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The Ravens' past and present an influence on Mark Ingram and Earl Thomas's decision to sign

The Ravens' past and present an influence on Mark Ingram and Earl Thomas's decision to sign

The additions of safety Earl Thomas and running back Mark Ingram kicked off a new era of football in Baltimore, but for both, it was those already attached to the organization that attracted them to the Ravens.

"Well you look at Ed Reed, guys like Ray Lewis. I feel like that's my style of play," Thomas said on what enticed him to sign with the Ravens. "I have that type of swagger. It's a historic franchise so I definitely have an opportunity to bring my blueprint to the table." 

Thomas will have four years to make his mark on the league's No. 1 defense in 2018 and will continue to wear No. 29 thanks to cornerback Marlon Humphrey agreeing to swap with the vet.

Coming from a Seahawks defense that earned the nickname of "The Legion of Boom," the six-time Pro Bowler's game is already influenced by those who have made this defense historic. 

"I've kind of established a great relationship with Ed," Thomas said. "....but you just watch him on film, you watch how he move. Him and Troy Polamalu are probably two [people] I can emulate and close to how I play the game. So, it's just good to see how they looked at the game and try to, not be them, but just watch, and see."

Running back Mark Ingram's desire to wear purple and black had more to do about the Ravens' future than past.

"1,000 percent," Ingram said on if QB Lamar Jackson's style of play had an effect on his decision. "That was a very interesting and something that very [much] caught my attention. Just having an opportunity to be in an offense that runs the ball and Lamar, his run-pass option abilities. Just to be able to bring my game to this offense and be able to help this team, I'm excited about it and it was something that was really intriguing to me." 

Two of the best in the league at their position, Thomas is the only safety in the last decade to record 100 or more tackles, five or more interceptions and two or more forced fumbles in a single season. 

"One thing I know coming here, I know I was gonna be on a great defense," Thomas added. "Defense are gonna win you championships. That was all I needed to know."

For Ingram, who is the Saints' all-time leader in rushing touchdowns and is tied for second in Saints history in total touchdowns while ranking fifth in total yards from scrimmage (7,605), the 29-year-old feels his best years of football are still ahead of him. 

"I feel like I've got many more years of playing this game at the highest level and being one of the best in the game," Ingram added. "I had the opportunity to come here and do that with a great franchise, a great organization, some great teammates so that's what I'm looking forward to."

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Baltimore Ravens Roundup: Way too early season win totals predictions after 2019 schedule release

Baltimore Ravens Roundup: Way too early season win totals predictions after 2019 schedule release

The NFL released the Baltimore Ravens' full 2019 schedule Wednesday and we're officially one week away from the 2019 NFL Draft.

Here's the latest Baltimore Ravens news.

Player/Team Notes: 

1. The Ravens' 2019 schedule perfectly alternates between home and away games each week, which has only happened three other times since the 16-game schedule was implemented in 1978, according to ESPN Stats and Info. Among other notable tidbits, the Ravens will play four 2018 playoff teams over a five game span starting in Week 7. Their three home games in the month of December could prove crucial with them wrapping up the season at home for the third-consecutive year vs. the Steelers. The Ravens have three scheduled primetime games, none of which are against the Steelers marking the first time since 2006 fans won't be able to watch the rivals on a national stage. 

2. There's nothing quite like way too early season win totals predilections after the release of the full season schedule. Bleacher Report's Gary Davenport took his shot at it and have the Ravens finishing the 2019 season at 9-7.

"In addition to a pair of games against the rival Steelers and upstart Browns, the Ravens will play five teams that made the playoffs in 2018, including the reigning NFC champion Los Angeles Rams on the road," Davenport said. "The Ravens will play host to the New England Patriots (Week 9) and Houston Texans (Week 11) and travel to face the Kansas City Chiefs (Week 3), Seattle Seahawks (Week 7) and Rams (Week 12). It's a fairly daunting slate."

Davenport has the Browns finishing 2019 atop the AFC at 10-6, the Bengals at 6-10 and the Steelers at 8-8. For perspective, the Ravens finished their 2018 season at 10-6. 

Looking Ahead:

April 19: Deadline for restricted free agents to sign offer sheets

April 25-27: 2019 NFL Draft in Nashville, Tn.

May 3-6 or May 10-13: Potential three-day rookie mini camp

The 2019 NFL schedule is set!  See the Baltimore Ravens defend the AFC North at M&T Bank Stadium this season. Get your tickets now at www.BaltimoreRavens.com/tickets.

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There are plenty of interesting reunions in store for the Ravens this season

There are plenty of interesting reunions in store for the Ravens this season

With short contracts and shorter shelf lives, NFL players find themselves jumping between franchise quite often over the course of an average career. As a result, almost every matchup between teams any given Sunday could be construed as a reunion between player and organization.

The Ravens are no exception. If anything, 2019 sets up to have more compelling meetings than usual. Let’s highlight some of the most intriguing.

Week 2 vs. Arizona Cardinals, LB Terrell Suggs

It won’t take long for the Ravens to see a familiar (if no longer friendly) face on the opposing sideline.

“Sizzle” is one of the most beloved Ravens in franchise history, and is on the short list of most impactful players in Baltimore football history. He spent his entire career in Baltimore after being drafted in 2003, but now will finish back home in Arizona. 

Fans will have just one week to get used to seeing Suggs in red before having to face him on the field.

Week 7 at Seattle Seahawks, FS Earl Thomas

This one is the reverse of the rest of the list, but still should be mentioned. Thomas is an iconic athlete in Seattle sports history, and led them to a Super Bowl victory as the main figure among the Legion of Boom.

His return to Seattle will be the biggest talking point in the NFL that week, and it’s not something the Ravens will be able to ignore. You can be sure they’ll want to win one for their new defensive leader.

Week 12 at Los Angeles Rams, FS Eric Weddle

Speaking of free safeties, the man Thomas replaces in Baltimore found himself a new home out west. Weddle returns to the West Coast after spending three seasons in Baltimore, where he carved out a role as a prominent leader in the secondary and one of the most respected veteran voices in the locker room.

Weddle is credited with much of the Ravens’ defensive success in recent year, and while they did a nice job replacing him with Thomas, it will still be strange seeing him wear something other than purple.

Week 14 at Buffalo Bills, WR John Brown

Brown only played one season in Baltimore, but he fit in well with the team and was a nice deep threat on the field. He looked to be having a career year receiving passes from Joe Flacco, but once the offense switched to a run-heavy approach behind Lamar Jackson, Brown saw his usage drop off a cliff.

Week 15 vs. New York Jets, LB C.J. Mosley 

Mosley, was the best homegrown linebacker in Baltimore since Ray Lewis hung up his cleats. He wasn’t as fiery as #52 was, but his smarts and leadership were above question during his time with the Ravens. Alongside Weddle, Mosley was the on-field key to the team’s historic defense in 2018, and his loss will be felt in a major way.

It’s hard to blame the Ravens for passing on the contract he ultimately received from the Jets, but it will still be bittersweet to see him wearing green and not purple, especially if the Ravens fail to address inside linebacker in the draft.

The 2019 NFL schedule is set! See the Baltimore Ravens defend the AFC North at M&T Bank Stadium this season. Get your tickets now at www.BaltimoreRavens.com/tickets.

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