Tag Archive | "Baltimore"

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Powers passes conditioning test, but others added to Ravens’ injury list

Posted on 30 July 2016 by Luke Jones

(Photo courtesy of BaltimoreRavens.com)

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Cornerback Jerraud Powers made his training camp debut after finally passing the conditioning test, but the Ravens added two to their growing list of absences on Saturday.

Defensive tackle Timmy Jernigan left the field with what appeared to be an upper-body issue and did not return in the second half of practice. His absence allowed Kapron Lewis-Moore to receive more reps along the first-team defensive line.

An unexplained absence from Saturday’s practice was rookie wide receiver Chris Moore, who was a standout performer in the first two days of training camp. There was no obvious sign of an injury on Friday as the University of Cincinnati product finished the entire practice and caught a long touchdown from quarterback Joe Flacco at one point.

Others missing from the workout included tight end Crockett Gillmore (hamstring), linebackers Terrell Suggs (Achilles) and Elvis Dumervil (foot), wide receivers Steve Smith (Achilles) and Breshad Perriman (knee), and running backs Kenneth Dixon (knee), Lorenzo Taliaferro (foot), and Trent Richardson (knee).

With an open roster spot after their initial agreement with offensive tackle Jake Long fell through, the Ravens signed punter Michael Palardy to their 90-man roster. Special teams coordinator Jerry Rosburg said Palardy being a left-footed punter added appeal to better evaluate a young group of candidates vying for the return specialist job while also preventing veteran Sam Koch from having to take too many reps.

Camp highlights

** Taking part in his first full-contact training camp practice in almost two years, tight end Dennis Pitta took a big hit from linebacker Zach Orr as he tried to catch a short pass, but he immediately popped back up without hesitation. Pitta is moving around smoothly over the first few days of camp.

** Serving as an inside linebacker in the starting base defense, rookie Kamalei Correa made an acrobatic one-handed interception on a Joe Flacco pass intended for tight end Maxx Williams down the seam. Correa has moved to the outside in sub packages, but he appears to be the very early favorite to start at inside linebacker next to C.J. Mosley.

** It was a sloppy day for the offense overall with bad snaps, dropped passes, and off-target throws from the first and second units, but running back Terrance West and wide receivers Kamar Aiken and Chris Matthews turned in good performances. Keenan Reynolds and Michael Campanaro were among the receivers who dropped passes.

** Matched up against speedy receiver Mike Wallace, cornerback Shareece Wright picked off Ryan Mallett in an 11-on-11 drill.

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Ravens’ deal for veteran tackle Long reportedly falls through

Posted on 29 July 2016 by Luke Jones

The Ravens apparently won’t be signing veteran offensive tackle Jake Long after all.

Despite the sides agreeing to a one-year deal pending a physical earlier in the week, the Ravens were concerned with the condition of Long’s right knee after he suffered ACL tears in 2013 and 2014. After being examined by Dr. James Andrews, the 31-year-old declined to sign an injury waiver and will instead remain a free agent, according to ESPN.

Head coach John Harbaugh had no news on Long’s status earlier in the day before the news broke.

“I don’t have an update on Jake,” Harbaugh said. “I haven’t heard. I’m waiting to talk to Ozzie [Newsome] actually and see where we’re at with that.”

Appearing in just seven games over the last two seasons, Long was viewed as a candidate to provide improved veteran depth behind 2016 first-round left tackle Ronnie Stanley. However, the Ravens did not want to take on the financial risk of his knee not holding up.

The Ravens would still like to add to a reserve group of offensive tackles that includes James Hurst, De’Ondre Wesley, and Blaine Clausell behind Stanley and starting right tackle Rick Wagner. Rookie Alex Lewis played tackle in college, but he has been working at guard since being selected by the Ravens in the fourth round of April’s draft.

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Ravens tight end Gillmore to undergo MRI for hamstring injury

Posted on 29 July 2016 by Luke Jones

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Ravens tight end Crockett Gillmore will undergo a magnetic resonance imaging exam for a hamstring injury suffered in the latter half of Friday’s practice.

