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News and analysis on the Ravens, Orioles, Terps and more
Ravens 10-pack on the pass rush, stout defense and offensive depth chart

Welcome to the Monday Ravens 10-Pack, where reporter Jon Meoli hits on 10 stats, notes, and thoughts following a 29-7 Ravens win over the Atlanta Falcons. Read ahead for notes on the Ravens’ exploding pass rush, stout scoring defense, and offensive depth chart.

1. On Saturday, I wrote about how the Ravens’ pass rush didn’t want much credit for what it was doing—instead, they attributed the five-sack performance to the improved pass defense and the scheme. Not buying it anymore. No team has three pass rushers like Terrell Suggs (one sack for a safety), Pernell McPhee (two sacks) and Elvis Dumervil (two sacks, tied for second in the league with seven). Suggs and Dumervil spread the offensive line out by rushing on the outside, McPhee picks a victim on the inside, and the rest of the linebackers and defensive lineman help collapse the pocket. The Bengals got the ball out quickly in Week 1 and neutralized that pass rush, and as McPhee might say, “they’d be some fools” if they don’t again...

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Steve Smith retired from Twitter to set better example for his children

Ravens wide receiver Steve Smith quit Twitter last week, and he explained why with the honesty that probably made such a departure from the social media necessary.

“I’ll kill you on Twitter, so I had to stop,” Smith said. “Somebody would say something inappropriate to me, and I wasn’t being a very good example for my kids.

“People are going to say what they want on Twitter. Internet courage is great. Internet courage is like a Cover-2 corner. You’ve got a safety over the top, you feel better about yourself. You got that one-on-one coverage, you back off a little bit. That’s how I look at Twitter.”

Especially surrounding the Ravens’ Week 4 win over the Carolina Panthers, Smith’s former team, the 35-year-old wide receiver was active on Twitter with photos of lions accompanied by inspirational quotes.

But a week after that game, and after a 20-13 loss to the Indianapolis Colts, he stepped away from the social network and told people to instead follow his foundation, the Steve Smith...

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Kansas City Royals see fruits of farm in ALCS that Orioles couldn't match

Just hours after the Kansas City Royals clinched a World Series berth with a sweep over the Orioles, tomes began to emerge about how it’s all been part of the Royals' plan. That’s a little tidy for my taste — both of these teams had to adjust on the fly to get to the ALCS, but I won’t just say Kansas City got lucky and move on.

Most of the time, baseball comes down to talent, and where the Royals’ talent came from made the difference.

Both teams spent much of the first decade of this century picking high in the draft, with the opportunity to hoard young talent to use it to build a winner. The Orioles, to their credit, have built a winner without the benefit of a lot of that talent panning out. The Royals are simply seeing the fruits of drafting and developing better players.

First baseman Eric Hosmer, an incandescent minor league talent in 2010 who was called up to Kansas City the following year, was the third overall pick in 2008. One pick later, the Orioles selected left-hander Brian...

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Ravens wide receiver Torrey Smith buys Devon Still jerseys to honor Still's daughter, Leah

Ravens wide receiver Torrey Smith purchased several Devon Still Cincinnati Bengals jerseys, which the team is selling to raise money for a local hospital in honor of Still’s 4-year-old daughter, Leah, who is being treated for cancer.

“He’s one of our brothers in this league, and any time I have the opportunity to support him, as well as any of the other kids in the country who are fighting childhood cancer, it’s something that if I can help, I will,” Smith said Wednesday.

Smith said he worked out with Still, with whom he shares an agent, during the offseason. Because of the jersey sales’ success, the Bengals have pledged to donate over $1 million to the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital.

“Even if I didn’t know him, it’s something I would have done,” Smith said. “It’s a great cause. It’s something that, obviously, I can’t personally relate to because it’s his daughter fighting for her life and she’s a very strong young lady. I have a young son, and I can only imagine what it’s like.”


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Five stats that stand out ahead of Sunday's Ravens-Falcons game

Every Wednesday, I’ll serve up five stats you should know heading into that week’s Ravens game. This week’s stats, pertaining to Sunday's game against the Atlanta Falcons, are heavy on why Joe Flacco and the Ravens pass rush might continue to be good Sunday, and why Atlanta could continue to look bad.

141.7 — That’s quarterback Joe Flacco’s passer rating in two games so far against the NFC South, including a home drubbing of the Carolina Panthers and a road romp of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. This division is typically very competitive, and looks to be again this year, so it’s no surprise that Atlanta is in the bottom third of the league with a 98.2 passer rating against. Flacco might be able to feast on the Falcons just as he did their divisional foes earlier this year.

.091 – The Falcons have posted a single road victory since the start of the 2013 season, good for a .091 road win percentage in that stretch, including five straight losses outside the Georgia Dome and three this season....

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Ravens 10-pack on rookie breakouts, Joe Flacco, Jimmy Smith

Welcome to the Ravens 10-Pack, where I’ll go medium depth on 10 Ravens topics that came from the previous week’s game. This was initially a Tuesday thing, but now it's a Monday thing, so read ahead for notes on John Urschel and the ubiquitous Ravens rookies, Joe Flacco, and of course, Jimmy Smith. 

1. Perhaps I overestimated the NFC South, or underestimated the AFC North, but the games between these two divisions so far have barely been close — except for yesterdays’ Carolina Panthers-Cincinnati Bengals draw, of course. The AFC North is 5-1-1 against the NFC South through six weeks, including 2-0 for the Ravens with wins over Carolina and Tampa Bay. The only NFC South team to earn a win in those games is the Buccaneers, who won in Pittsburgh against an aggressively mediocre Steelers team.

2. In private moments, I often looked around the league and wondered if maybe the Ravens were holding out for too much in the trade market with regards to guard/center Gino Gradkowski and inside...

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