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Three points of emphasis for Ravens' offense


Three points of emphasis for Ravens' offense

Three points of emphasis for the Ravens’ offense when training camp begins July 24: 

1. Improving their running game

The Ravens ranked 30th in the NFL in rushing last season. Only the Jaguars and Falcons were worse. If you don’t think the running game is that important in the NFL anymore, consider this. The Saints were the only team ranked among the bottom 10 in rushing last season (25th) that made the playoffs.

The Ravens believe their offensive line is better this season, no matter who starts at right tackle. They traded for a new starting center in Jeremy Zuttah, and right guard Marshal Yanda is healthy again. But whether Ray Rice returns to being an elite back or not after his expected suspension, the Ravens need more from their running game to make a playoff return.

2. Pass protection

Joe Flacco was sacked 48 times last season. Only Ryan Tannehill of the Dolphins was sacked more (58). In new offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak’s system, Flacco is expected to move in the pocket a little more on bootlegs and rollouts. The Ravens are also hoping Flacco gets rid of the football more quickly in a West Coast style offense, reducing some of the pressure on the offensive line in pass protection.

RELATED: [How dangerous will Jacoby Jones be in 2014? (VIDEO)]

3. Turnovers

Flacco threw 22 interceptions last season, a career high. Whether you blame those picks primarily on Flacco, his receivers, or his pass protection, 22 is simply too many. That number needs to go down for the Ravens’ win total to go up.

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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."