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Ravens part ways with Shiancoe, Harewood in first wave of cuts

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Ravens part ways with Shiancoe, Harewood in first wave of cuts

Posted on 25 August 2013 by Luke Jones

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Needing to trim their roster to 75 players by Tuesday’ 4 p.m. deadline, the Ravens wasted no time Sunday by parting ways with 12 players including veteran tight end Visanthe Shiancoe and offensive lineman Ramon Harewood.

The timing of the decision to part with Shiancoe is a strong indication that starting tight end Ed Dickson is making strong progress after making his return to the practice field on a limited basis last week. Dickson suffered a partially-torn hamstring on Aug. 4, prompting the Ravens to sign veteran tight end Dallas Clark to improve their depth. Shiancoe had struggled to catch the ball consistently despite a strong performance in the third preseason game, and the Ravens will apparently go with a more blocking-minded third tight end in veteran Billy Bajema or rookie Matt Furstenburg.

Harewood began the 2012 season as the Ravens starting left guard on the offensive line before falling out of favor and spending much of the season on the game-day inactive list. A restricted free agent this past offseason, he wasn’t offered a tender but instead re-signed on a one-year contract that included a reported $320,000 signing bonus.

Other cuts included wide receiver Tommy Streeter, running back Damien Berry, wide receiver Rashaad Carter, guard Jack Cornell, linebacker Bryan Hall, tackle David Mims, cornerback Moe Lee, defensive end Will Pericak, linebacker Meshak Williams, and wide receiver Gerrard Sheppard of Towson.

Hall shed upwards of 50 pounds this offseason after converting from defensive tackle. Originally an undrafted free agent out of Arkansas State, Hall spent his rookie season as a member of the Ravens’ practice squad in 2011 before making the 53-man roster as a defensive tackle last season. He was active for five regular-season games last year, collecting three tackles.

Streeter, a sixth-round pick in the 2012 draft, spent his rookie season on injured reserve with foot injury but never showed enough ability in practice to suggest he could be an NFL wideout and had fallen behind the likes of rookies Marlon Brown and Aaron Mellette on the depth chart.

The Ravens also placed linebacker Adrian Hamilton on injured reserve with a wrist injury, which is beneficial to their roster crunch at the linebacker position.

Baltimore announced the signing of quarterback Dayne Crist, which is nothing more than depth for Thursday’s preseason finale after backup quarterback Tyrod Taylor left the Carolina game to be evaluated for a possible concussion. Third-string quarterback Caleb Hanie and potentially Crist figure to receive extensive action against the St. Louis Rams.

Despite Tuesday being the deadline to go from 90 to 75, many teams will release select veterans a few days earlier than that to allow them to potentially catch on with another team. Baltimore released veteran cornerback Chris Johnson early last week.

Following Sunday’s announcements, the Ravens have 77 players on their preseason roster and will have to make a couple more moves, but those shouldn’t be surprising with offensive lineman Ryan Jensen, defensive end Kapron Lewis-Moore, linebacker Jameel McClain, and tight end Dennis Pitta all dealing with long-term injuries at the moment.

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Baltimore Ravens 2013 Season Preview Part Three: Predicting the Biggest Positional Battles

Posted on 06 July 2013 by jeffreygilley

It’s no secret the Ravens are a different team. Starters that must be replaced include Carry Williams, Ed Reed, Ray Lewis, Dannell Ellerbe, Vonta Leach, and Anquan Boldin. Paul Kruger is also gone but he was more of a role player that rotated starts with rookie Courtney UpShaw.

The following are my projections for the most heated roster battles.

Receiver:

Torrey Smith is the only receiver guaranteed a starting spot. Jacoby Jones is a veteran but struggled in Houston when given a larger workload. Therefore, Jones will be competing with Tandon Doss, Deonte Thompson, Tommy Streeter, David Reed, and LaQuan Williams. So far, Thompson has made the most of offseason workouts. According to reports, he displays great hands and improved route running ability to go along with his blazing speed.

When the Ravens face the Broncos on Sept. 5, Jacoby Jones will start across from Torrey Smith. He is experienced and made plays when given the opportunity last season. The third receiver will be Danton Doss with Deonte Thompson winning the fourth receiver spot on the depth chart. Doss’s skill set translates well to the slot receiver position. His hands, physicality, and ability to get upfield after the catch will make him a nice weapon for Flacco.

