Tag Archive | "Brandon McKinney"

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Ravens bring veteran defensive tackle Kemoeatu back to Baltimore

Posted on 02 May 2012 by Luke Jones

(Updated: 11:40 p.m)

After giving him his first shot as a rookie free agent in 2002, the Ravens are bringing veteran defensive tackle Ma’ake Kemoeatu back to Baltimore.

Kemoeatu will rejoin the Ravens on a one-year deal after stints with the Carolina Panthers and Washington Redskins. The 33-year-old did not play last season after being released by Washington after dealing with shoulder and Achilles tendon issues in recent years.

“Ma’ake will be given an opportunity to make our 53-man roster, and if he does, he will provide added depth on our D-line and help our ability to stop the run,” general manager Ozzie Newsome said in a team statement.

He played four seasons in Baltimore, collecting 92 tackles and four sacks over 61 games (21 starts) before signing a five-year, $23 million contract with Carolina in 2006.

Though past his prime, the 6-foot-5, 364-pound veteran will have a chance to compete for a backup spot on the defensive line, which lost reserve nose tackle Brandon McKinney in free agency to the Indianapolis Colts.

“When we signed Maake as a rookie free agent in 2002, he really rose to the occasion and worked his way into becoming a highly-regarded player in Baltimore and throughout the league,” director of pro personnel Vincent Newsome said. “He is incredibly strong – someone who has heavy hands and great punch. For a guy his size, he also moves really well and creates separation.”

The former Utah product has registered 237 tackles in his eight seasons in the NFL.

Comments (2)

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Former Ravens defensive tackle Brandon McKinney latest to bolt for Indianapolis

Posted on 05 April 2012 by Luke Jones

Reserve defensive tackle Brandon McKinney became the latest defensive player to leave the Ravens and join the Indianapolis Colts.

After spending the last four seasons in Baltimore, McKinney has agreed to a two-year deal to reunite with former defensive coordinator Chuck Pagano. McKinney is the third former Raven to join Pagano this offseason, joining defensive end Cory Redding and safety Tom Zbikowski as the Colts switch to a 3-4 defensive scheme.

The 28-year-old McKinney collected 37 tackles in 41 games with the Ravens. He made four starts in 2010 and was a regular contributor in the defensive line rotation.

There was no apparent push by the Ravens to attempt to re-sign the unrestricted free agent as they likely will try to get younger — and cheaper — at the position.

 

Comments Off on Former Ravens defensive tackle Brandon McKinney latest to bolt for Indianapolis

Baltimore Ravens v Cincinnati Bengals

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Stay or leave: Forecasting the fate of Ravens’ free agents

Posted on 08 March 2012 by Luke Jones

With free agency set to begin on Tuesday afternoon at 4 p.m., it’s time to predict who remains and who departs among the Ravens’ 12 unrestricted free agents, four restricted free agents, and seven exclusive rights free agents.

As of Thursday afternoon, the 2012 salary cap had yet to be set, but most reports indicate it will remain right around the $120 million used for the 2011 season. The Ravens are projected to have somewhere between $11 and $12 million in cap space, depending on what the final cap number will be.

Franchise tag

RB Ray Rice: STAYS
Skinny: The Ravens have until July 15 to reach a long-term agreement with Rice or he will play for the $7.7 million salary mandated by the franchise tag for running backs.

Unrestricted free agents

G Ben Grubbs: LEAVES
Skinny: General manager Ozzie Newsome expressed optimism at the NFL Combine, but the Ravens won’t engage in a bidding war when Grubbs hits the open market. 

C Matt Birk: STAYS
Skinny: The Ravens will meet with Birk’s agent Joe Linta next week and could sign the veteran to a cap-friendly, short-term deal to finish his career in Baltimore. 

LB Jarret Johnson: LEAVES
Skinny: Despite little depth at outside linebacker, the Ravens appear ready to move on and won’t be able to afford Johnson in a thin market for linebackers. 

LB Jameel McClain: LEAVES
Skinny: Assuming the Ravens do not strike a deal for Grubbs, some of that money could be allocated to retain McClain, but other teams historically throw too much money at Baltimore linebackers in the open market. 

DE Cory Redding: STAYS
Skinny: Though third-year defensive lineman Arthur Jones could step into the starting lineup, Redding might have more value to the Ravens than other potential suitors at this stage in his career. 

LB Brendon Ayanbadejo: STAYS
Skinny: With the lack of depth at inside linebacker and Ayanbadejo’s ability in pass coverage, the Ravens will hold onto the 35-year-old at a lower rate than the four-year contract he signed with the team in 2008. 

S Tom Zbikowski: LEAVES
Skinny: After four years serving primarily as a backup, the former Notre Dame product is looking for an opportunity to start elsewhere and doesn’t bring enough to the table as a special teams player to warrant overpaying. 

S Haruki Nakamura: STAYS
Skinny: In the same position as Zbikowski, Nakamura’s versatility as a defensive back as well as his special teams prowess will force the Ravens to pony up a little extra to keep him in Baltimore. 

OL Andre Gurode: LEAVES
Skinny: With the Ravens looking to select an interior lineman or two in April’s draft, the five-time Pro Bowl center will continue his career elsewhere. 

