Tag Archive | "albert mcclellan"

Tags: , , , ,

Ravens reportedly reach two-year agreement with linebacker McClellan

Posted on 09 March 2014 by Luke Jones

With the start of free agency falling at 4 p.m. on Tuesday, the Ravens took care of one of their two restricted free agents Sunday by coming to an agreement with linebacker Albert McClellan.

The fourth-year linebacker agreed to a two-year deal in lieu of receiving a restricted tender, according to The Sun. McClellan was primarily a special-teams player in 2013, appearing in 15 games and making 12 tackles, but has the ability to play all four positions in the Ravens’ 3-4 base defense.

The Ravens could have elected to offer McClellan the low tender worth $1.431 million, which would have given them the right to match any offer sheet had another team tried to sign him. However, a two-year contract will likely bring a smaller cap figure for 2014 and keep a solid depth player under control for an additional season if he remains in Baltimore’s plans.

McClellan’s best season came in 2012 when he started 11 games and collected 49 tackles and a sack.

An undrafted free agent out of Marshall in 2010, McClellan spent his first season on the Ravens’ practice squad before eventually cracking the 53-man roster in 2011.

 

Comments (0)

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Bynes, McClellan absent from practice for second straight day

Posted on 17 October 2013 by Luke Jones

(This blog brought to you by Atlantic Remodeling. Visit www.atlanticremodeling.com to learn about their Red Cent Guarantee!)

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — The Ravens continued to look in good shape from a health standpoint Thursday as linebackers Josh Bynes and Albert McClellan were the only players absent from practice.

Continuing preparations for Sunday’s game against the Pittsburgh Steelers, the Ravens saw the return of defensive end Chris Canty (thigh) to practice after he was listed as a non-participant on Wednesday’s report. It was believed that Canty simply received a day off to rest as he was upgraded to full participation on Thursday.

Bynes is dealing with an infected finger and a thigh injury, but coach John Harbaugh painted a positive prognosis for the 24-year-old linebacker prior to Wednesday’s practice. McClellan hasn’t taken part in a practice since the week leading up to the Week 4 loss in Buffalo as he continues to nurse a shoulder injury, but the special-teams standout has played in each of the last two games.

Wide receiver Brandon Stokley did not participate on Thursday after practicing fully a day earlier. He has dealt with a lingering groin injury for a few weeks.

Inside linebacker Jameel McClain was present and working for the second straight day after being cleared to return to the football field. There is no specified timetable for McClain to be moved onto the 53-man roster for game action, but he was listed as a full participant on Wednesday’s injury report as he practiced for the first time since suffering a spinal cord contusion on Dec. 9 of last year.

Techinically, the Ravens are not required to list McClain on the injury report since he isn’t part of the active roster, but his return to practice after being on the physically unable to perform list triggered the start of a 21-day window in which he may beginning practicing. At the end of the three-week period, the Ravens must place him on the 53-man roster or season-ending injured reserve. However, he can be activated sooner than that if they so choose.

Meanwhile, the Steelers’ first-round rookie linebacker Jarvis Jones was upgraded to limited participation as he continues to recover from a concussion. Reports from Pittsburgh were encouraging regarding his status for Sunday’s game at Heinz Field.

Here is the full injury report for Thursday:

BALTIMORE
DID NOT PARTICIPATE: LB Josh Bynes (thigh, finger), LB Albert McClellan (shoulder), WR Brandon Stokley (thigh)
LIMITED PARTICIPATION: CB Chykie Brown (thigh), DT Terrence Cody (knee), C Ryan Jensen (foot), DT Haloti Ngata (elbow), LB Courtney Upshaw (foot), CB Lardarius Webb (thigh)
FULL PARTICIPATION: DE Chris Canty (thigh), LB Jameel McClain (neck), DT Marcus Spears (knee)

PITTSBURGH
OUT: WR Markus Wheaton (finger)
DID NOT PARTICIPATE: TE Richard Gordon (toe)
LIMITED PARTICIPATION: LB Jarvis Jones (head), T Marcus Gilbert (quad)
FULL PARTICIPATION: DE Brett Keisel (abdomen), TE Heath Miller (non-injury related), LB LaMarr Woodley (knee)

Comments (0)

McClain cleared to return to practice after 10-month absence

Tags: , , , , , , ,

McClain cleared to return to practice after 10-month absence

Posted on 16 October 2013 by Luke Jones

(This blog brought to you by Atlantic Remodeling. Visit www.atlanticremodeling.com to learn about their Red Cent Guarantee!)

