Tag Archive | "Baltimore"

Orioles sign shortstop Hardy to three-year extension

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Orioles sign shortstop Hardy to three-year extension

Posted on 09 October 2014 by Luke Jones

BALTIMORE — On the eve of their first appearance in the American League Championship Series in 17 years, the Orioles didn’t wait to wait any longer to lock up shortstop J.J. Hardy to a three-year extension to keep him in Baltimore beyond this October.

The Orioles announced a new contract with the 32-year-old infielder Thursday evening. The deal is for three years with an option and worth upward of $40 million, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports.

“I knew that I liked it here, I knew that I liked playing with all my teammates,” Hardy said. “The whole coaching staff, I enjoyed playing for them. I believe that Dan [Duquette], Buck [Showalter], and the Angelos family, they’re all going to continue doing everything they possibly can to make this organization better. Bottom line [is] it comes down to winning, and I think we’ve got a good thing here.”

Hardy has spent the last four years in Baltimore and was in the final season of a three-year, $22.5 million extension signed during the 2011 campaign, his first with the Orioles after he was acquired in a trade with the Minnesota Twins on Dec. 9, 2010. The two-time Gold Glove winner was expected to draw heavy interest from other clubs this winter with the New York Yankees topping the list as they look to replace the retired Derek Jeter.

While the Orioles remain focused on advancing to their first World Series in 31 years, the Hardy signing crosses one item off the list of offseason priorities that still includes the impending free agency of outfielders Nick Markakis and Nelson Cruz as well as lefty reliever Andrew Miller.

“Why not now really?” said Duquette when asked about the unusual timing of the shortstop’s extension. “When we looked at the market, we thought the best chance to sign J.J. was before he went to free agency, because he’s distinguished himself as one of the top shortstops in the league, and J.J. let us know that he wanted to continue his career here in Baltimore.”

Battling back issues at two different points this season, Hardy hit .268 with nine home runs and 52 runs batted in over 141 games. The shortstop slugged 22 or more homers in each of his first three seasons with the Orioles and acknowledged his back issues impacted his swing, which likely explains the drop in power.

But Hardy’s value extends beyond his own defensive ability and power at the plate as manager Buck Showalter has credited the shortstop for playing a major role in the development of injured third baseman Manny Machado and rookie second baseman Jonathan Schoop. Baltimore has possessed one of the best defensive infields in all of baseball over the last three seasons as Hardy’s experience and baseball intelligence has helped with the positioning of fielders.

“I hope J.J. ends his career here,” Showalter said. “It makes us a better club. He’s been solid. You’re always looking for things you can count on, and you never take for granted what J.J. brings. It’s so hard to do. I’ve said it before, [but] I think he’s flashy in his own way because he’s not looking for attention. His biggest thing he wants to get out of a day’s work is a win.”

According to FOX Sports, the Orioles are also pushing to complete a contract extension with Cruz, who led the club with a career-high 40 homers and was named Most Valuable Oriole by the local media. However, Duquette said his focus remains on Game 1 of the ALCS when asked if he was working on extensions with any of the Orioles’ other scheduled free agents.

Markakis said Thursday he was unaware of any contract discussions between the Orioles and his agent.

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Ten talking points for Orioles-Royals ALCS matchup

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Ten talking points for Orioles-Royals ALCS matchup

Posted on 08 October 2014 by Luke Jones

As the Orioles prepare to play the Kansas City Royals for the first time ever in the postseason and for the right to advance to their first World Series in 31 years, here are 10 talking points to break down their meeting in the American League Championship Series beginning Friday night:

1. It isn’t Eddie Murray vs. George Brett, but the tradition of yesteryear in each city makes this series a blast.

Yes, it’s been three decades since either the Orioles or Royals found themselves playing in the Fall Classic, but that’s what makes this series so much fun as younger baseball fan will be exposed to the history of each franchise. From 1973 through 1985, Baltimore and Kansas City combined to win two World Series titles, four AL pennants, and 10 division championships and were regarded as two of the model franchises in the major leagues. This history may not mean much to the current players or have any impact on the play on the field, but the fans’ thirst for a World Series will be palpable at both Kauffman Stadium and Oriole Park at Camden Yards.