DT Brandon McKinney: STAYS
Skinny: A solid member of the defensive line rotation, McKinney won’t figure to draw a ton of interest on the open market, and the Ravens want to maintain their depth up front. 

TE Kris Wilson: LEAVES
Skinny: Adding a veteran tight end was a shrewd move after Todd Heap’s release last season, but Wilson’s spot will be assumed by a younger, cheaper option. 

LB Edgar Jones: LEAVES
Skinny: Injuries opened the door for Jones’ return last season, but he wouldn’t figure to fit into the team’s plans for the 2012 season. 

Restricted free agents

(The Ravens can offer a first-round, second-round, or low tender to any of these players, giving them the right to match any offer from an opposing team or to receive that team’s draft pick that matches the designation. The low tender awards a draft pick equal to the round in which the player was originally drafted.)

CB Lardarius Webb: STAYS
Skinny: Webb will receive the first-round tender worth roughly $2.75 million as the Ravens will explore a long-term agreement with the fourth-year cornerback. 

CB Cary Williams: STAYS
Skinny: A report indicated the Ravens will offer Williams a first-round tender, but the second-round designation (an estimated $1.9 million) saves money and would still deter teams from trying to pry away the biggest surprise of the 2011 season.

LB Dannell Ellerbe: STAYS
Skinny: The Ravens could roll the dice and offer the low tender ($1.25 million) to the inconsistent linebacker, but that would mean they wouldn’t receive a pick (Ellerbe was an undrafted free agent) if they declined to match a potential offer sheet.

RB Matt Lawrence: LEAVES
Skinny: Even with little depth at running back behind Ray Rice, there’s no way to justify even offering the low tender to the oft-injured running back entering his fourth season.

Exclusive rights free agents

(These are players with two or fewer accrued seasons and own no negotiating rights.)

Continue >>>

Comments (2)

johnson

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Ranking the Ravens’ biggest defensive needs

Posted on 15 February 2012 by Luke Jones

With free agency set to begin on March 13 and the draft to follow in late April, the Ravens continue to evaluate their needs in all three phases of the game.

After evaluating the biggest offensive needs on Monday, I offer my thoughts on the defensive side of the football by ranking the biggest positions of need entering the offseason.

1. Outside linebacker

For a team as rich as any at the linebacker position over the last 15 years, it’s unusual to see the Ravens with such glaring needs within the unit. Veteran Jarret Johnson is an unrestricted free agent and will be 31 by the start of the 2012 season, suggesting he would be a necessary casualty when addressing a list of 13 unrestricted free agents.

However, there isn’t a single option on the roster with which the Ravens would feel comfortable as a starting strongside linebacker. Paul Kruger shows ability as a pass rusher but has not shown the necessary ability in pass coverage or run defense to consider him an option as a three-down player at this point.

After appearing in only two games this past season, former second-round pick Sergio Kindle is probably more likely to be cut than to find himself in the starting lineup next season. The former Texas product has struggled to learn the Baltimore defense and still feels effects of a fractured skull suffered just days before what would have been his first training camp in 2010, but the 24-year-old will benefit from a full offseason at the team’s Owings Mills facility. Along the same lines as Kindle, Michael McAdoo — who spent the 2011 season on injured reserve — is an intriguing name to monitor but shouldn’t be in the discussion for a starting position at this point.

With that in mind, the Ravens might be more inclined to re-sign Johnson than many would think. Much like they did with Ray Lewis in the winter of 2009, the Ravens will allow the veteran linebacker to explore his value in the open market and see if they can come to an agreement that makes sense for both sides. Of course, new Indianapolis head coach and former Ravens defense coordinator Chuck Pagano could try to overpay for Johnson to bring a Baltimore flavor to the Colts defense. One factor working against the Ravens is a relatively-thin market for outside linebackers, which would not only drive up the price for Johnson but also mean they’d still have to pay handsomely for a replacement.

The Ravens would love to find a young outside backer who can play the run as effectively as Johnson while showing more ability in pass coverage. They could look to a draft prospect such as North Carolina’s Zach Brown, Oklahoma’s Ronnell Lewis, or Utah State’s Bobby Wagner in the early rounds, but the Ravens have rarely shown enough confidence in rookies to step into a starting job at the linebacker position.

The dream scenario would be to find an outside linebacker with enough pass-rushing ability to alleviate attention from Terrell Suggs on the opposite side, but Kruger did an adequate job in getting after the quarterback in passing situations.

2. Inside linebacker

The talk has only grown louder regarding the need to find the heir apparent to future Hall of Fame linebacker Ray Lewis, but the Ravens first need to figure out who will be playing next to him in 2012.

Jameel McClain is an unrestricted free agent and while the Ravens have to be pleased with his development after signing him as a rookie free agent in 2008, the 26-year-old will likely command more money than Baltimore is willing to pay to retain his services. This would leave Dannell Ellerbe, Albert McClellan, and Josh Bynes as potential replacements. Ellerbe is an restricted free agent while the latter two are exclusive rights players, meaning all three are very likely to return.

Veteran Brendon Ayanbadejo is also a free agent, meaning the Ravens could be in danger of losing arguably their best linebacker in terms of pass coverage.