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — More than 10 months after suffering a spinal cord contusion that threatened his football future, inside linebacker Jameel McClain returned to practice on Wednesday as the Ravens continued preparations for the Pittsburgh Steelers.

McClain remains on the reserve physically unable to perform list for now, but his return to the practice field triggered the start of a 21-day window in which the sixth-year linebacker may practice. Though he may return prior to the end of the three-week period, McClain must be added to the active roster at the end of the window or placed on season-ending injured reserve.

Coach John Harbaugh confirmed that McClain has been cleared to return to the football field after recovering from a spinal cord injury suffered against the Washington Redskins on Dec. 9 of last season, but no decision has been made on his status against Pittsburgh on Sunday. The Ravens have their bye in Week 8, making it plausible that they would ease McClain back into practices this week with the thought of activating him after the bye.

“We’re going to practice Jameel McClain today,” Harbaugh said prior to practice. “He’s eligible to do that. We do not know what that means for this week, next week, or the week after. We do know that it means within three weeks that we’ve got to make a decision about whether we’d put him on the 53-man roster. We’ll just have to see how it goes with that.”

How McClain will fit within the defense remains to be seen as inside linebacker Daryl Smith has been arguably the biggest surprise of the season and has handled making the calls in the defensive huddle admirably through the first six weeks of the season. Having made 45 starts in his NFL career, McClain could potentially unseat Josh Bynes at the weakside inside linebacker spot, a position he played next to the retired Ray Lewis in past seasons.

For now, McClain is pleased to prove doubters wrong about his ability to return to football and will work to get himself back into football shape after continuing to work out and attend meetings at the team’s Owings Mills facility since he was injured late last season. The Syracuse product and Philadelphia native feels he’s ready to play right away but acknowledged that the coaches and training staff will ultimately decide when he returns to game action.

However, the itch is there for McClain to return to action with his injury fully healed.

“You understand the feeling of watching people play day in and day out,” said McClain, who admitted using his doubters as motivation to keep working hard as his spinal cord healed. “Getting to see my teammates put their pads on and go out and do work while I had to stand around and watch, it’s no doubt that I’m itching. I’m preparing myself mentally and especially physically coming into this game.”

Cody returns to practice; Bynes, Canty sidelined

In addition to McClain, defensive tackle Terrence Cody returned to the practice field on Wednesday for the first time since injuring his knee in the first quarter of the Ravens’ win over the Houston Texans on Sept. 22.

Cody has missed three straight games but practiced on a limited basis after telling reporters last week that he was moving closer to a return to action. Rookie Brandon Williams has taken Cody’s place in several defensive sub packages, which will make for an interesting competition for reps between the first-year player and Cody, who is scheduled to become a free agent after the season.

Inside linebackers Josh Bynes and Albert McClellan and defensive end Chris Canty (thigh) were absent from Wednesday’s practice, making McClain’s return a welcome sight for a lighter group of inside linebackers. While McClellan has missed the last two weeks of practice — though he’s played in each of the last two games — Harbaugh revealed that Bynes is dealing with a finger injury.

“Josh Bynes has an infection in his finger, which he cut a couple of weeks ago,” Harbaugh said. “He was actually in the hospital last night with it. He got good news. It’s good — it’s clearing up.”

Canty was present and dressed out to work during the portion of practice open to the media before being listed as a non-participant, perhaps indicating a day of rest for the veteran defensive lineman.

Defensive tackle Haloti Ngata (hip and elbow) was practicing after straining his elbow in the first half of Sunday’s loss to the Green Bay Packers.