2. You won’t find more contrasting offensive styles with the stakes so high.

It’s thunder against lightning as the Orioles led the major leagues with 211 home runs while the Royals stole more bases (153) than any of the 29 other clubs. Meanwhile, Baltimore stole the fewest number of bases (44) in the big leagues and Kansas City ranked 30th with only 95 home runs. Five Royals players hit double digits in swiped bags while the Orioles’ leader in the category was David Lough with eight. Seven Orioles hit 12 or more homers — Manny Machado and Chris Davis will not play in this series — compared to just three for Kansas City. Despite their contrasting styles, the Orioles finished the regular season ranked sixth in the AL in runs with 705 compared to Kansas City coming in ninth with 651. Baltimore has the better offense over the long haul, but the Royals will try to turn a short series into a 100-meter dash while the Orioles emphasize their advantage in the shot put.

3. The Royals stack up more favorably to the Baltimore defense that Detroit did.

The Orioles still have the edge in the field, but Kansas City has a number of Gold Glove-caliber players including catcher Salvador Perez and outfielders Alex Gordon and Lorenzo Cain. The Orioles rank third in the AL in BaseballReference.com’s defensive efficiency statistic while the Royals came in sixth in the regular season. Baltimore made the third-fewest number of errors (87) in the AL this season while Kansas City ranked 10th with 104. Both clubs made sparkling plays in the Division Series and rely on their defense to make a difference in close games.

4. Scoring early will be a high priority for both clubs.

Unlike the luxury the Orioles had against Detroit in the Division Series, they cannot expect to wait out starting pitchers for scoring opportunities in the late inning against the Royals, whose trio of Greg Holland, Wade Davis, and Kelvin Herrera might be even better than their own triumvirate of Zach Britton, Andrew Miller, and Darren O’Day. The Orioles’ 3.10 bullpen ERA ranked third in the AL while Kansas City’s 3.30 mark ranked fifth, which will cause both lineups to feel the urgency to break through prior to the sixth inning. Even with so many other great names in each bullpen, the wild cards could be right-hander Kevin Gausman and Kansas City lefty Brandon Finnegan, who made a major impact in the Wild Card Game after only being drafted in the first round out of Texas Christian a few months ago.

5. The spotlight will be much brighter on Adam Jones to produce in this series.

It’s cruel to judge any player on a sample size of only 37 at-bats, but the Orioles center fielder has amassed only four hits in his postseason career and will feel the heat if his bat doesn’t wake up in the ALCS. Being an aggressive hitter throughout his career, Jones must fight the urge to over-swing, especially when he has opportunities to drive in runs. The 29-year-old singled and walked in his final two plate appearances of the ALDS, which the Orioles hope are signs of better things to come this October for a player who’s meant so much to the club’s success over the last three years. Nelson Cruz carried the Orioles in the ALDS, but Jones waking up would make them even more difficult to beat in a best-of-seven series.

6. The Orioles are better equipped to handle Kansas City’s jackrabbits on the base paths.

The Royals are an incredible 12-for-13 attempting to steal in the postseason, which has certainly provided Buck Showalter with some restless nights this week. However, the Orioles will have more success in slowing Kansas City runners than either Oakland or the Angels because of their focus on slowing an opposing club’s running game. Baltimore ranked sixth in the AL by throwing out 28 percent of runners attempting to steal, but the fact that they faced the fourth-fewest number of stolen base attempts is a reflection of how well pitchers hold runners and how quick they are to the plate to help catchers Caleb Joseph and Nick Hundley. Of the two, Joseph is more adept at gunning down runners (a 40 percent success rate to Hundley’s 19 percent), so it will be interesting to see how much more Showalter might lean on the younger catcher in this series after Hundley started two of the three ALDS games.

