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Peter King explains why Earl Thomas is the Ravens' greatest question mark

Peter King explains why Earl Thomas is the Ravens' greatest question mark

Ravens safety Earl Thomas hasn't played a full season since 2015, suffering a number of leg injuries over the last several seasons. 

It may be a big if, but if Thomas stays healthy, Peter King sees a big-time difference-maker in Baltimore's secondary. 

"The Earl Thomas question is the greatest question about the Ravens," King told NBC Sports Washington during his visit to Ravens training camp last Friday. "We really don't know if Earl Thomas can be a 16-game, dominant- on-the-backend player where everybody in the league fears him again."

Thomas was a six-time Pro Bowler during his eight-year stint with the Seahawks before signing a four-year, $55 million deal with the Ravens this past offseason. The move was certainly a risk for Baltimore, but King still sees plenty of upside in the 30-year-old.

"When he was in Seattle, his intelligence and his physicality were next to none in terms of combining that in the safety position, and right now, he needs to prove that he can be healthy now for a full season," said King. "If he's healthy and he plays let's say 15 games, then the Ravens have made a great pick."

"If he gets hurt again and he's in and out of the lineup and he isn't that impact player, it's a terrible contract. So the Ravens really need Earl Thomas to stay healthy. If he is healthy, there's no question in mind that he'll be a huge impact player."

And after the departures of Terrell Suggs and C.J. Mosley, King believes Thomas can fill the leadership vacuum on the Ravens defense. 

"Any time you lose Suggs, any time you lose Mosley, those are two great leaders," King told NBC Sports Washington. "It's very hard to replace either of them and now you've got to replace both."

"My feeling is that some other guys are going to emerge. Number one, I believe that once Earl Thomas has mastered this defense, that Earl Thomas is gonna be a great leader on his team, the same way he was for the 'Legion of Boom.'"

"The strength of this team right now is the secondary, and they've got some veteran players and veteran presences in that secondary who I think can be those type of leader-type players for this team."

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'No words will repair the damage that has been done': Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti donates $1 million to fund Baltimore-area social justice reform

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'No words will repair the damage that has been done': Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti donates $1 million to fund Baltimore-area social justice reform

Ravens’ owner Steve Bisciotti and the team announced a commitment of $1 million to Baltimore-area programs. 

Bisciotti, through The Stephen and Renee Bisciotti Foundation and the Ravens, combined to donate the money after a group of former and current Ravens decide which local organizations should receive the money.

“There is nothing I can say to ease the pain felt by African-American communities across our country,” Bisciotti said in a statement from the organization. “No words will repair the damage that has been done.”

The decision came on the heels of another murder of an African-American man, George Floyd, by police in Minnesota. 

“Like many people, I am sickened, disheartened and shaken by the acts of racism that continue to overwhelm our society,” Bisciotti continued. “The most recent killing, involving George Floyd, is yet another tragic example of the discrimination that African-Americans face each day.”

The team did not announce who is on the committee of players to determine where the funds should be allocated. 

“Now, more than ever, we must all strengthen our pursuit of positive change, as we stand with peaceful protestors around the country,” Bisciotti said. “We must all seek to understand by listening better and learning more. We must all discover new ways to unite. We must all work to break the cycle of systematic racial injustice.”

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Ravens will be right there with the Chiefs in 2020, according to Peter King

Ravens will be right there with the Chiefs in 2020, according to Peter King

Everybody wants to be number one, but sometimes being number two is still a compliment; especially for the Baltimore Ravens.

With the release of NBC Sports Peter King’s 2020 NFL Power Rankings, the Ravens find themselves sitting behind only one team in the league, the Kansas City Chiefs. It makes sense, right? The Chiefs are the defending NFL Super Bowl champs.

Like the Chiefs, the Ravens are one of the most exciting teams in the league to watch, and they won their division with their own MVP quarterback, Lamar Jackson. But unlike them, the Ravens finished the 2019 regular season at 14-2, good for two more wins than the Chiefs. So how do the Chiefs manage to sit atop King’s Power Rankings? It’s simple…the Super Bowl!

Had it not been for the streaking Tennessee Titans, led by the Bo Jackson reincarnate Derrick Henry, who laid the Ravens season to rest with a 28-12 drubbing in the AFC Divisional Playoffs, we might have caught lightning in a bottle for the conference championship game. Fate had something different in mind. 

The Titans would go on to face the Chiefs in the AFC Conference Championship with a Super Bowl victory for the Chiefs, soon thereafter. The Ravens season would come to an end. They now find themselves searching for a new approach in order to unseat the Chiefs for the Lombardi Trophy. 

According to King’s report, the Ravens must first hope that quarterback Lamar Jackson improves; if that’s even possible given his MVP performance from last season. In addition, replacing newly-retired guard Marshall Yanda with comparable talent must remain a high priority. Either of the Ravens fourth-round picks, guards Ben Powers or Ben Bredeson, should address that. However, in-home improvements might not be sufficient enough to maintain the gap between the Ravens and the rest of the AFC North division.

The return of a healthy Ben Roethlisberger to the Steelers and the addition of first-overall pick Joe Burrow to the Bengals should result in a more competitive division. In response, the Ravens have continued bolstering their defense with the addition of defensive end Calais Campbell who was acquired in an off-season trade with the Jacksonville Jaguars.

And yet the gifts keep coming. The Ravens' 2020 NFL schedule is favorable, particularly down the stretch with their final five games against teams that didn’t make the playoffs last season. Talk about finishing in stride!

All things considered, King predicts the Ravens finishing the 2020 regular season at 13-3, and that is good enough to land them at number two on his 2020 Power Rankings.

We are now only two months and a handful of days from the Baltimore Ravens pre-season home-opener on August 14th against the Buffalo Bills.

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