Wednesday’s injury report

BALTIMORE
DID NOT PARTICIPATE: LB Josh Bynes (thigh, finger), DE Chris Canty (thigh), LB Albert McClellan (shoulder)
LIMITED PARTICIPATION: CB Chykie Brown (thigh), DT Terrence Cody (knee), C Ryan Jensen (foot), DT Haloti Ngata (elbow), LB Courtney Upshaw (foot), CB Lardarius Webb (thigh)
FULL PARTICIPATION: LB Jameel McClain (neck), DT Marcus Spears (knee), WR Brandon Stokley (thigh)

PITTSBURGH
OUT: WR Markus Wheaton (finger)
DID NOT PARTICIPATE: LB Jarvis Jones (head)
LIMITED PARTICIPATION: T Marcus Gilbert (quad), DE Brett Keisel (abdomen), TE Heath Miller (non-injury related), LB LaMarr Woodley (knee)

Comments (0)

Ngata, J. Jones, Osemele among 11 Ravens players questionable for Sunday

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Ngata, J. Jones, Osemele among 11 Ravens players questionable for Sunday

Posted on 11 October 2013 by Luke Jones

(This blog brought to you by Atlantic Remodeling. Visit www.atlanticremodeling.com to learn about their Red Cent Guarantee!)

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — After he missed the first two practices of the week while dealing with a hip injury, Pro Bowl defensive tackle Haloti Ngata returned to practice on Friday and was listed as questionable with 10 other Ravens players for Sunday’s game against the Green Bay Packers.

There was no indication over the course of the week that Ngata’s injury was serious, and his presence during Friday’s workout was a positive development as the Ravens try to improve to 11-0 at home against NFC opponents in the John Harbaugh era. No injury for Ngata was reported by the Ravens in the immediate aftermath of their Week 5 win in Miami last weekend.

“We gave Haloti a few days [off]. He had little tweaks and strains and things like that,” coach John Harbaugh said after Friday’s practice. “We gave him a couple days, but he looked good today. He’s going to play. He should be fine.”

Wide receivers Jacoby Jones (knee), Marlon Brown (hamstring), and Brandon Stokley (groin), offensive linemen Kelechi Osemele (back) and Ryan Jensen (foot), running back Bernard Pierce (thigh), and defensive tackle Marcus Spears (knee) were all listed as questionable after practicing as limited participants on Friday. Of that group, Jensen is the most unlikely to play after only returning to the practice field on Thursday for the first time since late July. All others practiced on a limited basis for the entire week, giving them favorable odds to play against the Packers.

While defensive players practiced their customary jersey swap for Friday’s practice, cornerback Chykie Brown (thigh) was absent from the workout. He was added to Thursday’s injury report as a limited participant, which could be an indication that an injury occurred during that day’s practice. The third-year cornerback was also designated as questionable for Sunday’s game.

Linebacker Albert McClellan (shoulder) and defensive tackle Terrence Cody (knee) were not practicing for the third straight day. Cody was listed as doubtful and is expected to miss his third straight game while McClellan — deemed questionable — played against the Dolphins last Sunday despite having not practiced at all in the week leading up to that contest in Miami.

Safety Michael Huff is also questionable for Sunday’s game after being added to the injury report as a limited participant on Friday.

Harbaugh offered a positive report on Jones, who completed his second week of practice and told reporters earlier this week that he intended to increase his activity level in hopes of playing for the first time since the season opener on Sept. 5.

“All the guys who practiced looked good. Jacoby comes to mind,” Harbaugh said. “He looked good, so [we’re] encouraged.”

Meanwhile, the Packers have already ruled out five players for Sunday’s game, including Pro Bowl outside linebacker Clay Matthews and inside linebacker Brad Jones.

Here is the final injury report of the week:

BALTIMORE
DOUBTFUL: DT Terrence Cody (knee)
QUESTIONABLE: CB Chykie Brown (thigh), WR Marlon Brown (thigh), S Michael Huff (back), C Ryan Jensen (foot), WR Jacoby Jones (knee), LB Albert McClellan (shoulder), DT Haloti Ngata (hip), G Kelechi Osemele (back), RB Bernard Pierce (thigh), DT Marcus Spears (knee), WR Brandon Stokley (thigh)

GREEN BAY
OUT: CB Casey Hayward (hamstring), LB Brad Jones (hamstring), LB Clay Matthews (thumb), RB James Starks (knee), G/C Greg Van Roten (foot)
QUESTIONABLE: CB Jarrett Bush (hamstring)
PROBABLE: LB Sam Barrington (hip), LB Andy Mulumba (ankle), DT Ryan Pickett (hand)

Comments (0)

Ngata missing from practice for second straight day

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Ngata missing from practice for second straight day

Posted on 10 October 2013 by Luke Jones

(This blog brought to you by Atlantic Remodeling. Visit www.atlanticremodeling.com to learn about their Red Cent Guarantee!)