Cornerback:

I am a huge Jimmy Smith fan. Smith has too much potential to be the Ravens nickel corner. If he can put everything together, he will be starting opposite Lardarius Webb. Corey Graham would then be the team’s nickel corner. Successfully defending two passes to Michael Crabtree towards the end of the Super Bowl will be positive plays for Smith to build upon.

Chykie Brown could be a sleeper to receive playing time this season. He showed promise last season and played frequently towards the end of the season.

Inside linebacker:

John Harbaugh and the Ravens have a lot of options at inside linebacker. Jameel McClain will likely start. Therefore, the competition really comes down to Arthur Brown and Darryl Smith. Brown was a second round selection in the 2013 draft and is projected to be a defensive rookie of the year candidate. But Smith brings experience and proven ability at inside linebacker. In the beginning of the season, I think Smith will start on running downs and Brown will play on passing downs. Brown has excellent coverage ability and when paired with McClain, they could make up a great duo in pass coverage.

Bryan Hall could also receive playing time pending the training camp competition. Hall played along the defensive line last season but is making the switch to inside linebacker. Hall could play in certain blitz packages but for the most part, will be a special teams player.

Nose tackle

After a solid 2011 season, many thought Mount Cody would break out in 2012. But Cody struggled. He was consistently pushed around and made little impact against teams with great running games. Ozzie Newsome has made an effort to improve the middle of the defense through the draft and free agency. Brandon Williams was drafted in the third round and Marcus Spears and Chris Canty were signed in free agency. Spears and Canty won’t play nose tackle but they will improve the middle of the defense.

I think Brandon Williams will win the starting job. Cody had hip surgery which could explain his poor play in 2012. If Cody can get healthy and play like he did in 2011, the Ravens will have a great rotation at nose tackle.

Center

Replacing Matt Birk will be difficult. Birk was a great leader and will be replaced by either Gino Gradkowski or AQ Shipley. Gradkowski was drafted out of Delaware in the fourth round of the 2012 draft. Gradkowski was projected to be the starter once Birk retired but Shipley played very well for the Colts last season. He played so well that he earned a plus 6.9 rating from Pro Football Focus.

Gradkowski is the early favorite but Shipley is a solid veteran that could start should Gradkowski struggle.

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Ravens Dodge Bullet with McClain Retirement

Posted on 15 May 2013 by jeffreygilley

That makes two inside linebackers that have retired from the NFL this offseason in Baltimore. Ray Lewis is a future Hall of Fame player and beloved icon in the sports world. Rolando McClain, an immensely talented but troubled individual with off the field issues that prevented him from becoming the star many projected him to become.

When the Ravens signed Rolando McClain, I told myself there could only be two possible outcomes. McClain could resurrect his career under the leadership the Ravens possess. Or, McClain could continue his troubled ways and fail. There could be no in-between.

With McClain’s retirement today, it seems the latter is true. At just 23 years old, Rolando McClain has retired from the NFL.

So where do the Ravens go from here? First of all, the team did not invest much in McClain’s long-term future. Not only was his contract for merely one year, the team also drafted Arthur Brown in the second round of the NFL draft.

Brown will have to step in and start right away. There is still uncertainty surrounding Jameel McClain’s injury and Josh Bynes is largely unproven. But Brown will be able to handle the pressure of starting right away. He is incredibly fast and is a good tackler in space. Brown should be in contention for defensive rookie of the year.

Largely, the Ravens dodged a huge bullet with McClain’s retirement. They have brought in some veteran leaders this offseason and McClain’s terrible attitude could have impacted locker room chemistry. While I love the potential McClain has, I am ultimately happy he has been decided to retire and will never suit up in a Baltimore Ravens uniform.

Another player who could make an impact at inside linebacker could be Bryan Hall. Hall is a former defensive tackle who has changed positions to inside linebacker. Jarret Johnson made a similar change for the Ravens and became a beloved member of the team for a long time.

If the Ravens were to play a game tomorrow, the starters at inside linebacker would most likely be Arthur Brown and Jameel McClain. Brown and McClain are not household names but they have the potential to be a great duo for a long time.

