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Three observations from 13th day of Ravens training camp

Three observations from 13th day of Ravens training camp

OWINGS MILLS – Three observations from the 13th practice of Ravens training camp Monday:

1. Having linebacker Terrell Suggs back in uniform was a morale boost for the team, on another hot day.

Suggs was clearly happy to be back on the field, talking with teammates on the sideline and doing individual drills. Joining practice after an 11-month absence was another hurdle cleared for Suggs. At no point did Suggs appear to be favoring his Achilles. While he wasn’t as animated or as loud as usual, that feistiness will surely return as Suggs sees more action.

2. Cornerback Jimmy Smith had perhaps his best day of camp.

Smith had a beautiful breakup of a long pass intended for Kamar Aiken, accelerating after running 40 yards downfield, and leaping to make the deflection. Before his foot injury in 2014, Smith was ascending toward being one of the NFL’s top corners. The Ravens are hoping to get that player back.

3. Safety Matt Elam also sparkled.

With an interception of Joe Flacco and at least two pass deflections, Elam stood out. He is battling Terrence Brooks for a roster spot, and during this practice, the winner was Elam.

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Ravens look for more AFC North separation, 5-2 record headed into bye week

Ravens look for more AFC North separation, 5-2 record headed into bye week

The Ravens have their toughest individual test of the season on Sunday.

Against MVP favorite Russell Wilson, the Ravens will need their best performance of the year. And if they’re able to get that, they’d be three games over .500 headed into their bye week with the Patriots looming. 

The rest of the division aside, the opportunity is there for the Ravens to pull ahead in the NFC North and the potential playoff race.

“It won’t make or break us, but it will go a long way in setting us up for where we’re headed down the road and what kind of season we’re going to have,” head coach John Harbaugh said. 

The Ravens currently have a two-game lead in the division with the Browns and Steelers on a bye week. With a win, their lead would move to two and a half games ahead of their bye next week. 

After that, the Patriots come to Baltimore for Sunday Night Football.

First, however, the Ravens are focused on the Seahawks, no matter how boring that may sound.

“I’m going to give you the cliché, but it’s the truth,” Harbaugh said bluntly. “We just have to focus on Seattle. So, how the schedule fell or how we fit...It’s better to be 4-2 than 3-3 or 2-4, but not as good as 6-0 or 5-1. That’s my thought on it. And 5-2 would be a lot better than 4-3.”

In order to get to 5-2, the Ravens will need to go through Wilson and his excellent season thus far. He hasn’t thrown an interception, has 17 total touchdowns and is on pace for nearly 5,000 yards from scrimmage. 

“He’s playing at an MVP level, and I agree with that,” defensive coordinator Don Martindale said. “It’s sort of like playing against Steph Curry in basketball, if you will. You can pick him up from half court, and he’s going to try to drive by you when you’re saying ‘keep him in the pocket,’ or you can slack off, and he’s going to pull up and hit a three.”

Baltimore will get new addition Marcus Peters into the fold to help with a growingly injured secondary. He’s already played Seattle this season, so the Ravens are hoping he’ll be able to draw on that knowledge to face Wilson and the rest of the Seahawks offense.

But perhaps the biggest story of the secondary is the return of Earl Thomas to the Seattle. 

The last time he was in a Seahawks uniform, he was carted off with a broken leg and flipped off his own sideline. He’ll return to his former team of nine years on Sunday.

“Hopefully they (the fans) respect what I've done, and I'll get a couple cheers, not too many boos,” Thomas said. “And whatever happens, happens, but hopefully it's love."

Aside from all of that, the Ravens say they’re not focused on 5-2 or what could come with a win over one of the NFL’s best teams and quarterbacks.

“We need to be 1-0 this week,” Harbaugh said. “We need to play our best football of the year in Seattle to win the game, and that’s what we’re planning on doing. And that’s what we’re going to work for.”

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The Ravens rarely make in-season trades — Marcus Peters was an exception

The Ravens rarely make in-season trades — Marcus Peters was an exception

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — The Ravens rarely make in-season trades to bring in another player that will contribute right away. 

Marcus Peters was an exception to the rule.

On Tuesday, the Ravens brought in Peters in exchange for Kenny Young and a 2020 5th round pick. It was just the seventh time in the last nine years that they’ve acquired a player from September through the end of the season.

“We always appreciate the way he plays,” coach John Harbaugh said of Peters on Wednesday. “He’s a good fit for our defense, the way we play, the type of techniques we play back there, and we’re just looking forward to getting him to work and getting him up to speed as quickly as possible and rolling.”

But in terms of Peters’ acquisition, the trade is an outlier to the Ravens trade history

Since 2011, the Ravens haven’t spent significant draft capital on an in-season acquisition. There was: Peters, RB Ty Montgomery, OL Tony Bergstrom, OL Luke Bowanko, WR Chris Givens, CB Will Davis and OL Eugene Monroe.

All trades, except for Peters and Monroe, were for 7th round picks. Monroe was traded from Jacksonville to Baltimore for 2014 4th and 5th round picks. 

In short, the Ravens rarely make moves of significant substance once the season begins. Even Bowanko was brought in before the rosters needed to be trimmed down to 53 in 2017. 

But it’s not just acquiring players, it’s giving them away. Since 2011, the Ravens have traded away just one player (guard Nick Easton) after Sept. 1. They received a 2016 conditional 7th round pick for him. 

While the Ravens have made moves in recent months like trading away Joe Flacco, Alex Lewis, Kaare Vedvik and Jermaine Eluemunor, the Peters trade breaks precedent in terms of in-season trades. 

The 5th round pick was the highest draft pick the Ravens have traded away for a player since 2017, when the Ravens traded away the 99th pick in the NFL Draft, as well as Timmy Jernigan, for the 74th overall pick — which became Chris Wormley.

There might’ve been rumors about a potential Jalen Ramsey trade, but when it comes to giving up significant assets to acquire a player during the season, that’s just not what the Ravens are in the business of doing.

That’s why the Peters move made sense — the Ravens gave away a player that fell out of their plans for relatively low draft pick. 

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