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Four-time Pro Bowl defensive tackle Haloti Ngata was missing from practice for the second straight day as the Ravens continued preparations for the Green Back Packers on Thursday.

Practicing inside with steady rain falling at their Owings Mills facility, the Ravens were without their starting nose tackle again as the 29-year-old continues to recover from a hip issue. There have been no indications that the ailment is serious and no injury was reported in the aftermath of Sunday’s game in Miami, so it will be interesting to see whether the standout defensive lineman is able to log some practice time on Friday to quell concerns surrounding his status against the Packers.

Defensive tackle Terrence Cody (knee) and linebacker Albert McClellan (shoulder) were also absent from Thursday’s practice as Cody appears likely to miss his third straight game since being injured in the first quarter of the Ravens’ Week 3 win over the Houston Texans on Sept. 22. McClellan played against Miami despite missing practices all last week and continues to rehab his injured shoulder.

The Ravens saw the return of rookie offensive lineman Ryan Jensen to practice for the first time since he broke his foot during the first week of training camp in late July. The sixth-round pick from Colorado State-Pueblo is regarded as an intriguing prospect at center who could provide good interior line depth, a reason why the Ravens elected to keep him on the 53-man roster all this time.

Wide receivers Jacoby Jones (knee), Marlon Brown (hamstring), and Brandon Stokley (groin) all practiced on Thursday after being limited participants a day earlier. Along with several other teammates, Jones was sporting pink cleats and pink gloves to break them in for Sunday’s game in which the Ravens will celebrate breast cancer awareness in addition to sporting their alternate black jerseys.

Starting left guard Kelechi Osemele (back spasms) was practicing for the second straight day and appears to be a good bet to play against Green Bay as long as he doesn’t suffer a setback.

Though he remains on injured reserve with the designation to return later this season, tight end Dennis Pitta played catch with quarterback Joe Flacco during the opening portion of practice and appeared fairly mobile as he did last week while catching balls from the Jugs machine. Flacco joked with his close friend and teammate at one point, asking if he was ready to come back yet.

According to coach John Harbaugh, Pitta has been running on the treadmill and is making great progress, but his return is still considered “a ways away.”

Here is Thursday’s injury report:

BALTIMORE
DID NOT PARTICIPATE: DT Terrence Cody (knee), LB Albert McClellan (shoulder), DT Haloti Ngata (hip)
LIMITED PARTICIPATION: WR Marlon Brown (thigh), RB Shaun Draughn (ankle), WR Jacoby Jones (knee), G Kelechi Osemele (back), RB Bernard Pierce (thigh), DT Marcus Spears (knee), WR Brandon Stokley (thigh), C Ryan Jensen (foot), CB Chykie Brown (thigh)

GREEN BAY
OUT: LB Brad Jones (hamstring), LB Clay Matthews (thumb), RB James Starks (knee), G/C Greg Van Roten (foot)
DID NOT PARTICIPATE: CB Jarrett Bush (hamstring), LB Andy Mulumba (ankle)
LIMITED: DT Ryan Pickett (hand), CB Casey Hayward (hamstring)

Comments (0)

Osemele practicing; Ngata sidelined on Wednesday

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Osemele practicing; Ngata sidelined on Wednesday

Posted on 09 October 2013 by Luke Jones

(This blog brought to you by Atlantic Remodeling. Visit www.atlanticremodeling.com to learn about their Red Cent Guarantee!)

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Faced with the challenge of the Green Bay Packers coming to Baltimore on Sunday, the Ravens are cautiously optimistic to find themselves healthier this week than they’ve been at any point since the start of the season.

Starting left guard Kelechi Osemele (back spasms) returned to the practice field on a limited basis after he was sidelined for most of this past Sunday’s win over the Miami Dolphins. The second-year lineman said prior to Wednesday’s practice that a soft hotel bed was a factor in the back spasms he developed during pre-game warmups that forced him out of the game after the first offensive series.

