Tag Archive | "Baltimore"

Baltimore won't like it but Camden Yards is no longer among the elite stadiums in MLB...

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MLB #GiveASpit Ballpark Ranking: No. 15 Camden Yards

Posted on 25 August 2015 by Nestor Aparicio

Baltimore – There are many reasons that I’m not as bullish on Camden Yards. First, it’s been there 23 years and has never, ever come close to replicating any of the energy, goodwill or charm that Memorial Stadium had. Part of that is no doubt due to the nasty, clueless, cowardly dolts who own and run the team. It’s not a warm and fuzzy place and has mostly sat empty over the past two decades except for the occasional Mets takeover.

As a stadium, it’s cool because of the Warehouse but the building has been knocked off so many times that you’re just as likely to think Texas, Seattle, Colorado, Atlanta are the same place. Larry Lucchino and Janet Marie Smith did everything right in building Baltimore’s crown jewel circa 1990. But there’s no replacing the “heart” of the building and at heart, Camden Yards is a mostly listless building that has never quite lived up to its initial natural beauty and allure. It was the blueprint for all of the ballparks that came in its wake and many took the model and attempted to improve upon it. Some did. Some didn’t. Some simply copycatted.

The design of the bowl was among the last designed in a way that forces you to leave the field of play when you leave your seat. Most of the newer parks leave that area open for the field can be seen from the concession area. It’s a massive improvement in the game experience.

Just two weeks ago, Mr. Angelos and sons announced that they want massive renovations to Camden Yards to “update the experience.” So, because they’ll no doubt be asking the citizens to foot the bill via demands made of the Maryland Stadium Authority, they apparently agree with me that Camden Yards is no longer a “top 10” experience in MLB. After traveling to all 30 ballparks, I can assure you they’re correct.

I like Camden Yards. I get why everyone who visits loves it and loves downtown Baltimore. But I live two blocks away and I saw that half the league has a similar if not improved version of the ballpark that launched every stadium trend on the continent.

Don’t worry: the Angelos boys will improve our beloved ballpark. I’m sure they’ll find a way to use your money to make some modest upgrades.

 

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On Sept. 8-9-10, I will be releasing an extensive essay documenting my 30-30 MLB #GiveASpit journey of 2015. You can read it and all of my work here: http://wnst.net/author/nestoraparicio/

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lorenzo

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Taliaferro to miss “a few weeks” with knee injury

Posted on 24 August 2015 by Luke Jones

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Ravens running back Lorenzo Taliaferro is expected to miss the start of the regular season after sustaining a right knee injury in Saturday’s preseason loss to the Philadelphia Eagles.

The second-year back suffered a sprained medial collateral ligament while making a tackle on Joe Flacco’s second interception late in the first quarter of the 40-17 defeat. On Monday morning, Taliaferro posted a message on Twitter suggesting he would miss significant time because of the injury.

“He’s going to be out for a few weeks,” head coach John Harbaugh said. “It’s an MCL sprain. I don’t have a degree on it yet, but it’s going to be a few weeks for Lorenzo. Some of those young guys are going to step up in the immediate future.”

Leading the competition to serve as the primary backup to 2014 Pro Bowl selection Justin Forsett, Taliaferro carried four times for eight yards on Saturday before leaving the game. The 2014 fourth-round pick gained 292 yards and four touchdowns on 68 carries before a foot injury ended his rookie season in mid-December.

Taliaferro’s absence opens the door for rookie Buck Allen to become the No. 2 running back behind Forsett. Selected in the fourth round of this spring’s draft, the USC product rushed six times for 19 yards and made two receptions for 25 yards against the Eagles.

“He has done a nice job competing, working hard every day to get better [and] to get more comfortable in our offense,” running backs coach Thomas Hammock said. “He obviously has great hands. He has good vision. We’re trying to get him more comfortable as a pass protector, and he goes out there and performs when his number is called.”

With Taliaferro sidelined for the foreseeable future, the Ravens will likely be looking to keep an extra running back behind Forsett and Allen, leaving the door open for Fitz Toussaint and Terrence Magee.

