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B&B Big Story Banter: Preseason Week 2 Ravens Watch

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B&B Big Story Banter: Preseason Week 2 Ravens Watch

Posted on 15 August 2014 by Brett Dickinson

By: Brett Dickinson and Barry Kamen

With the Baltimore Ravens heading into their second preseason game, there is still a lot of questions pertaining to the current roster. Injuries have plagued the practice field and concerns have arisen about the depth at certain positions.  Before the Ravens head to Jerry-World to face the Cowboys, we give you four Ravens to keep an eye on in Week 2 of the preseason.

Sammy Seamster (Cornerback)-Brett

Sammy SeamsterWith LarDarius Webb having a back injury, along with Asa Jackson leaving practice earlier this week, an already thin unit now has serious issues. Seamster is an undrafted rookie free agent, but had a legit shot to make the team before the depth chart began to look baron. Now with those injuries the Ravens brass will be counting on Seamster to play significant minutes for the rest of the preseason.

He has good size, standing at 6’0″ and ideal to play on the outside in most defensive alignments. He could even get some minutes against the ones for the Cowboys, which could help examine his merits against the likes of one of the best wide receivers in the league in Dez Bryant.  Either way, Dallas has a prolific offense that will be a test for the rookie and determine if he is ready to be the “next man up” or if general manager Ozzie Newsome needs sort through the waiver wire for another cornerback.

Albert McClellan (Inside Linebacker)- Barry

Albert McClellanWhile Brett watches the rookies, I will be watching the veterans. McClellan has been an unheralded player for the Baltimore Ravens since he made his debut three seasons ago. After signing as an undrafted free agent out of Marshall in 2010, McClellan made the transition from college defensive end to outside linebacker, carving his niche on special teams and proving his worth to coach John Harbaugh, who has a soft spot for the special teams units. McClellan also moved to inside linebacker when Ray Lewis fell victim to a triceps injury in 2012.

At the moment, McClellan finds himself buried on the team’s depth chart. With veteran Daryl Smith and  two top draft choices in C.J. Mosley and Arthur Brown guaranteed roster spots, McClellan will battle with Josh Bynes for playing time, and possible a roster spot. In order to solidify his position, McClellan must lead a young special teams unit, and show that he can still get to the quarterback from the inside linebacker position.

Crockett Gillmore (Tight End)-Brett

Crockett GillmoreThough he did not come down with a catch in the first preseason game, expect to see more from the rookie tight end against Dallas and their porous defense. With H-back Kyle Juszczyk proving to be an assest in the passing game in week one of the preseason, the team may be switching its direction at tight end. Even though he is known more as a blocker, Gillmore may be the big target the Ravens have been looking for on third down and in the red zone.

With veteran tight end Owen Daniels under-performing at camp, the Ravens could look to save his roster spot for a thinner position. If Gillmore can prove to be a weapon in the passing game, the organization may be inclined to stick with him as the primary backup to tight end Dennis Pitta.  With only 53 men available, every roster spot becomes that much more vital; if Gillmore fulfills both roles in the running and passing game, the Ravens have a cheaper option, while adding room for another piece at a different position.

Jah Reid (Guard/Tackle)- Barry 

After another disappointing season and an offseason that included an arrest, I thought that the Jah Reid era in Baltimore had finally come to a close. Apparently, the big man has other ideas. Reid has been getting second team repetitions at right tackle behind Rick Wagner, and has shed some weight to help ease the transition to tackle. The former third round pick out of Central Florida has yet to make the leap into the starting lineup that the team expected, but appears to be getting comfortable with offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak and offensive line coach Juan Castillo. While I still cringe at the thought of Reid competing to be the team’s starting right tackle, the  mantra “better late than never” applies.

The expectation for Saturday night’s game against the Cowboys is for Reid to continue to play with the second team, which could amount to two full quarters and somewhere between 4-6 offensive series. If Reid has a solid game, there’s a good chance that he sees some time with the first team offense moving forward. Following last year’s week 1 debacle against Denver, where Michael Oher went down early and Wagner was forced to play, the Ravens should ensure that Reid has experience playing next to the team’s best lineman in Marshal Yanda.

 

 

Listen to Brett Dickinson and Barry Kamen every Saturday morning from 9a-12p on “The Brett and Barry Show”. 

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Ravens CB Chykie Brown tossed from practice as Harbaugh preaches discipline

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Ravens CB Chykie Brown tossed from practice as Harbaugh preaches discipline

Posted on 02 August 2014 by Ryan Chell

Despite a great practice on Saturday on the field for the Baltimore Ravens, head coach John Harbaugh was not well pleased with how his team was handling their success, and ultimately it became a teaching moment for one of the Ravens young players.

