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The view from Houston

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The view from Houston

The Ravens' 43-13 blowout loss to Houston was certainly a statement game on Sunday. The statements made included these: Houston is the class of the AFC right now, and the Ravens need to get things right in a hurry if they want to be part of that discussion for much longer.  Here is what some of the Houston media are saying about the game:

Jordan Godwin, Galveston County Daily News

 "After Sunday’s 43-13 blowout of the previously 5-1 Baltimore Ravens, it’s tough to deny the feeling that this team is poised for something special. ...

 The Texans were taking on the same Baltimore Ravens team that ended their first playoff run in the AFC Divisional round last season. Well, for the most part, the Ravens were the same.

 Baltimore was playing without 17-year veteran linebacker Ray Lewis, whose season and possibly career ended last week with a torn triceps. The Texans’ offense took advantage of his absence, becoming just the fifth team to score 43 points or more against Baltimore in 280 games since the franchise drafted Lewis in 1996.  After two weeks of sub-par production, the Texans were firing on all cylinders offensively. ...

 While the offense was churning, the defense was burning. The Texans treated Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco like he stole something. By the end of the afternoon, Flacco was sacked four times by the Bulls on Parade, threw two interceptions, 11 deflected passes and finished with a passer rating of 45.4."

 John McClain, Houston Chronicle

It took the (Texans) offense four series to get going, and once it did, it didn’t stop. ...

A lot of Texans had big days on both sides of the ball, and fans let out a collective sigh of relief after the slow start by the offense and an exceptional job by the defense.

“There’s no need to panic,” (Matt) Schaub told his teammates after the slow start.

It was the Ravens’ injury-ravaged defense, playing without linebacker Ray Lewis and cornerback Lardarius Webb, that should have panicked after Baltimore led 3-0 and crumbled in alarming fashion.

Dale Robertson, Houston Chronicle

"The second-quarter box score boggles the mind. The Texans had 11 first downs to the Ravens’ one. Their 29 plays from scrimmage gained 171 yards — 5.9 per snap — to Baltimore’s 32 on 15 plays. Ray Rice’s two rushes netted 5 yards, and the flustered, flummoxed Flacco went 4-for-13 with two interceptions, computing out to a 0.6 rating. That’s right, zero-point-six. And the Texans held the ball, as they’re wont to do, for more than 11 minutes."

Jerome Solomon, Houston Chronicle

"If you had any lingering doubts about this team, the Texans answered them in resounding fashion Sunday ... The victory sends the Texans (6-1) into a week off with the best record in the AFC and further along the path to an accomplishment that would be a first for this city. ...

Never has an NFL player uttered the phrase “The road to the Super Bowl goes through Houston.” Just two years ago, the Texans’ seventh game began a stretch in which they lost eight of nine games. On Sunday, they scored the most points in franchise history against a team that played in the AFC Championship Game last season. ...

 There is a lot of football to be played, but no doubt the Texans are working toward something special."

 Dave Zangaro, CSNHouston.com

 "Now that was a statement game.

 After an embarrassing loss to the Packers on Sunday Night Football at home in front of a national audience last week, the Texans put together their best game of the season ... The offense clicked. The defense clicked. The special teams' units even did their part. It’s the kind of win that should leave the Texans feeling good going into the bye week. ...

Joe Flacco claims to be an elite quarterback in the NFL. He wasn’t against the Texans. Far from it. Flacco was awful for much of Sunday’s game. He struggled early and often and the Ravens’ offense never got going. Flacco completed 21-of-43 passes for 147 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions."

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Ravens cancel Saturday's open practice at M&T Bank Stadium

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USA Today Sports

Ravens cancel Saturday's open practice at M&T Bank Stadium

The Baltimore Ravens cancelled Saturday night's free open practice at M&T Bank Stadium due to a forecast that calls for heavy rain and inclement weather.

There is no official word from the team on whether this practice will be resheduled, but it seems like Sunday may be an option, even though there's rain in the forecast then too.

Ravens fans who were looking to see first-round draft pick and potential future starting quarterback Lamar Jackson will have to wait for another day. His presence at training camp, an inevitable competition with the incumbent, Joe Flacco, and potential two-quarterback packages involving both of them are set to be some of the biggest storylines of Ravens camp this summer.

As a Heisman Trophy winner, Jackson was one of the most dynamic players in college football during his time at Louisville. If he can replicate that kind of performance in the NFL, he will be at plenty more training camp sessions for Ravens fans to watch.

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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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