simplicity. Guys are playing really fast."

Asked for his take on Martindale's defense, Ravens offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg replied, "They're fast and they're furious."

Sure, things might be different once the pads go on at training camp, but at this point, Martindale's boss likes what he sees.

"We're doing a lot of neat things on defense, things that are really good," Harbaugh said. "More than ever, we're putting it on our players to make decisions in real time."

Martindale has a new title, but old habits die hard.

"For the most part, it's been the same," Mosley said. "He always comes in and says, `I have to lead the linebacker room,' and sits down and gets to talking like he's back at linebacker coach."

Told of Mosley's disclosure, Martindale smiled and said, "I've been trying to stay out of there, but you can't help but go in. That's home. I have a good time in the secondary room as well."

And just about everywhere else.

"Where we're going with this thing is really exciting to me," Martindale said, "and I know it's exciting to the players."

In other training camp news, cornerback Jimmy Smith was a surprise participant at practice, going through a light regimen of individual drills just six months after tearing his left Achilles tendon.

"I don't know if Jimmy's like half Wolverine, but he's healed up in half the time of regular human beings," Weddle said, referring to the amazing recuperative powers of the Marvel super hero.

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