Tag Archive | "Arthur Jones"

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A. Jones undergoing tests for undisclosed illness, McPhee limited Tuesday

Posted on 03 September 2013 by Luke Jones

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OWINGS MILLS, Md. — There were no changes to practice attendance for the Ravens on Tuesday as they continued preparations for their season-opening game against the Denver Broncos.

Already ruled out for Thursday night’s game at Sports Authority Field at Mile High, defensive tackle Arthur Jones (undisclosed illness) was once again missing from the field and hasn’t practiced since playing in the Ravens’ third preseason game on Aug. 22. Coach John Harbaugh reiterated Tuesday that the health issue is not related to football and once again deferred to Jones to decide what details he eventually discloses.

“It’s not anything that’s like life-threatening or anything like that, but it’s non-football related,” Harbaugh said. “We’ve just got to get some tests done to make sure he’s OK. Until the tests come out the right way, he’s not going to be able to play. It’s something that I’ve been told now they can’t tell you how long it will be. It could be a week; it could be indefinitely. We don’t think it’s going to be the second part of it.”

According to the Ravens coach, Jones will see a specialist and undergo further tests on Wednesday as veteran defensive lineman Marcus Spears is expected to take his place along the defensive line in the base 3-4 defense.

A couple hours after Harbaugh’s update, the fourth-year lineman wrote a message on his official Twitter account for the first time since Aug. 19.

“As many of you know i’m [sic] having personal health issues,” Jones wrote. “Please respect my privacy. We as athlete’s [sic] go through real life problems also. Thank You all for your love and support. Ravens fans are the best!! See you all on the field soon!!!”

Defensive tackle Brandon Williams (toe), wide receiver Deonte Thompson (foot), and offensive lineman Ryan Jensen (foot) were also absent during the portion of practice open to the media. None of those three are expected to play against the Broncos.

Pass-rush specialist Pernell McPhee (knee) was the only new addition to Tuesday’s injury report as he continues to manage a sore knee and was a limited participant.

Of course, tight end Dennis Pitta (hip) was officially declared out for Thursday’s game and is expected to be placed on injured reserve with the designation to return when NFL teams are allowed to use that exemption beginning at 4 p.m. on Tuesday afternoon.

“I think we’ll have an announcement for that on Wednesday,” Harbaugh said. “[We’ll] just get some final evaluations from the doctors and make sure that we’re doing the right thing for everybody involved.”

This would free up an open spot on the 53-man roster in time for Thursday night’s game.

Tight end Ed Dickson (hamstring) was once again present and working after being listed as a full participant on Monday’s injury report. He made his return to the practice field two weeks ago and has looked good, according to Harbaugh.

“If I can practice out there, I feel like I can play in any game,” said Dickson, who added that he had never suffered such a severe hamstring injury in his football career. “With practice, personally, I feel like I can play. In the end, it’s not my decision to say I can go out there and [potentially] hurt the team by re-injuring anything.”

As they’ve done in past seasons, Ravens players practiced their jersey swap that’s traditionally seen on Fridays during normal game weeks. Running back Ray Rice wore retired linebacker Ray Lewis’ No. 52 jersey while cornerback Chykie Brown sported former safety Ed Reed’s No. 20. Rice’s close friendship with Lewis is common knowledge, and Reed took Brown under his win in their two years together and the pair often swapped jerseys on Fridays last season.

The Ravens will hold a closed walk-through on Wednesday before departing for Denver later in the day.