It’s unclear how Gillmore hurt himself, but he was spotted walking off the field with a member of the  training staff less than an hour before the conclusion of the morning workout. The third-year tight end was limited to 10 games last season as he dealt with back, shoulder, and calf ailments. He underwent shoulder surgery in the offseason, but the 2014 third-round pick returned for spring workouts.

The Ravens are fortunate to have a deep group of tight ends that also includes veterans Benjamin Watson and Dennis Pitta as well as second-year options Maxx Williams, Nick Boyle, Darren Waller, and Daniel Brown. Gillmore emerged as a legitimate threat at the position last year, catching 33 passes for 412 yards and four touchdowns.

“He’s just got to improve on everything, really,” said tight ends coach Richard Angulo about Gillmore’s development. “Execution of the small things. For him and all the other guys, I just want them to be great at all the little things. Stats and touchdowns are just byproducts of what you do with all the details.”

Early rookie standouts

The Ravens have only worked out in helmets, shells, and shorts over their first two days of training camp, but a pair of rookies have turned heads during the non-contact practices.

Wide receiver Chris Moore has shown impressive burst on vertical passes and caught a 60-yard touchdown from quarterback Joe Flacco on a play in which the rookie sprinted past cornerback Jimmy Smith. The fourth-round pick from Cincinnati has already made a number of plays down the field and has taken advantage of the current absences of older receivers on the roster.

“Chris made some plays today,” head coach John Harbaugh said. “We made a little snafu in the secondary there. I was really happy that the offensive took advantage of it, and I was really ticked off that the defense let it happen. Such is the nature of training camp.”

Fourth-round cornerback Tavon Young also shined, intercepting a pass on a deflection in the middle of the field and picking off quarterback Ryan Mallett on a deep sideline pass intended for Kaelin Clay. With veteran slot cornerback Jerraud Powers still needing to pass his conditioning test, Young has receive dmore reps at the nickel spot with the first unit than veteran Kyle Arrington.

Steve Smith still on mend

Veteran wide receiver Steve Smith remains on the active physically unable to perform list and observed a few minutes of Friday’s practice, but it’s unclear when he will be ready to return to the field.

As Bleacher Report’s Dan Pompei noted in an excellent piece about Smith’s horrific injury and the long recovery, the 37-year-old’s right calf is still noticeably smaller than the left one after the muscle atrophied in the injured leg. This certainly isn’t abnormal, but it does illustrate how long and difficult the rehabilitation process has been and how Smith’s return to the practice field isn’t imminent.

Fortunately, Smith has just over six weeks until the season opener against Buffalo and the Ravens aren’t concerned with him returning in time to play in the preseason.

First fight

Running back Buck Allen and linebacker Patrick Onwuasor got into the first fight of the summer as Allen took a couple swings at the Portland State rookie after the two were engaged in an aggressive pass-blocking drill.

Order was quickly restored, but Onwuasor was the defensive player who shoved rookie running back Kenneth Dixon out of bounds on Thursday. Dixon suffered a Grade 1 MCL sprain and did not practice on Friday.

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Wallace passes conditioning test, Dixon out with knee injury

Posted on 29 July 2016 by Luke Jones

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — After missing the first practice of the summer on Thursday, Ravens wide receiver Mike Wallace has passed his conditioning test and participating in Friday’s workout.

The eighth-year wideout failed on his first try Wednesday and was officially placed on the non-football injury list. Though not a great impression to make at the start of training camp, a veteran or two failing the Ravens’ challenging conditioning test has been a common occurrence in the John Harbaugh era and is not a real concern in the big picture.

Also absent on Thursday after failing his conditioning test, cornerback Jerraud Powers was once again missing on Friday morning. Powers, 29, is considered the favorite to be Baltimore’s slot cornerback in the nickel and dime packages this season.

Rookie running back Kenneth Dixon was not practicing on Friday after suffering an MCL sprain to his left knee on the first day. Other players absent from the session included wide receivers Steve Smith (Achilles) and Breshad Perriman (knee), linebackers Terrell Suggs (Achilles) and Elvis Dumervil (foot), and running backs Trent Richardson (knee) and Lorenzo Taliaferro (foot).

