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Ravens News 10/24: Flacco’s leadership, early Draft board and more

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NFL: New Orleans Saints at Baltimore Ravens Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

2019 NFL Draft Board – Top 32 prospects after Week 8 - Steve Palazzolo

6. DEIONTE THOMPSON, ALABAMA – SAFETY

Week 3 Draft Board rank: 7th (+1)

Thompson not only ranks first among all safeties in overall grade (92.0), he also leads all that nation’s safeties with his 91.3 grade in coverage.

18. MARQUISE BROWN, OKLAHOMA – WIDE RECEIVER

Week 3 Draft Board rank: 10th (-8)

Brown averages 9.8 yards after the catch per reception, good enough for seventh among receivers with at least 25 targeted passes.

30. TYLER BIADASZ, WISCONSIN – CENTER

Week 3 Draft Board rank: 29th (-1)

Biadasz has allowed just four pressures on 166 pass-blocking snaps while his 80.8 run-blocking grade is good enough for second in the nation.

A sampling of the collegiate prospects Eric DeCosta could consider when he goes on the clock as Ravens general manager in the 2019 NFL Draft.

John Harbaugh: Challenge rule ‘should be changed’ - Austin Knoblauch

The Baltimore Ravens head coach advocated Monday for changes to the rule, saying coaches shouldn’t have to win both challenges in order to get a challenge back. Harbaugh made two early-game challenges against the New Orleans Saints on Sunday and lost one of them, preventing him from challenging another call for the rest of the game.

“We’ve talked about that rule. The rule should be changed,” Harbaugh said, per the Ravens’ official website. “You shouldn’t have to win both challenges to get another challenge back. That’s been talked about, and that’s been just dismissed by the powers that be. Who knows why? Maybe they could explain it to you in some way that makes sense. But the other thing is, we never challenge unless we think we’re going to win it clearly.”

Harbaugh was irked by the rule since it prevented him from having another challenge at his disposal for the final 53 minutes of the game. The veteran coach said he “absolutely” wanted to challenge a 1-yard run by Drew Brees on a fourth-and-1 that extended a go-ahead touchdown drive for the Saints in the fourth quarter of their 24-23 victory.

Harbaugh makes a fair argument. Teams should not lose their ability to challenge because the officials make multiple mistakes.

Ravens have gone 674 days since winning their last close game - Jamison Hensley

The Ravens have been the NFL’s worst team in close games -- and, for a lack of a better term, it’s not even close. Over the past two seasons, Baltimore has gone 0-6 in games decided by six points or less. Every other team has won at least two such games in that span.

The last time the Ravens celebrated a win by less than a touchdown margin was Dec. 18, 2016, when they held off the Philadelphia Eagles by stopping a two-point conversion at the end. That was 674 days ago.

Asked whether it takes execution or luck to win close games, coach John Harbaugh said Monday, “Both of those things. You have to make a closing play somewhere along the way.”

Under Harbaugh, the Ravens are 32-42 (.432) in games decided by less than a touchdown. Only the Cleveland Browns have lost more close games (44).

A staggering figure. The Ravens will undoubtedly need to win a close games or few in order to achieve their goals this season.

Joe Flacco’s Leadership Shined After Justin Tucker’s Miss - John Eisenberg

Everyone was still reeling – coaches, players, fans – when Flacco stepped to the podium to take questions from the media. Right away, it came up: What about that hard-to-swallow ending?

“Listen, this is part of football, man,” he said.

“I’ve been there. I’ve been there plenty of times,” Flacco said.

“At the end of the year, we can’t be looking back and regretting a game getting away because of how we thought about it the week before,” Flacco said. “You just have to go, ball out, and at the end of the 16 games, you have to be able to look back at what you did and be proud of how you reacted to things.”

After 11 seasons in the NFL and 10 career postseason victories, Joe Flacco’s leadership should not be questioned.

Baltimore Ravens status check: What we learned in Week 7 loss, what we’re wondering- Aaron Kasinitz

What we’re wondering: Can the defense win games for Baltimore against the top offenses in the AFC?

The Ravens face a tough road game against the Panthers on Sunday, but I’m looking further ahead here. Baltimore plays at the Chiefs and Chargers in the final month of the season, when the team hopes it’ll be trying to clinch a spot in the postseason. We know the Ravens’ defense, with its diverse pass rush and talent across the board, is good. The question is whether it can carry the team into the postseason in the high-flying modern NFL.

Baltimore’s defense has five of the NFL’s top eight ranked offenses remaining on their schedule.