Tag Archive | "Cardinals"

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Ravens place linebacker Prescott Burgess on IR

Posted on 01 November 2011 by Luke Jones

Already struggling in the special teams, the Ravens’ coverage units took another hit on Tuesday with the announcement that linebacker Prescott Burgess has been placed on injured reserve with a thigh injury.

The fifth-year linebacker sustained the injury in Sunday’s 30-27 comeback win over the Arizona Cardinals. Burgess appeared in three games with Baltimore this season, recording one assisted tackle and two special teams tackles. The 6-foot-3, 253-pounder led the Ravens in special teams tackles the past two seasons.

A sixth-round choice by the Ravens in 2007, Burgess was waived at the end of the preseason before being re-signed to take the place of cornerback Domonique Foxworth, who was placed on injured reserve on Sept. 28. The linebacker was waived again during the bye week in favor of defensive back Bryan McCann before being re-signed again on Oct. 18 after offensive lineman Mark LeVoir was released.

The Ravens also announced changes to their practice squad, releasing safety Mana Silva and re-signing wide receiver Rodney Bradley to take his spot.

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Harbaugh open to Ravens, Flacco using more shotgun

Posted on 31 October 2011 by Luke Jones

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — To the many clamoring for Joe Flacco to take more snaps in the shotgun formation, the prolific second half of the 30-27 comeback victory over the Arizona Cardinals was significant ammunition in their favor.

Not counting plays negated by penalty, the starting quarterback lined up in the shotgun 36 times in the second half while taking the snap under center just eight times as the Ravens produced 24 points and 249 yards of offense in the final 30 minutes to complete the largest comeback victory in franchise history. Flacco was particularly sharp in the comeback effort, throwing for 238 of his 336 passing yards after halftime.

With the Ravens having such success in the shotgun and often times running a no-huddle attack to slow an Arizona pass rush that gave them fits in the first half, the question was posed to coach John Harbaugh whether Baltimore would use a more shotgun-heavy approach moving forward. Of course, Flacco worked extensively in the formation during his days at the University of Delaware, which created questions about the quarterback’s ability to play under center prior to the 2008 draft.

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Harbaugh was quick to point out the Ravens have called many plays with Flacco in the formation, even if not as extensively as was witnessed Sunday.

“We’ve done a lot of it since he’s been here,” Harbaugh said. “We’ve been in the shotgun a ton. Will we do more of it? I think it depends on the situation. Yeah, if it gives us the best chance to move the ball more than we did last year, more than we did in one game.”

Playing exclusively in the shotgun has its drawbacks despite Flacco’s success against the Cardinals secondary. For one, it forces him to take his eyes off the defense when taking the snap. Though only for a split second, that time can make a major difference when trying to decipher a coverage or note any last-second changes a defense might make. Taking the snap under center allows a quarterback to keep his eyes on the opposition the entire time.

More importantly, however, extensive use of the shotgun limits what an offense can do with its running game. Draws, traps, and direct snaps are certainly options, but the sheer number of running plays in the playbook is pared down without the quarterback lining up under center.

For an offensive line generally equipped to play power football, the shotgun eliminates that attitude and makes an offense more predictable and one-dimensional. Despite the great success throwing the football against Arizona, it was apparent how the running game — or, at least the threat of it — was adversely affected as fullback Vonta Leach stood on the sideline for most of Sunday’s second half.

“You’ve got to have [Flacco] under the center, too,” Harbaugh said. “There’s formations that he’s going to be under center. There are certain concepts that run better under center, but we like him in the gun and we like him under center, too. But, he is [effective]. He’s been effective in the shotgun, that’s true.”

Perhaps the most interesting result to come out of the extensive use of the shotgun and no-huddle attack was the way in which it aided the offensive line in pass protection, an area where it struggled immensely in the first half. Both Flacco and Harbaugh believe it wore out the Arizona front seven as they continued to chase after the quarterback play after play with little rest in the second half.

