Posted on 31 January 2014 by WNST Audio
Posted on 27 December 2013 by WNST Audio
Posted on 27 December 2013 by Luke Jones
After 15 years in the NFL, Ravens wide receiver Brandon Stokley has decided to call it a career.
Stokley told The Denver Post that an injury-riddled season in his return to Baltimore was enough to convince him that it was time to walk away from football. He suffered a concussion in the Ravens’ win over Minnesota on Dec. 8 and was placed on injured reserve a few days later.
The 37-year-old caught 13 passes for 115 yards in six games this season while dealing with a groin injury for much of the season. He and veteran tight end Dallas Clark were signed in August to aid the passing game after tight end Dennis Pitta suffered a dislocated and fractured him in the first week of training camp.
“It really was awesome to be around him,” said coach John Harbaugh, who added that his father coached against Stokley in his collegiate days. “[He’s a] hard worker, great guy, very smart football guy who will make a heck of a coach someday if he chose to. Congratulations to him.”
Drafted in the fourth round of the 1999 draft by Baltimore, Stokley has allegedly dealt with at least 14 concussions in his football career dating back to his high school days, which clearly was a major concern after the latest head injury against the Vikings. The Louisiana-Lafayette product has amassed over 5,000 receiving yards in his career.
In addition to his two stints with the Ravens, Stokley also played for Indianapolis, Denver, Seattle, and the New York Giants in his long career.
A fan favorite in his time with Baltimore, Stokley will forever be remembered in franchise history for catching the first touchdown of Super Bowl XXXV in what would amount to a 34-7 victory and the Ravens’ first NFL championship.
Posted on 10 December 2013 by Luke Jones
After a long history of concussions going back to his high school daysl, the latest one to Ravens wide receiver Brandon Stokley has ended his season and possibly his career.
The 37-year-old was placed on injured reserve after sustaining a concussion making a short reception in the fourth quarter of the 29-26 win over the Minnesota Vikings. He did not return to the game.
Running back Bernard Scott was re-signed to take Stokley’s place on the 53-man roster after he was let go over the weekend to make room for the returning Dennis Pitta.
Stokley missed seven games earlier this season while recovering from a groin injury but returned to play in the last three games. He has allegedly dealt with at least 14 concussions in his football career dating back to his high school days, which clearly was on coach John Harbaugh’s mind when providing an update on the veteran during his Monday press conference.
“He’ll go through the concussion protocol,” Harbaugh said. “We’ll have to see how that shakes out. Unfortunately, he’s had a number of those in his career, so that could be problematic for us. We’ll have to see in the next 24 hours or so.”
Stokley’s absence could possibly pave the way for younger receivers Tandon Doss and Deonte Thompson to receive limited opportunities in the passing game, but the return of standout tight end Dennis Pitta has changed the complexion of the passing game.
Stokley made 13 catches for 115 yards this season and has amassed over 5,000 receiving yards in his career that began as a Ravens’ fourth-round draft pick in 1999.
Originally signed by the Ravens in late October to provide more depth at running back, Scott wasn’t active for a single game before he was released over the weekend.
Posted on 09 December 2013 by Luke Jones
OWINGS MILL, Md. — The Ravens escaped their win over the Minnesota Vikings without an extensive injury list, but veteran wide receiver Brandon Stokley joins linebacker Elvis Dumervil as question marks for next Monday’s game in Detroit.
Stokley left the game with a concussion in a fourth quarter that featured an astonishing 42 points scored between the two teams. It is believed that he was injured catching a 2-yard pass on third down that set the Ravens up for the fourth-and-1 play in which fullback Vonta Leach was stuffed for no gain at the Minnesota 21 with 10:36 remaining.
The 37-year-old wideout missed seven games earlier this season while nursing a groin injury but returned to play in the last three games, catching four passes for 36 yards. Stokley has dealt with at least 14 concussions in his football career dating back to his high school days, which could complicate how quickly he’s able to return to the field.
“He’ll go through the concussion protocol,” coach John Harbaugh said during his Monday press conference. “We’ll have to see how that shakes out. Unfortunately, he’s had a number of those in his career, so that could be problematic for us. We’ll have to see in the next 24 hours or so.”
Dumervil missed his first game of the season against Minnesota after he was unable to recover from a left ankle sprain suffered against Pittsburgh on Thanksgiving night. The pass-rush specialist returned to play in that key AFC North game, leaving the Ravens optimistic that he’d be able to play against the Vikings.
