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Ravens News 8/7: NFL’s best secondaries, joint practice report and more

NFL: Pro Hall of Fame Game-Chicago Bears at Baltimore Ravens Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

Orlando Brown Solid in Ravens Debut - Ken McKusick

Brown made 5 of 6 blocks in level 2. That’s terrific for a tackle.

He twice had fine stunt handoffs with Eluemunor (Q1, 2:26 and Q2, 1:19). Those frequently look messy in the preseason.

I expect Brown to continue to struggle with speed rushers. As Ricky Wagner did, he’ll frequently have to use length to compensate and push his assignment past the imaginary “back pylon” of the pocket.

Brown does not have an obvious challenger for the Ravens starting RT job and he did nothing on Thursday to make me believe he won’t be the starter in the opener.

Overall, McKusick gave Brown’s professional debut a B- grade. Orlando will have an opportunity to work on his pass blocking against Rams outside linebackers Matt Longacre, Samson Ebukam, Justin Lawler and Ejuan Price during Thursday’s preseason contest.

Brandon Carr Wants to Keep His Starting Streak Alive ‘As Long as I Can’ - Ryan Mink

For 10 years, Carr has started every single game of his NFL career. That’s 160 straight games, not including the playoffs.

Baltimore’s “Iron Horse,” as he’s been nicknamed, has a young buck right on his heels, however.

Last year’s first-round pick, Marlon Humphrey, had a standout rookie season and is deserving of a bigger role this season. But with Jimmy Smith looking like he’ll be ready to start Week 1 after rebounding from an Achilles, there’s one starting spot up for grabs between Carr and Humphrey.

“I take pride in just being available each and every week,” Carr said. “I take pride in taking care of my body, trying to play through as many injuries – whether they’re big or small – as I can. But, I’ve been blessed throughout my career just to kind of be lucky and stay out the fray and play through the injuries I have.”

Brandon Carr out snapped Marlon Humphrey 1,024 to 596 last season. With Tavon Young returning to play the slot corner role after logging 832 snaps as a rookie in 2016, coordinator Martindale may continue rotating Carr, Humphrey and Jimmy Smith at outside cornerback in 2018.

Jaguars, Vikings boast NFL’s best secondaries heading into 2018 -

David Carr: Ravens’ secondary deserves more burn, but Vikings’ group rules the roost

It’s real close between the Ravens and Vikings. Baltimore’s Eric Weddle is one of the top safeties in the game, while veteran cornerback Jimmy Smith was in the midst of a career year before getting hurt in the second half of last season. If Smith can return to that level in Year 8, the Ravens should keep most passing attacks in check.

But ... I have to go with Minnesota. Xavier Rhodes can shut down an entire side of the field by himself, and Harrison Smith is so versatile that, as a quarterback, you can’t anticipate what Mike Zimmer’s defense is going to do because Smith can do it all.

The Jaguars and Vikings tied for a league best 6 yards allowed per passing attempt last season. Baltimore’s 6.5 mark was close behind.

Practice Report 8/6: Ravens-Rams Have Hot, Physical (Yet Cordial) First Joint Practice - Ryan Mink

The Rams came out clearly with something to prove, as they put some big pops on Ravens offensive players early on in practice.

Baltimore’s passing game that has drawn rave reviews this offseason didn’t have many highlights versus the Rams’ talented secondary featuring Talib, fellow Pro Bowl cornerback Marcus Peters and safety Lamarcus Joyner.

Wide receiver John Brown had the Ravens’ best offensive play when he leapt high to snag a long pass despite Rams safety Blake Countess coming over top of him. Countess also got his hands on the ball and landed on Brown, but the Ravens free-agent addition held on.

Undrafted rookie running back Gus Edwards fumbled the ball twice during 11-on-11 drills. He had a good touchdown run through the left side of the line earlier in practice, but the fumbles will overshadow the positive.

‘Smokey’ Brown continues to shine, he has a real chance to lead the Ravens in receiving yards this year if he can stay healthy. Gus Edwards, meanwhile, must improve his ball security. Even after an impressive showing against the Bears last week, fumbling could easily relegate him to the practice squad.