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Ravens will have options trying to stop RG3

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Ravens will have options trying to stop RG3

Each week brings different challenges for an NFL defense. The Ravens get a few interesting ones this week when they take on the Redskins down in Landover.

One of the biggest challenges is going to be stopping rookie quarterback Robert Griffin III, someone who's playing a lot like a veteran so far this season and is a big reason the Redskins are 6-6 and fighting for a playoff spot. The Redskins are using Griffin in a number of different ways that opposing defenses are finding tough to stop.

Washington's coming into this game off of wins over the Cowboys and Giants and its "Pistol" offense has been a big reason. It involves the option and fake and quick hand-offs and is common in high schools and colleges but not in the NFL. In years past, teams at this level haven't wated to run option offenses because it means quarterbacks get hit more often. 

But the Redskins are making it work now, which is something the Ravens' defense needs to watch for.

"I think it’s tough on everybody," Ravens defensive coordinator Dean Pees said when talking to the media Friday. "If you watch all the teams that they’ve played, they’ve played some darn good defenses. It’s just really a different scheme that you don’t see every week."

Pees said the Ravens are going to focus on what they did against Michael Vick and the Eagles, stick with what you're supposed to do.  He wants to see the Ravens do a better job with it this time around than they did versus Vick, who really created a lot of problems even though the Ravens caused turnovers. 

"Have your eyes on what your responsibility is," Pees said. "If it’s a dive, if it’s the quarterback, if it’s the pitch in the option, whatever it is, having your eyes on what you have. You have a responsibility, you have a technique, and you have to perform that thing. You have to be very disciplined, and the biggest thing is know your responsibility and have your eyes on it. The biggest thing with this guy, which we didn’t do well in the second game against [Michael] Vick is all of the sudden, he starts moving around back there and everybody is watching him instead of watching or playing the zone that you need to be in. We did a terrible job of that in Week 2. Hopefully, we’ll do a lot better this time around.”

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Ravens agree to terms with first-round pick Hayden Hurst

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USA TODAY Sports

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."

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