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The view from the Chiefs' media


The view from the Chiefs' media

There is plenty of chatter in Kansas City this morning about Chiefs fans cheering an injured Matt Cassel, but the overall sense from Kansas City media this morning is that the Chiefs seasonis slowly slipping away, regardless of who plays quarterback.
Here is what someKansas City media are saying after the Ravens' sloppy, 9-6 win over the turnover-prone Chiefs onSunday:RANDY COVITZ,Kansas City Star"The Chiefsseason reached its breaking point on Sunday. Reverting to a conservativeoffense not seen since Marv Levys single-wing offense of the early 1980s stillcouldnt keep the Chiefs from turning the ball over. Quarterback Matt Casselhad a hand in four turnovers before leaving the game in the fourth quarter witha head injury...The loss KansasCitys third in three home games this season dropped the Chiefs to 1-4 forthe season and in dire straits of not making the playoffs."KEVIN HASKIN,Topeka Capital-JournalThe B isvirtually silent. The ooooh gets louder every time No. 7 is on the field.Welcome to Arrowhead Stadium and the life of Matt Cassel, who gets targeted byso many boos that it makes you feel like youre at the All-Star game.Oh, there werecheers Sunday for the Kansas City Chiefs quarterback. They came, senselessly,when he lay still on the turf, his head spinning after delivering a 16-yardcompletion.

The strength ofthe Ravens, as much as anything these days, is how their offense clicks behindJoe Flacco, Ray Rice and Anquan Boldin. Their defense still features Ray Lewisand Ed Reed, but gives up yardage. Did so against the Chiefs, in fact.Points, however,were scarce. That happens with turnovers. And the Chiefs commit them. Inbunches. Four giveaways against the Ravens bumped the KC season total to 19,the highest NFL mark through five games in 15 years. ... The mostinexplicable mistake by KC came within inches of the goal line on the firstpossession of the second half. Called on to sneak the ball in, Cassel lungedleft, but did so without firm grasp of the snap. Soon, the ball squirted intothe end zone and was recovered by Reed, the opportunistic veteran.B-oooooh."MATT LOEDE,chiefsgab.com
"Fans atArrowhead Stadium Sunday chanting Brady, Brady have gotten their wish. Butnot for the reason many felt they would. Chiefs QB MattCassel left Sundays game with the Ravens with a head injury, and the Chiefs fellto the Ravens 9-6 to fall to 1-4 on the season.The effort wasmuch better than last week when they were beaten badly at home by the Chargers,but the bottom line is once again the turnovers killed the team, and it appearsthat the 2012 season is quickly slipping away just five weeks in."SAM MELLINGER,Kansas City Star"The Chiefshave been pathetic already, so thats not the surprising part. And theyvelooked hopeless, so thats not new, either. ... What we see now is a disjointedmess of a football team that was supposed to compete for the division title butis instead sinking toward the bottom of the league, with a head coach unable tomake it stop and an offensive lineman making national headlines for destroyingfans who cheered their quarterbacks injury. If this isnt rock bottom, then wecould all save ourselves some trouble by guzzling Drano. ...
This time, itsRomeo Crennels turn to face charges of incompetence because, honestly, didTodd Haley ever mismanage a game this badly? ...The only thing Crennel appears willing to riskin his game plans is Jamaal Charles future coming off ACL surgery, theChiefs star running back is the only player in the league to go over 30touches twice this season and the result diminished the Ravens risk oflosing.A bizarredecision to punt instead of try for a first down or Hail Mary at the end of thefirst half, more will-breaking penalties and a team presumably coached to valuethe ball instead padding its league lead in turnovers sucked the possibilitiesfrom a game the Chiefs otherwise shouldve won."BILL WILLIAMSON,ESPN.com's AFC West blogger
"On a daywhen some fans paid for a plane to fly over the parking lot, urging the team tofire general manager Scott Pioli and bench Cassel, Cassel did nothing to helpeither his or Piolis cause. Cassel was 9-of-15 for 92 yards. He lost a fumbleat the goal line and threw two interceptions. The Chiefs looked afraid to letCassel pass, and when he did, rarely did anything good happen. Both the teamand Cassel seemed adversely affected by the anti-Cassel sentiment. The time isnow to let him sit and see what Quinn can do."

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After breakout 2017 season, Ravens running back Alex Collins isn't getting too comfortable

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After breakout 2017 season, Ravens running back Alex Collins isn't getting too comfortable

This time last year, running back Alex Collins wasn't a part of the Baltimore Ravens.