Here is Tuesday’s official injury report:

BALTIMORE
OUT: DT Art Jones (illness – non-football injury), TE Dennis Pitta (hip)
DID NOT PARTICIPATE: C Ryan Jensen (foot), WR Deonte Thompson (foot), DT Brandon Williams (toe)
LIMITED: DE Pernell McPhee (knee)
FULL PARTICIPATION: TE Ed Dickson (thigh)

DENVER
OUT: none
DID NOT PARTICIPATE: RB C.J. Anderson (knee), CB Champ Bailey (foot), TE Joel Dreessen (knee)
LIMITED: G Chris Kuper (ankle)
FULL PARTICIPATION: DE Robert Ayers (Achilles), T Ryan Clady (shoulder), QB Brock Osweiler (left shoulder), WR Wes Welker (ankle)

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Ravens defensive tackle Arthur Jones ruled out for Thursday opener

Posted on 02 September 2013 by Luke Jones

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OWINGS MILLS, Md. — The Ravens continue to deal with health concerns along their defensive line as defensive tackle Arthur Jones has already been ruled out for Thursday’s opener against the Denver Broncos with what was listed as an illness.

Jones’ status remains a mystery as the starting defensive tackle hasn’t practiced since playing in the team’s third preseason game on Aug. 22. Coach John Harbaugh said on Aug. 27 that Jones was dealing with a personal health issue but didn’t divulge any other specifics.

“Art had an issue — it’s not football-related,” Harbaugh said at the time. “I’m going to leave it to Art to explain what it was, but it was more of a personal health thing that’s not serious. But we just held him back this week.”

Though the Ravens figure to be playing extensively in the nickel package against Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning and a trio of talented receivers, Jones is one of the team’s better defensive linemen against the run, making his absence concerning for defensive coordinator Dean Pees. Free-agent acquisition Marcus Spears will likely start in Jones’ place in the Ravens’ base defense.

Jones isn’t the only injured member of the defensive line as rookie Brandon Williams missed his second straight practice and had his right foot in a walking boot on Monday, an indication that he won’t be available in Thursday’s season-opening game. He played 39 defensive snaps in the preseason finale against the St. Louis Rams last Thursday but hasn’t practiced since then.

Others who weren’t absent during the portion of practice open to the media on Monday included wide receiver Deonte Thompson (foot), offensive lineman Ryan Jensen (foot), and tight end Dennis Pitta (hip). As expected, Pitta was officially ruled out for Thursday’s game and is expected to be placed on injured reserve with the designation to return on Tuesday afternoon.

Rush specialist Pernell McPhee (knee) was practicing for the second straight day after missing the last two weeks of preseason action.

The good news for the Ravens was tight end Ed Dickson being listed as a full participant in Monday’s workout, a strong indication that he will be ready to go against the Broncos as many expected when he made his return to the practice field two weeks ago.

Newly-claimed veteran linebacker Robert James was taking part in his first practice a day after being added from the Atlanta Falcons. He is expected to mostly be a special-teams contributor.

“He’s played on all four special-teams phases,” special teams coordinator Jerry Rosburg said. “He’s been a productive tackler for [the Falcons]. He’s a real good blocker, and we’ll see how it works out in practice today. But I think we’re able to get a guy — much like our personnel office has done in the past — at the last second and come in and help us immediately. We’re excited about his presence here.”

Outside linebacker John Simon is now wearing No. 94 after wearing No. 47 in the spring and preseason.

Here’s Monday’s official injury report:

BALTIMORE
OUT: DT Art Jones (illness – non-football injury), TE Dennis Pitta (hip)
DID NOT PARTICIPATE: C Ryan Jensen (foot), WR Deonte Thompson (foot), DT Brandon Williams (toe)
LIMITED: none
FULL PARTICIPATION: TE Ed Dickson (thigh)

DENVER
OUT: none
DID NOT PARTICIPATE: RB CJ Anderson (knee), CB Champ Bailey (foot), TE Joel Dreessen (knee)
LIMITED: G Chris Kuper (ankle)
FULL PARTICIPATION: DE Robert Ayers (achilles), T Ryan Clady (shoulder), QB Brock Owsweiler (left shoulder), WR Wes Welker (ankle)

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Ngata back at practice, A. Jones sidelined with “personal health thing”

Posted on 27 August 2013 by Luke Jones

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OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Ravens defensive tackle Haloti Ngata returned to the practice field Tuesday after being excused the previous two days to deal with a family matter.

