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Ravens-Bengals: Inactives and pre-game notes

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Ravens-Bengals: Inactives and pre-game notes

Posted on 29 December 2013 by Luke Jones

The Ravens are looking the end of their season squarely in the face unless they can triumph against the Bengals in Cincinnati and receive some help on Sunday afternoon.

Needing a win and a loss by either Miami or San Diego to clinch their sixth straight trip to the postseason under head coach John Harbaugh, the Ravens must become the first team to beat the Bengals at home this year as Cincinnati has scored more than 40 points in each of their last four games at Paul Brown Stadium. Of course, the Ravens have struggled mightily away from Baltimore this year, compiling a poor 2-5 record on the road, which largely explains why they find themselves needing a win and help to make the playoffs in Week 17.

Defensive tackle Arthur Jones is out for Sunday’s game after he was not able to pass the NFL’s mandated concussion protocol. The fourth-year lineman suffered a concussion in the fourth quarter of last week’s loss to New England and missed practice all week.

Jones’ slow recovery has come two years after he suffered a concussion and missed two games in the 2011 season.

Second-year defensive lineman DeAngelo Tyson would likely take the lion’s share of Jones’ work with fellow reserves Terrence Cody and Brandon Williams seeing increased roles in the defensive line rotation. Williams is listed as active for the first time since the Ravens played at Chicago on Nov. 17.

As expected, running back Ray Rice (thigh), wide receiver Torrey Smith (thigh), linebacker Elvis Dumervil (ankle), and center Gino Gradkowski (knee) are all active for Sunday’s game despite being listed as questionable on the final injury report.

The Bengals will be without their top two tight ends as rookie Tyler Eifert (neck) and veteran Jermaine Gresham (hamstring) are both sidelined for the regular-season finale. This leaves Cincinnati with only Alex Smith and H-back Orson Charles at the tight end position.

Linebacker Vontaze Burfict (concussion) is active for Cincinnati after practicing fully on Friday.

Baltimore has yet to earn an AFC North win on the road this season as the Ravens meet Cincinnati for the 36th time in franchise history. They hold the 20-15 edge in the all-time series, but the Bengals are 10-7 against the Ravens at home.

The Ravens will be wearing white jerseys with black pants while Cincinnati sports black jerseys for Week 17.

The referee for Sunday’s game will be Scott Green.

The forecast in Cincinnati calls for temperatures in the mid-40s with a 45 percent chance of rain by the 1 p.m. kickoff before precipitation tapers off later in the afternoon with winds 12 to 13 miles per hour.

Here are Sunday’s inactives:

BALTIMORE
DT Art Jones
CB Asa Jackson
S Omar Brown
OL Ryan Jensen
WR Deonte Thompson
TE Dallas Clark
LB John Simon

CINCINNATI
TE Tyler Eifert
CB Terence Newman
DT Devon Still
TE Jermaine Gresham
RB Rex Burkhead
WR Ryan Whalen
OL Tanner Hawkinson

Follow WNST on Twitter throughout the afternoon for updates and analysis as Nestor Aparicio brings live coverage from Paul Brown Stadium.

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Monroe trying to overcome learning curve as quickly as possible

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Monroe trying to overcome learning curve as quickly as possible

Posted on 03 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. — Even with all the concerns surrounding the Ravens as they take a 2-2 record to Miami on Sunday, they’ve still matched the total number of wins new left tackle Eugene Monroe experienced in Jacksonville over the last two seasons combined.

To nobody’s surprise, the fifth-year lineman and eighth overall pick of the 2009 draft feels like a new man in joining the defending Super Bowl champions after five years in football purgatory. Monroe said all the right things about his former team on Thursday, but he couldn’t hide his excitement over receiving a fresh start.

“To come into a situation like this with a culture of winning is unique,” Monroe said. “It’s something that I really haven’t been around, so it’s exciting to experience this.”

The Ravens made the trade for Monroe official on Thursday, releasing veteran tight end Billy Bajema to clear a spot on their 53-man roster. To ease concerns about the tackle’s 2013 base salary, the Jaguars agreed to pay all but $547,000 of his remaining salary, leaving the Ravens with enough room to fit Monroe underneath the salary cap.