7. Former Oriole starter Jeremy Guthrie pitching against his former club in the ALCS will be somewhat surreal.

With apologies to Baltimore reserve Jimmy Paredes, Guthrie is the most intriguing name to face his former team in this series and had the misfortune of being dealt away from the Orioles just before their resurgence in 2012. The classy right-hander has found a home with the Royals where he’s continued to be a solid member of the rotation and has been rewarded with a taste of the postseason after pitching respectably on some otherwise awful Orioles clubs from 2007 through 2011. Though Guthrie probably wouldn’t be slated to start before Game 4 unless the Royals elect to go with Danny Duffy in the rotation and put him in the bullpen, it will be interesting to see the Orioles face the 35-year-old, who acts as a symbol of the club’s past as they seek their first AL pennant in 31 years.

8. Neither club received enough credit for its starting pitching during the regular season.

The Orioles and Royals are known for their stout bullpens, but their rotations have been very effective despite lacking big names. The projected Game 1 starters, Chris Tillman and James Shields, are two of the better pitchers in the AL — the latter for a longer period of time — but each has just one All-Star appearance to his name. Baltimore’s starter ERA of 3.61 ranked just a hair below the Royals’ fourth-ranked 3.60 mark in the AL. The strong bullpens for both sides decrease the chances of any starter pitching particularly deep into games, but there’s no reason to think either side will have problems in this department.

9. This series may feature the two best relievers in baseball right now — and neither are closers.

While Britton and Holland have been two of the best ninth-inning men in baseball in 2014, Miller and Davis are the scariest weapons in their respective bullpens as they combined to strike out 212 hitters in 134 1/3 innings during the regular season. Miller’s ERA was 1.35 in 23 regular-season appearances for the Orioles after being dealt by Boston while Davis posted a 1.00 ERA in 71 appearances for Kansas City this year. Showalter has already demonstrated he’s not afraid to use Miller for more than one inning in the postseason while Davis was a starter as recently as last season, making you think he can be stretched out as well. Regardless of who ends up winning this series, it would be shocking if Miller and Davis aren’t the busiest bullpen arms in the best-of-seven showdown.

10. Buck Showalter has a sizable advantage over Ned Yost on this stage.

The strong sentiment shared among many around baseball is that the Royals have won in spite of their manager, who prefers the small-ball tactics detested by sabermetricians. Meanwhile, Showalter often speaks of his preference to not waste his offense’s 27 outs per game and rarely calls for sacrifice bunts and other tactics such as the hit and run. You do wonder if the Orioles’ strong bullpen will press Yost to lean even more on manufacturing runs than he normally does, but Showalter is more likely to stay the course with his lineup — even against the Royals’ stingy relievers. As for bullpen management, the skipper who is more willing to break the standard thinking of when to use his relievers will give his team the edge. Showalter is the superior tactician and has already shown his willingness to stretch his best relievers during the Division Series.

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Start times announced for remaining games of ALCS

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Start times announced for remaining games of ALCS

Posted on 08 October 2014 by Luke Jones

(Updated: 9:45 p.m. Wednesday)

Major League Baseball announced the remaining start times of all games of the American League Championship Series as the Orioles will welcome the Kansas City Royals to Oriole Park at Camden Yards beginning on Friday.

Game 1 will begin at 8:07 p.m. Friday as the ALCS will have the stage to itself with the National League Championship Series not getting underway until the next day. The Royals announced that right-hander James Shields will make the start in the series opener while manager Buck Showalter is expected to send Chris Tillman to the hill for the Orioles.

The second game of the best-of-seven series will begin at 4:07 p.m. Saturday before the teams move to Kansas City to continue the ALCS at Kauffman Stadium.

Games 3 and 4 will begin at 8:07 p.m. on Monday and Tuesday while Game 5 would begin at 4:07 p.m. Wednesday if necessary. If the series continues, Games 6 and 7 would also be played at 8:07 p.m. next Friday and Saturday night at Camden Yards.

The entire series will be televised on TBS.

In other news, Zach Britton and his wife, Courtney, became the parents of a baby boy as Zander Lee Britton was born Tuesday night in California. The Orioles closer is expected to be back with his club for Thursday’s workout at Camden Yards.