However, his progress was slower than expected last week and the snowy conditions at M&T Bank Stadium on Sunday likely made the Ravens’ decision to deactivate him even easier. The Baltimore defense has failed to collect a sack in each of the last two games, which is a disturbing trend with meetings against Detroit’s Matthew Stafford and New England’s Tom Brady coming up in the next two weeks.
“I think Elvis has a chance for next week,” Harbaugh said. “He looks pretty good [Monday]. It’s kind of a bruise in his ankle, so we’ll just have to see where he’s at. I was hopeful for him this week, so I’ll be more hopeful for him next week.”
By all accounts, tight end Dennis Pitta made it through Sunday’s game feeling no ill effects after returning to action for the first time since dislocating and fracturing his hip on July 27. Pitta finished with six catches for 48 yards and reined in a 1-yard touchdown pass with 2:05 remaining in the game.
The Ravens were so confident in Pitta’s ability to play extensively against Minnesota that they listed veteran Dallas Clark as inactive, but Harbaugh said the 34-year-old still fits into the team’s plans moving forward. Clark’s limited ability as a blocker and his lack of a special-teams role make him a difficult player to include among the 46 active players on game days, especially if the Ravens plan to emphasize the running game in a given matchup.
“Dallas is going to be a big part of what we’re doing going forward,” Harbaugh said. “It just depends on the game plan and how the offensive coaches decide to put that together.”
Pass rush MIA
Masked in the euphoria of Sunday’s miraculous 29-26 win over Minnesota was the fourth-quarter struggles of the defense and its inability to collect a sack for a second straight week after 19 straight contests with at least two.
Harbaugh expressed concern over his defense’s inability to finish games strongly, but he didn’t seem as concerned with the pass rush, citing the ability of Minneseota quarterback Matt Cassel and Pittsburgh’s Ben Roethlisberger a week earlier to get the ball out quickly. Of course, the snowy conditions Sunday left a few inches of snow on the field, which also impacted the rush in a way similar to the sloppy conditions in Chicago last month.
“I don’t think it’s a product of what people are doing differently. They’re getting the ball out pretty quick,” Harbaugh said. “There haven’t been a lot of downfield-route-type things. We had some maximum protection yesterday, two backs, and those kinds of things where they try to throw it down the field. They were mostly throwing fades or they threw seams over the middle. Those balls come out pretty quick. Field conditions were a factor … more than anything else.”
The absence of Dumveril left more pass-rushing situations for second-year linebacker Courtney Upshaw on Sunday and fellow outside linebacker Terrell Suggs extended his streak of games without a sack to five. Suggs earned at least one sack in seven of the first eight games of the 2013 season but hasn’t collected one since.
Flacco gets taste of own medicine
Posted on 04 December 2013 by Luke Jones
OWINGS MILLS, Md. — After coach John Harbaugh offered an optimistic outlook for the Ravens’ health earlier in the week, Wednesday’s practice confirmed his feelings as outside linebacker Elvis Dumervil was the only notable player not to participate.
The rush specialist injured his ankle in the second quarter of last week’s win over the Pittsburgh Steelers but returned early in the second half to finish the game. Harbaugh said Dumervil looked OK on Monday but hinted that he might be limited during practices this week before expressing confidence that all players who were nicked up in last Thursday’s game would be able to play Sunday against the Minnesota Vikings.
Cornerback Jimmy Smith (head) practiced on a limited basis after being cleared by doctors after completing the league’s concussion protocol. The third-year defensive back appeared woozy while walking off the field following the violent collision with Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell late in the fourth quarter.
“Jimmy is becoming one of the top corners in the National Football League by the way he is playing,” said Harbaugh on the importance of Smith being cleared. “The numbers bear that out, and the film bears it out. It’s important to our football team, and I really like the way he is playing.”
Wide receiver Brandon Stokley (knee) was also practicing on a limited basis despite injuring his left knee in the second quarter of the Pittsburgh game and not returning. Harbaugh said the 37-year-old veteran suffered no structural damage to his knee.
Dennis Pitta was also taking part in Wednesday’s practice as Harbaugh said he was “pretty hopeful” that the fourth-year tight end would be able to make his 2013 season debut on Sunday. The sense is Pitta’s activity level will be increased this week to see how his surgically-repaired hip responds to contact and team-related activity before the Ravens will make a decision on his status at the end of the week.