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Ravens DL Hall moving to inside linebacker

Posted on 06 April 2013 by Luke Jones

After being active for only five games in his first season on the Ravens’ 53-man roster, defensive lineman Bryan Hall will move to linebacker this season.

Listed at 291 pounds and considered an undersized defensive tackle, Hall told the team’s official website he’s lost 23 pounds over the last three weeks. He spent the entire 2011 season on the Ravens’ practice squad before making the team last summer.

Hall showed versatility in training camp practices last year as he occasionally lined up at inside linebacker for the scout team. He made three tackles in his limited role last season.

“[Coach John Harbaugh] told me that he felt like I was too good of a player to be on the bench,” Hall said to the team’s official site. “He was just trying to give me an opportunity to get on the field and play more. It’s the NFL, you’ve always got to progress.”

With the free-agent additions of veterans Chris Canty and Marcus Spears, Hall was facing an uphill battle to make the team along the defensive line. The Ravens have lost inside linebackers Ray Lewis, Dannell Ellerbe, and Brendon Ayanbadejo in the offseason, so Hall figures to have a better chance in competing for a linebacker spot if he’s able to make a smooth transition.

Beyond starter Jameel McClain — who still hasn’t been officially cleared after suffering a spinal cord contusion last December — the Ravens are looking at a group of competitors including Josh Bynes, Albert McClellan, Nigel Carr, and D.J. Bryant at the inside linebacker spot. Baltimore is expected to look long and hard at the group of inside backers in this year’s draft.

In the meantime, Hall is another name to add to the mix at the position.

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Trying to fix Ravens defense starts up front

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Trying to fix Ravens defense starts up front

Posted on 24 October 2012 by Luke Jones

The problems exist all over the field for a Ravens defense stewing during its bye week.

Ranked 26th in total yards allowed and tied for 17th in points surrendered, the Ravens no longer face questions of whether they can regain their long-enjoyed status as one of the elite defenses in the NFL. Truthfully, just improving enough to be a middle-of-the-pack unit would be a welcome change after allowing more than 180 rushing yards in each of the last three games and surrendering 43 points in Sunday’s loss to the Texans, the most allowed by the Ravens since 2007.

Frustrated fans are calling for wholesale changes, seeking new signings, trades, or even a new defensive coordinator. The Ravens aren’t pulling the plug on Dean Pees, who has had to adapt to significant personnel losses in his first year in the position, and the likelihood of bringing in any new players to make a significant impact is remote at this point in the season.

To improve upon a defense on pace to be one of the worst seen in Baltimore since the franchise’s inception in 1996, Ravens coaches and players alike will need to look from within for the answers.

“Personnel-wise, there’s not a whole lot you can do, really,” coach John Harbaugh said. “I like our players. Our players are most definitely good enough to get the job done, and we’ll just continue to improve there. Does that mean young guys? We’re going to keep developing the young guys, and as those guys emerge, sure, they are going to get an opportunity.”

The blame for the struggles belongs to everyone invested, but the root of the Ravens’ biggest problems — the poor run defense and inability to sustain a consistent pass rush — starts up front where the Baltimore defense has been thoroughly controlled at the line of scrimmage. And that’s where Harbaugh’s suggestion of relying on young players grows more unsettling.

Aside from All-Pro defensive tackle Haloti Ngata, who is now struggling with nagging knee and shoulder injuries, the Ravens haven’t seen any of their other defensive linemen emerge to fill the void left behind by veterans who’ve departed in recent years. Terrence Cody, Pernell McPhee, and Arthur Jones have made little impact after being entrusted to assume bigger roles this season. Paul Kruger and Courtney Upshaw weren’t able to consistently get after the quarterback in the absence of five-time Pro Bowl pass-rusher Terrell Suggs. And a returning Ma’ake Kemoeatu has faded after a strong preseason to supplant Cody as the starting nose tackle.

Those shortcomings have led to the Baltimore defensive line being dominated at the line of scrimmage, failing to maintain gap control and allowing offensive linemen to get to the second level to block linebackers. The front four hasn’t made life difficult for opposing quarterbacks, who have then been able to pick on struggling cornerbacks.

The linebackers and secondary haven’t played well either, but their best chance for improvement starts with the defensive line, whose play impacts every level of the defense.