However, the Ravens were still dealing with the absence of starting defensive end Arthur Jones and rush specialist Pernell McPhee during their final workout of the week open for media viewing. McPhee has experienced knee soreness for the better part of a week while the reason for Jones’ absence was partially explained by coach John Harbaugh after Tuesday’s practice.

“Art had an issue — it’s not football-related,” Harbaugh said. “I’m going to leave it to Art to explain what it was, but it was more of a personal health thing that’s not serious. But we just held him back this week.”

Others missing from the practice field on Tuesday included wide receiver Deonte Thompson (foot), offensive lineman Ryan Jensen (foot), and tight end Dennis Pitta (hip).

Backup quarterback Tyrod Taylor (concussion) was practicing once again and appeared to be moving closer to being available to play in Thursday’s preseason finale if the Ravens don’t elect to simply go with third-string quarterback Caleb Hanie and the newly-signed Dayne Crist. Harbaugh said that starting quarterback Joe Flacco will be held out against the Rams but wouldn’t rule out Taylor receiving playing time.

“I know he’s passed the physical balance part of [the concussion test],” Harbaugh said. “We’re waiting for the test result on the other part of it. I haven’t heard anything negative on that. I just haven’t heard yet. As soon as he passes the test, he’s cleared to play. We do not anticipate that being a problem and we haven’t. If it is, then that would be a little surprising.”

Inside linebacker Jameel McClain (neck) and defensive end Kapron Lewis-Moore (knee) were moved to the reserve physically unable to perform and reserve non-football injury lists respectively prior to Tuesday’s practice.

The Ravens will hold a walk-through that’s closed to the media on Wednesday before departing for St. Louis where they’ll play their preseason finale on Thursday night. Most starters aren’t expected to play against the Rams as their attention has already shifted toward the regular-season opener against the Denver Broncos on Sept. 5.

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Ngata, A. Jones still missing from practice on Monday

Posted on 26 August 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 were still missing two starters along their defensive line Monday as Pro Bowl defensive tackle Haloti Ngata and defensive end Arthur Jones were absent from the open portion of practice.

Coach John Harbaugh told reporters Sunday that Ngata had been excused to deal with a family issue, but the eighth-year defensive lineman wasn’t on the field in the first 30 minutes of the workout a day later. Jones (undisclosed) was missing for the second straight day after Ravens players were off from practice on Friday and Saturday.

Also missing from Monday’s practice were linebackers Pernell McPhee (knee) and Jameel McClain (neck), wide receiver Deonte Thompson (foot), defensive end Kapron Lewis-Moore (knee), offensive lineman Ryan Jensen (foot), and tight end Dennis Pitta (hip). McPhee missed last Thursday’s game against Carolina with what the Ravens are calling a knee injury and the third-year pass rusher hasn’t practiced since then.

Harbaugh had no update on Thompson Sunday as the second-year wideout has been sidelined since Aug. 8 after injuring his foot in the preseason opener against Tampa Bay. His extensive absence has led many to wonder whether the injury is more severe than the Ravens initially indicated. His absence has prevented the coaching staff from evaluating him within the mix of current wide receivers on the roster, further clouding his status moving forward as the organization must trim the roster to 53 players by Saturday.

Backup quarterback Tyrod Taylor (concussion) and tight end Ed Dickson (hamstring) were both practicing, but it remained unclear if Taylor had yet been cleared for contact.

The Ravens began Monday with 77 players on their active roster, meaning they must make at least two more moves before Tuesday’s 4 p.m. deadline for NFL teams to get down to 75 players.

Orioles right fielder Nick Markakis was in attendance for Monday’s practice in Owings Mills before traveling with his club to Boston to begin a three-game series on Tuesday.

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WNST’s Aparicio to take part in football roundtable Sept. 17 at Sports Legends

Posted on 21 August 2013 by WNST Staff

SPORTS LEGENDS MUSEUM AT CAMDEN YARDS TO HOST FOOTBALL ROUNDTABLE WITH LOCAL MEDIA ON SEPTEMBER 17th

Baltimore Media Members to Provide Insight on 2013 Baltimore Ravens Season

Baltimore, Md. – Sports Legends Museum at Camden Yards today announced that it will host a football roundtable discussion on Tuesday, September 17 from Noon to 1:30 p.m. with members of the local sports media.

