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Ravens-Steelers still a rivalry, regardless of record

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Ravens-Steelers still a rivalry, regardless of record

On paper, the Ravens look to be in good shape heading into Sunday's AFC North battle with the Steelers. After all, Baltimore brings a three-game lead into the game and could lock the Steelers out of the division with a win.

In addition, even though the Ravens have battled a number of injuries, Pittsburgh's gotten hit with several also, most notably to quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. 

But all of that doesn't matter because the rivalry will always be there between these two teams. Some who follow the NFL or work with it think this could be the best rivalry in the NFL, even though it hasn't been in existence nearly as long as others like Bears-Packers and all that. 

The Ravens have played the Steelers without Roethlisberger before, and it didn't affect the intensity of the game. It won't change much this weekend, especially because Pittsburgh desperately needs a win. 

That could add to the intensity. In addition, the Steelers are coming off a terrible performance in a loss to Cleveland last week, a defeat that might be the most costly of the year. That pushed the Steelers three games behind the Ravens, a big difference from being two games back. 

But don't expect the Ravens to overlook the Steelers. They could play flag football in the parking lot, and the intensity would be there. With players like Ray Lewis and Terrell Suggs pushing the defense, it's doubtful the Ravens would let up against a good team. 

That's also something that coach John Harbaugh will probably bring up-- although he wouldn't have to do so. The Ravens need this game also in order to keep pace with Houston and stay ahead of Denver and New England and others. Overlooking the Steelers just will never happen. 

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Jalen Hurts' defiant NFL Combine comments mirror Lamar Jackson's

Jalen Hurts' defiant NFL Combine comments mirror Lamar Jackson's

It seems kind of laughable now, doesn’t it?

In 2018, questions about Lamar Jackson’s future position were unavoidable. His speed and elusiveness, combined with a spotty track record when it came to accuracy, had teams salivating about his potential at a number of skill positions in the NFL -- quarterback not included.

Now, coming off a unanimous MVP campaign, during which he rewrote record books and established himself as one of the young faces of the next generation of quarterbacks, it’s strange to look back on a time when the majority of football pundits thought his future was at wide receiver or running back.

Jackson’s undeniable success has not only taken the NFL by storm, it’s paved the way for future athletic college quarterbacks to stick at the position.

Oklahoma quarterback Jalen Hurts, formerly of Alabama and one of the top players in the country, is receiving the same questions at this year’s NFL Combine that Jackson fielded at his. Namely, is he willing to switch positions?

His answer mirrors Jackson’s. He’s a quarterback only, and he has no interest in switching positions to appease an organization with less foresight than what the Ravens had with Jackson.

While Hurts didn’t mention Jackson by name in his reasoning, it’s hard not to draw parallels. Jackson’s 2019 season was one for the history books, and his influence will continue to trickle down to future generations.

Players like Jackson and Hurts haven’t always had the same opportunities to succeed -- or, more importantly, fail -- as other, more “traditional” quarterbacks have had in the course of NFL history. But organizations that are creative and willing to tailor their offensive schemes to the attributes of their quarterbacks are taking advantage of a largely backward-minded league.

Teams that look at Hurts and see a unique skillset full of things he can do, rather than what he can’t, are the way of the future. 

Hurts himself, along with a generation of fellow athletic quarterbacks entering the league over the next few seasons, are betting on this future when they demand to be evaluated as quarterbacks only.

They may have found a way to push through on their own. But Jackson’s incredible year has opened up the path in a major way, making it that much easier for the next crop of unique, talented quarterbacks to shine.

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Report: Marquise Brown has offseason surgery to remove screw from foot, will be healed for training camp

Report: Marquise Brown has offseason surgery to remove screw from foot, will be healed for training camp

According to a report from Ian Rapoport, Marquise Brown is fixing last offseason’s fix.

Brown reportedly had off-season surgery to remove a screw from his injured foot, hampered by a Lisfranc injury. The move isn’t expected to keep Brown out for spring training, though it will limit him in the off-season program.

As a rookie in 2019, Brown had 46 receptions for 584 yards and seven touchdowns in 14 games played. He posted seven receptions and 126 yards in the team’s loss to the Titans in the divisional round. 

Brown was the team’s best deep threat and posted five games with catches of more than 30 yards last season. 

The injury affected him all season, but it appears that the former Oklahoma Sooner will be completely healthy for his second go-round with the Ravens. 

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