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Three Questions About the Ravens as Training Camp Gets Closer

Following a season in which the Ravens went 10-6 and won the AFC North before losing in the first round of the playoffs to the Chargers, there’s a level of excitement about the team as 2019 approaches.

Now that the calendar has turned to July, the start of training camp is closing in and things are ramping up for the franchise to get ready for 2019.

Today we take a quick look at three questions about this team as they get set to embark on what they hope will be a season playing into early February.

1. Can Jackson Take the Next Step?

There’s been tons of questions about if Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson can become a solid NFL starting quarterback in his second season.

There’s plenty that think learning the offense is going to be a major issue, maybe the biggest of camp, and others that feel he will get to anxious in the pocket and run the ball too much.

Jackson has got to have a strong camp both in the classroom and on the field, and he’s got to mesh with OC Marty Mornhinweg to be a force for this team.

If not, it could be a long season for the Ravens.

2. How Much Will the Free Agent Defections Hurt?

The Ravens lost a lot this offseason, as they not only traded QB Joe Flacco, but also the defense lost two of its leaders in the departures of Terrell Suggs (Arizona Cardinals), C.J. Mosley (New York Jets) and Za’Darius Smith (Green Bay Packers).

Who will be the vocal leader of this team is a huge question mark, and how the defense overcomes the losses of both Suggs and Mosley remains to be seen.

Signing CB Justin Bethel will help the defensive backfield, but the biggest signing was that of safety Earl Thomas, who could be the new voice of this team.

3. Can the Run Game Repeat 2018?

The club inked Mark Ingram to add to a backfield that averaged 4.5 yards per carry a season ago, and that also includes Jackson running from the quarterback spot.

Ingram, Gus Edwards, Alex Collins and Jackson can all break the big play at a moments notice, and last season it was the run game that saved this team when they needed it.

In their last seven regular season games the Ravens ran for over 200 yards five times, including a 296-yard effort against Cleveland in the regular season finale.

When the run game is at its best, this team will be tough to beat.

Ravens TE Hayden Hurst Healthy and Ready for Camp

Ravens tight end Hayden Hurst says he is “good to go” for training camp according to Tim Barbalace of 105.7 The Fan.

The No.25-overall pick in the 2018 draft out of South Carolina, Hurst’s rookie season was derailed by a broken foot and he missed time during OTAs this spring with a hamstring issue. The foot is a bigger long-term concern, but Hurst says he is back to normal. “Kind of felt it all of last year, was never really at 100 percent,” Hurst said during an interview on the Vinnie & Haynie Show. “I’m good to go now, all healthy, don’t feel it, and feel 100 percent.”

Third-round rookie tight end Mark Andrews established himself as the Ravens’ No.1 tight end while Hurst struggled with injuries last season, putting up a 34/552/3 line in 16 games in 2018, and has reportedly continued to shine throughout the offseason program. There is room for more than on dominant tight end in the Baltimore offense but Hurst will need a healthy and productive training camp to earn more than a secondary role.

Ravens Lose Out on Bid to Land Free Agent DT Gerald McCoy

The Ravens pursuit of free agent defensive tackle Gerald McCoy has fallen short, as Adam Schefter of ESPN reports that the former Buccaneers tackle is signing with the Carolina Panthers.

The move will keep him in the NFC South, where he can fast his former team twice a season.

The report says that McCoy will be signing a one-year deal worth up to $10.25 million that includes a $4 million signing bonus.

Baltimore spent two days with McCoy, and a report from ESPN’s Josina Anderson said that the meetings were ‘going well’ and also were ‘A+++’ but that wasn’t enough to sway him to wear purple in 2019.

The Ravens also were hopeful that McCoy’s strong relationship with Ravens defensive line coach Joe Cullen was enough to get him to Baltimore.

The six-time Pro Bowl DT was set to make $13 million this season if the Bucs would not have released him.

In his career he has put up 54.5 sacks, 296 tackles, 79 for a loss and 140 quarterback hits.

His sack totals rank fourth in the NFL among defensive tackles since 2010.

Ravens Come to Terms with Third-Round Draft Pick Jaylon Ferguson

The Ravens announced they have signed Jaylon Ferguson, the first of their two third-round picks, to a four-year contract.

That means Baltimore only has its two wide receiver draft picks, first rounder Marquise Brown and third rounder Miles Boykin, left to be signed.