“[It's] a work in progress. We’re not where we’ve been in the past, obviously,” Harbaugh said. “We’ve been a dominant run front. We’ve been able to play the run with seven in the box and pretty much dominate the run. We’re not there right now. So, that’s what we’ve got to work towards.”

Figuring out how to fix it is the biggest problem as Pees has already employed a rotation of defensive linemen, with none making a consistent impact other than a healthy Ngata.

Cody has regressed so significantly since a strong start last season that he’d taken only roughly 30 percent of the team’s defensive snaps this season prior to Sunday when Kemoeatu was inactive due to a knee injury. The 2010 second-round pick has made only 12 tackles after collecting 34 in 2011 and doesn’t command the double teams you’d like to see to free up inside linebackers to make plays. Neither he nor Kemoeatu have handled the nose tackle position with any level of consistent effectiveness.

The combination of McPhee and Jones hasn’t made anyone forget about veteran defensive end Cory Redding, who left in free agency in the offseason. Emerging as the steal of the 2011 draft for the Ravens with six sacks during his rookie season, McPhee added weight to become a three-down defensive end and has dealt with the effects of arthroscopic knee surgery in the spring. Lacking the explosiveness he displayed as a rookie, he has only 16 tackles and 1/2 sack and saw his playing time drastically reduced on Sunday, taking part in only 20 percent of the defensive snaps after playing in roughly 70 percent of the defensive plays through the first six weeks of the season.

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Ravens finalize moves to get down to 53-man roster

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Ravens finalize moves to get down to 53-man roster

Posted on 31 August 2012 by WNST Staff

(Updated: 9:40 p.m.)

Here’s the full list of moves on Friday as the Ravens trim their roster down to 53:

The Baltimore Ravens made the following moves Friday, trimming their roster down to the NFL-mandated 53 active players:

 Waived the following players:

Players                             Pos.      Ht.        Wt.       Exp.   College

Allen, Anthony                RB         6-1        223       2        Georgia Tech

Brown, Omar                  S            5-11      195       R        Marshall

Bynes, Josh                      LB          6-1        240       1        Auburn

Carr, Nigel                       LB          6-2        247       R        Alabama State

Cornell, Jack                    G/T       6-6        320       R        Illinois

Graham, Dorian              WR        5-9        188       R        Syracuse

Howard, Cord                 G/T       6-4        314       2        Georgia Tech

Jean-Baptiste, Nicolas    NT         6-1        337       R        Baylor

Kitchen, Ishmaa’ily         NT         6-1        332       R        Kent State

McClain, Antoine            G           6-5        336       R        Clemson

Moore, Terrence             DE         6-3        290       R        Nebraska

Painter, Curtis                 QB         6-4        230       4        Purdue

Payne, Logan                   WR        6-2        205       3        Minnesota

Quarles, Cyhl                   S            6-3        212       R        Wake Forest

Williams, Chavis             OLB       6-3        240       2        Alabama

 

Terminated the contract of the following vested veteran:

Players                             Pos.      Ht.        Wt.       Exp.   College

Wragge, Tony                  G           6-4        310       8        New Mexico State

 

Placed the following players on Injured Reserve:

Players                             Pos.      Ht.        Wt.       Exp.   College                  Injury

Balasavage, Matt            TE          6-4        250       R        Temple                  Ankle

Berry, Damien                 RB         5-10      223       1        Miami                    Neck/Shoulder

Boren, Justin                   G/C       6-2        315       1        Ohio State             Foot

Brown, Ricky                   LB          6-2        235       7        Boston College     Head

Figgins, Bruce                  TE          6-4        278       R        Georgia                  Shoulder

Streeter, Tommy            WR        6-5        220       R        Miami                    Foot

________________

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Needing to pare down the roster to 53 players by 9 p.m. Friday, the Ravens have already begun making cuts as the team conducted a walk-through on Friday morning.

Rookie free-agent running back Bobby Rainey told WNST.net in a text message he has made the 53-man roster. The Western Kentucky product made quite an impression this summer and possesses ability as a returner to distinguish himself to be worthy of a roster spot.

And joning Rainey and kicker Justin Tucker as the third rookie free agent to make the roster, wide receiver Deonte Thompson told WNST.net he had earned a spot as the sixth wideout on the team.

As expected, cornerback Danny Gorrer has made the 53-man roster, according to a league source.

A league source confirmed to WNST.net that defensive tackle Bryan Hall has made the 53-man roster after an impressive preseason.