 

 

 

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Eight Ravens players missing from Wednesday’s practice

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Eight Ravens players missing from Wednesday’s practice

Posted on 08 October 2014 by Luke Jones

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — The Ravens were without eight players as they returned to the practice field Wednesday ahead of their Week 6 meeting with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Safety Matt Elam (shoulder), left guard Kelechi Osemele (knee), center Jeremy Zuttah (ankle), inside linebacker Daryl Smith (knee), wide receiver Marlon Brown (pelvis), defensive tackle Timmy Jernigan (meniscus), left tackle Eugene Monroe (knee surgery), and defensive end Chris Canty (wrist surgery) were all absent during the portion of practice open to media. Head coach John Harbaugh provided an encouraging prognosis on Elam and Osemele during his Monday press conference, which quells concerns about their absence for the first full practice of the week.

“‘K.O.’ is OK. He had a bruise,” Harbaugh said. “It turned out to be a bruise from hyperextension a little bit, but he played the rest of the game. He’s sore, but he looks OK. And Matt Elam had a contusion on his shoulder. He’s a tough guy that played the rest of the way. He should be OK.”

Cornerback Dominique Franks and tight end Ryan Taylor were both present a day after being added to the 53-man roster. The Ravens officially placed cornerback Asa Jackson on injured reserve-designated to return Wednesday to make room for Franks and waived tight end Phillip Supernaw to clear a roster spot for Taylor, who was claimed off waivers from the Green Bay Packers.

Jackson will not eligible to return until the Ravens’ Week 14 meeting against the Miami Dolphins, meaning the Ravens will depend on Lardarius Webb to return to his starting role after dealing with a back injury for more than two months. Franks and fourth-year cornerback Chykie Brown will compete for playing time at the No. 3 cornerback spot, but Elam has also played extensively at the nickel spot this season.

“Dominique is going to do a good job for us,” Harbaugh said. “He was here in training camp and did well. He’s a good football player. We liked him then, and we’re fortunate that he’s still available.”

Meanwhile, Tampa Bay was without starting free safety Dashon Goldson (ankle) and wide receiver Vincent Jackson (rib) during Wednesday’s practice. The good news for the Buccaneers was the limited participation of rookie wideout Mike Evans, who’s been limited with a groin injury for the last two weeks.

Here is Wednesday’s full injury report:

BALTIMORE
DID NOT PARTICIPATE: WR Marlon Brown (pelvis), DE Chris Canty (wrist), S Matt Elam (shoulder), DT Timmy Jernigan (knee), T Eugene Monroe (knee), G Kelechi Osemele (knee), LB Daryl Smith (knee), C Jeremy Zuttah (ankle)

TAMPA BAY
DID NOT PARTICIPATE: CB Johnthan Banks (neck), LB Jonathan Casillas (hamstring), S Dashon Goldson (ankle), WR Vincent Jackson (rib), QB Josh McCown (right thumb)
LIMITED PARTICIPATION: DE Larry English (hamstring), WR Mike Evans (groin)
FULL PARTICIPATION: LB Mason Foster (shoulder)

 

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Ravens support Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Posted on 08 October 2014 by WNST Staff

PRESS RELEASE

This October, the Baltimore Ravens will support Breast Cancer Awareness Month through a variety of initiatives, and the efforts will be highlighted when the Ravens take on the Falcons (Oct. 19, 1 p.m.) at M&T Bank Stadium. These initiatives include:

Sunday, Oct. 12

The Ravens have partnered with the American Cancer Society (ACS) through support of the nonprofit’s Making Strides Against Breast Cancer event on Sunday, Oct. 12. Ravens fans are encouraged to join Team Purple and will receive a commemorative t-shirt as a thank you gift.

Fans can visit: http://main.acsevents.org/goto/RavensTeamPurple

Monday, Oct. 13

· Breast Cancer Awareness Month efforts will continue on Monday, Oct. 13 when Ravens players visit with breast cancer patients who are currently undergoing treatment at The Hoffberger Breast Center at Mercy Medical Center. (Details to follow on Thursday this week.)

Sunday, Oct. 19 vs. Falcons

· Ravens staff, family members and volunteers will distribute over 50,000 pink ribbons to fans as they enter M&T Bank stadium gates on Sunday before the Ravens’ designated Breast Cancer Awareness game. In collaboration with ACS, the initiative, called A Crucial Catch: Annual Screening Saves Lives, reminds women 40 and older about the importance of having an annual mammogram.

