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Former Ravens president David Modell passes away

Former Ravens president David Modell passes away

Former Ravens team president David Modell passed away on Friday after a two-year battle with cancer at the age of 55.

David, the son of former Ravens owner Art Modell, was the team's president from 1996 to 2004.

David Modell had a hand in all operations of the team, such as picking the team's name and colors when they moved to Baltimore, and the of hiring Brian Billick as head coach. He also oversaw the team's move to M&T Bank Stadium in 1999.  

After serving as the Ravens president, he directed Modell Ventures and was a chairman for 3ality Digital, which is a 3D entertainment company. 

As the president of the Ravens, Modell was known for his steadfast commitment to building a winning franchise. 

“Our number one goal is to win. This oversimplification cannot be re-stated often enough. It shapes every decision and action this organization takes,” Modell said early in his tenure. “I don’t want us just to be the best football team. We aspire to be the best business organization. We want to set the standard on and off the field.”         

Modell also deeply understood the importance of the team's fans.

When the team moved to Baltimore in 1996 he conducted a poll in the Baltimore Sun for fans to pick a name for the team. 

Modell began his career with the organization as a training camp intern with the Cleveland Browns while he was in junior high school. 

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What we learned from the Ravens' 20-19 preseason win over the Colts

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USA TODAY Sports

What we learned from the Ravens' 20-19 preseason win over the Colts

Another Ravens preseason game is in the books meaning we're one step closer to the real thing.

The Ravens secured a 20-19 win over the Colts by stopping a late two-point conversion run. In doing so, we learned a lot about the 2018 squad.

Here is what we learned from Baltimore's preseason victory over Indianapolis.

Jackson putting into question who should be QB2

Lamar Jackson took the field during the second quarter of Monday's matchup and gave us several reasons to say "yikes."

He went three-and-out in his first three drives, finishing 0-4 with one sack. The rookie QB has been putting his speed on display, but he's quickly learning that NFL style of play is much different than college.

Jackson took a scary hit, flipping himself over a defender in the second quarter. It's clear the rookie is eager to make plays with his feet, but may need a few more pointers from Robert Griffin III on the dangers of getting too far out of pocket in the NFL.

He finished the night 7-of-15 passing for 49 yards with one TD pass and 26 yards rushing. A tightly squeezed seven-yard touchdown pass to Chris Moore highlighted his night, but there is a lot of room for improvement and Jackson knows it.

"I don't feel like I've performed at a high level yet," Jackson said via ESPN. "I came out cold. I got to learn that when the vet is up, I have to stay warm through the process. I didn't do a good job tonight. I started off slow, incompleting a lot of balls that I didn't like, but I ended up throwing a touchdown."

The room for improvement, however, is paving an interesting path for RGIII.

The Ravens have not kept three QBs on their 53-man roster since 2009 with Joe Flacco, Troy Smith and John Beck. I can't imagine the Ravens' coaching staff would feel comfortable letting Jackson take over the reigns if something were to happen to Flacco. In three games, RGIII has put up a 97.7 passer rating.

Even after being unemployed for the entire 2017 season, he's getting re-acclimated to the game just fine. 

Punt returner remains a battle

With the departure of Michael Campanaro, the Ravens are in search of a new punt returner.

Two potential candidates, Tim White and Janarion Grant, did not help their case Monday night. White, a second-year veteran, was stripped on a punt return in the first quarter, while Grant fumbled during a 32-yard kickoff return.

“We’re not giving up on those guys by any stretch,” Harbaugh said after the game. “I just want them to calm down and be solid returners first.”

When you're fighting to make a roster, contributing on special teams will put you ahead of others. With two preseason games left, White and Grant will have to make up for those mistakes.

Ravens defense preparing to be without Jimmy Smith...again

Just before kickoff, The Athletic reported that the Ravens were preparing for a multi-week suspension of Jimmy Smith for violating the leagues' personal conduct policy. Postgame, Harbaugh said Smith was excused from the game for "personal reasons." Smith hasn't played a full season since 2015.