A rookie free agent from LSU, Magee led Baltimore in rushing on Saturday, gaining 44 yards on 11 carries. The 5-foot-9, 215-pound running back has shown an impressive burst and good field vision during practices this summer.

“He was a north-south runner, low to the ground, powerful dude,” said Harbaugh of Magee’s performance against Philadelphia. “Just how he ran in college is how you saw him run the other night. It’s nice when you see that transfer from the college game to this level. It was good to see.”

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Wagner, Reid return to practice as most Ravens starters rest

Posted on 24 August 2015 by Luke Jones

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Returning to the practice field following a lopsided preseason loss in Philadelphia, the Ravens elected to rest most starters and veterans on Monday afternoon.

Thirty-three players on the 90-man roster were not present during the portion of the workout open to media, but starting right tackle Rick Wagner (leg) and reserve offensive lineman Jah Reid (back) returned to practice after missing Saturday’s game against the Eagles. Many starters and veterans took part in the morning walk-through before being held out of Monday’s practice.

“I think we’ve done something like this pretty much every year,” said Harbaugh when asked whether he was resting so many players due to the current number of injuries on the roster. “I’ve have to go back and check the records, but this is pretty normal for us. It’s right on schedule.”

The only projected starters on the field for Monday’s practice were Wagner, tight end Crockett Gillmore, fullback Kyle Juszczyk, defensive tackle Timmy Jernigan, linebacker C.J. Mosley, and safeties Will Hill and Kendrick Lewis. Even Joe Flacco was given the session off as Matt Schaub and Bryn Renner handled the quarterbacking duties.

Injured players who remained absent included wide receivers Breshad Perriman (knee) and Michael Campanaro (unspecified), running back Lorenzo Taliaferro (knee), left guard Kelechi Osemele (Achilles), cornerback Lardarius Webb (hamstring), linebacker Steven Means (groin), defensive lineman Kapron Lewis-Moore (undisclosed), and offensive linemen James Hurst (head) and De’Ondre Wesley (knee). Taliaferro, Hurst, and Wesley all left Saturday’s game with injuries and did not return.

Campanaro’s absence from Saturday’s game left the door open for others to receive opportunities in the return specialist competition.

“He has a soft tissue issue that he’s dealing with, so expect him back pretty soon, but you never know with those things,” Harbaugh said. “I think it’s a day-to-day thing. But I’ve told [the media] that before, and it has been three weeks now on Perriman. My understanding is it’s not a major thing, but I’m out of that business, remember?”

Rookie tight end Maxx Williams was wearing a red non-contact jersey as he took part in Monday’s workout.

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hardy

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Hardy heads to disabled list, Reimold designated for assignment

Posted on 24 August 2015 by Luke Jones

Adding injury to the insult of being swept in a four-game series by Minnesota, the Orioles placed shortstop J.J. Hardy on the 15-day disabled list with a groin strain.

The club also activated outfielder Steve Pearce from the DL, recalled right-handed pitcher Jorge Rondon, and designated outfielder Nolan Reimold for assignment prior to the start of a four-game series in Kansas City.

The 33-year-old Hardy had been dealing with the groin problem for several days and was expected to undergo a magnetic resonance imaging exam. Beginning Sunday’s game on the bench, Hardy entered the game in the ninth inning after Matt Wieters hit for Ryan Flaherty in the bottom of the eighth and remained in the game as it went extra innings.

Hardy reached on an infield single in the 11th, but it was apparent the groin was bothering him as he later advanced to second base. Jimmy Paredes then entered to run for Hardy, forcing the Orioles into a different defensive alignment that cost them dearly in the 12th inning with Manny Machado making an error at shortstop and Paredes making one at third base.

Flaherty will most likely serve as the primary replacement at shortstop in the veteran’s absence.

The injury is the latest development in a very disappointing season for Hardy, who is in the first season of a three-year, $40 million contract extension signed last October. His defense has remained at an above-average level, but Hardy is in the midst of the worst offensive year of his career with a .222 average, a .253 on-base percentage, and a .315 slugging percentage.

