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Ravens News 6/29: Arduous conditioning test and more

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Houston Texans v Baltimore Ravens Photo by Todd Olszewski/Getty Images

Even virtually, Ravens must pass ‘pure death’ conditioning test - Jamison Hensley

Here’s the test: Players must run a total of 900 yards in six legs. Each set consists of 25 yards out and back three times. They must finish that heat of 150 yards under a designated time — 32 seconds for the offensive and defensive linemen, 29 seconds for the tight ends and linebackers and 27 seconds for the wide receivers, running backs and defensive backs. If you go over that time in any of the six legs, you flunk the test and have to take it over.

The break between each set is 64 seconds. By the end of it, players are sprawled on the ground, trying to catch their breath.

What separates Baltimore is the change of direction. By dividing up the sprints into 25 yards — instead of 50 and 100 yards like other teams — players are cutting five times each leg.

“There’s a baseline element to it of conditioning, a strength element to it,” Harbaugh said. “There’s also a coverage during a series when you have to go six or seven seconds hard. You get a little time off, and you’re right back at it going hard again in a 100 percent, explosive kind of a way.”

The NFL’s best safety tandems ahead of the 2020 NFL season - Soloman Wilcots

7. EARL THOMAS III & CHUCK CLARK, BALTIMORE RAVENS

Earl Thomas finished the 2019 NFL campaign with the eighth-best coverage grade (84.7) among qualifying safeties, just one spot ahead of backfield mate Chuck Clark (81.9), who ranked ninth overall.

With Thomas and Clark as their safety tandem, the Ravens lined up in either Cover 1 or Cover 0 on 45.5% of their 979 total defensive snaps. Thomas aligned as the single-high safety in Cover 1, ending the regular season having allowed a passer rating of just 21.5 on throws into his primary coverage. This left Clark to rotate down into the box or the slot, where he earned the best coverage grade among safeties who played at least 100 such snaps.

Clark, who has just recently signed a three-year extension with the team, allowed 16 receptions from 19 targets in the box or the slot, but those catches only went for 94 yards. His 5.9 yards allowed per reception from such alignments ranked second among qualifying safeties, and only two of the catches he allowed went for a first down.

Every AFC Team’s Most Underrated Player - Conor Orr

Ravens

Patrick Ricard, FB/DL

Patrick Ricard played (deep breath)....184 snaps in the backfield, 82 as an “inline” blocker, 56 snaps in the slot, 26 snaps out wide, one snap as an offensive lineman, 139 snaps as a defensive lineman, 42 snaps on kick returns, eight on punt returns and 59 on field goal block. And ... he’s really good at all of it. See here.