With all the business details out of the way, the Ravens were noncommittal about Monroe’s status for Sunday’s game with only a couple days of practice time to get him up to speed on the Baltimore playbook, but offensive coordinator Jim Caldwell knows how much potential the lineman holds. As the former head coach of Indianapolis, Caldwell saw Monroe twice a year in AFC South meetings and claimed that Colts pass rushers Dwight Freeney — now with San Diego — and Robert Mathis often had difficulty against the University of Virginia product.

“The two pass rushers we had down there certainly respected him quite a bit because of the fact that he did such a tremendous job against them,” said Caldwell, who acknowledged it would be conceivable for Monroe to at least play a limited role on Sunday. “We’re happy to have him. He’s a great young man with an abundance of talent.”

It’s simply a matter of when, not if, Monroe will take veteran Bryant McKinnie’s place with the starting offensive line, but the newcomer appeared to be in a strict learning and observing mode during the portion of practice open to media on Thursday. Monroe told reporters he feels great physically after playing in Jacksonville’s first four games of the season, but the mental challenge of absorbing the Ravens’ playbook so quickly won’t be easy.

The Ravens find themselves in a difficult spot in deciding between an understandably-disgruntled McKinnie and an underprepared Monroe facing a talented Miami front that could include a returning Cameron Wake, who is regarded as one of the league’s best pass rushers after collecting 15 sacks last season.

“When you’re speaking a different language, you have to be on page with the other guys or it’s not going to be a good outcome,” said Monroe, who acknowledged that some of the Ravens’ techniques and assignments share similarities with what he used in Jacksonville. “Overcoming the learning curve and getting acclimated with how things are done around here is going to be the big challenge.”

Once Monroe grasps the playbook, the Ravens are not only hoping to have a clear upgrade at left tackle in the present but also a long-term option at the position that they’ve lacked since the retirement of Hall of Famer Jonathan Ogden following the 2007 season.

Monroe is scheduled to become a free agent after this season, but even he acknowledged the Ravens’ willingness to surrender fourth- and fifth-round picks is a good indication that he could fit into their future plans.

“It doesn’t look like they brought me here the way they did to not have me here for a long time,” Monroe said. “But again, I have to do my thing on the field, prove that I deserve this opportunity, which I’m fully confident that I will.”

Caldwell’s take on running game

Coach John Harbaugh stood by the Ravens rushing a franchise-low nine times during their 23-20 loss to Buffalo in Week 4, but Caldwell didn’t echo that exact sentiment with a few more days to think about the offensive attack.

The Ravens dropped back to pass on 31 straight plays at one point and did not record a rushing attempt in the third quarter against the Bills. Harbaugh said it was his call to abandon the run game because he didn’t feel the rushing attack was working well enough to help them win the game.

“If you had a chance to do it all over again, perhaps we’d have to consider and look at running that ball a little bit more,” Caldwell said. “I don’t think we ran it quite enough [against Buffalo]. Oftentimes, you just try to look at how the game is going, how you are faring in terms of blocking them up front, and then make a determination on how you’re going to go win it.”

The Ravens are averaging just 2.6 yards per carry, which ranks 30th in the league.

First-down woes defensively

Defensive coordinator Dean Pees clearly wasn’t played with his unit’s performance against the run in Week 4 after the Ravens surrendered 203 yards on 55 carries to the Bills.

After crediting Buffalo’s game plan that caught Baltimore coaches and players off guard, Pees offered an explanation of what exactly led to the Ravens nearly giving up as many yards on the ground against the Bills as they had in their first three games combined (224 on 66 carries).

“We’re doing OK on third down. We’re doing well on third-and-short, which we didn’t do well a year ago,” Pees said. “We’re doing well in the red area. And up until this game, we were doing well on the run. But the run was primarily first-down run. That’s where we got in trouble. It’s hard when it’s second down-and-four and second down-and-three. All of a sudden, now you’ve got to really try to tighten it down to get to third.”

Not counting Bills quarterback EJ Manuel’s kneel-downs at the end of the game, the Ravens gave up 143 yards and a touchdown on 25 carries on first-down plays. For the season, Baltimore has surrendered 253 rushing yards on 64 first-down attempts.

Jones back in return mix

Wide receiver Jacoby Jones was practicing for the second straight day Thursday and could provide a much-needed boost to the passing game should his knee be deemed ready to go against the Dolphins.