After being released by the Seattle Seahawks at the end of the 2017 preseason, the Ravens placed the 23-year-old on their practice squad, and by Week 2, Collins was already making plays.

As the season progressed, Collins found himself as the Ravens' top running back. He finished 2017 as the team's leading rusher with 973 yards while Javorius "Buck" Allen followed behind him with 591 yards.

If the 2018 NFL season began today, Collins would likely be the Ravens' starter, which is quite ironic considering the fate of his 2017 preseason.

"I always go back to where I started and where I am now, and I use that as my motivation," Collins said after Thursday's training camp practice.

"No matter the day, no matter how tired I am, I think to myself, at this time last year, I didn’t know my position, where I was, where I’d end up. So just having that security behind it is definitely my motivation to keep it this way and keep pushing forward and keep trying to get better instead of being complacent.”

Over the course of 15 games, Collins proved he had the strength and speed to make an impact on the team after Danny Woodhead suffered a hamstring injury on the first drive of the Ravens' Week 1 game and Kenneth Dixon sat out the entire season with a torn meniscus. 

While job security is something we all strive for, Collins isn't getting too comfortable with the hierarchy. 

“I don’t want to say necessarily ‘comfortable,’ because when I use that word, it makes me feel like I’m too relaxed and lackadaisical," Collins said.

"I’m more focused. I don’t want to get comfortable. I don’t want the team or our group to get comfortable, because we just want to get better every day. So, in the position I am, it’s a great feeling, but I’m always pushing myself to be better.”

While Collins has set personal goals for himself – like a 1,000-yard season – he is equally as focused on making the Ravens backfield one of the best groups in the National Football League. 

“I expect that," Collins said on being the Ravens' starter.

"I would hope that all the other running backs expect [to be the starter] as well, and that’s what kind of drives our group – when we all know that we have that capability to be the No. 1 guy, and we’re out competing and push each other and try to be the best. No matter who’s out there during the game, you’ll see a productive play out of that person. So, I have that mindset. I want to be the guy. I have that fire in me, and I hope [that is] as well as the other running backs, as I encouraged them as well.”

Collins noted that he's coming into training camp a bit heavier. He added five pounds to his 200-pound frame "just to see how that feels," but is still maintaining the stamina and strength he's always had. 

Collins – who was one of several veterans released from practice early as the team begins to adjust their way into the extended preseason – finished his media availability with a friendly warning to fantasy football owners: "Draft me now before it’s too late, guys."


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Joe Flacco receives high praise from teammates after first training camp practice


Joe Flacco receives high praise from teammates after first training camp practice

Ravens football is back and so is Joe Cool.

The team’s first training camp practice took place Thursday afternoon, and Joe Flacco’s teammates – from offensive to defensive players – mentioned how laser focused the 10-year veteran is.

"Joe always has a lot of personality,” running back Alex Collins said via SB Nation’s Baltimore Beatdown.

“He is a good guy. He’s a real funny guy, but definitely coming into this year, he has a lot of fire behind him. And it does a lot motivating us especially early when we first reported back. Just seeing him work hard and just seeing him get better every day. He’s definitely got a lot of fire behind him this year.”

Flacco is entering the final year of his contract with a lot on the line following a disappointing start to the 2017 season. But a huge factor that is different for the 33-year old coming into this preseason opposed to last is his health.

“Most definitely,” Collins said on whether he can tell if Flacco is healthier this year. “He’s a lot faster as well, by the way, guys.”

And when it comes to the “Is Joe Flacco elite” debate, linebacker C.J. Mosley knows the consensus within the Under Armour Performance Center.

“I think every year [Joe Flacco] comes in with his mindset that he wants to be great,” Mosley said.

“Mainly because everybody outside of this building does not think he is elite and inside the building, everybody does think that way. Since Joe has been here, you know he is one of those players that never gets rattled. You never see his emotions too high, too low. He’s been our quarterback that kinda stays in the middle to make sure everything goes smooth. That’s kinda how he has been this offseason too. He’s come in looking strong, body looking good.”

Flacco’s health is up to speed as well as his mentality. Flacco organized private workouts with his wide receivers and tight ends at a local park across from the Ravens’ facility last week. This is the first time he has done so since 2011. When asked if he initiated the session, Michael Crabtree gave all the credit to his new quarterback.

“No, that’s all Flac [Flacco], man,” Crabtree said. “That’s the leader. We’re just the wideouts. [We] do whatever he says. If we’ve got something we bring to the table, then we make it work.”