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Jeremy Maclin says Baltimore Ravens WR trio should be best in NFL

By Todd Karpovich, The Sports Xchange
Former Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Jeremy Maclin scores a touchdown during an International NFL series match against the Detroit Lions at Wembley London on November 1st, 2015. File photo by Sean Dempsey/UPI
Former Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Jeremy Maclin scores a touchdown during an International NFL series match against the Detroit Lions at Wembley London on November 1st, 2015. File photo by Sean Dempsey/UPI | License Photo

OWINGS MILLS, Md. -- The Baltimore Ravens have a deep class of receivers that have been impressive throughout training camp, despite the absence of starting quarterback Joe Flacco, who has been out with a back injury.

Mike Wallace has been the most impressive player among that group and has been consistent catching the ball.

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Jeremy Maclin, who was signed on June 12, looks like he will be a major boost to this unit and has made several receptions deep downfield.

Breshad Perriman, the team's first-round draft pick in 2015, has missed time because of a hamstring injury, but is expected to be ready for the regular season.

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Maclin is confident they will be among the best in the NFL.

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"I think we should expect to be the best trio in the league," Maclin said." That's what we should expect and work for. You look at all three of us, and we all add something different to the table. We're also three guys who have the ability to do it all. I think that's what everyone should expect from us, and that's what we're going to work towards."

Other players who have been impressive are Chris Matthews, who has caught several passes across the middle, and Quincy Adeboyejo, a rookie free agent from Mississippi who has beaten several veterans for long gains.

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Ravens coach John Harbaugh is excited to see these players perform Thursday in the first preseason game against Washington.

"Quincy has had a really good camp," Harbaugh said. "A number of the other young guys are doing similarly well. All directions now kind of point toward Thursday night, and (we will) see what those guys do Thursday night. But to see him come out tonight under the lights with the crowd and play the way he did -- not just him, but some other guys, too -- it is good to see."

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Michael Campanaro, who came off the PUP list last week, also managed several nice grabs in traffic. If Campanaro can stay healthy, he can be an impact player as a receiver and on special teams.

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The Ravens' offensive line got a huge boost with the signing of Austin Howard, who will likely take over the starting spot at right tackle.

This was an area of need after last year's starter, Rick Wagner, signed with the Detroit Lions as a free agent. Baltimore was using James Hurst at right tackle before signing Howard to a three-year, $16 million deal on Aug 4.

Howard was part of the Ravens' practice squad in 2011 before making a bigger impact for the New York Jets and Oakland Raiders. He did not participate in practice Monday, but should be on the field this week.

"I am very excited," Harbaugh said. "He is excited, he is a competitor, and he is happy to be back. His wife made a lot of friends here when they were here the first time around. She is pregnant, and she likes the hospitals in town. She is looking forward to getting back here for that."

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The 6-foot-7, 330-pound Howard started 10 of 11 games for the Raiders last season while dealing with shoulder and ankle injuries. The Ravens are confident that Howard has overcome those setbacks and that he will help reinforce an offensive line that has been hampered in training camp.

John Urschel, who was expected to compete for the starting job at center, decided to retire hours before the first full-squad practice of training camp. Nico Siragusa, a promising rookie from San Diego State, suffered a season-ending knee injury last week.

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Ravens linebacker Kamalei Correa has overcome his struggles as a rookie and is poised to take over the starting spot at weakside linebacker.

Correa, a second-round pick from Boise State in 2016, struggled to get on the field last season, appearing in nine games. He finished with just four tackles and no sacks. He also failed to make an impact on special teams, much to the dismay of Harbaugh.

As a result, Correa spent much of the offseason immersed in the playbook. He reported to training camp in solid shape and made an immediate impact getting into the backfield and creating turnovers.

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"I would say last year was just a learning experience for me," Correa said. "It was just a lot to take in. But, it has nothing to do with the coaches. It was my fault. I didn't work hard enough, I didn't show them, and they could not trust me to put me out there on the field. I take that upon myself 100 percent, and I learned from it. But it is a new year, it is a new me, and I am just excited about this year to move forward."

Another key for Correa has been his off-the-field adjustments. He is much more comfortable in his personal life, which has helped him as a football player.

"I would say I am having 1,000 times more fun than I did last year," Correa said. "It is just being more free and being myself. It honestly has nothing to do with on-the-field stuff. It is about me off the field. It is just being myself -- just being confident in me, being confident in who I am as a person. That is just going to translate to me being who I am on the field. It really just translated from off the field to on the field. I am just having more fun with life in general."

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Harbaugh is looking for Correa to maintain that momentum. Another big test arrives Thursday in the first preseason game against the Washington Redskins.

"Kamalei has done really well ... he's had a good camp," Harbaugh said. "The next stop, obviously, will be getting ready to play the first preseason game and play well there. It's a process, but he's on schedule."

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