Ellerbe has shown impressive potential in limited doses, but his work ethic has come into question on a number of occasions to draw the ire of coach John Harbaugh. The Ravens might be content with plugging Ellerbe into the other inside linebacker spot for now, but he’s far from a safe bet to be an answer beyond the 2012 season.

The Ravens face a difficult proposition in how to handle Lewis, who still plays the run effectively but is a liability in pass coverage. The prudent answer would be to limit the veteran to action on first and second down, but explaining that to one of the greatest linebackers in NFL history is easier said than done. You also need to have a viable replacement before you tell the defensive leader he comes off the field in passing situations.

While there has been plenty of talk over the last year or two to find Lewis’ eventual replacement, this year’s draft appears to be a critical time to find an up-and-coming inside linebacker. The Ravens have been linked to both Dont’a Hightower of Alabama and Vontaze Burfict of Arizona State in various mock drafts. The problem is Hightower may be off the board by the time the 29th pick rolls around and Burfict’s character has come into question with a reputation for delivering cheap shots and reportedly sucker-punching a teammate in practice last August.

3. Safety*

Continue >>>

Comments (1)

RicePats

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Sizing up the Ravens’ 2012 free-agent class

Posted on 26 January 2012 by Luke Jones

In the aftermath of the Ravens’ 23-20 loss to the New England Patriots in the AFC championship on Sunday, the finality of the season coming to an abrupt end was accompanied by the all-too-familiar feeling knowing that same team will never be together again.

The reality of the NFL’s offseason brings substantial change to all 32 teams — some more than others — and forces players to say goodbye to others for the final time as teammates.

“It’s tough to really think about that,” quarterback Joe Flacco said. “You know it’s going to happen, but you don’t know which guys it’s going to be, so it’s tough to be in our shoes and go through that. You finally just take it for what it is, and before you know it, you hope you had a good relationship with everybody on the team and said as much as you could say to that guy. We hope we can bring as many people back as we can.”

While other moves will be made — cornerbacks Domonique Foxworth and Chris Carr and wide receiver Lee Evans are the strongest candidates to be cut despite being under contract for the 2012 season — the Ravens have 13 unrestricted free agents, four restricted free agents, and four exclusive-rights free agents entering the offseason. I’ve included the entire list with a brief thought on each player’s potential future in Baltimore.

Two dates to keep in mind as the offseason begins are the March 5 deadline to designate a franchise player and the start of free agency on March 13 at 4:00 p.m.

Unrestricted free agents

RB Ray Rice
2011 stats: 16 starts, 2,068 yards from scrimmage, 15 touchdowns
Skinny: Rice isn’t going anywhere as the Ravens will either use their franchise tag on the Pro Bowl back or sign him to a long-term deal, though the latter would certainly create more cap space for 2012.

G Ben Grubbs
2011 stats: 10 starts, first Pro Bowl selection
Skinny: The Ravens clearly would like to bring the left guard back, but with Marshal Yanda receiving a sizable deal a few months ago, can the organization afford to invest so much money in the guard position?

C Matt Birk
2011 stats: 16 starts
Skinny: After 14 seasons in the league, Birk may decide to retire, but the Ravens could elect to go with the slightly-younger Andre Gurode or look to the draft for the center position.

LB Jarret Johnson
2011 stats: 16 starts, 56 tackles, 2 1/2 sacks
Skinny: With Johnson on the wrong side of 30, it might be time to part ways with the veteran linebacker, but the Ravens lack a logical replacement on the current roster with the disappointing development of 2010 second-round pick Sergio Kindle and the limitations of pass rusher Paul Kruger.

LB Jameel McClain
2011 stats: 16 starts, 81 tackles, one sack, one interception
Skinny: The former undrafted free agent credits Ray Lewis for his growth, so you have to wonder if McClain becomes the next Baltimore linebacker to receive an inflated contract elsewhere.

DE Cory Redding
2011 stats: 15 games (11 starts), 43 tackles, 4 1/2 sacks
Skinny: Before an ankle injury slowed Redding over the final month of 2011, he was having his best season in years, but the Ravens could elect to go with younger — and cheaper — defensive lineman Arthur Jones at this position.

LB Brendon Ayanbadejo
2011 stats: 16 games, 27 tackles, 1 1/2 sacks, nine special teams tackles
Skinny: The 35-year-old intends to play in 2012 and expects to be back with the Ravens, but the nickel linebacker may not be on the same page as Baltimore in terms of a contract to make his return feasible.

S Tom Zbikowski
2011 stats: 14 games (four starts), 16 tackles, one sack
Skinny: Largely a forgotten man after Bernard Pollard wrestled away the strong safety job early in the season, it appears Zbikowski will likely try to find a new home where he can start.

S Haruki Nakamura
2011 stats: 15 games, three tackles, nine special-teams tackles
Skinny: In a similar position to Zbikowski, the Ravens will likely make a harder push to keep Nakamura due to his exceptional ability as as special teams player.

OL Andre Gurode
2011 stats: 13 games (five starts)
Skinny: Signed as an insurance policy behind Matt Birk, the 10-year veteran wound up being needed at left guard for an injured Grubbs and could be the short-term replacement at center next season.