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“Rounding the Bases” in Orioles’ 6-2 loss to Minnesota

Posted on 29 July 2016 by Luke Jones

What went wrong in the Orioles’ 6-2 defeat to the Minnesota Twins on Thursday night?

In trying to identify the top three losing factors with the addition of home plate for any not-so-honorable mentions and other notes, we go around the bases after the 101st game of the 2016 season.

1st — Despite collecting 11 hits, the Orioles scored fewer than three runs for the seventh time in 14 games since the All-Star break. Other factors played a part in the defeat, but Baltimore continues to flounder with the bats in the month of July, scoring just 3.3 runs per game. Adam Jones homered on the first pitch of the game from Minnesota’s Kyle Gibson and J.J. Hardy added an RBI single in the fourth, but too many other hitters simply aren’t pulling their weight over the last few weeks. The Orioles went a respectable 2-for-7 with runners in scoring position, but one of those hits didn’t even score a run. With a weekend series against second-place Toronto looming, the bats must wake up.

2nd — The offensive output would have been better, but two runners were thrown out at the plate in the fourth inning. With runners at second and third and no outs and the Minnesota infield playing back, Chris Davis broke on contact when Jonathan Schoop hit a sharp grounder to third baseman Eduardo Escobar, who threw Davis out at the plate. An even bigger problem was Mark Trumbo not advancing from second to third on the tag play at the plate. Had Trumbo also broken on contact and just moved to third, he would have jogged to the plate on Pedro Alvarez’s single to right field. Instead, an ill-advised send by third base coach Bobby Dickerson resulted in Trumbo also being nailed at the plate.

3rd — Odrisamer Despaigne and Chaz Roe didn’t do their jobs in the seventh, but manager Buck Showalter was clearly saving his bullpen bullets for the Toronto series. As if it weren’t already obvious that the Orioles were punting on Thursday night by starting Ubaldo Jimenez — allowing Kevin Gausman to go against the second-place Blue Jays — Showalter sent Despaigne back out for the seventh inning of a tie game when Brad Brach hadn’t pitched since Sunday and Darren O’Day had only pitched once over the previous three nights. After allowing the game-tying homer in the sixth, Despaigne allowed three of four hitters to reach in the seventh and Roe followed by surrendering a single and a triple to give the Twins a 6-2 lead. This was a winnable game, so you hope the strategy pays off over the weekend.

Home — Still looking for his first RBI of the season, Caleb Joseph twice came up with runners in scoring position and failed to deliver. … Jimenez threw 51 pitches to complete the first two innings, but the right-hander pitched well after that, allowing just one run and striking out eight over five frames. … Alvarez collected his sixth three-hit game of the season. … Manny Machado went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts and is hitting just .216 in 97 plate appearances in July. … Davis went 2-for-4 to collect only his fourth multi-hit game of the month. … The four earned runs and five hits allowed by Despaigne were season highs and elevated his ERA to 4.43. … On Friday night, the Orioles send Gausman to the hill against Toronto right-hander Marco Estrada.

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Flacco “comfortable” in first full practice since knee injury

Posted on 28 July 2016 by Luke Jones

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — In his first full practice since injuring his left knee last November, Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco threw a dart down the seam to Dennis Pitta for a big completion during an 11-on-11 drill.

The play conjured memories of their many connections during the run to Super Bowl XLVII and was the highlight of Thursday’s no-contact session. Less than eight months removed from surgery to repair the anterior cruciate and medial collateral ligaments in his left knee, Flacco also reminded us of his big-league arm by hurling a 50-plus-yard strike to hit rookie Chris Moore in stride during individual drills.

Flacco, 31, did show some rust as he was picked off by Sheldon Price and nearly threw another interception to Shareece Wright, but the number of errant throws was no greater than you’d typically see in the first practice of the summer.

Regardless of how he might have practiced, the mere sight of the franchise quarterback healthy and back on the field was more than enough for the Ravens on the first day of training camp.