“I think the tempo helped us,” Harbaugh said. “The fact that the no-huddle stuff kept them out of some of their pressure. They still pressured, but it’s hard to rush the passer when you start getting tired, so I think that helped us, too.”

For a line that’s struggled in pass protection for much of the season, it might be the biggest reason in support of using a more up-tempo approach of going no-huddle and using the shotgun more extensively the rest of the season.

It remains to be seen how much of an impact Sunday’s second half will have on the Ravens’ offensive attack, as future opponents will undoubtedly take a long look at what Baltimore was able to accomplish against the Arizona defense. The prospect of running it dramatically more than the offense has been is unlikely, but it certainly gives the Ravens another weapon on which they shouldn’t hesitate to rely when necessary.

Visit the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault to hear John Harbaugh’s entire post-game press conference in Owings Mills on Monday afternoon.

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Flacco tells Nestor he’d want to boo Ravens too

Posted on 30 October 2011 by WNST Staff

Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco heard the boos on his home turf today. Everyone heard the boos. Nestor asked Flacco his reaction to the fans’ disapproval at the abysmal first-half play of the offense:

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Ray Lewis tells Nestor he respects fans who boo Ravens for poor play

Posted on 30 October 2011 by WNST Staff

Ray Lewis has heard every cheer — and jeer — in Ravens history. Today’s boos were the loudest and today’s comeback was the greatest in purple history. Here’s what Ray told Nestor about the sounds of displeasure of Baltimore fans:

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Ray Lewis tells Nestor why win over Cards felt like greatest comeback in Ravens history

Posted on 30 October 2011 by WNST Staff

Today’s win over the Arizona Cardinals will be in the Baltimore Ravens’ history book as the greatest comeback in the history of the franchise. Nestor asked the obvious to Ray Lewis, who has played in virtually every game since the Ravens’ inception in 1996:

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Harbaugh talks halftime crisis management with Nestor after comeback against Cards

Posted on 30 October 2011 by WNST Staff

Nestor Aparicio asked Ravens coach John Harbaugh if there were any miracle speeches at halftime when the Ravens were trailing the Cardinals 21-6.

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Ravens-Cardinals inactives and pre-game notes

Posted on 30 October 2011 by Luke Jones

BALTIMORE — As if an earthquake and hurricane in the same week wasn’t enough, a touch of snow in late October explains how strange of a start it’s been to the 2011 season in Baltimore.

While it may not explain the inexplicable losses to Tennessee and Jacksonville, the Ravens will try to bring some normalcy back into the picture against the 1-5 Arizona Cardinals Sunday afternoon at M&T Bank Stadium. Having lost five in a row after a season-opening win over Carolina, the Cardinals face the daunting task of coming east to take on an angry Ravens team with something to prove on the offensive side of the football.

Sunday marks the fifth all-time meeting between the teams, with the Ravens holding a 3-1 advantage in the series. The Cardinals’ only win over Baltimore came at Memorial Stadium in 1997.

The Ravens have won 13 of their last 14 games at M&T Bank Stadium and have not lost consecutive games since October 2009 when they dropped three straight to New England, Cincinnati, and Minnesota.

With cornerback Danny Gorrer injuring his thigh during Thursday’s practice, the Ravens will depend on rookie Jimmy Smith and returning veteran Chris Carr to handle duties in the nickel and dime packages behind starters Cary Williams and Lardarius Webb. In addition to Gorrer, rookie corner Chykie Brown is also inactive.

For Arizona, running back Beanie Wells (knee) will be active, but former Ravens tight end Todd Heap will miss his third straight game with a hamstring injury.