DT Brandon McKinney
2011 stats: 12 games, 14 tackles
Skinny: A regular part of the rotation along the defensive line, it’s hard to envision teams beating down McKinney’s door, but the Ravens may try to go younger and cheaper than the six-year veteran.

TE Kris Wilson
2011 stats: 15 games, four special teams tackles
Skinny: His touchdown catch in the divisional round was his claim to fame, but the veteran’s competent special teams ability may not be enough to keep him in Baltimore next season.

LB Edgar Jones
2011 stats: nine games, three special teams tackles
Skinny: Though he was active all nine games after being signed in early November, there’s a reason why Jones was unemployed when the Ravens were looking for special-teams depth.

Restricted free agents
(The Ravens can offer a tender attached to a draft pick and then have the right to match any offer from an opposing team and would receive that team’s draft pick if they choose not to match it.)

CB Lardarius Webb
2011 stats: 16 games (15 starts), 68 tackles, five interceptions, sack
Skinny: With another season like he had in 2011, Webb will be looking for a large payday and deservedly so.

CB Cary Williams
2011 stats: 16 starts, 77 tackles, two forced fumbles
Skinny: Easily the most pleasant surprise on the Baltimore defense, Williams will battle 2011 first-round pick Jimmy Smith for a starting corner job in training camp.

LB Dannell Ellerbe
2011 stats: nine games (three starts), 17 tackles
Skinny: The third-year linebacker always leaves you wanting more but could find himself in position to compete for a starting role depending on how the Ravens address the inside linebacker position this offseason.

RB Matt Lawrence
2011 stats: Did not play (injured reserve)
Skinny: Though a competent special-teams player when he’s been healthy in his three-year career, you have to think the Ravens are ready to cut ties with the injury-plagued back.

Exclusive-rights free agents
(These are players with two or fewer accrued seasons and own no negotiating rights.)

LS Morgan Cox
2011 stats: 16 games
Skinny: There’s no reason to think the Ravens are displeased with Cox’s performance as the long snapper.

CB Danny Gorrer
2011 stats: 11 games, three tackles, four pass breakups
Skinny: Considering he was pushing Chris Carr for the No. 4 corner spot by season’s end and was strong on special teams, Gorrer should have no reason to think the Ravens won’t bring him back.

LB Sergio Kindle
2011 stats: two games
Skinny: The Ravens will bring Kindle back, but he’ll need to make major strides in the offseason and training camp to make the 53-man roster again.

LB Albert McClellan
2011 stats: 16 games (one start), seven tackles, 12 special teams tackles
Skinny: He drew a start for the injured Ray Lewis on Thanksgiving night and is one of the best special teams players on the team, making his return a certainty.

 

Comments (2)

Chuck Pagano, Terrell Suggs

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Ravens’ Pagano to become next head coach of Colts

Posted on 25 January 2012 by Luke Jones

In what’s easily been the most frustrating week in the history of the franchise, the Ravens will now need to look for a new defensive coordinator as Chuck Pagano has been hired as the next head coach of the Indianapolis Colts.

Leading the Ravens to the No. 3 overall defensive ranking in his first season as coordinator, Pagano interviewed with Indianapolis on Tuesday before being offered the job on Wednesday. The 51-year-old spent three seasons as the Baltimore secondary coach before being promoted to replace former defensive coordinator Greg Mattison last offseason.

“It’s difficult to leave the Ravens but I couldn’t pass up on this great opportunity,” Pagano said to the Ravens’ official website. “I’m just thrilled and so excited.”

Pagano was extremely popular with his defensive players and brought a more aggressive play-calling style than Mattison, helping the Ravens improve from a franchise-low 27 sacks in 2010 to an AFC-best 48 this season.

“He just had an inkling for [making the right calls],” linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo told AM 1570 WNST on Wednesday afternoon. “More than anything, he wasn’t going to rely on just going vanilla and saying, ‘Oh, we’re going to beat everybody just going vanilla.’ That’s what coach Mattison liked to do.”

The Ravens sent four defensive starters to the Pro Bowl this year, including linebackers Ray Lewis and Terrell Suggs, defensive tackle Haloti Ngata, and free safety Ed Reed.

Pagano will be introduced to the Indianapolis media in a press conference on Thursday afternoon. The Colts fired general manager Bill Polian and head coach Jim Caldwell following a disastrous 2-14 season without quarterback Peyton Manning.

“We are so happy for Chuck, [his wife] Tina and their daughters,” coach John Harbaugh said in an official statement. “We are proud of him. Like me, Chuck grew up in the game and loves it. We will miss him and thank him for all he did for the Ravens.”

The 51-year-old will likely usher in a new era with Indianapolis primed to take Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck with the first overall pick in April’s draft. Ayanbadejo said the Colts will immediately take to Pagano’s infectious personality.

“He was one of those guys [where] it was like he was out on the field of battle with you and you’d never want to let him down, because he’s such a good guy,” Ayanbadejo said. “He’s also a family guy and a great person. You really felt like you knew him, and more than anything, you just didn’t want to let him down.”