The panel of Baltimore media experts will consist of  Pete Gilbert (WBAL-TV, WBAL Radio, 98 Rock & Ravens Broadcast Team); Bruce Cunningham (Fox 45 Sports Director & Public Address Announcer at  M&T Bank Stadium); Nestor Aparicio (WNST Founder &  Author of Purple Reign and Purple Reign 2); and Jeff Zrebiec (The Baltimore Sun). The panelists will discuss the Ravens off-season moves, provide their insight & predictions for the 2013 season and take questions from members of the audience.

“There is an excitement building as the Ravens prepare to kickoff their 2013 campaign, especially after winning the Super Bowl last season ,” said Mike Gibbons, executive director of the Babe Ruth Birthplace Foundation.  “Baltimoreans  love talking football, so we thought this roundtable would be a great opportunity for the media who cover the team and fans to come together to share their thoughts on the Ravens initial start to the season and the long-term outlook for 2013.”

Tickets for the program are $25.00 and include lunch, the roundtable program and admission to the galleries at Sports Legends Museum.  Attendees will have the opportunity to see the latest additions to the Ravens Gallery featuring new artifacts from the  Super Bowl XLVII Championship season. Artifacts include Ravens Kicker Justin Tucker’s cleats worn during Super Bowl XLVII; Ravens Defensive End Arthur Jones’ jersey (#97) worn during the Wild Card game against the Indianapolis Colts; a reproduction Super Bowl XLVII ring that is an exact replica of the one presented to Joe Flacco with his name and “MVP” engraved on the side; and more.

To order tickets, please contact Ashley Serano at 410-727-1539 x3013 or AshleyS@BabeRuthMuseum.org.

About The Babe Ruth Birthplace Foundation
The Babe Ruth Birthplace Foundation is a nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving and celebrating the legacy of Maryland’s rich sports heritage.  The Foundation owns and operates both Sports Legends Museum at Camden Yards and the Babe Ruth Birthplace.  Located adjacent to Oriole Park, Sports Legends Museum at Camden Yards opened in May 2005 and consists of 22,000 square feet of artifacts and interactive exhibits profiling Maryland’s sports history.  Among the items featured in the Museum’s Ravens’ Gallery are the Super Bowl jerseys of Jonathan Ogden and Matt Stover, as well as the football from the team’s first home game.

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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.

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Ed Reed resolution coming at this week’s league meetings?

Posted on 17 March 2013 by Luke Jones

It looked to be a foregone conclusion last week that Ed Reed would be walking away from the Ravens after 11 years, but the free-agent safety never shies away from keeping everyone guessing.

Leaving Houston without a contract agreement after a two-day visit, Reed may determine his 2013 destination this week at the league meetings in Arizona as the Ravens and Texans are reportedly scheduled to meet with his agent David Dunn. It remains unclear how much the Ravens are willing to offer the 34-year-old, but general manager Ozzie Newsome has remained in touch with Reed’s representation since a meeting with the safety before the start of free agency.

It’s similar to how the Ravens handled the free agency of Ray Lewis — who was also represented by Dunn — following the 2008 season when the linebacker briefly flirted with the idea of joining another team before learning his value wasn’t as high as he hoped and he re-signed with Baltimore. Reed is believed to be seeking a salary approaching the $7.2 million base salary he earned last season, but his decision to leave Houston without a contract is an obvious sign the Texans’ offer wasn’t where he wanted it to be.

Or, he’s simply not ready to pull the trigger in leaving the Ravens behind just yet.

“Four years ago, we went down this same road with Ray,” Newsome told USA Today. “Dave always does a very good job of keeping us in the loop. That doesn’t mean that Ed will come back, and it doesn’t mean that he will leave.”

