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Ravens sign ... a math whiz?


Ravens sign ... a math whiz?

The Ravens announced their most unusual free agent signing of the offseason Monday a math whiz from Yale.

The team hired Sandy Weil as Director of Football Analytics, a new front-office job in which Weil will put advanced principles to work examining everything from the odds of going for it on fourth down to the traits needed for a prospect to succeed.

Were always looking for confirmation on things we think we know and insights that could provide an edge for us in personnel and coaching. This is where Sandy will help us, Ravens GM Ozzie Newsome said in a statement.

Is this Moneyball come to Baltimore? Well, yes, according to Weil in an interview with the teams website.

"Theres no longer complete skepticism around the approach, Weil said of the idea of using mathematics in sports. "The Oakland As took that hit. Billy Beane and the people he worked with kind of took that hit and made it OK to hire guys who know how to work with numbers. That stigma is gone.

This is Weils first job in the NFL. His sports-related background is in pro basketball. Weil worked as a statistical consultant and data structure designer for the NBA and consulted with the San Antonio Spurs.

He comes to the Ravens from a non-sports job with Ascend Analytics in Boulder, Colo., where he was a senior energy analyst and product manager. Before that, he also worked for the investment bank Bear Stearns on its derivatives trading desk.

The Ravens will put him to work on a wide variety of aspects of pro football, seeing if they can uncover some secrets.

"Its not just doing the analysis and spitting out some number, Weil said. "Its knowing the limitations of the analysis and presenting them in a way that people making decisions can make use of that information. They can incorporate into the way that theyre doing things, and thats really where my job is to fit in.

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Ravens agree to terms with first-round pick Hayden Hurst


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."