Pagano had previous stints as a defensive assistant with the Cleveland Browns and the Oakland Raiders and also coached at several colleges, including most recently at the University of North Carolina before being hired by Harbaugh in 2008.

The Ravens will also wonder what impact Pagano’s departure might have on their list of defensive players with expiring contracts. Linebackers Jarret Johnson, Jameel McClain, and Ayanbadejo, defensive end Cory Redding, safeties Tom Zbikowski and Haruki Nakamura, and defensive tackle Brandon McKinney are all set to become unrestricted free agents and could now view Indianapolis as a viable alternative to the Ravens, who will not have a great deal of salary cap space.

After former Ravens defensive coordinator Rex Ryan was hired as the head coach of the New York Jets in 2009, linebacker Bart Scott and safety Jim Leonhard joined him in the Big Apple as free-agent signings.

Baltimore will now have its fourth defensive coordinator in five years after Rex Ryan, Mattison, and Pagano all held the job under Harbaugh. The most logical in-house candidate to fill the role would be linebackers coach Dean Pees, who was the defensive coordinator of the New England Patriots from 2006 to 2009 before moving on to Baltimore.

“I don’t think you’ll see any letdown if Dean Pees takes over,” said Ayanbadejo, who described Pees’ relationship with players as one based more on respect than the emotional Pagano. “You might even see a better defense if Dean Pees takes over because he likes things done a certain way, and he’s really particular about the way he does things.”

Pagano becomes the fourth defensive coordinator in the history of the franchise to depart for a head coaching position elsewhere, joining Marvin Lewis, Mike Nolan, and Ryan.

Comments (17)

Live from Owings Mills: Ricky Williams thinks he'll "fit in well" with Ravens

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Live from Owings Mills: Ricky Williams thinks he’ll “fit in well” with Ravens

Posted on 09 August 2011 by Luke Jones

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Though the dread locks and thick beard were trademark looks of his past, a mature, clean-shaven Ricky Williams passed his physical and took the practice field for the first time with the Baltimore Ravens on Tuesday afternoon.

After signing a two-year contract worth $2.5 million — with escalators that could reach $4 million total — the 34-year-old met with the Baltimore media explaining why he chose the Ravens over a possible opportunity to receive more carries with the Detroit Lions.

“It’s an established organization with a lot of [veterans],” Williams said. “Playing against them almost every year for the past six or seven years, you don’t like playing against them because of the way they play. I thought I would fit in well in this situation and be able to enjoy myself and possibly win a Super Bowl.”

Williams only ran a handful of plays as he spent much of the afternoon conferring with coaches and players in order to get up to speed with the offense. Having the advantage of playing in Cam Cameron’s system for their one year together in Miami, Williams admires the Ravens offensive coordinator — a contributing factor for his decision to come to Baltimore.

Despite a rocky start between the two when Cameron served as the Miami head coach in 2007, Williams gained a different view of him after an hour-long meeting.

“I really love what he does with the offense,” said Williams, who guessed that he would likely receive eight to 12 carries per game. “Just watching him out here at practice and how hands-on he is and how important the details are. For me, I love having that accountability on offense, and I think it’s going to make me a better player and it’s going to make our offense really good.”

With Jalen Parmele and rookie Anthony Allen previously competing for the backup running back job, Williams brings a diverse set of skills to both the running and passing game. With the uncertainty regarding center Matt Birk’s health and the competition at right tackle between Jah Reid and Oniel Cousins, coach John Harbaugh views Williams as quality pass blocker in the backfield.

“Adding Ricky into the mix helps us, makes us a better team,” Harbaugh said. “No doubt about it. We started talking about him a day or two ago and had a chance to put some tape on him yesterday, and, to me, he looks as good as ever — talking about last year. He ran the ball well, he’s very good in pass protection, [and] he understands pass protection. That’s really important for us now.”

Williams is unlikely to play against the Philadelphia Eagles on Thursday, but the Ravens expect the veteran back to be up to speed very quickly.

“I’m going to encourage him not to play on Thursday night,” Harbaugh said. “One practice out here probably is not enough to get him ready and keep him safe. I think he kind of wants to play, but we’ll probably hold him back.

Preseason test

The Eagles have been the clear-cut winner of an abbreviated off-season with the additions of cornerbacks Nnamdi Asomugha and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, defensive end Cullen Jenkins, running back Ronnie Brown and defensive end Jason Babin.

While NFL teams certainly don’t install a game plan against preseason opponents, the Ravens’ many personnel changes — especially on offense — make Thursday’s meeting in Philadelphia a litmus test for Harbaugh and the coaching staff to gauge how much work needs to be done over the next month before games actually start counting. The Eagles are widely-regarded as a favorite to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl.

“It’s a great test,” Harbaugh said. “It’s going to be interesting to see how we stack up. That’s a very talented team. It’s not going to take them long [to gel]. They’ve got a lot of guys back. It’s not like it’s a bunch of new guys, the whole team’s new. They’re just plugging in some guys here and there. Obviously, they’re one of the best teams in the NFC.”

As is the case with any preseason opener, the veteran stars such as Ray Lewis, Ed Reed, Terrell Suggs, and Haloti Ngata will see limited action, according to Harbaugh. The head coach said some veterans may only play a series or even less.