Ferguson was the all-time sack leader in FBS history at Louisiana Tech with 45 career sacks, including 17 ½ sacks last season.

The previous record was 44 sacks set by former Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs, the franchise’s all-time sack leader who signed with the Arizona Cardinals during free agency this offseason.

The Ravens Will Have to Wait the Weekend to See if Gerald McCoy Will Come to Baltimore

The Ravens and their fans will have to wait the weekend to see if free agent defensive tackle Gerald McCoy is going to be wearing purple or another uniform in 2019 and beyond. reports that McCoy, after visits with Baltimore, Cleveland and with the Carolina Panthers, will use the weekend to make a decision on what team to sign with.

Ian Rapoport of The NFL Network stated as well that McCoy could choose his team in time to be there for upcoming minicamps.

Of note, the Browns kick off their three-day minicamp on the weekend of June 4-6, while the Ravens and Panthers will hold their respective minicamps on June 11-13.

McCoy immediately found himself a wanted man in the wake of his release from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The six-time Pro Bowler first visited with the Browns, followed by the Ravens and Panthers.

If McCoy desires to play for a contender, he can’t go wrong with any of the teams.

The Ravens come off a 2018 season where they won the AFC North to make the postseason, while the Panthers have a talented foundation to turn around a disappointing 2018 campaign.

The Browns, though, are one of the more exciting teams in the league heading to the 2019 season with the offseason additions of wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr., defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson and defensive end Olivier Vernon. The trio joined a foundation anchored by second-year quarterback Baker Mayfield, wide receiver Jarvis Landry and defensive end Myles Garrett, among others.

Of the three teams vying for McCoy’s services, the Browns as of Friday afternoon have the most salary cap space with $32.6. The Ravens have $13.4 million and the Panthers sit on $8.5 million.

McCoy visited with the Browns first on his free agent tour, and then spent two days with the Ravens before moving on and chatting with the Panthers, who he knows very well from his time playing in Tampa with the Buccaneers.

Meeting Between Ravens and Free Agent DT Gerald McCoy ‘Going Well’

Today the Ravens are meeting with former Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive tackle Gerald McCoy, and his presence on the teams’ defense could be a big boost for the upcoming season.

The Ravens are competing with the Browns for McCoy’s services, but should have enough to ink him with $13.8 million in salary-cap space.

One thing that the Ravens have going for them is that McCoy has a strong relationship with Ravens defensive line coach Joe Cullen.

It sounds like they might just land the big man, as ESPN’s Josina Anderson said in a tweet Tuesday afternoon that the meeting went well and that he might just stick around.

Ravens to Host Free Agent DT Gerald McCoy Tuesday

Baltimore is the next stop on the Gerald McCoy free agent tour as the veteran defensive tackle is scheduled to meet with the Ravens on Tuesday according to Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times.

There are rumors that Baltimore is the 31-year-old’s preferred destination after being released by the Buccaneers in a salary-cap move. McCoy visited the Browns on Friday but left town without a contract.

Cleveland is still thought to be in the running for Brown, but McCoy will hear the Ravens’ pitch before making his decision. McCoy reportedly prioritizes playing for a contender over making the most money.

In addition to Baltimore and Cleveland, the six-time Pro Bowler has also been linked to Atlanta, Cincinnati, Indianapolis, New England and New Orleans.

QB Lamar Jackson Having Some Issues in the First Ravens OTA of 2019

Second-year Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson admits he is still having problems throwing the ball consistently according to Jamison Hensley of

Hensley noted “several” of Jackson’s passes “wobbled through the air” at the first week of OTAs. And Jackson agreed that things just aren’t right yet from an accuracy standpoint.

“It’s been crazy. It’s been everywhere,” Jackson said of his throws. “I feel like my hand is a little too high on the football and that makes the ball go out of whack a lot.”

The Ravens are changing up their whole offense under new offensive coordinator Greg Roman, and at the same time, Jackson is obviously trying to fix his mechanics to become a better passer in a passing league. It’s going to be a work in progress and something that may truly never get totally fixed.

Jackson’s legs and leadership skills partly compensate for the iffy passing but, if Baltimore wants to return to the playoffs, Jackson has to improve upon his 58.2 percent completion rate and his 159.1 yards passing per game as a starter.