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Joe Flacco receives high praise from teammates after first training camp practice

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USA TODAY Sports

Joe Flacco receives high praise from teammates after first training camp practice

Ravens football is back and so is Joe Cool.

The team’s first training camp practice took place Thursday afternoon, and Joe Flacco’s teammates – from offensive to defensive players – mentioned how laser focused the 10-year veteran is.

"Joe always has a lot of personality,” running back Alex Collins said via SB Nation’s Baltimore Beatdown.

“He is a good guy. He’s a real funny guy, but definitely coming into this year, he has a lot of fire behind him. And it does a lot motivating us especially early when we first reported back. Just seeing him work hard and just seeing him get better every day. He’s definitely got a lot of fire behind him this year.”

Flacco is entering the final year of his contract with a lot on the line following a disappointing start to the 2017 season. But a huge factor that is different for the 33-year old coming into this preseason opposed to last is his health.

“Most definitely,” Collins said on whether he can tell if Flacco is healthier this year. “He’s a lot faster as well, by the way, guys.”

And when it comes to the “Is Joe Flacco elite” debate, linebacker C.J. Mosley knows the consensus within the Under Armour Performance Center.

“I think every year [Joe Flacco] comes in with his mindset that he wants to be great,” Mosley said.

“Mainly because everybody outside of this building does not think he is elite and inside the building, everybody does think that way. Since Joe has been here, you know he is one of those players that never gets rattled. You never see his emotions too high, too low. He’s been our quarterback that kinda stays in the middle to make sure everything goes smooth. That’s kinda how he has been this offseason too. He’s come in looking strong, body looking good.”

Flacco’s health is up to speed as well as his mentality. Flacco organized private workouts with his wide receivers and tight ends at a local park across from the Ravens’ facility last week. This is the first time he has done so since 2011. When asked if he initiated the session, Michael Crabtree gave all the credit to his new quarterback.

“No, that’s all Flac [Flacco], man,” Crabtree said. “That’s the leader. We’re just the wideouts. [We] do whatever he says. If we’ve got something we bring to the table, then we make it work.”

 

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'Playoff play!' Michael Vick on what Lamar Jackson needs to improve this season

'Playoff play!' Michael Vick on what Lamar Jackson needs to improve this season

Entering into his third season in the NFL, Ravens QB Lamar Jackson has drawn an abundance of comparisons to NFL legend Michael Vick. 

The speed, accuracy and big-play ability are just a few of the similar traits between the two transcendent players.

Recently, Vick joined the Last Stand Podcast with Brian Custer, where he discussed the highs and lows of his NFL career but also gave his insight on the future of the league: Lamar Jackson.

"What's one thing the league MVP needs to improve on this season?" Custer asked.

"Playoff play!" Vick said. "Last year was a bit disappointing in the playoffs because I knew the Baltimore Ravens would be in the AFC Championship game and that game just didn’t look good."

"Lamar is very accurate, his mental retention is through the roof," Vick said. "He’s a guy you can win with."

RELATED: LAMAR JACKSON PREFERS SUPER BOWL APPEARANCE OVER MVP CEREMONY

In the AFC Divisional playoffs, Jackson went 31 of 59 for 365 yards, had 20 carries for 143 yards, and he added a 15-yard TD pass to Hayden Hurst. But obviously the Ravens lost.

Jackson joined Peter King on a recent episode of The Peter King Podcast in which he talked about getting the Ravens over the playoff hump.

"I just want win Super Bowls," Jackson said. "...Playoffs is different from the regular season ... because it’s win or go home. And I’m tired of going home."

"I just can’t wait to get back in that same spot and perform at a whole ‘nother level," Jackson said.

Stay connected to the Ravens and Orioles with the MyTeams app. Click here to download for comprehensive coverage of your teams.

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Mark Ingram sees COVID-19 issues in MLB, preaches 'positive midset' for Ravens locker room

Mark Ingram sees COVID-19 issues in MLB, preaches 'positive midset' for Ravens locker room

Like most of us, Mark Ingram has taken notice of Major League Baseball's coronavirus problem. And much like the rest of his NFL peers, has to face the reality that the NFL's return-to-play plan is eerily similar to MLB's. 

So how can the NFL avoid outbreaks that may threaten the 2020 season? If you ask Ingram, it starts with positivity and simply following team protocols. 

"Yeah you see the [MLB] stuff, there’s cases, you try to stay positive," Ingram said. You try to stay with the protocols our team has set for us, and when you leave the facility, be safe as possible. Stay at home and take precautions that you’re not exposing yourself unnecessarily."

The Miami Marlins had 20 reported cases in their locker room following their first series of the 2020 season in Philadelphia. They're scheduled to play their first game on Tuesday against the Orioles, nine days after their last contest. In response, Commissioner Rob Manfred warned to shut down the season if teams didn't manage the coronavirus better moving forward. 

RELATED: INGRAM AND DOBBINS PREPARE FOR BACKFIELD COMPETITION

The NFL has an advantage in that games are only played once a week, but the challenges of preventing an outbreak will seemingly be greater given the nature of the game and its player-to-player physicality as well as the roster size for each team.

"You just try to have a positive mindset, and honestly we're aware of [MLB], we're cautious of it," Ingram said. "We're trying to do the best we can with the circumstances and stay hopeful."

NFL teams are already dealing with positive cases one week after the start of training camp. The Bills had to send their rookies home Thursday after five positive tests, while Eagles coach Doug Pederson tested positive Sunday. 

Based on what we've learned with MLB, players following health and safety protocols off the field will be critical for the NFL to successfully execute their 2020 campaign. They aren't in a bubble like the NBA and NHL, so the margin for error is smaller. Hopefully more players share Ingram's mindset on the situation. 

Stay connected to the Ravens and Orioles with the MyTeams app. Click here to download for comprehensive coverage of your teams.

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