Hardy has also missed time due to shoulder and back issues this season.

The Orioles summoned Rondon to Kansas City to assist a bullpen feeling the effects of Sunday’s 12-inning loss to Minnesota.

In his second stint with the Orioles after signing a minor-league deal in the offseason, Reimold had appeared in 39 games while hitting .227 with three doubles, one triple, two home runs, and eight RBIs.

 

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Suggs’ hit on Bradford probably unnecessary, but point spot on

Posted on 23 August 2015 by Luke Jones

Like it or not, Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs has developed a reputation around the NFL for being a dirty player.

So, it came as no surprise that his penalized hit on Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Sam Bradford drew plenty of criticism after Saturday’s game. Eagles tackle Jason Peters said he was “pretty sure he planned it” after the teams practiced together all week.

It was probably unnecessary for Suggs to hit Bradford in the knees, but a quarterback isn’t supposed to be treated as a “quarterback” when running the read option, a play in which one defensive player is responsible for the quarterback potentially keeping the ball while another defender targets the running back. When the league goes to desperate lengths to protect its quarterbacks, we’ll find plenty of examples like this one that make us ask where we draw the line and officials face the same problem in real time.

It’s not a defensive player’s job to stand there as the play develops and think, “Did he really sell the threat to run enough with that read-option play?” Any football player will tell you indecisiveness leads to big plays by the opposition and potential injury to yourself.

Ultimately, it’s a violent game in which players get hurt and have gotten hurt countless times. It’s not a defensive player’s responsibility to be thinking about a quarterback’s medical history, particularly if he’s executing a play in which he frequently serves as a runner.

Regardless of the play itself, Suggs’ comments after the game were spot on as it relates to Eagles coach Chip Kelly and the handling of his new quarterback in Philadelphia.

“When you run the read option, you have to know the rules,” Suggs said. “If you want to run the read option with your starting quarterback that has had two knee surgeries, that’s on you. That’s not my responsibility to update you on the rules. I could have hit him harder than that. I eased up.”

The comments sound harsh, but Suggs is right.

And whether the hit to the knee was intentional or not — hitting a ball carrier in that area isn’t illegal, just to be clear — Bradford is an easy target if the Eagles insist on using the read-option attack. He’s going to be hit and potentially hit in the knees.

This isn’t a matter of wishing ill will on Bradford as you hope he can finally stay healthy.

It’s just football.

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harbaugh

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Ravens don’t learn much from ugly night in Philly

Posted on 23 August 2015 by Luke Jones

PHILADELPHIA — Midway through the second quarter of the Ravens’ 40-17 preseason defeat to Philadelphia on Saturday, one question came to mind in regards to the abysmal performance.

How much uglier might it have been had Baltimore not practiced against the Eagles the previous three days?

Head coach John Harbaugh said his team had “plenty to learn” from one of the worst preseason performances in franchise history and cited the lack of game-planning against Chip Kelly’s unique offensive attack as a factor, but when Bryn Renner, Terrence Magee, Fitz Toussaint, and Tom Nelson figure prominently into your first scoring drive after you’ve already given up 30 points, it isn’t difficult to conclude how the night went.

What was reinforced on Saturday is that you’ll get your butts kicked in the NFL if you’re banged up and play poorly.

As frustrating as it was to watch, it was only a preseason game, making the performance ugly but inconsequential to the big picture as the Ravens will go back to work on Monday. Joe Flacco threw interceptions on the first two offensive possessions, the defense couldn’t stop the run, and the Ravens committed nine penalties for 82 yards in the first half — four others were declined by the Eagles over the first 30 minutes — but none of those factors should have anyone rethinking Baltimore’s expectations for the 2015 season just yet.

The injuries are concerning, however, as the absence of rookie Breshad Perriman was felt on Flacco’s first interception that came on a deep throw intended for Kamar Aiken, who is hardly a burner in terms of speed. Flacco isn’t free of blame as the pass was underthrown, but you couldn’t help but assume a play like that is designed for the speedy Perriman, who was taken in the first round of this year’s draft to replace Torrey Smith.

