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Serious questions await Pats' D, Ravens' O

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Serious questions await Pats' D, Ravens' O

The New England Patriots have put a better defense on the field as it has allowed only 264.5 yards per game, but they've faced limited offenses in the Tennessee Titans and Arizona Cardinals.

The Ravens' offense, which sputtered in a 24-23 lost the Philadelphia Eagles last week after thrashing the Cincinnati Bengals in the opener, is at a crossroads, too.

Which performance in the first two weeks represents these teams' actual identities on offense and defense?

Baltimore's rejuvenated receiving corp failed to get separation against the physical secondary of the Eagles as Joe Flacco only completed 22 of 42 passes against their Cover 1 scheme, using just one safety over the top to play the deep zone.

In the Patriots, the receivers will face a lot of Cover 2, which means safeties Patrick Chung and Steve Gregory playing the deep zones.

"In Cover 2, they have to slow you down and it kind of makes it tougher," said Torrey Smith, Baltimore's fastest player who only has four catches for the season. "They do a good job at putting their hands (on) you so we just have to work our technique."

With linebackers Jerod Mayo and rookie Dont'a Hightower, the Patriots still can stuff the run in Cover 2. They held Titans running back Chris Johnson to four yards on 11 carries and Cardinals runner Beanie Wells to 44 yards on 14 carries.

Ray Rice has 167 yards on 26 carries, which is better than six yards per carry this session.

In last year's AFC title game, Rice gained just 67 yards on 21 carries. In a 2010 regular season matchup, it took 28 carries for Rice to get 88 yards.

Smith being able to stretch the field would go a long way in loosening up the Patriots' defense.

"I'm not panicking at all," Smith said. "I haven't had the ball thrown too many times my way. It's not that I'm not open or Joe is not looking for me it's just the progression at times. We'll get there."

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Baltimore Ravens Roundup: Free agent Gerald McCoy to visit Baltimore

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Baltimore Ravens Roundup: Free agent Gerald McCoy to visit Baltimore

Kick off your holiday weekend with the latest Baltimore Ravens news.

1. One of the most obvious needs for the Ravens is help rushing the passer, and they're hoping to find some of that help on the interior in the form of free agent Gerald McCoy. The longtime Buccaneer DL visited Cleveland last week, but left town without agreeing to a contract.

Reportedly interested in playing for a contender, the former top-five pick is scheduled to visit the Ravens on Tuesday.

2. Quarterback Lamar Jackson is still struggling to throw the ball, as he noted things aren't right yet when it comes to accuracy. Media members noticed the ball wobbling through the air on many throws, and Jackson told them he thinks his hand is too high on the ball. If he's going to successfully run Greg Roman's new offensive scheme, Jackson will eventually need to be able to hit his receivers in stride with greater regularity.

Looking Ahead:

July 15: 4 p.m. deadline to get a long-term deal done with designated franchise tag players.

The 2019 NFL schedule is set! See the Baltimore Ravens defend the AFC North at M&T Bank Stadium this season. Get your tickets now at www.BaltimoreRavens.com/tickets.

Credit: Rotoworld and Baltimore Ravens for news points.

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Baltimore Ravens Roundup: Lamar Jackson is his own biggest critic

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Baltimore Ravens Roundup: Lamar Jackson is his own biggest critic

Kick off your Friday with the latest Baltimore Ravens news including how quarterback Lamar Jackson has fared during OTAs.

Player/Team Notes: 

1. Following a January surgery on his left ankle, safety Tony Jefferson remains sidelined after the first week of OTAs. Originally, Jefferson was expected to return 4-6 weeks after surgery. However, now that it's 5 months later, his return timetable is becoming more and more concerning. 

2. Quarterback Lamar Jackson spoke with Ravens media Thursday about his progress not only learning the new offense implemented by Offensive Coordinator, Greg Roman, but learning the names of his new teammates as well. After another day of OTAs, Jackson was his biggest critic despite a solid day of running plays namely passing drills. “I’d say my first day, I sucked,” Jackson said to Ravens media. “Second day, I did better. Today was alright, but it could have been better. I always try to be perfect in practice. It was alright for the first week.”

Looking Ahead:

July 15: 4 p.m. deadline to get a long-term deal done with designated franchise tag players.

The 2019 NFL schedule is set! See the Baltimore Ravens defend the AFC North at M&T Bank Stadium this season. Get your tickets now at www.BaltimoreRavens.com/tickets.

Credit: Rotoworld and Baltimore Ravens for news points.

MORE RAVENS NEWS