Defensive tackles Haloti Ngata (hip) and Terrence Cody (knee), linebacker Albert McClellan (shoulder), and offensive lineman Ryan Jensen (foot) did not participate in Wednesday’s practice. Ngata’s hip injury wasn’t reported after last Sunday’s game, so there’s a fair possibility that Wednesday was more of a day of rest than any serious condition.

Ngata took part in 35 of 58 defensive snaps, which wasn’t an unusual number considering how much Miami was throwing the football.

Wide receiver Brandon Stokley wasn’t spotted during the portion of practice open to the media but was listed as a limited participant on Wednesday’s injury report after the Ravens re-signed him to the 53-man roster on Tuesday. Stokley has been dealing with a groin injury for nearly two weeks and hasn’t played since the Ravens’ Week 3 win over the Texans on Sept. 22.

Wide receiver Jacoby Jones was back on the practice field after being ruled inactive for the fourth straight game last Sunday. The Pro Bowl return specialist eased his way back into practices last week and plans to step up his participation level this week in hopes of playing in a game for the first time since suffering a sprained right MCL in the season opener on Sept. 5.

“I’ve been like a punished child that can’t go outside and do anything,” Jones said of his time rehabilitating the injury. “You sit in your house and keep begging your mama, ‘Please, let me go outside. I want do it again!’ I just want to get out there and play.”

Wide receiver Marlon Brown (hamstring) and defensive tackle Marcus Spears (knee) also returned to practice on Wednesday after being sidelined for Week 5.

New left tackle Eugene Monroe expressed optimism that he’ll be ready to make his Ravens debut at M&T Bank Stadium against the Packers after spending long days and nights absorbing the Baltimore playbook. Monroe was ruled inactive for the Miami game after he was only able to log two days of practice time upon the trade from Jacksonville being officially completed last Thursday.

The fifth-year tackle revealed he even spent some time at the team’s Owings Mills facility during his day off on Tuesday to go over plays with starting center Gino Gradkowski.

“It’s been a grind, but it’s part of the job,” Monroe said. “It’s also been fun integrating into a new system like this. It’s definitely different, especially not playing next week. That’s just part of the deal here and I’m ready to go now.”

Meanwhile, incumbent left tackle Bryant McKinnie was largely an observer during offensive line work during the portion of practice open to the media, a strong indication that Monroe is expected to take his spot in the starting lineup beginning this Sunday.

The Ravens are in much better shape health-wise than Green Bay as starting linebackers Clay Matthews (thumb) and Brad Jones (hamstring) and running back James Starks (knee) have already been ruled out for Sunday’s game.

Here is Wednesday’s injury report:

BALTIMORE
DID NOT PARTICIPATE: DT Terrence Cody (knee), C Ryan Jensen (foot), LB Albert McClellan (shoulder), DT Haloti Ngata (hip)
LIMITED PARTICIPATION: WR Marlon Brown (thigh), RB Shaun Draughn (ankle), WR Jacoby Jones (knee), G Kelechi Osemele (back), RB Bernard Pierce (thigh), DT Marcus Spears (knee), WR Brandon Stokley (thigh)

GREEN BAY
OUT: LB Brad Jones (hamstring), LB Clay Matthews (thumb), RB James Starks (knee), G/C Greg Van Roten (foot)
DID NOT PARTICIPATE: CB Jarrett Bush (hamstring), CB Casey Hayward (hamstring), LB Andy Mulumba (ankle)

Comments (1)

J. Jones returns to practice; Webb, M. Brown absent on Wednesday

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

J. Jones returns to practice; Webb, M. Brown absent on Wednesday

Posted on 02 October 2013 by Luke Jones

(This blog brought to you by Atlantic Remodeling. Visit www.atlanticremodeling.com to learn about their Red Cent Guarantee!)

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Sidelined since the season opener with an MCL sprain of his right knee, Ravens wide receiver Jacoby Jones returned to the practice field on Wednesday for the first time in nearly a month.

The 29-year-old practiced on a limited basis as he took part in his first workout since suffering the knee injury against the Denver Broncos in Week 1. It remains unclear whether Jones will be ready to return to game action this weekend as the Ravens travel to Miami to take on the 3-1 Dolphins, but it’s another step in regaining a valuable piece of the team’s offensive puzzle.