“We’ll be very judicious with those guys,” Harbaugh said. “The younger guys or the guys who need more time — the passing game a little bit — I think we’ll put more time in with those guys.”

It will be interesting to see how Harbaugh handles the workload of veterans who signed new contracts and were unable to practice until last Thursday. Those players would have less than a week of practices under their belts before their first game action.

Rookie cornerback Jimmy Smith (groin) will not suit up for Thursday’s game. Smith saw an increased workload in Tuesday’s practice and ran stride-for-stride with fellow rookie Tandon Doss on a fly route without any apparent limitations on one play. However, the Ravens will play it safe with their first-round pick as defensive coordinator Chuck Pagano suggested a few days ago.

Tight end Ed Dickson wore his helmet for a portion of Tuesday’s practice but did not participate in individual or team drills. He will not play on Thursday, leaving fellow second-year tight end Dennis Pitta to make the start.

Harbaugh expecting no brotherly love in Philly

After spending 10 seasons with the Eagles as a special teams coordinator and defensive backs coach, Harbaugh will return to Philadelphia for the first time as head coach of the Ravens.

Knowing the Philadelphia fans’ impeccable decorum in welcoming the opposition to Lincoln Financial Field, Harbaugh knows what to expect when he steps on the field on Thursday night.

“I’m fully expecting to be cheered rabidly,” said Harbaugh while laughing. “I’ll be highly disappointed if that doesn’t happen.”

Infirmary report

In addition to Dickson, cornerback Domonique Foxworth was absent from practice for the second straight day. The Ravens have been cautious with Foxworth’s surgically-repaired knee, but this marks the first time the 28-year-old defensive back has missed consecutive practices during camp. His absence puts his status for Thursday in question.

With Foxworth out and Smith still limited in practice, Chris Carr and Lardarius Webb worked as the starting cornerbacks on Tuesday and could be working with the starting defense against the Eagles.

Linebacker Tavares Gooden (undisclosed) was also absent from practice while veterans Cory Redding and Chris Carr returned to practice after sitting out Monday.

Receiver James Hardy (hamstring), running back Matt Lawrence (undisclosed), center Matt Birk (knee surgery), and defensive tackle Cornell Banks were among the others not practicing.

Defensive tackle Brandon McKinney was activated from the physically-unable-to-perform list and practiced for the first time on Tuesday. McKinney’s removal leaves receiver David Reed (wrist) and offensive tackle Ramon Harewood (knees) as the only players on the active PUP list.

Odds & ends

Williams wore No. 38 during his first practice with the Ravens but has since brokered a deal with running back Jalen Parmele for his customary No. 34. Parmele will switch to No. 33. … A fight broke out between offensive tackle Andre Ramsey and linebacker Albert McClellan after the lineman went low on him, causing a brief skirmish in which a helmet could be seen flying from the huddle. Ramsey later left the field, appearing to be favoring his hand. … Oniel Cousins and Jah Reid shared reps at the starting right tackle position, but Cousins also worked at left tackle with the second team since he’s the primary backup to Michael Oher. … A tandem of former Terps served as the gunners on the punt team as rookie receivers Torrey Smith and LaQuan Williams filled the roles during Tuesday’s practice. … Backup quarterback Tyrod Taylor spent some time working as the holder for kicker Billy Cundiff. The role is normally held by punter Sam Koch. … Prior to Tuesday’s practice, the Ravens waived rookie running back and Mervo High product Walter Sanders with Williams’ addition to the 90-man roster. The Ravens also signed offensive lineman Kyle Calloway, a 6-foot-7 first-year player from Iowa.

Visit the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault to hear more from Ricky Williams and John Harbaugh following Tuesday’s practice.

Comments Off on Live from Owings Mills: Ricky Williams thinks he’ll “fit in well” with Ravens

Follow BaltimoreLuke on Twitter

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Ravens place Suggs on non-football injury list, 4 others on active PUP list

Posted on 29 July 2011 by Luke Jones

Word began trickling out overnight that the Ravens have placed Terrell Suggs on the non-football injury list.

The Pro Bowl linebacker had his upper leg wrapped during Thursday’s practice and did not participate in the workout. Suggs is eligible to return to practice at any time and still counts against the 90-man roster.

Before panicking, defensive tackle Terrence Cody was placed on the same list at the beginning of last year’s camp after not passing his conditioning test. If Suggs has a tweaked hamstring, it’s possible he is simply waiting a day or two to take the test.

Every player on the training camp roster must pass the conditioning test before taking part in practice.

Follow BaltimoreLuke on Twitter

The Ravens have also placed starting left guard Ben Grubbs (ankle), receiver David Reed, defensive tackle Brandon McKinney (unknown), and offensive tackle Ramon Harewood (knee) on the active physically unable to perform list. Each player still counts against the 90-man roster and is eligible to return to practice at any point during training camp.

In 2010, ten Baltimore players began training camp on the active PUP list, including safety Ed Reed. Reed, however, was transferred to the reserve PUP list before the start of the regular season, requiring the veteran safety to miss the first six weeks.