Here are today’s inactives:

Baltimore
CB Danny Gorrer
CB Chykie Brown
CB Sergio Kindle
WR Lee Evans
G Ben Grubbs
LB Dannell Ellerbe
RB Anthony Allen

Arizona
TE Todd Heap
LB Joey Porter
QB Richard Bartel
WR Stephen Williams
FS Kerry Rhodes
T D’Anthony Batiste
DE Ronald Talley

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Ravens rule out Evans, Grubbs again for Cardinals

Posted on 28 October 2011 by Luke Jones

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Trying to find their way offensively as the struggling Arizona Cardinals visit M&T Bank Stadium on Sunday, the Ravens will once again be without starting wide receiver Lee Evans and left guard Ben Grubbs.

Grubbs has been sidelined since playing in the season-opening win against Pittsburgh while Evans hasn’t played since the Ravens’ loss in Tennessee. Both players attempted to practice in post-bye week leading up to the Oct. 16 game against Houston, but neither has practice since their respective injuries did not respond well to increased activity.

Linebacker Dannell Ellerbe and running back Anthony Allen were also ruled out for the second straight week as they both recover from thigh ailments.

Despite giving Ravens fans a mild scare by sitting out Thursday’s practice and being a limited participant on Friday, safety Ed Reed was listed as probable on the final injury report of the week. Cornerback Chris Carr and safety Tom Zbikowski are also probable to make their returns to the field.

Coach John Harbaugh confirmed Zbikowski had finally been cleared for contact after suffering from symptoms related to a concussion sustained against the New York Jets on Oct. 2.

For Arizona, safety Kerry Rhodes has already been ruled out, but running back Beanie Wells is listed as questionable with a knee injury. According to sources in Arizona, Wells is unlikely to play, but the former Ohio State back has practiced on a limited basis the last two days.

Former Ravens tight end Todd Heap is also listed as questionable with a hamstring injury and has missed the Cardinals’ last two games. Heap was a limited participant in practice all week and is considered a game-time decision.

BALTIMORE
OUT: RB Anthony Allen (thigh), LB Dannell Ellerbe (thigh), WR Lee Evans (ankle), G Ben Grubbs (toe)
QUESTIONABLE: CB Danny Gorrer (thigh)
PROBABLE: CB Chykie Brown (illness), CB Chris Carr (thigh), S Ed Reed (neck), S Tom Zbikowski (head)

ARIZONA
OUT: S Kerry Rhodes (foot)
QUESTIONABLE: WR Early Doucet (quad), TE Jim Dray (pectoral), TE Todd Heap (hamstring), LB Joey Porter (knee), WR DeMarco Sampson (hamstring), RB Beanie Wells (knee)
PROBABLE: CB Michael Adams (hand)

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Ravens looking to turn page against struggling Cardinals

Posted on 28 October 2011 by Luke Jones

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Contrary to popular belief, the Ravens aren’t wallowing in misery following a nightmarish performance in Jacksonville with fallout that’s lingered deep into the week on internet message boards and talk radio.

While the cliches about moving on and putting the loss behind them have been tossed around like cornhole bags flying through the Ravens locker room, Monday’s loss won’t officially be put behind them until they take the turf at M&T Bank Stadium against the struggling Arizona Cardinals. For a Ravens offense that needed nearly 40 minutes to collect its first first down of the night in Jacksonville, Arizona’s 26th-ranked defense is the right prescription to begin feeling good about itself again.

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“To be honest, it’s tough not to think about [a loss] a little bit all week until you go out there and beat the next opponent,” quarterback Joe Flacco said. “It’s always in the back of your mind a little bit. But, I think good teams put it past them and do the best they can to go out there and forget about it very quickly.”

The Ravens have done a good job of that over the last two seasons, having won nine straight games that followed a loss. Baltimore is 12-4 in games following a loss in the four-year tenure of John Harbaugh.

Of course, a five-game losing streak for the Cardinals helps the matter and could very well help the Ravens offense get back on track after such a poor showing against the Jaguars. Averaging just under 33 points per game in their three home contests, the Ravens will meet an Arizona defense in transition while adjusting to new coordinator — and former Pittsburgh defensive backs coach — Ray Horton’s 3-4 scheme.