“It felt really good to be out there,” said Flacco, who wore a red non-contact jersey and a black brace on his left knee. “I wasn’t as efficient as I’d like to be, but I felt comfortable. I just need to throw it a little better and complete some more passes.”

Flacco moved well in the pocket and did not appear to be limited in his practice reps, only abstaining from a drill in which the other quarterbacks practiced falling on fumbles.

With other key players such as wide receivers Steve Smith and Breshad Perriman and linebackers Terrell Suggs and Elvis Dumervil beginning the summer on the physically unable to perform list, questions will remain about the Ravens’ play-making ability at key positions, but the healthy return of Flacco alone is enough to provide hope that 2016 will bring better fortune than last year.

“He looked good. He seemed confident and wasn’t back there hobbling around or stumbling or footwork was off,” said safety Eric Weddle, who was excited to be able to practice against Flacco after playing against him several times with San Diego over the years. “You couldn’t tell he just had surgery in the offseason. It’s definitely a positive sign.

“He’s got the ‘it’ factor, and it brings everyone else’s level up.”

Nine players absent on first day

Running back Lorenzo Taliaferro (foot) was added to the active physically unable to perform list, joining wide receivers Steve Smith (Achilles tendon) and Breshad Perriman (left knee), linebackers Terrell Suggs (Achilles tendon) and Elvis Dumervil (foot), and running back Trent Richardson (knee). Those six players may begin practicing at any point, but the Ravens are proceeding cautiously with the aforementioned veterans coming back from injury.

Cornerback Jerraud Powers and wide receiver Dobson Collins joined receiver Mike Wallace on the non-football injury list as the three had yet to pass the conditioning test. Harbaugh wouldn’t comment when asked whether Wallace was any closer to passing the test after failing on Wednesday.

“It doesn’t matter,” Harbaugh said. “You pass it or you don’t. You make it or you don’t.”

Dixon injures knee

After finishing the 2015 season with 20 players on injured reserve, the Ravens couldn’t escape an injury in their first practice of the summer as rookie running back Kenneth Dixon suffered a knee injury diagnosed as a Grade 1 MCL sprain.

The fourth-round pick is considered day-to-day and left Baltimore with just three healthy running backs at the end of Thursday’s session: Justin Forsett, Buck Allen, and Terrance West.

“He’s going to be OK. He’s got just a little slight thing with the knee,” head coach John Harbaugh said. “He should be fine. Maybe tomorrow, we’ll see.”

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“Rounding the Bases” in Orioles’ 3-1 loss to Colorado

Posted on 28 July 2016 by Luke Jones

What went wrong in the Orioles’ 3-1 loss to the Colorado Rockies on Wednesday night?

In trying to identify the top three losing factors with the addition of home plate for any not-so-honorable mentions and other notes, we go around the bases after the 100th game of the 2016 season.

1st — The recent offensive woes continued as the Orioles went 0-for-6 with runners in scoring position in the fourth and fifth innings alone. Baltimore entered Wednesday averaging just 3.5 runs per game in July and only 2.9 per contest since the All-Star break, but there were plenty of opportunities against Rockies starter Jon Gray in the middle innings. In the fourth, Manny Machado popped out to shallow left with runners at the corners and no outs and Mark Trumbo and Jonathan Schoop later failed to deliver with the bases loaded. An inning later, J.J. Hardy, Nolan Reimold, and Adam Jones squandered a leadoff double. Gray is talented and was the third overall pick of the 2013 draft, but this was a winnable game with even a decent offensive showing. Virtually everyone in the order has had his share of recent struggles, but Chris Davis has one hit in his last 27 at-bats while Trumbo is hitless in his last 17 at-bats. The Orioles need to get their offense going quickly with a three-game set in Toronto looming this weekend after the one-day trip to Minnesota for a makeup game on Thursday.