“Having more guys available is going to impact everybody’s number of snaps,” said coach John Harbaugh when asked how Jones’ return might affect the playing time of rookie Marlon Brown and other younger receivers. “Hopefully, we can use all those guys in really positive ways and improve our offense.”

Wide receiver Brandon Stokley (groin) practiced in a limited capacity after missing Sunday’s game in Buffalo, but Brown (hamstring) and second-year receiver Deonte Thompson (concussion) were non-participants on Wednesday. Harbaugh provided a favorable report on all three players Monday, so it’s believed that Brown and Thompson have a reasonable chance of playing in Week 5 if they can log some practice time before week’s end.

Cornerback Lardarius Webb (hamstring), linebacker Albert McClellan (shoulder), defensive tackle Terrence Cody (knee), and offensive lineman Ryan Jensen (foot) did not participate in Wednesday’s practice.

Less than 24 hours after news broke of the Ravens’ trade for Jacksonville left tackle Eugene Monroe in exchange for fourth- and fifth-round picks, incumbent tackle Bryant McKinnie was practicing despite a report from The Sun of the organization potentially seeking a trade of the 34-year-old lineman. The trade for Monroe hadn’t officially been completed for the 26-year-old to practice on Wednesday, leaving his status against Miami up in the air.

“We’ll see as we go. Obviously, we’re bringing Eugene in to play,” Harbaugh said. “How soon that can happen remains to be seen. The main thing is it makes us better.”

As expected, safety Jeromy Miles (hamstring) and rookie inside linebacker Arthur Brown (pectoral strain) were both present and working during Wednesday’s practice. Both participated in all practices last week but were ruled inactive in the loss to Buffalo.

For the Miami Dolphins, linebacker Dannell Ellerbe (knee) and defensive end Cameron Wake (knee) were limited participants. Wake did not play in the Dolphins’ Week 4 loss to New Orleans and is regarded as one of the best pass rushers in the NFL.

Here is Wednesday’s injury report:

BALTIMORE
DID NOT PARTICIPATE: WR Marlon Brown (thigh), DT Terrence Cody (knee), C Ryan Jensen (foot), LB Albert McClellan (shoulder), WR Deonte Thompson (head), CB Lardarius Webb (thigh)
LIMITED PARTICIPATION: WR Brandon Stokley (thigh), LB Arthur Brown (shoulder), RB Shaun Draughn (ankle), WR Jacoby Jones (knee)

MIAMI
DID NOT PARTICIPATE: S Don Jones (elbow), CB Dimitri Patterson (elbow), LB Jason Trusnik (rib)
LIMITED PARTICIPATION: CB Nolan Carroll (ankle), S Chris Clemons (glute), LB Dannell Ellerbe (knee), WR Brandon Gibson (ankle), LB Koa Misi (shoulder), DE Cameron Wake (knee)
FULL PARTICIPATION: LB Jonathan Freeney (shoulder), DT Paul Soliai (knee)

Comments (0)

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Webb, D. Thompson leave Sunday’s loss with injuries

Posted on 30 September 2013 by Luke Jones

(This blog brought to you by Atlantic Remodeling. Visit www.atlanticremodeling.com to learn about their Red Cent Guarantee!)

The sting of a 23-20 loss to the Bills wasn’t the only pain the Ravens endured Sunday as cornerback Lardarius Webb and wide receiver Deonte Thompson each left the game with injuries.

Webb suffered what was described as a thigh injury, and coach John Harbaugh said they will know more about its severity on Monday. He left the game in the first half but was able to run and backpedal on the sideline, indicating that it shouldn’t keep him out for an extended period of time despite being held out for the remainder of the afternoon.

Making his 2013 debut, Thompson performed well offensively as he caught four passes for 50 yards on five targets from quarterback Joe Flacco. However, the second-year wideout suffered a concussion while making a 33-yard reception in the fourth quarter when Bills safety Jim Leonhard was flagged for hitting a defenseless receiver.

It was Thompson’s first action since spraining his foot in the preseason opener on Aug. 8.