Fellow wide receiver Tandon Doss has down an admirable job as a punt returner, but the Ravens would love to have Jones’ explosiveness back in the return game as soon as possible. Ideally, they’d like to take it slow with Jones, but the current injury situations for rookie Marlon Brown (hamstring) and Deonte Thompson (knee) could make Jones’ availability a necessity in Miami.

“He’s catching balls, he’s doing what he can in practice,” special teams coordinator Jerry Rosburg said. “We look forward to having him back.”

Jones injured the medial collateral ligament in his right knee in the season opener on Sept. 5 and has been sidelined ever since.

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Predicting the 2013 Ravens roster after the final preseason game

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Predicting the 2013 Ravens roster after the final preseason game

Posted on 29 August 2013 by Luke Jones

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

The Ravens concluded their preseason with a 24-21 loss to the St. Louis Rams in a game that featured none of the team’s starters and extensive work for a number of bubble players fighting for spots on the 53-man roster.

With third-string quarterback Caleb Hanie playing the entire game, it’s difficult to conclude that anything changed dramatically in the competition at wide receiver and tight end where a few spots were still up for grabs. However, the battles for the potential No. 3 running back job and the fourth safety spot featured plenty of action for players projected to be on the bubble.

The Ravens appeared to suffer only one significant injury in Thursday’s game as linebacker D.J. Bryant suffered a significant knee injury at the end of the first half that will likely sideline him for the rest of the season. Though the Randallstown High alum was a long shot to make the 53-man roster, he appeared to be a solid candidate for the practice squad after joining the Ravens in that capacity last year.

My final look at the roster suggests 44 healthy players are locks as the Ravens make final decisions by Saturday. My assessment of the 75 players on the roster lists 16 players on the bubble with at least some chance of making the final roster. Not all bubble players are on equal footing, with certain positions lacking quality depth and others enjoying an abundance of talent.

Though general manager Ozzie Newsome, Harbaugh, and the remainder of the coaching staff and front office are cognizant of the number of players at each position, trying to pinpoint a specific number of wide receivers or linebackers isn’t the most accurate way of projecting the roster. The Ravens will always look carefully at players’ special-teams abilities in addition to what they bring to their specific positional group.

The Ravens must trim the roster to the regular-season number of 53 by 6 p.m. on Saturday, and Harbaugh told reporters following Thursday’s game that some cuts would be made early while others likely wouldn’t come until Saturday.

The numbers in parentheses indicate the total number of players projected to be on the 53-man roster at that given position. Players listed as injured or suspended do not count against the 53-man roster when final cuts are made. Players deemed to be on the bubble are marked with an asterisk.

QUARTERBACKS (2)
IN: Joe Flacco, Tyrod Taylor
OUT: Caleb Hanie, Dayne Crist
Skinny: The Ravens were wise in keeping Taylor out of harm’s way and allowing Hanie to go the distance. All signs point to Baltimore carrying just two quarterbacks on the 53-man roster for the fourth straight season.

RUNNING BACKS & FULLBACKS (6)
IN: Ray Rice, Bernard Pierce, Vonta Leach, Kyle Juszczyk, *Anthony Allen, *Bobby Rainey
OUT: *Delone Carter
Skinny: Some flexibility — or lack of depth — at other positions might allow the Ravens to carry both Allen and Rainey on the roster for the time being. Allen is a standout special-teams player with limited ability at running back while Rainey shows offensive upside but offers little to the special teams other than as a backup returner.

WIDE RECEIVERS (7)
IN: Torrey Smith, Jacoby Jones, Brandon Stokley, Marlon Brown, *Tandon Doss, *Deonte Thompson, *Aaron Mellette
OUT: *LaQuan Williams
Skinny: Williams saw no time at wide receiver on Thursday night, making it difficult to read where he stands at this point. Brown turned himself into a lock — he won’t make it through waivers to the practice squad — after a strong performance for the second straight game while Doss and Mellette also played well in the preseason finale.

TIGHT ENDS (3)
IN: Ed Dickson, *Dallas Clark, *Billy Bajema
OUT: *Matt Furstenburg, Alex Silvestro
INJURED RESERVE: Dennis Pitta (will be placed on injured reserve with a chance of receiving the designation to return)
Skinny: Clark was unimpressive again, but he’s worked with the first-team offense extensively in practices since signing with the Ravens a couple weeks ago. Bajema and Furstenburg did nothing to distinguish themselves, making you think Furstenburg has a better chance of finding his way to the practice squad.