While some have opined that the Ravens are suddenly jumping back into the Reed sweepstakes, it’s unlikely that Newsome would enter into a bidding war for the nine-time Pro Bowl safety. The Ravens determine a value for each and every player on their roster and rarely deviate from that price, evident by their hardline approach in wanting to slash Anquan Boldin’s 2013 $6 million base salary by $2 million before ultimately dealing him to the San Francisco 49ers for a sixth-round pick.

A potential Reed return will be far more about him wanting to finish his career with the Ravens and realizing the money may not be dramatically better somewhere else. It just doesn’t seem likely that Newsome would offer him a sexy contract because other teams are potentially in the mix and such a move wouldn’t jive with how the Ravens have handled their offseason in essentially sending the message that they’re starting over on defense after the departure of five starters from the Super Bowl XLVII team.

But as Newsome told USA Today, the Ravens want to be careful in how quickly they make the transition with their defense and Reed’s return — at Baltimore’s price, of course — would provide much-needed leadership as well as an opportunity for the future Hall of Fame safety to mentor an understudy to eventually take his place.

Dumervil in Ravens’ price range?

The unexpected availability of Broncos free-agent defensive end Elvis Dumervil was sure to spark interest from any team looking to improve its pass rush and there is “serious interest” from the Ravens, according to The Baltimore Sun.

Dumervil played outside linebacker in a 3-4 system under former Denver head coach Josh McDaniels and would certainly more than fill the void left behind by Paul Kruger, but it’s difficult to imagine the Ravens having the financial means to be serious players for the 29-year-old with several other areas to address including wide receiver, left tackle, inside linebacker, and safety.

In addition to Denver being interested in bringing back Dumervil since their renegotiated deal fell through after a fax machine fiasco on Friday — that resulted in the termination of agent Marty Magid — the Patriots and the Titans have also been named as teams with potential interest in the defensive end’s services. The reality is Dumervil’s new representation — reported to be Tom Condon and Ben Dogra — will not only be looking to recover the $8 million per year the pass rusher had agreed to accept from the Broncos but also to make their mark by fetching more money for their client if possible.

Those realities wouldn’t suggest the Ravens are a realistic candidate to sign Dumervil, who collected 20 1/2 sacks over the last two seasons.

What about the nose?

In an otherwise disappointing start to free agency with the Ravens seeing their roster gutted, Newsome has fulfilled his promise to address the defensive line by adding veteran defensive ends Chris Canty and Marcus Spears this past week.

Those signings leave the Ravens stacked at defensive end as the veterans join Arthur Jones and Pernell McPhee, but nose tackle remains an area of concern after Terrence Cody and veteran Ma’ake Kemoeatu struggled to control the line of scrimmage as opposing teams had plenty of success running up the middle in 2012. Kemoeatu is an unrestricted free agent not expected to return and Cody has one year remaining on his rookie contract, leaving many to believe Baltimore will be looking for help in April’s draft.

One option the Ravens might consider is to move All-Pro defensive tackle Haloti Ngata to the nose tackle spot, a position he’s played in the past. Canty, Spears, and Jones are all defensive ends perfectly suited to play in a 3-4 front, but the Ravens would appear to have a surplus if Ngata is to continue playing the 3-technique tackle spot in which he lines up on the outside shoulder of the guard.

Defensive coordinator Dean Pees will use multiple fronts and the Ravens love to rotate linemen into the lineup to keep everyone fresh, but you have to think the Ravens have something up their sleeve for their defensive line or they wouldn’t have signed two veteran defensive ends after designating Jones with a second-round tender. Spears also dabbled at the nose tackle spot occasionally for the Dallas Cowboys, but Ngata would appear to be the best candidate to move.

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Ravens retain rights to all six restricted free agents

Posted on 11 March 2013 by Luke Jones

(Updated: 5:40 p.m.)

Entering the offseason with six restricted free agents, the Ravens have retained the rights to all of them through different channels.