2nd — Dylan Bundy turned in a special performance that was only tainted by two changeups up in the strike zone that went for home runs in his final inning of work. The 23-year-old’s outing was electric as he retired the first 16 hitters he faced and struck out a career-high eight, creating quite a buzz at Camden Yards in only his third major league start. However, the lack of run support did Bundy no favors as he ran into trouble in the sixth inning. After issuing a one-out walk to Mark Reynolds to lose his perfect game, Bundy elevated a changeup that former Oriole Nick Hundley deposited into the left-field seats for the first runs of the night. Two batters later, rookie David Dahl jumped on a first-pitch changeup up in the zone for a homer to dead center. The sequence was a reminder that Bundy is still a work in progress as it relates to a full starter’s workload, but 15 swinging strikes on 89 pitches illustrated how effective he was until running out of gas. Home runs aside, he deserved better from his own offense.

3rd — A couple questionable replay reviews may not have decided the outcome of the game, but Matt Wieters appeared to hit a home run down the right-field line that was ruled foul as he led off in the third inning. We’ve seen multiple balls directly down the line and higher than the foul pole causing problems at Camden Yards this season. Whether the solution is to extend the pole higher, find a way to improve the TV camera angle down the line, or both, something needs to be done to help make calls more definitive on these towering flies that have often looked fair despite being called foul on the field and replay not being definitive enough to overturn the ruling. Manager Buck Showalter was not happy with how that one played out and hasn’t been with a couple others this year.

Home — It was a close call, but Wieters being thrown out at second trying to stretch a single into a double was a bad play with the Orioles trailing by two runs in the seventh. What made it even more painful was Hardy drawing a walk right behind him, which would have meant the tying runs were on base. … The Orioles dropped only their second home series of the season and first since losing two of three to Seattle from May 17-19. … Manny Machado slugged his 21st home run of the season in the sixth inning while Wieters recorded the 150th double of his career in the fifth. … Davis ended an 0-for-24 streak with a bunt single in the second inning. … Ubaldo Jimenez will make his first start — and first appearance — since July 8 on Thursday while the Twins send right-hander Kyle Gibson to the mound at Target Field.

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Wallace fails conditioning test, Long’s deal on hold for now

Posted on 27 July 2016 by Luke Jones

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Two veteran newcomers could be missing from the field as the Ravens conduct their first full-squad workout of the summer on Thursday.

According to head coach John Harbaugh, wide receiver Mike Wallace did not pass the team’s rigorous conditioning test and will be placed on the non-football injury list to begin training camp. Though it’s not the ideal way to begin his first camp with the Ravens, it’s not uncommon to see a veteran or two — especially those new to the organization — fail the conditioning test at the start of camp and Wallace is expected to pass and be on the practice field within the next couple days.

Wallace could retake the test as early as Thursday morning and would be allowed to participate in the Ravens’ 9 a.m. practice should he pass.

The Ravens’ one-year agreement with veteran offensive tackle Jake Long is on hold as some concern arose about his right knee during his physical. The 31-year-old sustained separate anterior cruciate ligament tears to the same knee in 2013 and 2014 and appeared in only four games for the Atlanta Falcons last season.

Long is visiting Dr. James Andrews for an examination, but optimism still remains that a deal that makes sense for both sides can be finalized.

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“Rounding the Bases” in Orioles’ 6-3 loss to Colorado

Posted on 27 July 2016 by Luke Jones

What went wrong in the Orioles’ 6-3 defeat to the Colorado Rockies on Tuesday night?

In trying to identify the top three losing factors with the addition of home plate for any not-so-honorable mentions and other notes, we go around the bases after the 99th game of the 2016 season.

1st — After spoiling the Orioles with an outstanding 1.29 ERA in four July starts, Chris Tillman just couldn’t put away hitters with two strikes in the four-run third inning. The right-hander appeared to be carrying good stuff early, but he ran into trouble with one out in the third as Colorado loaded the bases with three singles all coming with two strikes. After Nolan Arenado popped out, Carlos Gonzalez hit a two-run double to the opposite field on a 2-2 count and Trevor Story singled in two more runs on a 1-2 pitch. Tillman credited Colorado for hitting some good pitches, but he got a couple key pitches up and just didn’t have the good swing-and-miss slider that we’ve seen so many times in 2016. His six runs allowed matched his season high as he took just his third loss of the season.