OFFENSIVE LINEMEN (8)
IN: Marshal Yanda, Michael Oher, Bryant McKinnie, Kelechi Osemele, Gino Gradkowski, A.Q. Shipley, Jah Reid, Rick Wagner
OUT: *Jordan Devey, Antoine McClain, Rogers Gaines, J.J. Unga, Reggie Stephens
INJURED: Ryan Jensen (will likely be placed on injured reserve after suffering a broken foot in the first week of camp)
Skinny: Devey has had a solid preseason, but it wouldn’t be surprising to see the Ravens add another veteran to bolster their depth with only eight linemen projected to be on the roster at this point. The fact that Gradkowski didn’t play in the preseason finale tells you he has won the starting center job to begin the season with Shipley backing him up.

DEFENSIVE LINEMEN (6)

CONTINUE ON NEXT PAGE >>>>>

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Live announced as musical headliner for Grand Prix of Baltimore

Posted on 15 July 2013 by WNST Staff

Multi-Platinum Recording Artists Live to Headline Extensive Musical Lineup

At 2013 Grand Prix of Baltimore Presented by SRT

 

BALTIMORE (July 15, 2013) – Organizers of the Grand Prix of Baltimore presented by SRT today announced that Live, the legendary foursome that has sold more than 22 million albums and packed stadium venues around the world, will perform on the event’s main stage Saturday, Aug. 31 at 6 p.m. The chart-topping band from York, Pa., will lead a diverse musical lineup that includes popular local and regional acts that will entertain event-goers throughout Labor Day weekend.

Recognized for smash hits such as Lightning CrashesSelling the DramaAll Over YouI Alone and The Dolphin’s Cry, Live has performed on some of the nation’s best-known television programs, including “Saturday Night Live” and “MTV Unplugged.”Rolling Stone and MTV both honored the band’s second album – Throwing Copper – as “One of the 25 Greatest Rock Albums of All Time.”

“Live is a great addition to the Celebration of Acceleration,” said J.P. Grant, managing director of Grand Prix of Baltimore promoter Race On, LLC. “We’re pleased to have them as the headliners of an exceptional and well-rounded musical lineup that offers something for everyone.”

Live – lead guitarist Chad Taylor, bassist Patrick Dahlheimer, drummer Chad Gracey and lead vocalist Chris Shinn – will perform a 90-minute set that will include many of the band’s biggest hits as well as new material. The performance, like all main stage entertainment, is open to all Grand Prix ticketholders at no additional cost.

In addition to announcing Live as the weekend’s headliner, Grand Prix of Baltimore organizers released information regarding other bands that will be performing at the following locations and approximate times throughout the event footprint. The musical entertainment schedule for the Grand Prix’s beer garden venue will be announced separately.

Complementing the bands listed below will be regular main stage appearances by DJ Prievo, widely known for his weekly radio mix show on The Border 106.7 in New York.

 

Friday, Aug. 30

Main Stage:

*2 p.m. to 4 p.m.: The Doyle Brothers, a New York-based band that combines the timeless classics of the Everly Brothers with the modern swagger of Michael Bublé and Bruno Mars.

*6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.: The Waiting, a tribute band performing the hits of Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers.

 

Andretti Club:

*12 p.m. to 12:45 p.m.: Levi Stephens, indie artist whose music seamless melds the genres of R&B soul, rock and gospel.

*4:15 p.m. to 5 p.m.: Michelle Murray, a fast-rising country music star whose current single Trip around the Sun is climbing the charts.

 

Corporate Village Trackside:

*1:15 p.m. to 2 p.m.: Levi Stephens

*3 p.m. to 3:45 p.m.: Michelle Murray

 

Saturday, Aug. 31

 

Main Stage:

*2 p.m. to 4 p.m.: Kelly Bell Band, voted best blues band in the Mid-Atlantic 12 years in a row, is a Baltimore-based favorite.

*6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.: Live, the multi-platinum headline act performs international hits.

 

Andretti Club:

*12 p.m. to 12:45 p.m.: Michelle Murray

*4:15 p.m. to 5 p.m.: Rebecca Moreland, of Nashville, performs her “soulful acoustic pop.”