According to quarterback Joe Flacco, Pitta was limited to just individual work in the week leading up to the game against the New York Jets. Last week’s abbreviated schedule that consisted of only walk-throughs leading up to the Pittsburgh game eliminated any chance of Pitta testing his hip in full-team drills, meaning there was no really chance of the tight end playing against the Steelers.
“It’s going to be just a matter of how ready he is to play and how healthy he is to play,” Harbaugh said. “With something like that, all the doctors are going to be involved. He was in New York [Tuesday]. Those things are important things. The health of the player comes first. That’s the No. 1 thing — his ability to withstand the rigors of a game. I think we’re on track that way, but we’ll just have to see how it plays out.”
The Ravens have until 4 p.m. on Saturday to place Pitta on the 53-man roster for him to be eligible to play against the Vikings, but his 21-day window for practicing will expire on Dec. 11, meaning the organization must put him on the active roster by then for him to be eligible to play the rest of the season.
Rookie safety Brunden Trawick was the only other player besides Dumervil who did not participate in Wednesday’s practice.
Meanwhile, the Vikings haven’t made it official, but head coach Leslie Frazier indicated backup quarterback Matt Cassel is likely to start in place of concussed starter Christian Ponder, who was injured in Minnesota’s overtime win over the Chicago Bears this past Sunday.
Minnesota running back Adrian Peterson also sat out Wednesday’s practice while nursing a groin issue.
Here is the full injury report for Wednesday:
DID NOT PARTICIPATE: LB Elvis Dumervil (ankle), S Brynden Trawick (ankle)
LIMITED PARTICIPATION: DE Chris Canty (shoulder), CB Asa Jackson (thigh), CB Jimmy Smith (concussion), WR Brandon Stokley (knee), CB Lardarius Webb (abs)
DID NOT PARTICIPATE: LB Larry Dean (knee), RB Adrian Peterson (groin), QB Christian Ponder (concussion), CB Josh Robinson (chest), TE Kyle Rudolph (foot), S Jamarca Sanford (ankle)
LIMITED PARTICIPATION: DE Jared Allen (finger), LB Chad Greenway (wrist)
FULL PARTICIPATION: RB Matt Asiata (shoulder), DT Fred Evans (knee), DE Everson Griffen (toe), S Andrew Sendejo (toe)
Posted on 02 December 2013 by Luke Jones
OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Earning one of their biggest victories of the season to seize control of the AFC’s No. 6 seed for now, the Ravens did not escape the 22-20 final over Pittsburgh unscathed from an injury standpoint.
However, three extra days of rest came at the opportune time with the Ravens concluding a three-game homestand Sunday against the Minnesota Vikings. Baltimore expects to have its full allotment of key players despite cornerback Jimmy Smith and wide receiver Brandon Stokley leaving last Thursday’s game with injuries and several others including linebacker Elvis Dumervil and wide receiver Torrey Smith getting banged up during the game.
“Everybody came out of the game with bumps and bruises,” coach John Harbaugh said. “I expect all those guys to be able to play on Sunday. We’ll just have to see if something flares up between now and then.”
Smith appears to be the most serious injury concern at the moment after he collided with Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell late in the game, which resulted in both players lying woozy on the field for a significant time. Bell appeared to receive the worst of the impact, but the Ravens will monitor the third-year cornerback’s status over the course of the week.
Harbaugh said Smith “should be OK” immediately after Thursday night’s win and confirmed that initial prognosis during his Monday press conference.
“Jimmy seems to be doing really well,” Harbaugh said. “He was doing well right after the game. He’s going through the concussion protocol now. That was what it was during the course of the game, but everything looks really, really good for Jimmy. [He] should be fine. You never know with that, but it looks like he’s going to be able to even practice on Wednesday, so we’re feeling good about that.”
Stokley’s knee sprain did not result in any concerning structural damage when he was examined on Friday — he did not return to the game after leaving late in the first half — and Dumervil’s ankle injury sustained late in the first half on Thanksgiving night may limit his practice time this week.
Dumervil returned to action after halftime and finished the game with three tackles, but he didn’t appear to make the same impact after hurting his ankle.
“He looks OK,” said Harbaugh about Dumervil’s status. “We’re going to have to nurse some things just like with a lot of different guys.”
The biggest health-related headline leading into Sunday’s game with the Vikings will be the status of tight end Dennis Pitta with all signs pointing to him making his 2013 season debut.