During team drills, quarterback Joe Flacco completed a short drag route on the left side of the field. The pass was complete, but short of the first down.

But minutes later, as the defense was celebrating the short stop-Harbaugh signaled first down and had the chain gang move down the field, shocking Terrell Suggs, Haloti Ngata and several other Ravens defenders who were lined up on the sideline.

Harbaugh told his defense that they lingered on the field too long , and that several of the guys-including linebackers coach Don “Wink” Martindale came off the sideline onto the practice field.

“We talked about that in the meeting!” Harbaugh exclaimed.

It was made abundantly clear Saturday that with camp that Harbaugh is trying to get his team disciplined coming off the practice fields at Owings Mills and ready for 60 minutes of football at M&T Bank Stadium and on the road.

The Ravens will play the San Francisco 49ers at home this Thursday in their first preseason game, with a rematch of Super Bowl 47 and the “Harbaugh Bowl” between brothers John and Jim Harbaugh.

The next play, Ravens CB Chykie Brown nearly came down with an interception off Joe Flacco, and with the ball lying on the turf, Brown kicked the ball several yards down the field in frustration.

Harbaugh was none too pleased with Brown’s actions and made it known to the fourth-year CB, as he kicked Brown off the practice field.

Brown ran off the field to Harbaugh saying, “Are we going to be a disciplined team or a bullsh*t one?”

Harbaugh said they had a meeting Friday night about possible infractions the referees were going to be more serious about enforcing, and the Ravens coach said he needed to set an example of Brown.

“I took an opportunity to make a point,” he said. “It was a little exuberance, but those things it’s practicing. As a head coach when you have an opportunity to make a point that they’ll remember in a situation like that, that’s why practice is important.”

Brown returned ten minutes later, and clearly had a chip on his shoulder to get back in his coach’s good graces. Maybe too much-as he and wide receiver Steve Smith, who got a day off on Friday, exchanged punches during one of the drills.

Offensive lineman Ryan Jensen and Kapron Lewis-Moore also got into it during practice.

Overall though, Harbaugh said Brown had a very impressive practice Saturday-along with the total defense.

“That’s what I love about him…he responded with a great practice…that’s a sign that he’s going to be alright.”

10 Baltimore Ravens missed practice Saturday, including the usual likes of CB Lardarius Webb (back), LB Daryl Smith (groin), DT Terrence Cody (hip), G Will Rackley (concussion), DT Timmy Jernigan (back), and DE Brent Urban, who tore his ACL Thursday and is going to miss the season.

Harbaugh said that Webb likely will not play in the first two preseason games nursing that back injury. His absence at this point is mostly precautionary, and that he likely would only play in the third preseason game.

“He’s got some things going on that aren’t long term…it’s probably just as much me as anything. I don’t want to put him through a lot this early in camp.”

Harbaugh said that Timmy Jernigan, who left Thursday with a back injury, could be back on the practice field soon. His back injury is all muscle, and Harbaugh didn’t want him practicing with discomfort.

“He assures me he’ll play Thursday night.”

OT Eugene Monroe, CB Jimmy Smith, and WR Steve Smith all returned to practice after a day off Friday.  OG Kelechi Osemele, OG Marshal Yanda, TE Owen Daniels, and DE/OLB Pernell McPhee were given Saturday off.

With the two guards out, second-year man Ryan Jensen lined up at LG while AQ Shipley took Yanda’s place in the starting five. Ricky Wagner returned to RT as a starter after Jah Reid got some reps at the position this week.

WR/KR Michael Campanaro left practice early with a trainer with what the Baltimore Sun reported as a rib injury.

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ESPN’s Van Valkenburg thinks Ravens have role to play in discussing domestic violence

Posted on 31 July 2014 by WNST Audio

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B&B Big Story Banter: Ray Rice Suspension & NFL Cultural Issue

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B&B Big Story Banter: Ray Rice Suspension & NFL Cultural Issue

Posted on 26 July 2014 by Brett Dickinson

It was bound to be a much talked about topic, but the NFL, the Ravens, Ray Rice and even sports media could not have expected the backlash after the two game suspension everyone has waited for.  The idea of this punishment being accepted in society, let alone in a private multi-billion dollar corporation, is downright appalling to anyone that has a functioning brain and a television.  But where does the real problem lie here? Obviously Rice has a major issue he should handle, which has been covered since day 1 of this incident. But this whole situation reeks of a much grander cultural issue in the NFL and sports in America.