 

Corporate Village Trackside:

*1:15 p.m. to 2 p.m.: Michelle Murray

*3 p.m. to 3:45 p.m.: Rebecca Moreland

 

Sunday, Sept. 1

Main Stage:

*12 p.m. to 2 p.m.: Michelle Murray

 

Andretti Club:

*12 p.m. to 12: 45 p.m.: Levi Stephens

*4:15 p.m. to 5 p.m.: Rebecca Moreland

 

Corporate Village Trackside:

*1:15 p.m. to 2 p.m.: Levi Stephens

*3 p.m. to 3:45 p.m.: Rebecca Moreland

 

*All times are approximate. Actual performance times may vary due to on-track activities.

 

About the Grand Prix of Baltimore presented by SRT

The third annual Grand Prix of Baltimore presented by SRT is one of only two events in the United States to feature the IZOD IndyCar Series and the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) presented by Tequila Patron in the same weekend. The IZOD IndyCar Series runs 75 laps around the Grand Prix’s 12-turn, two-mile street course adjacent to the famed Inner Harbor in downtown Baltimore. The ALMS race is a timed competition, with the team completing the most laps in 2 hours and 45 minutes taking the victory. The Grand Prix of Baltimore presented by SRT also includes Firestone Indy Lights racing and, for the first time in 2013, the largest single-make series in North America: the IMSA GT3 Cup Challenge by Yokohama.

Beyond the racing action, the Grand Prix of Baltimore presented by SRT offers a full range of food and beverage offerings – including an all-you-can-eat Maryland crab feast – and dynamic live musical entertainment. The Esskay Family Fun Zone houses a wealth of interactive games and activities for parents and children of all ages in an indoor, climate-controlled environment.

The 2013 Grand Prix of Baltimore presented by SRT will take place Labor Day weekend, Aug. 30 to Sept. 1, 2013. For more information, please visit www.grandprixofbaltimore.com.

 

About SRT

Chrysler Group’s Street and Racing Technology (SRT) brand leverages a distinct product development formula of five essential hallmarks: awe-inspiring powertrains; outstanding ride, handling and capability; benchmark braking; aggressive and functional exteriors and race-inspired and high-performance interiors to remain true to its promise of well-rounded performance. The SRT vehicle lineup includes the SRT Viper, 300 SRT, Challenger SRT, Charger SRT and Grand Cherokee SRT.

New ‘Core’ versions of the 300 SRT and Challenger SRT join the lineup in 2013, applying the same philosophy as the existing Charger SRT Super Bee and SRT Viper. Visit driveSRT.com for the latest SRT vehicle and community news.

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Ravens-Jaguars preseason primer: Five position battles to watch

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Ravens-Jaguars preseason primer: Five position battles to watch

Posted on 22 August 2012 by Luke Jones

Moving ever closer to games that actually count, the Ravens will play their third preseason contest of the summer Thursday as they welcome the Jacksonville Jaguars to M&T Bank Stadium.

Coach John Harbaugh is planning to play his starters well into the third quarter as Baltimore meets Jacksonville in the preseason for the first time ever. Traditionally, the third preseason game is considered the final real test for the regular season as starters see their most extensive action before barely making a cameo — if they even do that — in the final preseason game.

The Ravens will try to find more rhythm on both sides of the football, but the vanilla looks we saw in each of the first two preseason games will remain as the coaching staff does not game-plan for opponents in the preseason. For this reason, some downplay the significance placed on the “dress rehearsal” of the preseason.

“I guess that’s the way we’re trained to kind of look at it, just because that is the game [the starters] play the most in,” quarterback Joe Flacco said. “We want to go out there and put good work forward and good footage that we can look at and learn from. This week is kind of the same. We want to go out there and we want to play well, but at the same time, we need to clean some things up and see what we’re getting better at and see what we still need to work on maybe even a little bit more.”

As is always the case, the preseason holds the most significance for players competing for starting positions or spots on the 53-man roster, but the coaching staff wants to see rhythm and communication improve as some starters will be playing together in a game for the final time before the season opener against the Cincinnati Bengals on Sept. 10.

Issues facing the Ravens in the offseason such as becoming more efficient in the red-zone offense and establishing a pass rush without Pro Bowl linebacker Terrell Suggs have carried into the preseason, and Harbaugh would like to see glimpses of optimism in those areas with the season set to kick off in less than three weeks.