Offensive linemen Ramon Harewood and Tony Wragge have also made the team, according to a report from The Sun.

The Ravens have cut running back Anthony Allen as it was apparent he had fallen on the depth chart behind rookie free agent Bobby Rainey over the last couple weeks. The Sun first reported the 2011 seventh-round pick from Georgia Tech will be moving on from Baltimore.

Despite being a strong special teams performer and many suggesting he could make the team over Sergio Kindle, linebacker Chavis Williams has been cut and is a strong candidate for the Ravens’ practice squad should he not be picked up by another team, a league source confirmed. The news bodes well for Kindle, who struggled against St. Louis in the preseason finale.

News of quarterback Curtis Painter being cut came minutes after the 9 p.m. deadline as ESPN’s Adam Schefter revealed the Ravens will start the season with only two quarterbacks on the roster for the third straight year.

Another linebacker who gained much attention during organized team activities in the spring has also been cut as rookie free agent Nigel Carr will not be a part of the 53-man roster, a league source confirmed.

Safety Omar Brown and wide receiver Dorian Graham have been released, per league sources.

Offensive linemen Jack Cornell and Cord Howard and defensive linemen Ishmaa’ily Kitchen, Nicolas Jean-Baptiste, and Terrence Moore have also been cut, according to The Sun.

As expected wide receiver Tommy Streeter will be placed on injured reserve with a foot injury, according to Pro Football Talk. A sixth-round pick in April’s draft, Streeter was not expected to be part of the 53-man roster, but his 6-foot-5 frame and good straight-line speed are intriguing measurables for the future.

Tight end Matt Balasavage will be placed on the waived-injured list and could be a candidate for the practice squad, per The Sun.

The Ravens also placed offensive lineman Justin Boren on injured reserve a league source confirmed.

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Reed’s mind “far away” from football with training camp looming

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Reed’s mind “far away” from football with training camp looming

Posted on 16 July 2012 by Luke Jones

Hosting a youth football camp at Stevenson University this week, Ravens safety Ed Reed isn’t focused on the start of the new season.

In fact, the 33-year-old wouldn’t address any questions related to his status for training camp or his tenuous relationship with the organization, wanting to keep the focus on over 100 youth who were in attendance.

“My mind is just so far away from what’s about to happen in the fall,” said Reed, who confirmed he’s continuing to train regularly but has found a new passion for playing golf. “I’m thinking about other things. It’s about these kids right now. I’m always excited about life.”

Reed is entering the final year of his contract that will pay him $7.2 million this year and has dropped hints that he may hold out during training camp. The veteran hasn’t directly stated his desire for a new contract but has made cryptic comments at several points suggesting he has outplayed the six-year deal he signed in 2006.

The Ravens have said very little about Reed’s disenchantment, and coach John Harbaugh revealed at last month’s mandatory minicamp that the All-Pro safety hadn’t informed him of his decision to skip the three-day session. However, the organization has stated it expects Reed to report for the start of training camp next week.

General manager Ozzie Newsome has given no indication that the Ravens would engage in contract talks with Reed prior to the end of the season. Further complicating the situation is the fact that Reed is without an agent.

In what some might perceive as an olive branch of support, new defensive coordinator Dean Pees made an appearance at Reed’s camp and chatted with the star player for a few minutes on the field. The gesture was appreciated by Reed, who expressed his admiration for the defensive coach.

“All the guys on the team have so much respect for coach Pees,” Reed said. “He’s just a great man and has just a great spirit about him. If you ever talk to him, you know that he has his heart in the right place. And I know it’s so far away from professional football for him to come out here. For him to come out and support and see these kids and just be a part of it.”

Defensive tackle Bryan Hall also attended Reed’s camp, saying he didn’t know if Reed planned to report to training camp on time but pledged support for whatever decision his teammate made.

Reed has been outspoken about his displeasure through his Twitter account, drawing criticism from media and fans alike. However, he’s choosing to keep it perspective while embracing the opportunity to work with young people at his football camp.

“Not everybody is going to understand you,” Reed said. “You can’t please everybody. That’s just human nature. Everybody has their opinion, and that’s going to be there. You deal with it. You take it in stride.”

To hear Reed’s entire interview with reporters, visit the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault HERE.

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