Comments Off on Ravens place Suggs on non-football injury list, 4 others on active PUP list

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Live from Westminster: Webb still on PUP, “very close” to returning

Posted on 19 August 2010 by Luke Jones

WESTMINSTER, Md. — The Ravens concluded their final morning practice at McDaniel College without a single player leaving the field with an injury.

They also appear to be regaining a key member of their secondary in the near future.

Despite speculation that Lardarius Webb would come off the Physically Unable to Perform list on Thursday, the second-year cornerback did not practice, but the Ravens hope Webb can return to practice before the team’s third preseason game against the New York Giants.

“He’s very close,” John Harbaugh said. “He’s right there. That’s up to the doctors to make the decision about when he practices, but he’s right there and I know he wants to practice.”

Webb said earlier in the week he did not want to play in the preseason, citing a desire not to rush his surgically-repaired right knee, but both Harbaugh and Webb have backed off those comments slightly. The cornerback has been working on his conditioning and lateral movement on a regular basis, with his most intense work coming Wednesday afternoon.

“I’m just working on my confidence [in my knee] right now,” Webb said.

The cornerback did not want to discuss specifics about his progress or a time frame for his return, only saying the knee is “coming along” several times and deferring to Harbaugh for any other questions about his return.

“I was taught not to talk as much,” said Webb, clarifying his brief answers to the media. “I got in trouble for talking to you all one time. They said I said something, so I have to keep everything short right now. So that’s why you’re getting the short answers.”

As Webb continues to move closer to a return, cornerback Chris Carr practiced fully for the first time since playing briefly in the preseason opener last Thursday. Carr says his injured left hamstring is feeling much better but will see how he feels on Saturday before determining how much he’ll play in the second preseason game.

“I felt pretty good out here,” Carr said following the Thursday morning practice. “The last couple days I came out here and practiced a little bit and did some conditioning. During my exercises and stuff, my hamstring felt just as strong as my right one does. That was a good sign, so I felt pretty confident coming out here today being able to do everything.”

Center Matt Birk (neck), linebacker Prescott Burgess (undisclosed), and defensive tackle Brandon McKinney (knee) returned to the practice field as well as linebacker Tavares Gooden (neck) and fullback Le’Ron McClain (back/upper leg), though both were limited.

Receiver Mark Clayton and tight end Ed Dickson were new absences from practice. Clayton is dealing with “soreness” in his legs, according to Harbaugh, though he had his right ankle taped on Wednesday morning.

Dickson is dealing with an issue in the hip flexor and groin region and was held out by Harbaugh despite the rookie’s wishes to return to the practice field after sitting out a special teams workout on Wednesday afternoon. The injury is not considered to be serious.

“That was my call [on holding Dickson out],” Harbaugh said. “I just don’t want him to do anything to that that’s more serious.”

Others absent from practice included tight end Davon Drew (hamstring), defensive back Marcus Paschal (leg), and offensive linemen David Hale (tailbone), Oniel Cousins (headache), Daniel Sanders (arm), and Stefan Rodgers (arm).

In addition to Webb, safety Ed Reed (hip), running back Matt Lawrence (knee), and linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo (quadriceps) remain on the active PUP list.

Stay right here for updates (time-stamped below) and visit the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault to hear Harbaugh, Webb, Carr, and linebacker Dannell Ellerbe as well as Le’Ron McClain’s conversation with Thyrl Nelson.

__________________________________________________________

1:50 p.m. — Players practiced in shells and shorts with only two days remaining until the second preseason game against the Redskins.

Cornerback Travis Fisher was picked on quite a bit during practice, being beaten by Anquan Boldin, Demetrius Williams, and Donte’ Stallworth in a 10-minute span at one point during the morning session. Perhaps it’s the curse of No. 41 (see Frank Walker).

With Tavares Gooden being limited as he continues to rest his neck, Dannell Ellerbe took the reps at inside linebacker with the first team.

Chris Carr played the nickel spot when the Ravens ran their three-cornerback packages with Cary Williams and Fisher rotating on the outside.

Offensively, Boldin, Stallworth, and Williams were in on three-wide sets with Derrick Mason resting and Mark Clayton out with a sore ankle. This was just the latest indication that Williams has solidified his role as the No. 5 receiver with rookie David Reed struggling during training camp.

1:45 p.m. — Billy Cundiff has held a slight edge over Shayne Graham in the kicking competition thus far, but the former struggled considerably on the final day of workouts in Westminster.

Cundiff missed from 38 and 53 yards and hit the left upright on another late attempt at the end of practice while Shayne Graham connected from 48 and 53 yards despite missing a long attempt of his own before the conclusion of practice.

With our daily kicking updates coming to an end, we’ll have to rely on the kickers’ performance in the final three preseason games, which will carry far more weight in determining who will be the guy on Sept. 13 against the New York Jets.

Comments Off on Live from Westminster: Webb still on PUP, “very close” to returning

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Live from Westminster: Ravens limping through final days of camp

Posted on 18 August 2010 by Luke Jones

WESTMINSTER, Md. — With injuries continuing to hinder the training camp roster, John Harbaugh and the Ravens are probably thinking they cannot get away from McDaniel College fast enough and back to the cozy confines of 1 Winning Drive as the injury list continues to grow daily, particularly on the offensive line.

