NFL players often make a big jump from Year One to Year Two in the NFL. It makes sense, as these players, no longer rookies, are used to the routine, the speed, and the regimen of NFL life. Of course, it doesn't always happen -- Matt Elam and Arthur Brown both appeared to regress in their second year in the league.
Still, the Ravens this season will have a slew of players who will be counted on to make that jump. In fact, the success of the Ravens season could depend on it. Here are three such players:
TE Crockett Gillmore
True, the Ravens drafted tight end Maxx Williams in the second round, and Williams might be viewed as the long-term starter. But Gillmore will be called upon to play a large role in Marc Trestman's offense with Owen Daniels gone to Denver and Dennis Pitta's future still very much unknown. Gillmore was used mainly as a blocking tight end last season, but showed nice hands during OTA workouts, and Joe Flacco appeared to grow increasingly comfortable throwing to him. Gillmore made 10 catches for 121 yards and one touchdown in the regular season last year, and had two catches for 30 yards and a score in the playoffs. He should easily top those numbers this season.
DL Timmy Jernigan
Someone has to fill the huge void left by the trade of Haloti Ngata, and all indications are it will be Jernigan, who was dubbed the Ravens' "secret superstar" for 2015 by Pro Football Focus. The Ravens already got a sneak preview at the end of last season, when Jernigan filled in while Ngata served a four-game suspension. Jernigan finished with 23 tackles and four sacks as a rookie. "I definitely feel comfortable picking up where I left off at last year," Jernigan said after an OTA session earlier this month. "I feel really good. Everything is starting to seem kind of second nature to me. The biggest thing now is just to keep it going and building on top of what I did last year."
DE Brent Urban
At 6-7 and 295 pounds, it's easy to see why Urban could be a major factor for the Ravens this year. After missing all of his rookie season with an ACL injury sustained early in training camp, Urban, a fourth-round pick out of Virginia, is back and appears fully recovered. With veteran Chris Canty sitting out OTA workouts, Urban took a lot of reps with the first unit. Granted, he wasn't facing the No. 1 offensive line, but Urban's size, burst and wingspan were disruptive. Canty is back for his 11th season, but don't be surprised if Urban plays an increasingly large role at defensive end.
Enjoying a game at M&T Bank Stadium just became a little more affordable.
On Thursday, the Ravens introduced their new "Flock Friendly Fare," reducing the price of 21 of their most popular food and beverage items.
The change comes as the organization focuses on revamping the fan experience in 2018. Fans will see an average of 33 percent in total savings and up to 53 percent savings on a single item.
"As a lot of you probably know, after every game we survey fans to see how we're doing; what have we done well and what have we not done well. Over the years, one of the biggest criticisms we received was for the gameday concessions prices," Ravens President Dick Cass said on the team's website.
Alcoholic beverages were all reduced by $1 with the addition of domestic 12 ounce beer for $5.
Chicken tenders with fries went from $11 to $7, while a slice of pizza went from $8.50 to $6. No single item will cost above $9.
On average, you will now be able to feed a family of four for $44 compared to $66.75 in years past. To see all of the reductions, click the arrow in the post below.
In 2017, the Atlanta Falcons reduced their concession prices upon opening their brand new Mercedes-Benz Stadium. The Ravens, however, are expecting to lose $1.5 million in concession revenue due to the change.
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Vegas has spoken and they are not optimistic about rookie Lamar Jackson starting under center for the Ravens in 2018.
Bovado, an online gambling site, has set the odds on how the top 2018 rookies will perform and they have Jackson getting 0.5 starts this season.
That number will come as a surprise considering the popular narrative that Lamar Jackson will be the Ravens' starter in no time. The team made it clear they are planning for life after Flacco when they traded back into the first-round of the 2018 draft to select the quarterback out of Louisville at No. 32.
Flacco - who is entering his 11th season with the organization - is experiencing a decline in his performance of late, one that can not be put entirely on his shoulders as the team has failed in finding him valuable weapons to throw to. Nonetheless, Flacco's projected 2018 season is very much up in the air and it appears Vegas is betting on the one-time Super Bowl MVP to bounce back.
However, the Ravens have failed to make the playoffs four of the last five seasons, and if that trend continues into 2018, the rookie could get his shot at flipping the script.
If you're a betting man, it could payoff to bet the over on Jackson. Low risk, seemingly high reward.
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