To start, the main excuse for such a lenient reaction by  Commissioner Roger Goodell and the Ravens organization is that “he has never done anything wrong before” is blatantly asinine. All CRIMINALS HAVE A CLEAN TRACK RECORD BEFORE THEIR FIRST CRIME! Why does his past “good behavior” allow Rice to strike a woman? Why is anyone looking at his charitable endeavors as a reason that he should be given more leniency towards such a heinous act? Because he has performed well in the most popular sport in the country, all the while being a stand up citizen for his first six seasons, does not give him (or anyone) a pass on judgement.

Yet the NFL powers decided that knocking a woman unconscionable is only worthy of half the punishment for taking Adderall without clearance from the the league offices. Philadelphia Eagles offensive tackle Lane Jonhson was the last to receive a suspension by a league before Rice; four games for not reporting to the league that he was taking a prescription drug that contained a banned substance.

Any defense of Rice’s actions shows immaturity and undermines the moral fabric of the entire NFL fan base. The statement has arisen, “We don’t know if he did anything in that elevator.” Well we all certainly know what the police report says. It states that Rice struck his girlfriend using his hands. We all know that Rice himself felt the need to publicly apologize for his actions. I can’t remember the last time I apologized for not doing anything wrong. We all know that the NFL Commissioner had enough evidence to suspend Rice. There would certainly be a ensuing legal battle if he were innocent, yet still receive punishment.

Yet Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh wants to state that “[Ray Rice] is a good guy.” I’m sorry but when you find it necessary to use physical force against a woman than NO HE IS NOT! This simply proves the team (like the rest of the league) is just worried about winning and not HUMAN DECENCY. We have seen this in the past as the Ravens publicly backed the likes of Ray Lewis, Jamal Lewis, Chris McAlister and Terrell Suggs during their legal troubles. I guess that is why the team did not have the gumption to take action when they were handed all of the same evidence that led to this suspension. 

But in the end it is not Rice’s fault that the league office felt some sort of sympathy on his case.  And that is where the real issue comes to the forefront. The NFL has stood by its players to a fault; where well known and reported criminals can get away with breaking the law because they can play football.  The players have no recourse knowing that the league will let them back in with open arms no matter how despicable the act.

There were 19 arrests this off season (5 of which by those who play in Baltimore), yet many of those players will be allowed to go back to there daily lives and daily earnings without any repercussions what so ever.  Has anyone even mentioned throwing out a suspension for Deonte Thompson or Jah Reid or Lorenzo Talliferro or Jimmy Smith? NO!

And just maybe, if the NFL did put in a policy TO NOT GET ARRESTED or you will lose out on your livelihood, like they have with their substance abuse and performance enhancing drug policies, players would be less inclined to act like delinquents off the field. Maybe it is time for the NFL to take a stand against their EMPLOYEES ACTING AS CRIMINALS. Roger Goodell certainly had a chance to prove a point with Ray Rice and he missed terribly.

Now the court of public opinion is weighing down on the league and rightfully so, as the NFL’s culture of protecting its product has proven to outweigh the importance HUMAN DECENCY.  I dare anyone to go out, hit their wife in public or get arrested with multiple DUIs or get caught with illegal narcotics on several different occasions or any other crime and still be allowed to show their face at their place of business the next day.  So why does the most powerful sports league in the world just deem these actions as acceptable or commonplace?

After Goodell laid down this “punishment” on Ray Rice, I personally felt ashamed to consider myself a diehard fan of the NFL. It is an embarrassment for the NFL to consider its fan base so neanderthalic and stupid to not understand what is fair and just.

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CBS Sports’ Doyel thinks Ray Rice should have received at least an 8 game suspension

Posted on 25 July 2014 by WNST Audio

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AP’s Ginsburg thinks Orioles have just enough pitching to contend for a American League title

Posted on 24 July 2014 by WNST Audio

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Ravens UDFA CB Seamster thought Baltimore was right fit for his career

Posted on 21 June 2014 by WNST Audio

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Ravens CB Jackson confident after team did not address position this off season

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Ravens CB Jackson confident after team did not address position this off season

Posted on 07 June 2014 by WNST Audio

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Former Ravens Safety Reed: “I Know I Can Still Play”

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Former Ravens Safety Reed: “I Know I Can Still Play”

Posted on 02 June 2014 by Ryan Chell

The last time Ravens fans heard from Ed Reed in M&T Bank Stadium, they were welcomed with a less-than-stellar rendition of the popular Eddie Money song, “Two Tickets to Paradise” after the Ravens won Super Bowl XLVII in New Orleans.