2nd — Rockies starter Chad Bettis effectively used his sinker and hard slider, and the Orioles just couldn’t take advantage of the few opportunities they had against a pitcher who entered the night with a 5.31 ERA. Going 1-for-5 with runners in scoring position is rarely going to get the job done unless you’re hitting the long ball, but the No. 3 through No. 8 hitters went a combined 1-for-23 with one walk. On a rare off-night for Tillman, you would have liked to see his offense be able to pick him up.

3rd — He wasn’t the only one who struggled on Tuesday night, but Chris Davis continues to look lost at the plate. The first baseman is hitless in his last 24 at-bats and has seen his average plummet to .223. His most frustrating at-bat came in the eighth with runners at the corners, one out, and the Orioles trailing 6-2. After getting ahead 2-0 against lefty reliever Boone Logan, Davis expanded the strike zone and struck out on the next three pitches. Of course, we’ve seen Davis go through plenty of stretches like this in the past before going on a monster tear, but you wonder if a day off to clear his head might help.

Home — It was correctly ruled a wild pitch, but Matt Wieters failed to backhand a pitch that could have been blocked, allowing Colorado’s sixth and final run to score. … The Orioles saw their five-game winning streak snapped as they suffered their first loss at home since July 8. They had won six straight contests at Camden Yards. … Adam Jones hit a two-run homer in the fifth and walked twice as he’s already eclipsed his walk total from 2015. … In his return from the disabled list, Hyun Soo Kim went 1-for-3 with a walk and now owns a .412 on-base percentage to lead the team. … Tyler Wilson pitched four perfect innings of relief to save the rest of the bullpen after Tillman lasted only five innings. … Buck Showalter announced that Ubaldo Jimenez will make Thursday’s start in Minnesota as the manager wants to give the other members of his rotation an extra day of rest. … Dylan Bundy will take the hill on Wednesday in search of a series win while right-hander Jon Gray will start for Colorado.

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After missing out on Upton, Orioles welcome Kim back to lineup

Posted on 26 July 2016 by Luke Jones

BALTIMORE — After learning earlier in the day that veteran outfielder and trade target Melvin Upton was instead going to Toronto, the Orioles thankfully welcomed back Hyun Soo Kim on Tuesday.

The 28-year-old Korean outfielder was reinstated from the 15-day disabled list and was back in the starting lineup for the first time since straining his hamstring on July 10, the final game before the All-Star break. Kim was batting second and playing in left field for the second game of an interleague set with the Colorado Rockies.

With reserve outfielder Joey Rickard out with a thumb injury until September, the Orioles were attempting to acquire Upton in exchange for struggling right-handed pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez and a prospect or two. However, the sides could not finalize the financial realities of a deal — with one report saying owner Peter Angelos changed an agreement — as Jimenez is still owed just over $18 million through next season and Upton will make roughly $22 million through 2017.

It would have been interesting to see how manager Buck Showalter would have used both Upton and Kim in the outfield. Upton plays better defense and hits more home runs, but Kim’s .410 on-base percentage dwarfs the veteran’s .304 mark and his skill set complements the rest of a homer-driven lineup nicely.

The optimal solution would have been a platoon with Kim playing against right-handed starters and Upton starting against lefties, but might the Orioles have been tempted to overlook the latter’s inferior hitting profile to utilize his speed and defense?

Coincidental or not, the Orioles enjoyed their best offensive month of the season (6.6 runs per game) in June when Kim became a regular against right-hand starters. In contrast, Baltimore has averaged just 2.9 runs per game in Kim’s absence since the All-Star break.

To make room for Kim and right-handed pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez — who was reinstated from the paternity leave list — the Orioles designated outfielder Julio Borbon for assignment after optioning outfielder Dariel Alvarez to Triple-A Norfolk late Monday night. This means the Orioles entered Tuesday night’s game with 13 pitchers and 12 position players on the roster.

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