· Prior to the game’s kickoff, approximately 20 women – a combination of breast cancer survivors and those currently undergoing treatment – will be honored during an on-field ceremonial tribute.

· The Ravens will also incorporate many pink elements into the Oct. 19 game. Ravens players and coaches will wear pink items throughout the game, including cleats, gloves, hats, wristbands, Gatorade towels and more. Ravens cheerleaders will sport pink pom-poms, team mascot Poe will wear a pink New Era cap, and members of Baltimore’s Marching Ravens will wear pink plumes. In addition, M&T Bank Stadium will feature on-field and in-stadium branding, and the Ravens Gameday magazine will feature a pink hue.

· Game-worn pink merchandise, along with special game balls and pink coins, will be auctioned off at www.nflauction.nfl.com, with proceeds benefiting the ACS’s Community Health Advocates implementing Nationwide Grants for Empowerment and Equity (CHANGE) program. To date, the NFL’s program has raised approximately $7 million for breast cancer awareness, prevention and research efforts as a result of the A Crucial Catch campaign, with the majority of the funding coming from the sale of pink NFL Auction items.

Saturday, Oct. 25

· The NFL’s A Crucial Catch campaign has provided another year of funding to support increased access to breast cancer education and screening resources in underserved communities through the ACS. The ACS has awarded a $50,000 Community Health Advocates implementing National Grants for Empowerment CHANGE grant to the Family Health Centers of Baltimore in Cherry Hill, continuing efforts to increase breast cancer screenings in the community. As part of the grant, the Ravens will participate in A Crucial Catch Day on Saturday, Oct. 25, a nationwide event held in cities across the country to help women receive breast cancer education and screenings. Pre-registered women will learn ways to reduce the risk of breast cancer and the importance of early detection at the Family Health Centers of Baltimore in Cherry Hill.

For more information, please visit www.BaltimoreRavens.com/community.

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Ravens officially place cornerback Jackson on IR-designated to return

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Ravens officially place cornerback Jackson on IR-designated to return

Posted on 08 October 2014 by Luke Jones

After suffering a severe toe injury in last Sunday’s loss to the Indianapolis Colts, Ravens cornerback Asa Jackson was officially placed on injured reserve with the designation to return on Wednesday.

The third-year cornerback is currently in a walking boot and will now be sidelined a minimum of six weeks before he can begin practicing again. Jackson can return to game action after a minimum of eight weeks under the rules of the IR-designated to return exemption that was introduced at the start of the 2012 season. The earliest game in which Jackson could return would be the Ravens’ Week 14 meeting with the Miami Dolphins.

The timing of the injury comes as veteran cornerback Lardarius Webb saw his most extensive action of the season by playing 44 of 82 defensive snaps against the Colts. Jackson started four of the Ravens’ first five games, making 19 tackles and a pass breakup.

The Ravens also announced Wednesday morning that they had officially re-signed veteran cornerback Dominique Franks, who was with the team during the preseason and is familiar with defensive coordinator Dean Pees’ system. He is expected to compete for the No. 3 cornerback spot with Chykie Brown, but the Ravens have also used strong safety Matt Elam extensively at the nickel position this year.

Baltimore has now used the IR-designated to return tag in three straight seasons as it was given to inside linebacker Ray Lewis after a torn triceps in 2012 and to tight end Dennis Pitta after he sustained a dislocated and fractured hip in the first week of training camp last season. Both players were able to return later in those season.

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Join Us Thursday Night with #89 Steve Smith!

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Join Us Thursday Night with #89 Steve Smith!

Posted on 08 October 2014 by WNST Staff

We’ll be hanging out with Ravens standout WR Steve Smith Thursday night as we’re back with the good folks at Greenmount Station in Hampstead. Kickoff is at 7:30pm!

We’ll chat with Steve about his experience thus far after the first five weeks of the regular season here in Baltimore. How did it feel going against his former team? Is Steve happy with where the Ravens sit, currently at 3-2 heading into Tampa Bay?