Linebacker Albert McClellan injured his shoulder and will undergo magnetic resonance imaging testing on Monday. He underwent shoulder surgery in the offseason.

Wide receiver Marlon Brown was dealing with a thigh injury at the end of the game, according to Harbaugh.

The good news for the Ravens was the ability of running back Ray Rice to make it through Sunday’s game without aggravating the left hip flexor strain that kept him sidelined in Week 3. Rice was held to just 17 yards on five carries against the Bills.

Comments (0)

Tags: , , , ,

A. Jones, McClellan sign tenders for 2013 season

Posted on 27 March 2013 by Luke Jones

As the Ravens continued to make moves to bolster their defense, two incumbent members of their Super Bowl team officially signed their respective tenders on Wednesday.

Defensive lineman Arthur Jones signed his second-round tender worth $2.02 million for the 2013 season. This means that other teams may no longer negotiate with Jones in an effort to sign him to an offer sheet and potentially pluck him away from Baltimore.

In his third NFL season, Jones emerged as a viable threat along the defensive line as he made six starts and finished the year with 47 tackles and 4 1/2 sacks. He will compete with veteran free-agent additions Chris Canty and Marcuse Spears for playing time along the defensive line as it’s been speculated that Pro Bowl defensive tackle Haloti Ngata will move inside to play more nose tackle this season.

After taking Jones in the fifth round of the 2010 draft from Syracuse, the Ravens could still explore a contract extension for the 6-foot-3, 315-pound lineman as he is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent following the 2013 season.

Linebacker Albert McClellan also signed his exclusive-rights tender on Wednesday, which was only a formality considering players with less than three accrued seasons own no negotiating rights. Often overshadowed by teammates, McClellan started 12 games at the strong-side linebacker position this season, finishing with 42 tackles and one sack.

A rookie free agent from Marshall who spent the 2010 season on the practice squad, McClellan is an underrated member of the Baltimore defense with versatility that includes the ability to play all four linebacker positions. Coach John Harbaugh told reporters at the league meetings in Arizona last week that the Ravens may elect to have McClellan focus on the inside linebacker position due to the exits of Ray Lewis and Dannell Ellerbe.

McClellan is also one of the best special-teams players on the roster, finishing with seven special-teams tackles and a forced fumble in 2012.

Comments (0)

Faltering against 49ers offense no option for Ravens

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Faltering against 49ers offense no option for Ravens

Posted on 30 January 2013 by Luke Jones

NEW ORLEANS — After toppling two future Hall of Fame quarterbacks on their way to their second Super Bowl appearance in franchise history, the Ravens defense now faces a different challenge entirely.

As unconventional as an offense comes in the NFL, the San Francisco 49ers reinvented themselves in the second half of the season, utilizing the pistol read-option attack behind second-year quarterback Colin Kaepernick. A once-conservative offense that relied heavily on the shoulders of running back Frank Gore has now become a dynamic one, scoring a combined 73 points in playoff wins over Green Bay and Atlanta to give the 49ers their first Super Bowl berth in 18 years.

Whether the pistol formation is the latest flavor of the month or not is irrelevant as it pertains to Super Bowl XLVII on Sunday, but coach John Harbaugh sees lasting appeal in the possibilities the formation provides. The Ravens certainly aren’t treating it like a gimmick after falling to a similar attack that was run by the Washington Redskins in Week 14.

“You can run your whole offense on it. You aren’t limited to an option type attack out of it,” Harbaugh said. “Not just the entire run game but the entire pass game as well. The backs get position to protect. You can run all your drop back stuff, you can run power run game inside and outside, and you can run read option, triple option. So it’s just a very versatile-type offense and it forces you to defend a lot of different elements of the offensive attack.”

The Ravens struggled against the Redskins’ version of the pistol formation, which featured Robert Griffin III, a shiftier runner than the bigger Kaepernick who relies more on his impressive straight-line speed. In the 31-28 overtime loss on Dec. 9, the Ravens allowed 179 rushing yards on 35 carries but were playing without linebackers Ray Lewis, Terrell Suggs, and Dannell Ellerbe.

San Francisco’s preference for getting Kaepernick to the edge will provide a challenge to Lewis, who struggles when trying to play outside the tackles, but the 37-year-old’s cerebral presence should offer a boost in trying to accomplish what opposing defenses have failed to do against Kaepernick since he took over for former Alex Smith in the middle of the season.