“The performances of certain players are a really big part of it, but the performances of groups and units together is probably more important, because that’s how the game is played,” Harbaugh said. “We would expect that to be the case – guys working together better, fewer communication mistakes, being more synchronized.”

Even for longtime veterans such as 17-year linebacker Ray Lewis, the third preseason game provides a nice tuneup to not only be on the field for an extended period but to provide the emotional charge they’ll experience in beginning their quest to return to the AFC Championship game — and try to advance a step further — in 2012.

And while it’s not on the list of priorities for Thursday’s game, the Ravens’ embarrassing 12-7 loss to Jacksonville last season was on the mind of at least one Baltimore defensive player. The Jaguars ran for 132 yards against the Ravens on Oct. 24 of last season, but 105 came from the legs of running back Maurice Jones-Drew, who is currently holding out over a contract dispute.

“This is a good test for us,” Lewis said. “These guys run the ball pretty well, and for us to come in and have this type of test right now, being our third preseason game, yeah, I’m a little ready.”

Unofficially (and largely speculative) injury report

The Ravens are not required to release an injury report like they do for regular-season games, but I’ve offered my best guess at what the injury report would look like if there were one.

Though not dealing with an injury, defensive end Pernell McPhee’s status for Thursday remains unknown as he’s been away from the team since the weekend due to the death of a family member.

Again, this is not meant to be an official injury report:

OUT: OT Jah Reid (calf), LB Josh Bynes (back), TE Dennis Pitta (hand), TE Ed Dickson (shoulder), LB Terrell Suggs (Achilles tendon), WR David Reed (knee), DL Ryan McBean (ankle)
QUESTIONABLE: G Marshal Yanda (leg), LB Sergio Kindle (shoulder), S Sean Considine (head), LB Darryl Blackstock (groin)
PROBABLE: WR Torrey Smith (ankle), G Bobbie Williams (ankle)

Five positions to watch Thursday night

1. Left guard – Bobbie Williams and Kelechi Osemele

Should starting right guard Marshal Yanda be held out Thursday after accidentally being undercut by linebacker Chavis Williams during Monday’s practice, it will be more difficult to get a read on where the Ravens stand with their left guard position. It appears the coaching staff has finally settled on veteran Bryant McKinnie at left tackle and Michael Oher on the right side — the two have practiced in those spots exclusively since the second preseason game — but Osemele has begun working at guard more extensively with the 35-year-old Williams still dealing with scar tissue breaking up in his surgically-repaired ankle.

Interestingly enough, Williams was working at right guard in Yanda’s place, which seemed odd for the lineman expected to start on the left side, but it was the position the veteran primarily played in his years with the Cincinnati Bengals. Osemele has been very impressive this summer, making you wonder if he could eventually unseat Williams in the starting lineup. His ankle makes you question whether Williams will hold up over a 16-game schedule, but the Ravens feel confident that Osemele can be a contributor as a rookie if necessary.

My gut choice if the season started today: Williams gets the nod due to experience, but the Ravens won’t hesitate to go with Osemele if the veteran struggles as the season progresses.

2. Defensive end – Arthur Jones and Pernell McPhee

Thursday would be a golden opportunity for Jones to make up ground if McPhee remains away from the team due to a death in the family. A hip flexor injury cost Jones valuable practice time, allowing McPhee to receive the bulk of the reps and take the lead in the push for the starting job. A 2011 fifth-round pick out of Mississippi State, McPhee had the reputation of being stronger against the run prior to a surprising rookie season that included six sacks, and he played well against the run in the Ravens’ first two preseason games.

Jones has a strong lower body that translates well in run-stopping situations, but he doesn’t stand out when asked to get after the quarterback, which led many to believe he would see time on first and second downs with McPhee spelling him in passing situations. However, it now appears McPhee can handle the duties of a three-down lineman, and Jones could find himself as more of a situational player like he was last season. Regardless of which player the Ravens anoint as the starter, both will factor heavily into the defensive line rotation.

My gut choice if the season started today: McPhee has stood out on the defensive line as a more complete player and would be the choice as the starter even though Jones will still see plenty of opportunities.

3. Rush linebacker – Albert McClellan and Courtney Upshaw

CONTINUE >>>

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