The future Hall of Famer did indeed return to Baltimore Sunday for Lardarius Webb’s 5th annual Celebrity Softball Tournament, which was the first time the event took place at M&T Bank Stadium.

And while there showing off his softball skills, Reed sent a message to Ravens fans and the rest of the NFL that he’s still looking for and is ready for a ticket to ride with an NFL team.

“I’m definitely preparing to play,” Reed told reporters during the game. “If I wasn’t, you would have heard something  by now…I learned a lot about the process last year, and I know my worth.”

Reed, the NFL’s Defensive Player of the Year in 2004 and a 9-time Pro Bowler, played 11 seasons in Baltimore before signing a 3-year, 15 million dollar deal with the Houston Texans in March 2013.

However, Reed lasted just seven games in Houston before being waived. He ultimately reunited with former defensive coordinator Rex Ryan in New York, where he played seven games for the Jets (five starts) finishing with 22 tackles and three interceptions.

Battling hip problems to start the year, Reed clearly wasn’t the Defensive Player of the Year-caliber safety he was in his earlier years in Baltimore and many signaled that decline as the end of his dozen years in the NFL.

But don’t tell that to Ed Reed.

“I know I can still play,” he said. “It’s a matter of a right fit.”

And while the Ravens returned this week for voluntary OTAs in Owings Mills, Reed has been getting ready for an NFL call by training between Georgia and Louisiana.

And with Reed waiting for that call, he knows what he wants and how to approach the season. He said he learned a lot about his desire to play football this year from his preparation going into the 2013 year-his first outside Baltimore.

“I’m not going to anybody’s training camp, ” Reed said. “I sat and watched the league last year from a different perspective, and I learned a lot, and I saw they had teams that needed safeties in the latter part of the year.”

Reed didn’t make his Texans debut till Week 3 last season-a 30-9 loss in his return to Baltimore.  During training camp with Houston, he missed workouts on the active PUP-list, and he said he needed that rest to prepare for the season.

And for those who are concerned about that level of determination from the safety, Reed said he’s not concerned with how people think about him.

“Right now, I’m just about taking care of me and getting myself back…I know you guys may question it, but I’m not worried about that. It’s about how I feel.”

The thought of a banged-up, 35-year old safety who could only be a part-time player who’s best days are behind him might not be the biggest draw for an NFL team.

However, Reed, who looked to be enjoying himself Sunday and said it was a pleasure to be back in Baltimore, is content though if this is the end of his NFL dream.

“I’m not worried about the end. I’m not under contract. I’m already at the finish line. I don’t need to sign with anybody.”

“I don’t have to put in any papers. I don’t have to sign anybody’s contract. I don’t have to go to any organization. Ed Reed and Barry Sanders…they did it their own way.”

Those following the game would imagine that if that were to happen, he would follow other elite players of his level to the coaching ranks in an effort to stay apart the game he loved for so many years.

Reed said he would be open to it and that he got a taste of it in 2013 with the Ravens, Texans and Jets.

“Being around Coach Harbaugh, being around Coach Billick, having so many defensive coordinators-I had a different perspective when I left and I definitely learned a lot…I always say I did more coaching when I was in New York because they have a bunch of young guys up there and those guys kind of gravitated to me.”

He’s just hoping that an NFL GM or Coach will gravitate to his football knowledge if it doesn’t equate to continuing his playing career-hopefully in a place he’s all too familiar with in Baltimore.

“I think I can help pretty much any organization if I’m a position coach, a consultant or whatever…I could see me working in the organization here. I could see me working for Ozzie, those guys and Mr. Bisciotti because I put so much into it, I know how they work, and they taught me so much.”

If anything, you can count on Ed Reed making one more trip to M&T Bank Stadium for his guaranteed induction into the stadium’s Ring of Honor and he knows what kind of reaction he’ll get upon that return.

“It definitely brings back memories,” Reed said. “Anytime I come into Baltimore, it brings back memories.”

“It’s always great to see Ed Reed,” wide receiver Torrey Smith said. “He’s like a big brother and anytime you’re around him, it’s a good time.”

‘It’s great to see Baltimore still loves him.”

Follow me on Twitter at @RyanChell87! WNST-We Never Stop Talking Baltimore Sports!