The Cardinals have two former Steelers, a currently-injured Joey Porter and Clark Haggans, at outside linebacker, but they lack the overall personnel to strongly remind anyone of the imposing Pittsburgh defenses with which Horton previously worked.

“[Horton] really has done a great job, considering no offseason, to get that package in, having two outside linebackers that have been in the system and some things,” offensive coordinator Cam Cameron said. “You guys will see it. You are going to see a good defense, and you are going to see that looks [similar] — personnel obviously different — but schemes are almost identical.”

Offensively, the Cardinals haven’t been much better, which doesn’t speak well for their chances traveling east to M&T Bank Stadium where the Ravens have allowed just 38 points in three games. However, the Cardinals possess one of the best receivers in the NFL in Larry Fitzgerald, who will pose the biggest challenge to Baltimore’s young cornerbacks through the first seven games of the season.

“We have to bring our A-game,” cornerback Lardarius Webb said. “We have to have eyes on him all the time. He’s Larry Fitzgerald. That explains a lot.”

So, how do the Ravens go about covering the five-time Pro Bowl wideout?

“Make sure, No. 1, you know where he’s lined up at all times,” defensive coordinator Chuck Pagano said. “Don’t cover the decoys; cover the guys they’re throwing to. And they’re probably going to be throwing to him a lot. You’ve got to be smart. You’ve got to study extra tape on him. You’ve seen the tape. I mean, he’ll go up — and we could have three guys on him — and he’ll go up and pluck the ball out of the air.”

As has been the case all season, the biggest key to stopping a passing attack will be to pressure the quarterback, something the Ravens have been able to do all season by collecting 19 sacks in their first six games. In contrast, Cardinals quarterback Kevin Kolb has been sacked 18 times this season, a major reason why he’s struggled at the start of his career in Arizona.

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Reed shows up on Ravens’ Thursday injury report

Posted on 27 October 2011 by Luke Jones

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — A day after safety Ed Reed and the Ravens thought they were in the clear following his fourth-quarter collision that caused a “burner” in his shoulder, the outlook didn’t look as promising for the All Pro as he missed practice on Thursday.

Reed was listed as having a neck injury, which is likely related to the play in which he collided with defensive tackle Terrence Cody. The free safety left the game but returned soon after, saying after the game that he was OK.

Despite Reed missing practicing, he is still expected to play against the Arizona Cardinals and spoke to reporters prior to the team’s workout on Thursday.

Cornerback Danny Gorrer (thigh) was a limited participant after being nicked up during the special teams portion of practice viewed by the media. The defensive back was stretched out on the field for several minutes before he walked inside gingerly with a member of the training staff. It’s unknown whether Gorrer returned to practice.

Cornerback Chris Carr was upgraded to a full participant on Thursday and is very likely to make his return to the field on Sunday after suffering a setback in the week leading up to the Oct. 2 game against the New York Jets.

For Arizona, running back Beanie Wells (knee) practiced on a limited basis despite most expecting him not to play on Sunday.

Former Ravens tight end Todd Heap was a limited participant for a second straight day after sitting out the Cardinals’ last two games with a hamstring injury.

BALTIMORE
DID NOT PARTICIPATE – S Ed Reed (neck), RB Anthony Allen (thigh), LB Dannell Ellerbe (thigh), WR Lee Evans (ankle), G Ben Grubbs (toe)
LIMITED – CB Danny Gorrer (thigh)
FULL – S Tom Zbikowski (head), CB Chris Carr (thigh)

ARIZONA
DID NOT PARTICIPATE – LB Joey Porter (knee), S Kerry Rhodes (foot)
LIMITED – RB Beanie Wells (knee), WR Early Doucet (quad), CB Michael Adams (hand), TE Jim Dray (pectoral), TE Todd Heap (hamstring), WR DeMarco Sampson (hamstring)

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