Tight ends Dennis Pitta and Ed Dickson and defensive lineman Arthur Jones were each tendered contracts as Pitta and Jones received second-round designations while Dickson was awarded an original-round tender on Monday. Pitta and Jones are each in line to make $2.02 million this season while Dickson’s tender is worth $1.323 million for the 2013 season.

Restricted free agents who ultimately sign and play for their one-year tender are eligible to become unrestricted free agents after the 2013 season. It’s also possible that general manager Ozzie Newsome could explore a long-term contract for Pitta as the Ravens ultimately did with cornerback Lardarius Webb last offseason, but the tender prevents him from hitting the open market in the sense of an unrestricted free agent.

A second-round designation allows another team to negotiate with and sign a player to an offer sheet, but it provides seven days for the original team to match the offer. If that team elects not to match, it receives a second-round pick from the other team as compensation for losing the player.

The original-round tender provides compensation equal to the round in which the player was drafted as a rookie. In Dickson’s case, the Ravens would receive another team’s third-round draft choice if they elected not to match a signed offer sheet.

Wide receiver David Reed was non-tendered but signed a two-year contract to remain with the Ravens. According to The Sun, the deal reportedly has a maximum value of almost $2.5 million but will be a lower cap number than the $1.323 million for the original-round tender, the lowest amount you can tender a restricted free agent.

Long snapper Morgan Cox was also non-tendered and agreed to a two-year deal.

Offensive lineman Ramon Harewood was the last of the six restricted free agents to be addressed as the Ravens reached an agreement on a one-year deal with the 2010 sixth-round pick.

Teams had until 3:59 p.m. on Tuesday to tender contracts to restricted free agents or they would become unrestricted free agents for the start of the new league year.

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Difficult decisions still loom for Ravens after locking up Flacco

Posted on 02 March 2013 by Luke Jones

General manager Ozzie Newsome and the Ravens front office had to wake up smiling the morning after reaching an agreement in principle with Joe Flacco on a six-year, $120.6 million contract that’s expected to be finalized Monday.

The move not only locks up the franchise quarterback for the long haul, but it’s also expected to provide short-term relief to a tight salary cap that would have had a difficult time absorbing a minimum of $14.9 million with the non-exclusive franchise tag. All the terms of the record-setting contract have yet to be released, but the 2013 cap number is just $7 million, according to CBS Sports’ Jason LaCanfora.

Estimated to have roughly $18 million in cap space before accounting for their quarterback or any of their unrestricted, restricted, or exclusive-rights free agents, the Ravens will now have some space to maneuver but not enough to change the entire landscape of their offseason. Moderation will be the key as Newsome will look to sign a couple of his own unrestricted free agents, make wise decisions on his seven restricted free agents, and then turn toward the open market to explore some shrewd signings.

Here’s a rundown of what to expect as the Ravens address their remaining free agents:

No tag this year

The first order of business will be the potential use of the franchise tag as teams have until Monday at 4 p.m. to designate a player if they so desire. Many have begun asking if Newsome and the Ravens will now use the tag on outside linebacker Paul Kruger or inside linebacker Dannell Ellerbe, but we received a preliminary answer to that query just a few days after the Super Bowl.

“If we get a deal done with Joe, we will not franchise another player,” said Newsome as he appealed to owner Steve Bisciotti with a humorous tone. “We will not do that. You are OK with that, right?”

The 2013 tag numbers released by the NFL on Friday suggest that stance isn’t changing as the Ravens would be looking at a $9.6 million cost at the linebacker position. As it relates to Kruger, the pass rusher could contest that he should be considered a defensive end, which commands an $11.175 million tag number for the 2013 season.

Those price tags are far too expensive for Kruger or Ellerbe as the Ravens would be looking at massive cuts to accommodate the franchise tag, regardless of what Flacco’s 2013 cap number ultimately is.

Cuts still coming

We’ve spent plenty of time discussing which veterans might be on the chopping block due to cap constraints and the Ravens will still pull the trigger on a few. It just won’t be the mass exodus that was feared if Flacco had received either of the franchise tag options.

