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Suggs' presence alone boosts defense

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Suggs' presence alone boosts defense

The mere presence of Terrell Suggs, who played in his third game for the Ravens since returning from an Achilles tear, has energized a defense that has been at the bottom of the NFL in almost every category this season.

While the Ravens have improved in key areas and have been getting significant minutes from the likes of the previously little-used DeAngelo Tyson, Bryan Hall and Josh Bynes, Suggs’ overall influence is undeniable.

The defense ranks just 25th overall, but it is playing with more of a can-do attitude even though they gave up 422 yards in a 55-20 win vs. the Oakland Raiders last week.

Suggs commands double-teams, and opposing players in the backfield have to stay put to help chip block.

While the 2011 NFL Defensive Player of the Year isn't getting to the quarterback aside from a sack in his first game back, Oct. 21 at the Houston Texans, there is more pressure.

Suggs hasn't had a sack since then. Overall, has seven solo tackles in three games.

“Maybe it does help them the fact that they know that they don’t have to do too much because Terrell is on the field, also the fact that he draws a lot of attention,” coach John Harbaugh said. “He gets a lot of blocking attention, so that helps other guys who are singled out more than they would have been otherwise.”

The defense deflected six passes by Raiders quarterback Carson Palmer. Linebacker Paul Kruger, in just his fourth season, has played particularly well. His tipped pass resulted in an interception for himself.

Rookie linebacker Courtney Upshaw is getting better each week after struggling in the preseason. Kruger started over him when the season began, then Kruger went to a supporting role when he was slowed by a back injury.

Now both start.  And with Suggs, the linebacking corps have grown.

“His presence is felt, whether he’s putting up the big production or whether he’s not,” Harbaugh said of Suggs. “He’s a factor out there.”

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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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