ARLINGTON – Ravens cornerback Jimmy Smith (back) was inactive for Sunday’s game against the Cowboys, as was outside linebacker Elvis Dumervil. Not having Smith, the Ravens’ best cornerback, figured to make the task of trying to contain Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant far more difficult.
In positive injury news for the Ravens, Pro Bowl right guard Marshal Yanda was active for the game, meaning the Ravens were missing just one starting offensive lineman – left guard Alex Lewis. Dumervil, Smith, and Lewis were joined on the inactive list by running back Lorenzo Taliaferro, offensive lineman Ryan Jensen, tight end Crockett Gillmore, and cornerback Asa Jackson.
The Ravens must hope that Smith’s back problem does not linger. Ravens coach John Harbaugh said during the week that he expected Smith to play, and he made the trip to Texas. However, without Smith, more responsibility would fall on corners Shareece Wright, Tavon Young, and Jerraud Powers to deal with Bryant’s size, strength and ability.
The Ravens entered the game with the NFL’s No. 1 ranked defense, but when Smith missed the second half against the Giants last month, wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. exploded on the Ravens and led the Giants to victory. The Ravens need to defend Bryant far better than they defended Beckham to pull off an upset.
It’s been a good day for tight ends in the NFL.
To start the day George Kittle became the highest-paid tight end in the league. Shortly after, Travis Kelce signed an extension keeping him in Kansas City for an additional four years. Now it’s hard to talk about NFL tight ends and not mention either Kittle or Kelce’s name as two of the best in the league. It was only fitting that the two get paid on the exact same day.
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Kittle and the San Francisco 49ers reached an agreement on a five-year, $75 million contract extension. Kittle deserves every penny of that deal as he’s racked up 2,945 receiving yards, the most by any tight end in NFL history after three seasons. He’s a do-it-all tight end who has great hands, blocks like a guard, and is a huge asset to the locker room.
Meanwhile, the Kansas City Chiefs and Travis Kelce agreed to a four-year, $57.25 million extension. Kelce is a huge part of the Chiefs offense and his stats show that he’s one of the best in the league. He’s the only tight end to ever record four straight 1,000 yard seasons and he’s the fastest tight end ever to 425 career catches and 5,500 receiving yards.
Kittle and Kelce have set the bar high with their play on the field, but they have now also set the bar for the price tag at their position that comes along with it.
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Football is back on TV as the new season of HBO's Hard Knocks premiered Tuesday evening. It’s the first time in the documentary's 15 seasons that the show will follow two teams, the Los Angles Chargers and Los Angles Rams. In case you missed it, here are some highlights from episode one.
Anthony Lynn tested positive
Chargers head coach Anthony Lynn revealed in the opening scene that he had tested positive for coronavirus earlier this year. Lynn is the third known NFL head coach to have contracted the virus, joining New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Peyton and Philadelphia Eagles head coach Doug Pederson.
Justin Herbert shines
The Chargers first-round draft pick was the star player of episode one showing off his arm skills. He nailed almost every one of his targets during accuracy drills. The episode didn’t show too much of any player, but the former University of Oregon signal-caller stole the show in small amount of camera time he had
Rams head coach Sean McVay
Sean McVay’s introduction to the show had fans jealous of the panoramic views from his home in Los Angeles. McVay’s jokes were also a highlight of the episode.
COVID-19 precautions and safety
Training camp is off-limits to fans in order to decrease potential exposure of the virus for players and staff. With that in mind, Hard Knocks is fans and media members first look at what an NFL training camp in 2020 looks like. From the frequent testing to the outdoor facilities that both the Rams and Chargers have invested in, it's a different type of training camp. It’s also a different type of Hard Knocks, but because of our desire for anything football-related, it has the potential to be one of the best seasons yet.
It will be tough to top the excitement of episode one but with two teams in action, there's no shortage of storylines. Episode two airs on HBO next Tuesday at 10 p.m. ET.
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