Pitta returned to the practice field on Nov. 20 and is currently in the midst of a 21-day window in which he can practice before the Ravens must either place him on the 53-man roster or leave him on injured reserve for the remainder of the season. Should Pitta not be ready to play against the Vikings, the Ravens would have to place him on the active roster by Dec. 11 for him to be eligible to play the rest of the season.
The fourth-year tight end dislocated and fractured his hip on July 27 and has remained on IR with the designation to return since early September.
“It’ll probably come down to the end of the week,” Harbaugh said. “I’ve got a pretty good idea that he’s doing well. It’s just a matter of how well. Is he feeling good enough? Do the doctors feel like he’s ready to play? That’s what it’s going to come down to.
“He ran around well last week. We’ll go through the week and see how he does. If he can play, he will for sure. We want to get him up — that’s our goal. But it’s not 100-percent certain at this point.”
Posted on 29 November 2013 by Luke Jones
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On the heels of their big 22-20 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers on Thanksgiving night, the Ravens will take advantage of the extra time off to rest and recover from a brutally physical game with their AFC North adversary.
A number of players left at different points in the action, but the most serious injury appeared to occur to veteran wide receiver Brandon Stokley, who left the game late in the first half with a left knee sprain and did not occur. It was only Stokley’s second game back from a nagging groin injury that had hindered him since the end of September.
Coach John Harbaugh didn’t have any new information on Stokley’s status following the game.
“He has got a knee [injury],” Harbaugh said. “We’ll see about it Friday.”
Cornerback Jimmy Smith was shaken up on the violent goal-line collision with Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell late in the fourth quarter and was down on the field for a couple minutes before walking off on his own power. Harbaugh said the starting defensive back “should be OK” despite Smith appearing woozy as he walked to the sideline.
Outside linebacker Elvis Dumervil suffered a left ankle injury late in the first half but returned to play after halftime.
Other players shaken up at different points during the game included wide receivers Torrey Smith and Jacoby Jones and linebacker Terrell Suggs, but all three finished the game.
Posted on 10 November 2013 by Luke Jones
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BALTIMORE — Approaching must-win territory this early in a season for quite some time, the Ravens look to snap a three-game losing streak while narrowing the gap in the AFC North when they take on the division-leading Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday afternoon.
At 3-5 and trailing Cincinnati by 2 1/2 games entering Week 10, the Ravens have little margin for error if they want to advance to the playoffs for a sixth consecutive year under head coach John Harbaugh. Baltimore is trying to avoid a third straight division loss and is off to its worst start through eight games since the 2005 season.
A banged-up Ravens defense will have the tall order of slowing Pro Bowl wide receiver A.J. Green and the league’s seventh-ranked passing game, but defensive backs James Ihedigbo (toe), Jimmy Smith (groin), and Corey Graham (calf) are all active and will play. In addition, starting inside linebacker Daryl Smith was deemed active after dealing with what was listed as a thigh injury all week.
The Ravens ruled second-year cornerback Asa Jackson inactive, making you assume they’re confident in the health of both Smith and Graham in the secondary. Rookie defensive tackle Brandon Williams was the only other player ruled inactive that could be deemed a surprise as the Bengals average 106.8 rushing yards per game despite their passing game being their biggest strength.
Former Bengals running back Bernard Scott is a healthy scratch for the second straight week and will not have an opportunity to face his former team.
Meanwhile, the Bengals will be without starting tight end Jermaine Gresham, who tested out his injured groin during pre-game warmups but was deemed inactive. As expected, rookie running back Giovani Bernard (ribs) is active. Cincinnati is already reeling from the loss of Pro Bowl defensive tackle Geno Atkins, who suffered a torn ACL in the Week 9 loss to the Miami Dolphins.
The Bengals are also without starting inside linebacker Rey Maualuga, who continues to be sidelined by a knee injury.
The Ravens have won four of their last five games over the Bengals, with their only defeat over that stretch coming in Week 17 last season when they rested an overwhelming number of starters after wrapping up the AFC North title a week earlier. Baltimore leads the all-time series by a 19-15 margin and are 12-5 at home.
Sunday’s referee will be Walt Coleman.
The forecast calls for temperatures in the low 60s, but winds up to 20 miles per hour could wreak havoc for both teams’ passing attacks and kicking game at M&T Bank Stadium.
The Ravens will wear purple jerseys with black pants while Cincinnati dons white jerseys with black pants.