Also, There Goes My Hero will be in the house as we continue our mission of swabbing as many people as possible and adding them to the bone marrow donor database. Thus far, we’ve raised over $20,000 and have swabbed over 1,100 people since April. We hope to crush those numbers this fall and beyond. If you haven’t been swabbed, it’s easy and painless. Click here for more info on the swabbing process and any restrictions. THANK YOU to everyone who has donated and/or swabbed for us and #JennStrong. We can’t thank you enough and we hope you’ll continue to spread the word.

As always, each and every one of our live shows are presented by Freedmont Mortgage. If you’re looking to buy or refinance a home, don’t make a 30 year mistake by choosing the wrong lender. Visit freedmont.com to learn more. Also big thanks to Enoch Office and Rugenix for their continued support!

UPDATE FROM WNST STAFF: Ravens rookie LB C.J. Mosley is expected to join WNST and host Steve Smith on Thursday night after his standout performance on Sunday. We hope to see you all in Carroll County!

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Orioles offering new ticket plans with ALCS and World Series options

Posted on 07 October 2014 by WNST Staff

PRESS RELEAS

The Orioles are calling on all fans throughout Birdland to “Back the Birds” and support the ALCS-bound home team. To help encourage fans to get on board, the club has introduced new 20-Game and 40-Game Season Ticket Plans which will guarantee access to 2014 ALCS and World Series tickets, among many of the Orange Carpet Benefits enjoyed by existing Season Plan Holders. Such benefits include significant savings over individual game tickets, a flexible exchange policy, early ballpark access, and more.

Fans who place a deposit on a new 20-Game or 40-Game Plan, or on an existing 29-game or 81-Game Plan, by tomorrow, October 8, at 5:00 p.m. will be guaranteed tickets to the ALCS and World Series based on level of commitment as follows:                                   

2015 SEASON PLAN DEPOSIT AMOUNT

YOUR 2014 POSTSEASON TICKET GUARANTEE

20-Game $375 per seat

2 Guaranteed Games: Game 1 or 2 of ALCS and World Series

29-Game $500 per seat

4 Guaranteed Games: Game 1 or 2 and 6 or 7 of ALCS and World Series

40-Game $750 per seat

6 Guaranteed Games: Game 1 & 2 and 6 or 7 of ALCS and World Series

81-Game $1,000 per seat

Guaranteed: ALL GAMES

 

 

 

13-Game Plans that include 2014 postseason tickets are sold out and are no longer available. Existing 13-Game Plan Holders, and those previously placing a deposit on a 13-Game Plan, will be accommodated with any Postseason opportunities that have already been committed.

Fans can place a deposit by calling 1-888-848-BIRD or by visiting www.orioles.com/postseason which also features a Postseason seating chart, schedule, and additional ticket information. The private sale of guaranteed ALCS tickets will take place online on Thursday, October 9 at 9:30 a.m.E

 

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Ravens claim former Packers tight end Taylor, try out veteran corner Bailey

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Ravens claim former Packers tight end Taylor, try out veteran corner Bailey

Posted on 07 October 2014 by Luke Jones

The Ravens were awarded former Green Bay Packers tight end Ryan Taylor off waivers and cut tight end Phillip Supernaw on Tuesday.

However, it was their interest in another player that drew more attention as Baltimore worked out veteran cornerback Champ Bailey, according to an ESPN report. The future Hall of Fame defensive back spent the preseason with the New Orleans Saints, but no team has bit on the 36-year-old since he was cut at the end of the summer.

The Ravens lost cornerback Asa Jackson due to a severe toe injury that will keep him out for an extended period of time and veteran defensive back Lardarius Webb has been dealing with a nagging back injury for over two months, which explains why Baltimore reportedly intended to re-sign Dominique Franks on Tuesday.

It remained unclear as of Tuesday evening whether the Ravens would sign Bailey to a contract.

Taylor, 26, was drafted by the Packers in the seventh round of the 2011 draft. Playing in 50 games with Green Bay over the last four seasons, the University of North Carolina product has caught eight passes for 45 yards and a touchdown in his career.