Perriman still hasn’t practiced since injuring his knee on July 30 and the Ravens are without a wideout who can stretch the field until the 6-foot-2 Central Florida product finally returns to action. Three weeks still remain before the season opener in Denver, but it’s fair to wonder how ready he’ll be to make a significant impact early in the season after missing so much valuable practice time this month.

The current state of the offensive line is also a mess as the night began with starters Kelechi Osemele and Rick Wagner sidelined and only got worse from there. James Hurst drew the start at right tackle in place of Wagner since backup right tackle Jah Reid was also out with back spasms, but Hurst exited the game with a concussion in the first quarter and was replaced by rookie De’Ondre Wesley, who promptly injured his knee.

It was unthinkable to see Pro Bowl guard Marshal Yanda move out to right tackle in a preseason game when the Ravens have a 90-man roster, but that’s what it came to late in the first quarter. Fortunately, Flacco’s health remained intact as the Ravens had to wonder if director of player development and Super Bowl XXXV right tackle Harry Swayne might need to suit up before the night was over.

How concerning are the injuries with nine offensive linemen — left tackle Eugene Monroe was also seen icing his arm on the sideline — currently less than 100 percent?

“Those guys are all slated to come back, to my knowledge,” Harbaugh said. “We’ll see about Wesley. I don’t think there’s anybody else off the top of my head that wouldn’t be slated to come back. At one point, we had three guys playing out of position who had never practiced [at their new spots] before. I thought they did a pretty good job with that.

“That’s the preseason. That’s how it works.”

Thankfully, it was only the preseason.

Because the impact of the injuries and the overall sloppiness weren’t indicative of a team with high aspirations for 2015.

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Ravens-Eagles: Inactives and pre-game notes

Posted on 22 August 2015 by Luke Jones

PHILADELPHIA — The Ravens enter their second preseason game of the summer against the Philadelphia Eagles with injury concerns along the offensive line.

Left guard Kelechi Osemele (Achilles) and right tackle Rick Wagner (leg) were not suited up to play during pre-game warmups, meaning Ryan Jensen and James Hurst were in line to start at their respective positions. Four reserve linemen were also out with injuries including John Urschel (concussion), Jah Reid (back), Darryl Baldwin, and Blaine Clausell.

Baltimore was also missing two starters on the opposite side of the ball as cornerback Lardarius Webb (hamstring) and defensive end Chris Canty were not suited up to play. Webb has been sidelined since before the first preseason game while Canty has been participated in practices, making one speculate that the 32-year-old’s absence is based more on his veteran status.

Cornerback Jimmy Smith (foot) and safety Terrence Brooks (knee) went through pre-game warmups and appear set to make their preseason debuts. Smith was held out of the first preseason game for precautionary reasons while Brooks was activated from the physically unable to perform list earlier this week.

As expected, rookie wide receiver Breshad Perriman will not play against the Eagles as he remains sidelined with a knee injury suffered on July 30. Joining him on the sideline is second-year wideout Michael Campanaro, who did not take part in Friday’s walk-through practice in Philadelphia.

The referee for Saturday’s game is Jerome Boger.

The Ravens are wearing purple jerseys with white pants while Philadelphia dons its white tops with white pants.

Baltimore is 47-29 in all-time preseason play and 20-9 under Harbaugh. The Ravens and the Eagles are meeting in the preseason for the 12th time with Baltimore owning a 7-4 record.

Teams are not required to release a list of inactive for preseason games, but below is an unofficial list of Ravens players on the 90-man roster who are not expected to play on Saturday night:

WR Michael Campanaro
WR Breshad Perriman
CB Lardarius Webb
LB Steven Means
OT Darryl Baldwin
OT Blaine Clausell
G John Urschel
OT Rick Wagner
G Kelechi Osemele
OT Jah Reid
DE Kapron Lewis-Moore
DE Chris Canty
TE Dennis Pitta
TE Allen Reisner
S Matt Elam
DE Brent Urban

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The Baltimore Ravens defeated the Jacksonville Jaguars 20-12 at M&T Bank Stadium on December 14, 2014. Photo by Shawn Hubbard

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Ravens-Eagles preseason primer: Five players to watch

Posted on 22 August 2015 by Luke Jones

A four-day trip to Philadelphia culminates with the Ravens’ second preseason game of the summer with the Eagles on Saturday night.