Here are Sunday’s inactives:
CB Asa Jackson
S Omar Brown
RB Bernard Scott
C Ryan Jensen
WR Brandon Stokley
LB John Simon
DT Brandon Williams
TE Jermaine Gresham
CB Chris Lewis-Harris
LB Michael Boley
LB Rey Maualuga
C Trevor Robinson
G Tanner Hawkinson
DT Devon Still
Follow WNST on Twitter throughout the afternoon for updates and analysis as Nestor Aparicio, Drew Forrester, and I bring live coverage from Baltimore throughout the day.
Posted on 08 November 2013 by Luke Jones
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OWINGS MILLS, Md. — The Ravens presented a healthier outlook on Friday with the return of three defensive starters to the practice field but listed five as questionable for Sunday’s game against the Cincinnati Bengals.
Linebackers Terrell Suggs and Daryl Smith and cornerback Jimmy Smith all took part in the final full workout of the week, and the latter two were listed as questionable on the final injury report of the week. Safety James Ihedigbo, cornerback Corey Graham, and wide receiver Brandon Stokley were also designated as questionable.
Listed as probable for Sunday’s game, Suggs (foot) was added to the injury report as a non-participant on Thursday but appeared to simply be given a day off based on his pre-practice theatrics on Friday. Upon seeing reporters while walking out to the practice field, the 31-year-old linebacker walked with an over-the-top limp before breaking into a brisk jog, indicating he would be ready to go for Sunday’s game.
Daryl Smith (thigh) and Jimmy Smith (groin) both missed practices on Wednesday and Thursday, but their presence for the final full practice of the week was an encouraging sign for their status against the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday. The third-year cornerback exited last Sunday’s loss in Cleveland early when his groin tightened up on him.
The inside linebacker received treatment for his thigh injury throughout the week and painted an optimistic outlook for his chances of playing against the Bengals. Coach John Harbaugh was noncommittal about the status of Daryl Smith and Jimmy Smith.
“That’s the whole goal,” said Daryl Smith when asked if he expected to play. “I’m feeling good and looking forward to Sunday. A couple days rest on it and rehab, and I should be ready to ride.”
A concerning development from Friday’s injury report was the addition of starting strong safety James Ihedigbo, who was limited with a toe injury in the final practice of the week despite working fully the previous two days. This is sometimes an indication of an injury taking place during practice, and he did not appear to be limited during the portion of practice open to reporters Friday morning.
Graham (calf) took part in Friday’s practice after sitting out a day earlier and expressed optimism that he would be ready to play on Sunday.
With both Smith and Graham listed on the injury report and less than 100 percent, the Ravens elected to place second-year cornerback Asa Jackson on the 53-man roster to add depth to a secondary. Jackson practiced all week after completing an eight-game suspension for violating the league’s performance-enhancing drug policy and provides another special-teams option on Sundays.
The Ravens officially placed left guard Kelechi Osemele (back) on season-ending injured reserve to make room for Jackson.
“Asa looked good. He looked like he was in shape,” Harbaugh said. “Like always, working the little nuances of the game and stuff like that after a few weeks off in terms of knocking the rust off. But I thought he was surprisingly sharp and looked good.”
Stokley (groin) was present and suited up to work after missing the first two practices of the week. He hasn’t played since Week 3 as he’s battled the groin ailment for more than a month while other receivers on the roster have gotten healthy.
For the Bengals, starting tight end Jermaine Gresham (groin) missed his second straight practice on Friday and is listed as questionable. Reports from Cincinnati indicate he will be a game-time decision against Baltimore.
Bengals rookie running back Giovani Bernard (ribs) was limited in practice all week and was deemed questionable, but the play-making back is expected to play.
Cincinnati ruled out starting inside linebacker Rey Maualuga as he continues to recover from a knee injury and did not practice all week.
The referee for Sunday’s game between the Ravens and Bengals will be Walt Coleman.
Sunday’s forecast calls for a high of 60 degrees with winds up to 21 miles per hour, according to Weather.com.
Here’s the final injury report of the week:
OUT: G Kelechi Osemele (back)
QUESTIONABLE: CB Corey Graham (calf), S James Ihedigbo (toe), CB Jimmy Smith (thigh), LB Daryl Smith (thigh), WR Brandon Stokley (thigh)
PROBABLE: LB Terrell Suggs (foot), WR Marlon Brown (finger)
OUT: LB Rey Maualuga (knee), DT Devon Still (elbow)
DOUBTFUL: LB Mike Boley (hamstring)
QUESTIONABLE: RB Giovani Bernard (ribs), TE Jermaine Gresham (groin)
PROBABLE: G Kevin Zeitler (hamstring)