Right tackle Oniel Cousins was carted off the field after suffering from a headache on Wednesday morning. Cousins, already filling in for the injured Jared Gaither (back tear), appeared to be laboring earlier in practice and stood on the sidelines for a considerable time before leaving the field. The training staff will test Cousins for a possible concussion.

Tony Moll filled in on the right side in Cousins’ absence while Chris Chester continues to handle the center position in place of Matt Birk (neck). Other linemen missing practice included Stefan Rodgers (arm) and Daniel Sanders (arm).

It was an “over-30 club” day in Westminster, meaning the likes of Ray Lewis and Derrick Mason were given the day off. With veterans receiving a respite and so many others not practicing, fans could be forgiven if they didn’t recognize all players running with the starting units at times.

New absences from practice included fullback Le’Ron McClain (back/thigh) and linebackers Tavares Gooden (neck) and Prescott Burgess (undisclosed). McClain appeared to be dealing with an upper thigh issue over the last few days, even having the hip and thigh region wrapped during Saturday afternoon’s practice. The starting fullback was in street clothes, walking with a limp during the morning session, but the injury is not believed to be serious.

Gooden continues to deal with neck spasms after sustaining an awkward hit to the neck in the preseason opener. Despite practicing the last two days, the team will use caution the rest of the week in hopes that Gooden will be able to play against the Redskins on Saturday.

“[The neck] just keeps tightening back up on him,” Harbaugh said. “We need to just sit him down and settle him down.”

Gooden’s health clouds what has been an intriguing competition at inside linebacker after Jameel McClain lost his stronghold at the position with a poor performance in the preseason opener. McClain has received more work at the “Sam” outside linebacker with the second unit this week. Harbaugh hopes to get extended looks at all three with the starting defense over the final three preseason games.

“We’ll kind of move those guys around the next two weeks, and we’ll know where we’re at.”

In addition to the “over-30” club—which includes Lewis, Mason, Birk, Todd Heap, Travis Fisher, Trevor Pryce, and Kelly Gregg (Ed Reed and Brendon Ayanbadejo are still on the PUP list)—defensive tackle Brandon McKinney (knee), tight end Davon Drew (hamstring), and defensive back Marcus Paschal (leg) joined the aforementioned players as non-participants in the morning practice.

Stay right here for updates (time-stamped below) and visit the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault to hear Harbaugh, rookie receiver David Reed, and safety Tom Zbikowski’s conversation with Thyrl Nelson following practice.

______________________________________________________________________

1:40 p.m. — Both Billy Cundiff and Shayne Graham missed from 45 yards on Wednesday morning. Cundiff pulled his attempt wide left while Graham was wide right on his try.

Each kicker connected from 19, 40, and 51 yards as both continue to produce similar results day in and day out in Westminster.

12:45 p.m. — With Thursday being the last two-a-day of the summer, coaches and players are laboring through the final workouts in Westminster and toward the remainder of the preseason schedule. John Harbaugh has been pleased with the team’s work during camp, evidenced by his cancellation of three practices (one on Saturday and two on Sunday) over the last week.

“You get to this point and it’s time to [go],” Harbaugh said. “You’re looking into the next phase of camp. Going into this practice [on Tuesday morning], we wanted to make sure that we have five good practices before we leave here, to make the most of it, and we did a good job today.”

The Ravens will conduct a walk-through on Friday before breaking camp and continuing their preseason preparation at their practice complex in Owings Mills.

12:35 p.m. — As mentioned yesterday, rookie David Reed has struggled to catch the ball consistently after a strong beginning in Westminster. Reed, a fifth-round pick in April, was expected to battle for the fifth receiver job but has fallen out of contention with Demetrius Williams having such a strong—and injury-free—training camp.

With three preseason games remaining, Reed will need a strong showing at receiver and on special teams to avoid being cut or stashed away on the practice squad—or Injured Reserve with a mysterious injury.

“You want consistency,” Harbaugh said about the young receivers following Tuesday’s practice. “For whatever reason, we dropped a lot of balls out here today. I thought the quarterbacks were just a little more in rhythm with their throws [and] a little quicker versus the pressure, which is what we want, and maybe it caught the receivers a little bit off guard.”

Hale acknowledges he has struggled to catch the football in camp, something he has not experienced previously in his career.

“I don’t drop too many passes [typically],” Reed said. “That’s one thing I carry myself [with], I don’t drop passes. I’m getting it back.”

12:20 p.m. — Cornerback Chris Carr and receiver Mark Clayton suited up to practice but were limited participants throughout the morning session. Carr has taken part in individual drills the last two days but continues to sit out team portions of practice as he continues to recover from a left hamstring injury sustained on Aug. 7.

With Carr sitting out 11-on-11 drills and the 30-year-old Travis Fisher not practicing, Fabian Washington and Cary Williams were the cornerbacks with the first defense.

Clayton had his right ankle taped before walking out to practice, but the receiver stood on the sideline without a helmet and gloves for much of practice. Demetrius Williams and Donte’ Stallworth split reps at receiver opposite of Anquan Boldin with Clayton out and Mason receiving the day off.

Comments Off on Live from Westminster: Ravens limping through final days of camp