While the team's stats are noticeably better with Smith on the field, there are plenty of options on the depth chart. 2017 first-round pick Marlon Humphrey stepped up in Smith's place last season, along with veterans Brandon Carr and Tavon Young, who started 11 games in 2016 before tearing his ACL last season.

Their capabilities showed against the Colts, picking off Andrew Luck once and only allowing six completions on 13 attempts. Smith is expected to appeal the potential suspension.

Flacco continues to prove he's the starter

Joe Flacco and his new set of receivers continue to impress in the preseason. Flacco went 7-9 for 72 yards and one touchdown to John Brown, who caught the ball with his fingertips in the back of the end zone. 

A 29-yard grab on the sideline from Michael Crabtree also highlighted the first-team offenses' time. Often critiqued for being predictable, Flacco and offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg's first play of the game was a deep ball to John Brown that was incomplete.

While that play didn't pan out, it's still nice to see the offense trying just about everything after finishing 29th in the league in passing yards during the 2017 season.

Ravens vs. Colts notes:

– Left tackle Ronnie Stanley exited the game early during the second quarter with a knee strain. 

– Running back Kenneth Dixon looked explosive averaging 5.3 yards per carry with six rushing attempts for 32 yards. He currently sits third on the depth chart. 

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Baltimore Ravens crash Andrew Luck's homecoming with 20-19 preseason win

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Baltimore Ravens crash Andrew Luck's homecoming with 20-19 preseason win

INDIANAPOLIS -- The Baltimore Ravens spoiled Andrew Luck's Indianapolis homecoming.

They picked him off before allowing a completion, and Terrell Suggs nearly chopped the ball out of Luck's hands on a sack. The Ravens then secured a 20-19 preseason win over the Colts by stopping a late 2-point conversion run.

Luck was just OK in his first home start since Jan. 1, 2017. But he did receive a roaring ovation from the crowd when he took the field, led the Colts to one score and apparently emerged unscathed after going down twice on sacks.

"Not too sharp, certainly red-zone turnovers are a negative, missed a couple of throws I'd like to hit," he said. "And I didn't feel like we, as an offense, got into any semblance of a sustained rhythm."

Expectations were high following a solid start in Seattle.

This time, the Colts (1-1) looked sloppy.

Luck missed his first three throws, the third winding up in the hands of Ravens safety Anthony Levine Jr. Luck rebounded to finish 6 of 13 for 50 yards and set up 45-year-old Adam Vinatieri for a 57-yard field before leaving in the second quarter.

If Luck had his way, he might have played longer. But first-year coach Frank Reich wasn't taking any chances with Luck's surgically repaired arm.

"We just never found a rhythm for him and some of his balls were not his best balls," he said. "But I still have a lot of confidence we're headed in the right direction."

Joe Flacco, Lamar Jackson and the Ravens looked better.

Flacco went 7 of 9 for 72 yards and one touchdown. Jackson then showed flashes of what helped him win the 2016 Heisman Trophy.

Jackson was 7 of 15 for 49 yards and a TD and carried four times for 26 yards before giving way to another Heisman winner, Robert Griffin III, in the fourth quarter.

Indy still had a chance at the end after Tarell Basham recovered a fumble at the Ravens 9. Five plays later, Phillip Walker threw a 9-yard TD pass to Zach Pascal with 2:24 left. But the Ravens (3-0) stopped Walker on the 2-point try, recovered the onside kick and ran out the clock.

"Happy to get the win," Ravens coach John Harbaugh said. "We did a lot of things that weren't winning football, especially in the second half."

The Ravens made it tough on Indy all night.

They stopped Indy twice in the red zone and nearly had a third when Jordan Wilkins fumbled the ball into the end zone, where it bounced right into the hands of receiver Chester Rogers.

Flacco gave the Ravens a 7-3 lead early in the second quarter when he hooked up with John Brown on a 7-yard score, and Jackson's masterful hurry-up drive at the end of the first half ended with Justin Tucker's 38-yard field goal with 2 seconds left.

When Colts rookie Nyheim Hines fumbled away the opening kickoff of the second half, Jackson hooked up with Chris Moore on a 7-yard TD pass to make it 17-10.