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Ravens recievers face press coverage


Ravens recievers face press coverage

The receivers are supposed to be linchpin to opening up the Ravens' long-dormant offense.

Until they prove they can beat press coverage, however, maybe expectations have to be dialed down.

For the second time this season, in a 9-6 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs last week, they appeared to have trouble beating press coverage from physical defensive backs.

"I don't think it was an issue. It's football. We got great DBs we work on the press every other day with," said Jacoby Jones, who didn't have a catch against Kansas City. "It's all about the timing and the meshing with the offense."

Against the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 2, the Ravens blew a 10-point lead in that 24-23 loss as they failed to score a touchdown in the second half. Then, they blamed it on replacement referees not calling illegal contact after five yards which didn't permit receivers to get free.

Against the Chiefs, the receivers never found the end zone. Kansas City also employed a Cover 1 scheme, which means they only use one deep safety as opposing cornerbacks are at the line of scrimmage to bump receivers off their routes.

The regular refs are back now, so the claim of illegal contact can't be an excuse. Torrey Smith and Jones have blazing speed, but they combined to make three catches against Kansas City.

"We have to handle that. We are getting pressed, getting Cover 1 for the most part in this game. It’s the same thing that they gave us two years ago in the playoff game, and we did a much better job with it," Ravens coach John Harbaugh said, alluding to a 30-7 win over the Chiefs for the 2010 season.

Of course, the Ravens also dropped passes in Sunday's game which didn't help the offensive flow, either.

"We were in bunch routes. We did have motions to stacks. We did that sort of thing. The drops were a big part of that," Harbaugh said. "We threw a number of fade routes. We threw a couple wheel routes."

Dallas has has a solid defensive backfield, notably rookie Morris Claiborne and veteran Brandon Carr at cornerback.  

"People are willing to match their corners up, and we just need to take advantage of that and make some plays," Harbaugh said. "That’s what our guys want to do.”

Jones is in his first season with Baltimore but feels fully acclimated into the offense.

"I'm on the same page with him. We're good," Jones said of his relationship with Flacco. "I love to be pressed. You miss, it's over."

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Ravens cancel Saturday's open practice at M&T Bank Stadium

USA Today Sports

Ravens cancel Saturday's open practice at M&T Bank Stadium

The Baltimore Ravens cancelled Saturday night's free open practice at M&T Bank Stadium due to a forecast that calls for heavy rain and inclement weather.

There is no official word from the team on whether this practice will be resheduled, but it seems like Sunday may be an option, even though there's rain in the forecast then too.

Ravens fans who were looking to see first-round draft pick and potential future starting quarterback Lamar Jackson will have to wait for another day. His presence at training camp, an inevitable competition with the incumbent, Joe Flacco, and potential two-quarterback packages involving both of them are set to be some of the biggest storylines of Ravens camp this summer.

As a Heisman Trophy winner, Jackson was one of the most dynamic players in college football during his time at Louisville. If he can replicate that kind of performance in the NFL, he will be at plenty more training camp sessions for Ravens fans to watch.


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After breakout 2017 season, Ravens running back Alex Collins isn't getting too comfortable

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After breakout 2017 season, Ravens running back Alex Collins isn't getting too comfortable

This time last year, running back Alex Collins wasn't a part of the Baltimore Ravens.

After being released by the Seattle Seahawks at the end of the 2017 preseason, the Ravens placed the 23-year-old on their practice squad, and by Week 2, Collins was already making plays.

As the season progressed, Collins found himself as the Ravens' top running back. He finished 2017 as the team's leading rusher with 973 yards while Javorius "Buck" Allen followed behind him with 591 yards.

If the 2018 NFL season began today, Collins would likely be the Ravens' starter, which is quite ironic considering the fate of his 2017 preseason.

"I always go back to where I started and where I am now, and I use that as my motivation," Collins said after Thursday's training camp practice.

"No matter the day, no matter how tired I am, I think to myself, at this time last year, I didn’t know my position, where I was, where I’d end up. So just having that security behind it is definitely my motivation to keep it this way and keep pushing forward and keep trying to get better instead of being complacent.”

Over the course of 15 games, Collins proved he had the strength and speed to make an impact on the team after Danny Woodhead suffered a hamstring injury on the first drive of the Ravens' Week 1 game and Kenneth Dixon sat out the entire season with a torn meniscus. 

While job security is something we all strive for, Collins isn't getting too comfortable with the hierarchy. 

“I don’t want to say necessarily ‘comfortable,’ because when I use that word, it makes me feel like I’m too relaxed and lackadaisical," Collins said.

"I’m more focused. I don’t want to get comfortable. I don’t want the team or our group to get comfortable, because we just want to get better every day. So, in the position I am, it’s a great feeling, but I’m always pushing myself to be better.”

While Collins has set personal goals for himself – like a 1,000-yard season – he is equally as focused on making the Ravens backfield one of the best groups in the National Football League. 

“I expect that," Collins said on being the Ravens' starter.

"I would hope that all the other running backs expect [to be the starter] as well, and that’s what kind of drives our group – when we all know that we have that capability to be the No. 1 guy, and we’re out competing and push each other and try to be the best. No matter who’s out there during the game, you’ll see a productive play out of that person. So, I have that mindset. I want to be the guy. I have that fire in me, and I hope [that is] as well as the other running backs, as I encouraged them as well.”

Collins noted that he's coming into training camp a bit heavier. He added five pounds to his 200-pound frame "just to see how that feels," but is still maintaining the stamina and strength he's always had. 

Collins – who was one of several veterans released from practice early as the team begins to adjust their way into the extended preseason – finished his media availability with a friendly warning to fantasy football owners: "Draft me now before it’s too late, guys."