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What to watch for on defense versus Atlanta


What to watch for on defense versus Atlanta

Theres a number of interesting things to look for in games, although its harder to get a good look sometimes in a pre-season contest.
But for the defense, heres five things it will be interesting to watch for Thursday against Atlanta in the first pre-season game of the year for both squads.
--The pass rush. The Ravens certainly will not show all their cards in the game, but its going to be interesting to see what they do show. The pass rush is going to be something to keep an eye on this year, especially with the absence of Terrell Suggs.
--Pass coverage. Thats something the Ravens improved on last year and will want to keep doing better with this year. Cornerbacks Jimmy Smith and Cary Williams are battling for one starting spot while Lardarius Webb and his new contract have the other. Theres Ed Reed back at safety as part of a group that really got better last season. The linebackers will have a hand in this, too.
--Sergio Kindle. The comments that coaches are making show theyre really hopeful that, after two years of problems, the former top pick is finally finding his way. If so, that will help fill the hole at linebacker and on the pass rush created by the Suggs injury and makes for a very good story.
--The injuries: Theres some players whove been battling injury problems in the first two weeks of camp. Its going to be interesting to see who gets playing time how and when. Thats something we wont know till the game.
--The veterans: It also will be interesting to see how much the older guys play and for how long. The mind-set behind pre-season games has really changed in recent years. It used to be seen as a time to practice. Now, it seems to be viewed as something that can help but please lets get through it without injuries.

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Five storylines to watch heading into Ravens training camp

USA Today

Five storylines to watch heading into Ravens training camp

Ravens training camp is only days away and things are heating up in Baltimore. Sophomore Lamar Jackson has been given the keys to the offense while head coach John Harbaugh confronts a roster filled with new faces.

Some have the Ravens penciled in the playoffs, while others see them as a six-win team. With so much up in the air, so here are the most important storylines set to unfold heading into training camp. 

What to expect from Lamar Jackson

By far the biggest storyline of training camp, everyone is wondering how Lamar Jackson will fare this season. Set out to prove he's not a one-trick-pony, Jackson's been working to improve his accuracy and pocket awareness while learning new coordinator Greg Roman's offensive scheme. Jackson is undoubtedly the biggest factor for the Ravens' success this season. 

Looking different defensively

Terrell Suggs. Eric Weddle. C.J. Mosley. All three of them Pro-Bowlers a year ago, all three left in the offseason. One of the top defenses in the NFL last season, coordinator Don Martindale has a lot on his plate. With the addition of All-Pro Earl Thomas, however, they've got a chance to return to form. 

Rookie wide receivers to have a major impact

After undergoing Lisfranc surgery in February, wide receiver Marquise "Hollywood" Brown is on the non-football injury list to start training camp. Brown's speed and playmaking ability command respect from the defense even when hampered and Miles Boykin, the third-round pick out of Notre Dame, is also expected to contribute off the bat for a team desperate for depth at receiver. 

Replacing Suggs and Smith

After letting go of Suggs and Za'Darius Smith last offseason, the Ravens have to replace 15.5 sacks if they want to remain a top defense in the NFL. Linebackers Tim Williams, Tyus Bowser and Matt Judon will all have to step up, while the secondary, headlined by Jimmy Smith and Marlon Humphrey, will have the opportunity to contribute with coverage sacks. 

Feeling right at tight end

Perhaps their deepest position, the Ravens are going to look to their tight ends frequently this season. Hopefully, Mark Andrews and Hayden Hurst (health provided) can continue to develop chemistry with fellow sophomore Lamar Jackson. Throw Nick Boyle into the equation, and the Ravens have one of the top tight end units in the NFL. 


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Wawa chooses the Ravens as new partners, much to the chagrin of Philly fans

Wawa chooses the Ravens as new partners, much to the chagrin of Philly fans

The world's best convenience store/gas station/sandwich shop has partnered with the Baltimore Ravens. 

Yes, Wawa is now the “official hoagie” of the Ravens. 

It's the partnership that Ravens' fans didn't even know they needed. If there is a lottery, the Ravens just won.

As Wawa celebrates its 50th year in Maryland, there will be several promotions that fans will be able to partake in. Opportunities to win tickets to games, co-branded merchandise, and unique experiences are just a handful of benefits Ravens fans can now take advantage of. You'll also see a lot more of Wawa at M&T Bank Stadium.

Choosing Wawa over Royal Farms (and that other store Sheetz) is clearly a top-tier partnership between two of the biggest brands in the Baltimore Metro area. And there is no doubt that there could not be a more perfect partnership between an NFL franchise and a convenience shop. 

"Wawa is thrilled to partner with the Ravens to make deeper connections with some of the best fans in football and reach communities all over the city of Baltimore and beyond,” Adam Schall, the senior director of store operations for Maryland said in a press release.

Our friends over in Philadelphia are not enthused:

But it is simple: the better store went with the better team.