“A lot of people who played against them just never communicated at all,” linebacker Ray Lewis said. “I believe that’s one of the advantages of what we have as a defense. We do a job of communicating real very well, whether you have the dive, whether you have the quarterback. It’s really hard to play that type of package as individuals. You have to play it as a group. The only way to slow it down is to play it as a group. Make sure before the ball is snapped, everybody is on the same page.”

A major key echoed by numerous defensive players has been patience in believing in individual assignments and carrying out jobs within the defense. Against Washington, the Ravens used unblocked defenders largely to attack the backfield, but staying under control and reacting to Kaepernick by forcing him to either hand off to the back or to keep the ball himself inside will be the wisest choice.

It’s a fine balance between being too aggressive and getting caught on your heels against a physical offensive line and talented running backs Gore and LaMichael James. The blocking angles and hand-offs from the pistol formation simply provide looks defenders aren’t familiar in dealing with on a weekly basis. Of course, an extra week of preparation will be beneficial to a Baltimore defense that was on the field extensively in its three playoff wins prior to Sunday’s Super Bowl.

“You can’t force it. You’ve got to be patient,” linebacker Albert McClellan said. “You can’t be too patient though, so you have to kind of be on the edge. You’ve just got to have good eyes. Do your job — don’t try to do somebody else’s job. Once you miss your assignment, that’s when the triple-option and the pistol pretty much take advantage of you. You do your job and everybody’s assigned a man, things will work out.”

Defensive coordinator Dean Pees will rely on rush linebacker Terrell Suggs and the combination of Courtney Upshaw, Paul Kruger, and Albert McClellan at the strongside linebacker position to maintain the edges, coaxing Kaepernick to settle for inside hand-offs to Gore and preventing the mobile quarterback from getting free into open space to utilize his great speed. The 49ers prefer to run behind left tackle Joe Staley when they aren’t rushing up the middle, which will put pressure on Suggs to make plays against the run like he did in the Denver game when he finished with 10 solo tackles.

Forcing Kaepernick to settle for the inside hand-off will put plenty of responsibility on the Baltimore defensive line, a unit that struggled much of the season due to injuries but has played well in the postseason. The Ravens contained a strong Denver running game and put pressure on Peyton Manning in the divisional round and hounded Tom Brady in the second half of the AFC Championship.

The combination of Ma’ake Kemoeatu and Terrence Cody at the nose tackle position will have a major chore in controlling the line of scrimmage and allowing Lewis and Ellerbe to clean up against Gore’s inside runs.

“Assignment football. Being where you are supposed to be without failure,” defensive line coach Clarence Brooks said. “Right gap, right responsibility on the run, right foot on the blocking schemes, disciplined pass-rushing lanes. Assignment football, being where you’re supposed to be and doing your job. If we do that, we’ll be fine.”

Even if the Ravens play their assignments to perfection, Kaepernick’s big-play ability may not be completely avoidable as he has proven to be a prolific passer, utilizing tight end Vernon Davis and wide receiver Michael Crabtree with great effectiveness. Still, the second-year signal-caller’s legs are the biggest concern after the Ravens were able to handle two top — but also one-dimensional — passers in their last two wins.

“You get through it and everybody knows what to do, and then all of a sudden, the guy pulls the ball and is gone,” defensive coordinator Dean Pees said. “You can’t really replicate that in practice as much as you would like to. That’s always a concern.”

As confident as the Baltimore defense is, the unit is preparing for an unfamiliar look. The similarities are there with Washington’s offensive attack, but the 49ers have a dangerous set of receivers in the passing game and a quarterback reaching an unparalleled level of success with only a half-season of starts under his belt.

The San Francisco offense may not strike fear into opponents’ hearts in the same way the Patriots and Broncos did this season, but the sight of Kaepernick escaping to the outside, looking to run or throw is a scary proposition standing in the way of the Ravens’ second Super Bowl title.

“If he runs, you’ve got to hit him,” safety Bernard Pollard said. “He’s basically a running back who can throw the ball very well. He’s showing people that he’s capable of playing in this league. He’s able to win.”

 

Comments (0)