Offensive lineman Bobbie Williams is the easiest decision as the Ravens will clear $1.2 million from their cap by releasing the 36-year-old lineman. Linebackers Brendon Ayanbadejo ($806,000 in savings) and Jameel McClain ($1.8 million saved) are also likely to go, with McClain becoming far more expendable if the Ravens can sign Dannell Ellerbe to a long-term deal before he hits the open market.

It would be an unpopular decision, but fullback Vonta Leach remains an intriguing option to release as it would save $3 million in cap space. Leach is tremendous at what he does as the best pure fullback in the NFL, but the Ravens are clearly moving toward a pass-heavy attack after committing the richest contract in league history to their quarterback.

The 31-year-old Leach took part in just 39.7 percent of the Ravens’ offensive snaps in the postseason, so can you justify devoting that big of a cap number to the fullback with other pressing needs at left tackle and all over the defense? Should they part ways with Leach, tight end Ed Dickson could serve in more of an H-back capacity and the Ravens could look to a younger, cheaper option coming out of college.

The Flacco contract means wide receivers Anquan Boldin and Jacoby Jones are very likely to be safe, but the Ravens could explore reasonable contract extensions for both as they enter the final years of their respective contracts, thus lowering their cap numbers for 2013. This is especially true for Boldin, who carries a $7.5 million number for the upcoming season and proved himself worthy of a couple more years in Baltimore after an outstanding postseason.

Prioritizing unrestricted free agents

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A. Jones confident defense can do job against mobile Kaepernick

Posted on 31 January 2013 by WNST Staff

DEFENSIVE END ARTHUR JONES

(on how his week has been) “It’s been a dream come true. Growing up as a kid, watching the NFL and watching Super Bowls, this is it. We’re living in the moment. We’re just excited to be here and we definitely want to take advantage of our situation and our opportunity. This stage isn’t too big for us. We’ve got great leadership. We’ve got Ray (Lewis), Ed Reed on defense and Joe Flacco on the offensive side of the ball. This stage isn’t too big. Guys are doing a great job of taking care of each other. Yesterday we had an awesome practice. I think we had one of our better practices that we’ve had from a defensive standpoint. We’re so excited about our game plan that we can’t wait to get to Sunday. Right now, it’s about staying poised and getting ready for Sunday and not playing the game on Thursday instead of Sunday.”

 

(on how the team has played in pressure-filled games) “I feel like our team has done a great job, us as a defensive line of causing pressure and getting after the pass. On the offensive side of the ball, (we’ve) matched quarterbacks. We’ve played against two great quarterbacks, and Colin Kaepernick is a great quarterback, too. I know Joe (Flacco) is ready to match points and put as many points on the board. We’re ready for this.”

 

(on if he has a lasting memory of a previous Super Bowl) “It’s been so many. I watch them year-in and year-out. Last year was a pretty good one.”

 

(on if his brothers Jon Jones and Patriots defensive end Chandler Jones are in New Orleans to attend the Super Bowl) “They’re already in town. Jon just flew in today, and Chandler has been here all week. I’m excited to see those guys. It’s going to be a good time.”

 

(on what Chandler thinks about it so far) “He’s excited for me. It’s been tough because I know he wanted to be in the big dance too, but he has a lot of time left. He’s going to let me have my moment.”

 

(on preparing for the running threat that Colin Kaepernick presents) “I don’t want to give up too much of our game plan, but it’s going to take everyone doing their job, everyone staying in their lanes and not trying to do too much. I feel like we’ve done a good job in the past, playing against RG III (Robert Griffin III) and Michael Vick. I’m really excited.”

 

(on the importance of stopping San Francisco running back Frank Gore) “That’s what it all comes down to: stopping that run. Frank Gore runs that offense. He’s a hard runner, and then they change it up a little with LaMichael James. It’s up to us up front to dominate the line of scrimmage upfront and stop the run.”

 

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