Unlike last year’s three-day practice session with San Francisco that followed a preseason game, the Ravens should be very familiar with Chip Kelly’s team after two days of full workouts and Friday’s walk-through leading into their preseason contest. By most accounts, the trip was productive with only a few skirmishes that paled in comparison to fights that have taken place elsewhere between teams practicing together.

“They treated us very well, and we had three really good practices with a good football team,” head coach John Harbaugh said. “We felt like we’ve improved. You see schemes you don’t normally see, the way routes are run or different types of plays on both sides of the ball that you don’t normally see. It’s great to get a chance to expose yourself to some different schemes.”

After the starting offense put together a 16-play touchdown drive in its only action in the preseason opener, Harbaugh could push his starters to play the entire first quarter in the second game of the summer. As always, that will depend on the number of plays each drive consumes and the plan will be individualized with some starters being removed early and younger first-teamers playing a little bit more.

Saturday marks the first time that Baltimore will play the Eagles in the preseason since 2011. The teams played in 10 out of the first 12 years of the Ravens’ existence, making the recent lull somewhat surprising given the geographic proximity between the teams.

The Ravens are 7-4 against Philadephia in the all-time preseason series and 1-2-1 against them in their regular-season history. They are set to meet in the 2016 regular season, which will push back a joint-practice reunion until at least the following year.

Unofficial (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 on what the injury report would look like if one were to be released ahead of Saturday night’s game in Philadelphia.

Most of the players ruled to be out will come as no surprise, but the status of a few will be in question. This list, of course, will not include any veterans who may be held out of the preseason opener due to the coaching staff’s preference.

Again, this is not an official injury report released by the Ravens:

OUT: WR Breshad Perriman (knee), CB Lardarius Webb (hamstring), TE Dennis Pitta (hip), S Matt Elam (biceps), DE Brent Urban (biceps), TE Allen Reisner (ankle)
DOUBTFUL: G Kelechi Osemele (Achilles), OT Jah Reid (back), LB Steven Means (groin)
QUESTIONABLE: OT Rick Wagner (foot), S Terrence Brooks (knee), G John Urschel (concussion), G Robert Myers (concussion), DE Kapron Lewis-Moore (undisclosed), OT Darryl Baldwin (undisclosed), OL Blaine Clausell (undisclosed)
PROBABLE: DT Timmy Jernigan (foot), WR Marlon Brown (back), DE DeAngelo Tyson (elbow), CB Asa Jackson (knee)

Five players to watch Saturday night

CB Rashaan Melvin

The absence of Lardarius Webb continues to create more opportunities for Melvin, who did a respectable job down the stretch last year until major struggles in the playoff loss to New England. Overall, the 6-foot-2 corner has practiced well this summer, impressing against the Eagles this week. With veteran Kyle Arrington better suited to play inside in the nickel package, the 25-year-old Melvin is an intriguing option for the future with Webb approaching 30 and not the player he was a few years ago. A strong performance by Melvin in the second preseason game could put some heat on the veteran once his hamstring is finally healthy.

WR Darren Waller

Few players have improved as much from the spring until now as the sixth-round pick from Georgia Tech, who is developing rapidly for a 6-foot-6 receiver with few opportunities in Paul Johnson’s triple-option attack. Despite being 245 pounds, Waller runs better routes than you’d expect and is sinking his hips better when trying to change directions. At the start of the summer, the practice squad appeared to be a realistic option for the tall wideout, but Waller looks more and more like a player who could help the Ravens inside the red zone while continuing to learn the finer points of the position. Baltimore has had plenty of tall receivers in the past, but he shows signs of a better skill set to go along with his height.

