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Ravens News 8/24: Sending a Message and more

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NFL: New England Patriots at Baltimore Ravens Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Ravens release Earl Thomas, giving rest of the NFL an opportunity to upgrade their secondaries - Brad Spielberger & Eric Eager

Replacing Thomas will not be trivial for the Ravens, as his presence in the middle of the field allowed them to run a scheme in which they were one of the NFL’s best teams at forcing quarterbacks to hold the ball a relatively long time while still rushing an above-average number of players. Clark, whose confrontation with Thomas was reportedly the straw that broke the camel’s back, rushed the passer on 101 passing plays during the 2019 regular season, which was the most in the league by a defensive back. Thomas’ 54 pass-rushing snaps ranked fifth among defensive backs.

When Thomas was in coverage, he allowed just 0.17 yards per coverage snap, which was the fifth-best mark of any safety with over 350 coverage snaps during the 2019 regular season. He also ranked fourth among safeties in targets against per coverage snap in the slot (25.5), displaying some versatility there, as well.

While the Ravens seem to always find a way on the back end, acquiring Marcus Peters for a fifth-round pick last year from the Rams, they will have to get creative to replicate the force multiplier that was Thomas. That could come in the form of leaning on rookie linebacker Patrick Queen and possibly moving Jimmy Smith or another player back to safety, like the Ravens did with veteran (and current free agent) Brandon Carr a season ago (Carr played 102 snaps at free safety after the Peters trade).

Ravens send a message by parting ways with safety Earl Thomas - Todd Karpovich

To his credit, Thomas was contrite about being released.

“Appreciate the Ravens organization for the opportunity,” he wrote on Instagram. “Had a great run .. Wish things would have ended different [sic] but you live and you learn. Thank you Eric DeCosta and everyone else who played a role in bringing me to B-more. Wish you guys the best.”

The Ravens and Thomas will still have to work out the details over money. Apparently, a potential payout outweighed having Thomas remain on the roster.

This also likely means Baltimore will stay away from other players linked to them with some off-the-field issues, most notably wide receivers Antonio Brown and Dez Bryant.

It also sends a message to the players on the current roster to stay focused on the ultimate goal: winning a Super Bowl.

Baltimore Ravens’ Lamar Jackson, Marcus Peters miss practice with ‘soft-tissue things’ - Aaron Kasinitz

Baltimore Ravens MVP quarterback Lamar Jackson and All-Pro cornerback Marcus Peters missed the past two practices, and the team is remaining tight-lipped about their absences.

Coach John Harbaugh said Sunday several players were dealing with “soft-tissue things, and the Ravens wanted to be cautious with them during training camp. He did not offer detail beyond that.

“It’s training camp, we’re getting close to the season and we’re really not talking about injuries too much,” Harbaugh said.

Practice Report: J.K. Dobbins Puts on a Show at M&T Bank Stadium - Ryan Mink

In a live one-on-one linebacker vs. running back drill, Dobbins twisted through a tackle from Queen. On his next rep, Dobbins broke a nasty juke move that left the defender grasping only for air.

The second-round pick hauled in an impressive leaping touchdown in the back corner of the end zone against undrafted linebacker Kristian Welch. During a live 11-on-11 period, Dobbins streaked between the tackles for a long run in which he made undrafted rookie safety Nigel Warrior totally whiff with a nasty open field move.

Cornerback Anthony Averett had his best practice yet. The third-year corner is a key reserve, especially after Iman Marshall suffered a season-ending knee injury. Averett, a fourth-round pick out of Alabama, had multiple pass breakups.

Warrior had the first interception during seven-on-seven drills in training camp. Through the first six practices, there still has yet to be an interception thrown (or caught) during 11-on-11 drills.