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Baltimore Ravens fined by NFL, lose 2 OTA days for rules violation

Baltimore Ravens fined by NFL, lose 2 OTA days for rules violation

OWINGS MILLS, Md. -- The Baltimore Ravens have been fined by the NFL and forced to forfeit two days of practice this week for violating offseason workout rules.

The NFL cited the team for pass coverage contact during earlier Offseason Team Activity sessions, according to coach John Harbaugh, who was also fined by the league.

For violating the rules of the collective bargaining agreement, the Ravens must cancel their scheduled OTA workouts on Thursday and Friday.

Harbaugh insisted the Ravens have "heavily emphasized these CBA pass coverage rules in meetings, and coached them diligently."

He insisted Wednesday that coaches have "done everything within our power and ability to practice within the rules and pulled players from practice who failed to adhere to the rules."

Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome says breaking old practice habits by players competing for jobs, especially rookies, "takes more repetitions."

Newsome says the Ravens will "continue to be vigilant about this."

Owner Steve Bisciotti is being fined $100,000 and head coach John Harbaugh $50,000, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport.

This is the second time in three years the organization is facing discipline for violating offseason workout rules. In 2016, Harbaugh and the Ravens were fined $137,223 and $343,057, respectively, for a similar situation. In 2010, they had to cancel a week of workouts for violating rules under the previous collective bargaining agreement. 

NBC Sports Washington's Lisa Redmond contributed to this article. 

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As Ravens get closer to playoffs, confidence among one another is apparent

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As Ravens get closer to playoffs, confidence among one another is apparent

Most NFL teams would fear putting their season in the hands of two rookies, but quarterback Lamar Jackson and undrafted free agent Gus Edwards have taken the Baltimore Ravens' confidence to a new level.

You can feel the effects on both sides of the ball as the offense and defense have been working cohesively since their Week 10 bye. Jackson and the offense have dominated time of possession over those four weeks, which in hand allows the defense to have fresh legs each time they take the field as they remain the No.1 total defense in the league.

With two games to go and the postseason in sight, the respect among teammates is apparent.

"We appreciate it so much, the way our offense is playing," linebacker C.J. Mosley said following the team's 20-12 win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. "It's keeping their offense off the field. It allows us to take care of our business, get us rest when we need it, and that is huge."

Heading into the fourth quarter of Sunday's win, Jackson had already hit 100 yards rushing on 13 carries and kept his offense on the field for 37:10 compared to the Buccaneers' 22:50. Plus with the help of Edwards' 104 rushing yards on 19 attempts, the Ravens have rushed for at least 190 yards in five-consecutive games. The last team to do this was the 1976 Pittsburgh Steelers.

Then there is the defense. In eight of their 14 games in 2018, the Ravens have held their opponent to under 300 yards, and on Sunday held the Bucs to a season low 241 total yards and 156 net passing yards. Cornerback Marlon Humphrey had his first interception of the year and a career-high four passes defensed while dealing with a groin injury in a standout performance.

"We're playing great team football right now to a T," safety Eric Weddle added. "We're playing well off each other— running the ball, controlling the clock, third-down conversions. We just know, as a defense, we just need to continue playing at a high level to give our offense more opportunities. Who knows what's going to happen."

Total team effort has put the Ravens in control of the sixth and final AFC playoff spot and half a game back of the Steelers for the AFC North. As they head to Los Angeles to take on the Chargers in Week 16 and then back to Baltimore to face the dynamic Baker Mayfield and the Cleveland Browns, it appears the offense and defense have together found what works for them in a style of play that pundits deemed unattainable just weeks ago. 

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Lamar Jackson validates John Harbaugh's decision to pick him as starting QB

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Lamar Jackson validates John Harbaugh's decision to pick him as starting QB

Joe Flacco was ready if needed. 

When Ravens head coach John Harbaugh made the decision to stick with rookie Lamar Jackson as the team’s starter against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, it all but signaled the end of the Flacco era in Baltimore. 

But a game still needed to be played. And the questioned remained that in a must-win game for Baltimore to maintain its playoff position, would Harbaugh be tempted to call on his veteran if Jackson were to struggle. 

Despite a slow start on a rainy afternoon at M&T Bank Stadium, Jackson delivered yet again, improving his record to 4-1 as a starter as the Ravens defeated the Bucs 20-12.

In many ways, the win validated Harbaugh’s decision to stick with the rookie. With Indianapolis and Tennessee both winning on Sunday, there was little room for error for the Ravens in their close fight for a playoff spot.

Jackson once again was electrifying on the ground, rushing for 95 yards on 18 carries, while throwing for 131 yards and one touchdown.

A loss, however, would’ve opened the door for second-guessing as to whether Flacco, with years of playoff experience, should’ve gotten the call. 

The win not only got the Ravens one step closer to clinching a playoff berth, but solidified Jackson’s place as the team’s unquestioned starter. Flacco will be ready if needed against what should be a tougher battle against the Chargers next week, but it’s clear who the Ravens are sticking with down the stretch. 

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