With Dennis Pitta out for the season, Taylor provides more experience as a No. 3 option behind veteran Owen Daniels and rookie Crockett Gillmore. Supernaw missed Sunday’s game after suffering a thigh injury last week.

The Ravens also signed former Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive end Steven Means to their practice squad to take the place of linebacker John Simon after he was signed by the Houston Texans earlier in the day. Means was a fifth-round pick in last year’s draft and appeared in 10 games for Tampa Bay as a rookie and one game this year before he was waived on Sept. 9.

Simon was a 2013 fourth-round selection from Ohio State, but the outside linebacker was cut at the end of the preseason before being signed to the practice squad.

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Ravens stock watch entering Week 6

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Ravens stock watch entering Week 6

Posted on 07 October 2014 by Luke Jones

Every week, we’ll take a look at which Ravens players’ stock is rising and falling …

STOCK RISING

C.J. Mosley
Skinny: The rookie inside linebacker was the best player on the field for the Ravens in Sunday’s loss to Indianapolis as he finished with 14 tackles, a quarterback hit, a pass breakup, and an interception. Baltimore has used plenty of high draft picks on defensive players in recent years with mixed results, so it’s encouraging to see Mosley emerging as a game-changer on that side of the ball with so many aging players around him. Veteran Daryl Smith’s strong play last year was a pleasant surprise the year after Ray Lewis’ retirement, but Mosley has been the better player of the two in 2014.

Marshal Yanda
Skinny: Coming back from offseason shoulder surgery a year ago, the Pro Bowl right guard wasn’t his usual self in 2013, but Yanda has again been one of the best players in the NFL at his position so far in 2014. According to Pro Football Focus, the eighth-year guard is the Ravens’ highest-graded offensive player this season and the running game has been particularly potent with him and second-year tackle Rick Wagner opening running lanes on the right side. The offensive line struggled against Indianapolis, but Yanda had another strong day despite the loss.

Pernell McPhee
Skinny: The Ravens have had difficulty sustaining a pass rush, but the reserve specialist has arguably been their best weapon in that department, whether lining up at end or sliding inside in passing situations. McPhee may have only picked up his first sack of the season against the Colts, but the 2011 fifth-round pick leads the Ravens in Pro Football Focus’ quarterback hurries category despite playing less than Terrell Suggs and Elvis Dumervil. The Ravens try to limit McPhee’s snaps to keep him healthy after dealing with nagging knee issues in past years, but he’s been one of their best defensive players this season.

STOCK FALLING

James Hurst
Skinny: The undrafted rookie free agent was a pleasant surprise in his first career start against the Carolina Panthers, but his second game as the starting left tackle was disastrous as Indianapolis beat him repeatedly in the process of harassing quarterback Joe Flacco. The Ravens didn’t provide Hurst with enough help on the left side, so they’ll need to adjust as they play another road game against Tampa Bay in Week 6. Veteran Eugene Monroe was noncommittal last week when asked when he anticipated returning, so the Ravens can only hope that Hurst bounces back to play like he did against Carolina.

Terrell Suggs
Skinny: The veteran linebacker hasn’t played as poorly as some have suggested while focusing on the fact that he only has 1/2 sack so far this year, but it’s apparent the nagging groin injury he’s been dealing with is taking its toll as he was a non-factor against Indianapolis. Suggs is eighth on the team in tackles and has looked more like the player he was in the second half of 2013 than the linebacker who collected nine sacks in the first eight games of last season. The soon-to-be 32-year-old is still solid against the run, but you have to wonder if his days as a consistent high-impact player are coming to an end.

Torrey Smith
Skinny: Dropping the fourth-down pass from Flacco on the Ravens’ final offensive play of the game Sunday was just the latest example of concern as Smith has just 11 catches for 176 yards and a touchdown through five games. Gary Kubiak’s West Coast offense depends on short-to-intermediate routes that Smith often struggles in running, leaving the fourth-year wideout uncomfortable and on a different page than Flacco for much of the season. Smith has been able to draw a number of pass interference penalties on deep balls, but you wonder how much his struggles are wearing on him in a contract year.

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