 

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RickyWagner

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Ravens T Wagner on right tackle nod: “I definitely have to earn it”

Posted on 30 May 2014 by Ryan Chell

After an 8-8 season in which the Baltimore Ravens fell short of defending their Super Bowl title, many of John Harbaugh’s players are coming into this week’s OTAs with a huge chip on their shoulders in an attempt to get back to the playoffs.

However, that attitude is nothing new for Ravens 2nd-year offensive tackle Rick Wagner, who is getting a crack at the team’s starting right tackle spot going into OTAs-the position vacated by former first-round pick Michael Oher, who left via free agency to sign a contract with the Tennessee Titans.

Other candidates for the job include 2013 LG Kelechi Osemele, Jah Reid, Ryan Jensen, as well as undrafted rookie James Hurst.

Wagner, the team’s 5th round pick (168th overall) in the 2013 NFL Draft out of Wisconsin, has had an uphill battle since he was drafted by the Ravens last April.  Despite a high grade, he fell farther than his initial draft projection despite playing four years at Wisconsin-including 39 starts and Outland Trophy consideration.

The off-season was a disappointing one not only for Wagner in terms of becoming a starting NFL tackle, but also seeing his team fail to play deep into January for the first time in the John Harbaugh era.

“It’s not a good taste to have in our mouths right now,” Wagner told Glenn Clark on “The Reality Check” Thursday. “You can tell with the vets that they’re not used to that. “They’ve been making the playoffs for years here so we wanna get back and ultimately-that’s our number one priority.”

But behind the team goals, Wagner does find himself with a unique opportunity being tapped as the early candidate to start at right tackle for the Ravens going into training camp and ultimately in Week 1 against the Cincinnati Bengals on September 7th-a situation he fought his entire rookie year to try and achieve.

“I’m really excited, ” Wagner told Clark after practice. “Last year, I practiced like I was going start Week 1 because you never know what will happen with injuries, but [this year], I’m just trying to get the playbook down first, which I’m already feeling confident with in these first couple OTAs.”

That determination fueled Wagner going into his rookie year, and he earned playing time out of it-playing 13 games for the Ravens in 2013 and starting two as John Harbaugh’s “swing tackle” in Jumbo, short-yardage, and goal line situations. 

Wagner said playing his rookie year really gave him an edge in his short NFL career getting acclimated to the changing pace of the professional game.

“It’s such a change from college,” Wagner said. “The speed is so much more amped up, and that’s the real difference. That really helped me out last year, and I’m ready to go.”

Wagner said it definitely put things on perspective when it came to his own work ethic.

“Every player in the NFL is the best player you’ve faced in college.  It’s just a whole new intensity you have to get used to.”

But even with that experience under his belt, Wagner still understands that he’s going to have to compete for the right tackle job and that he won’t have it handed to him.

“I definitely have to earn it,” Wagner said.  ”There’s nothing set until Week 1. I’m just gonna keep working and hope I earn that title.”

What’s he is getting used to in OTAs is lining up next to some new faces, including 3x All-Pro guard Marshal Yanda and getting line calls from a new center in former Buccaneeer Jeremy Zuttah.

Wagner said he owes so much to the two of them.

“It’s incredible to have him right next to me,” Wagner said of Yanda. “He helps me out every day and makes it so much easier when you have a vet like him next to you.”

And in regards to Zuttah, despite the center being in a Ravens uniform for two months, Wagner felt like with Zuttah’s knowledge and expertise, it feels like he’s been in the meeting rooms and on the field for years.

“We’re real comfortable already…it seems like he’s been here awhile,” Wagner said.  ”He’s a real athletic guy and he’s fit right in since the first day.”

Now it’s all about the whole group grasping this new scheme being implemented by incoming offensive coordinator, Gary Kubiak. Despite the perceived complexity of a zone offense, Wagner though says it all comes down to execution despite the different terminology.

“Football is football,” Wagner said. “There isn’t really anything else we can do.”

What they do want to do is get back to establishing the running game to help out their quarterback in Joe Flacco.

“It’s a big emphasis. I’m really happy with the play-action stuff we have going this year-a lot different than last year.”

And while it’s been all business so far in camp, Wagner did say that he’s shared a few laughs so far seeing Flacco on some of Kubiak’s bootleg plays.

“He’s  a real athletic guy, and it’s good to see him getting out of the pocket and getting some runs going.”

WNST thanks Ricky Wagner for joining “The Reality Check!” Check out the entire conversation in the BuyaToyota.com Audio Vault at WNST.net! 

 

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