OL Ryan Jensen

With Osemele, Urschel, and Myers all recently dealing with health concerns, Jensen could draw a start at left guard against the Eagles after playing well this summer. A favorite of offensive line coach Juan Castillo, the Colorado State-Pueblo product is moving into position to earn a roster spot with the ability to play all three interior line positions, the kind of versatility that is valuable on game days. At 6-foor-4 and 310 pounds, Jensen will have his hands full with a very talented Philadelphia defensive line, but Saturday will be a good litmus test if he indeed plays in place of the hobbled Osemele.

LB Albert McClellan

The veteran linebacker has been a mainstay on the roster, but the younger Zach Orr has emerged as not only a special-teams standout but a viable backup linebacker and it’s clear the Ravens would still like to salvage some value out of disappointing 2013 second-round pick Arthur Brown. These factors make you wonder if there will be room for all three on the 53-man roster. McClellan struggled at inside linebacker in the preseason opener, but he does have the ability to play all four linebacker spots in the Baltimore base defense, something that shouldn’t be overlooked when only a few reserve linebackers are active on game days. He’ll need to have a better showing against the Eagles to improve his roster standing.

TE Nick Boyle

Second-round pick Maxx Williams clearly possesses more upside for the future, but Boyle is showing more ability as a receiver than many anticipated and had a strong showing practicing against the Eagles this week. He has had some issues with drops at times, but the Ravens liked his hands at Delaware and believe he can be a solid all-around player at the position. Crockett Gillmore is the clear No. 1 tight end at this point, but Boyle’s ability to block and catch a few passes might earn him a few more chances in certain formations than Williams. He could be a surprising contributor inside the red zone if he can show consistent ability to block as a rookie, which the Ravens will need behind Gillmore’s expanded role.

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arrieta

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Five questions pondering Arrieta, 2015 Ravens draft, Gonzalez

Posted on 21 August 2015 by Luke Jones

Every Friday, I’ll ponder five topics related to the Ravens or Orioles (or a mix of both).

Five questions …

1. Is it just me or did Thursday bring a cruel juxtaposition with ex-Oriole Jake Arrieta earning his 15th win while T.J. McFarland was mopping up in a blowout loss? More than two years later, it’s painfully obvious that Dan Duquette’s decision to trade Arrieta and Pedro Strop to the Chicago Cubs for Scott Feldman and Steve Clevenger was the wrong move. The long man spot in the bullpen occupied by the then-Rule 5 pick McFarland would have been the perfect role for Arrieta, who would flash brilliance with Baltimore but was clearly struggling to establish himself with a 5.46 ERA in 69 career games (63 starts) and was out of minor-league options in 2013. Having blossomed into one of the best pitchers in the National League, Arrieta may never have found that success with the Orioles, but seeing McFarland toil as no better than a fringe reliever two years later just reinforces the organization’s strange obsession with the Rule 5 draft and how it’s often hurt them while providing little return.

2. Is it just me or is the perceived difficulty of this year’s training camp preparing the Ravens for a brutal start to the regular season? More than a few players have talked about the challenge of this camp compared to past years even though John Harbaugh already owned a reputation for working his players hard. That reality and the trip to Philadelphia to practice with the Eagles for three days ahead of Saturday’s preseason game have to be considered the tuneup for the start of the regular season that features five of the first seven on the road and two long-term road trips out west in which the Ravens will cut down on travel time between games. Harbaugh loves the expression “iron sharpens iron” and his team will need to be tough early to avoid an uphill climb to the postseason in the second half. If the Ravens can start no worse than 4-3, they should be in good shape for the rest of the season that features three consecutive home games in November and three of the last four at M&T Bank Stadium.

3. Is it just me or does the Miguel Gonzalez situation need to be handled delicately if you’re Buck Showalter? Many disagreed with Showalter stating Friday that the right-hander remains the club’s “best option” for the rotation and there’s little defending a 6.48 ERA since his return from the disabled list in late June, but this is a different situation than the one with Bud Norris when Kevin Gausman was ready and waiting earlier this year. With Tyler Wilson and Mike Wright both sidelined with injuries, there isn’t an alternative beyond bringing up a non-prospect type like Chris Jones just for the sake of doing it. Even if the Orioles do remove Gonzalez from the rotation, it would be wrong to completely bury him for the long haul as he not only has a remaining minor-league option, but he is under club control for a couple more seasons. Unlike Norris who was a pending free agent and little more than an average starting pitcher before 2014, Gonzalez pitched at a strong level for three full years before the struggles of the last two months and that shouldn’t be forgotten when looking toward the future.

