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Should Reed have sat out?


Should Reed have sat out?

Ravens defensive tackle Haloti Ngata went through pre-game warmups on Sunday, but then, nursing a bad shoulder and a bad knee, he sat out the Ravens' 55-20 win over the Raiders. That essentially bought him an extra week of rest, which could be huge over the second half of the season.

After watching Ed Reed leave the Raiders game in obvious pain with an injured shoulder, it's fair to wonder whether he, too, should have taken all or most of the day off.

To be clear: Players want to be on the field, perhaps none more so than Reed. The guy simply loves to play. But Reed admitted a month or so that he's been bothered by a shoulder injury. Reed downplays the injury at times -- at one point last month he said, "I ain't no pitcher. I don't play baseball.  So long as I'm not throwing ... it's nothing to worry about."

Except maybe it is.

It seemed to be a factor more than once against the Raiders. The most obvious example came when he failed to wrap up Raiders receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey, who broke free from Reed and scampered 55 yards for a touchdown late in the second quarter.

After that play, Reed left the field grimacing, his shoulder clearly bothering him, Reed returned to action in the second half but watched most of the fourth quarter in sweatpants, effectively asking out of the game with the Ravens up big.

"I was having a pretty bad game as an individual, and I really didn’t want to go back out there as a competitor playing the way I was playing," Reed said after the game. "But we’ve got guys that can step up, step in, and needed to get those reps and see what other guys can do."

It is certainly unusual to hear Reed say, "I really didn't want to go back out there." After the game, he again downplayed the injury, saying, "I’m fine. It was just a minor stinger, not very serious.”

If all of this sounds familiar, it's because Reed has been down this road before. He is a gamer and has played through injuries in the past. But at times, including last year, while bothering neck and shoulder injuries, his tackling fell off demonstrably. At what point do the Ravens reach a tipping point with Reed? Is Reed at 85 percent better than James Ihedigbo or others that might take Reed's place? What about Reed at 50 percent?

That's a tough question that the Ravens might have to address at some point. Ngata inched his way back toward 100 percent by taking Sunday off in advance of the meat-grinder of an upcoming schedule. Reed, though, had no such luck, and it remains to see whether that proves costly.


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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."