4. Is it just me or is the Ravens’ 2015 draft class standing on its head right now? With first-rounder Breshad Perriman injured and second-round tight end Maxx Williams still working to establish himself, you do wonder how quickly the Ravens’ top two choices from this year’s draft will be ready to contribute. However, a pair of late-round picks have earned attention this summer as fifth-round tight end Nick Boyle and sixth-round wideout Darren Waller continue to make plays in practices. Boyle has dropped passes at times, but the football continues to be thrown his way as he turned heads during the practices in Philadelphia. Meanwhile, the 6-foot-6 Waller is ahead of where most thought he’d be in his development after playing in a triple-option attack at Georgia Tech. Neither player is going to start, but it wouldn’t surprise me to see Waller and Boyle involved more in the passing game — particularly in the red zone — than most would have predicted for their rookie seasons.

5. Is it just me or is Marlon Brown a player who needs to be careful not to land himself on the bubble? While Waller has established himself as a viable option for the 53-man roster, the 6-foot-5 Brown has battled back and hamstring injuries this summer and hasn’t done much to stand out when he has been on the practice field. Even in the spring, I thought Brown needed to have a strong camp to be a roster lock and that simply hasn’t happened, making you wonder if his spot could be in some jeopardy with other young receivers such as Waller, Jeremy Butler, and DeAndre Carter jockeying for roles. The University of Georgia product did improve as 2014 progressed, but he finished his second NFL season with just 24 receptions and no touchdowns after a 49-catch, seven-touchdown rookie campaign. For now, I’d still bet on Brown making the team, but he needs to pick up his play over the next couple preseason games to put a slow start behind him.

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ko

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Osemele returns to practice while nursing Achilles issue

Posted on 21 August 2015 by Luke Jones

Completing their second day of practice against the Eagles in Philadelphia, the Ravens continued to be less than 100 percent along their offensive line with a few players dealing with injuries.

Left guard Kelechi Osemele returned to the practice field on Thursday for the first time since playing in the preseason opener a week ago. A lingering Achilles tendon issue has plagued Osemele for the last couple weeks as the Ravens try to manage giving him enough rest against the need for him to receive the necessary reps to prepare for the start of the season.

“It’s a tough balance, because I think we’re going to err on the side of making sure he is ready to go,” head coach John Harbaugh said. “We do that with everybody, really. K.O. can always use the reps. He and Eugene [Monroe] can definitely work together. By the same token, you need him ready to go when you need him ready to go. We’ve been kind of doing that balancing act with all of our guys.”

In addition to the injury being a concern for the Ravens, Osemele is entering the final year of his rookie contract and would appear to be in line for a significant payday should he have a strong 2015 season.

While Osemele was on the field for the first time in a week, right tackle Rick Wagner was held out of Thursday’s practice against the Eagles after being shaken up a day earlier.

The Ravens have limited Wagner’s practice reps at times this summer after he missed the entire spring while recovering from last December’s Lisfranc injury, but he has shown few effects of the injury. Harbaugh did not indicate following Thursday’s practice that the third-year lineman was dealing with a new injury.

“Rick has been rehabbing a foot. He had foot surgery in the offseason,” Harbaugh said. “He fell into a pile yesterday, so we decided to give him a little rest.”

Fifth-year reserve Jah Reid is listed as the primary backup to Wagner, but the former third-round pick has been sidelined all week with a sore back. It’s an unfortunate but familiar development for a much-maligned player who has had a good summer after years of injuries and disappointing play.

Second-year lineman James Hurst worked with the first-team offense with Wagner and Reid both sidelined on Thursday.

“Jah had back spasms three days ago just doing nothing,” Harbaugh said. “It just locked up on him, so they’re trying to loosen those things up right now.”

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