Tag Archive | "chiefs"

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Ravens sign veteran safety Kendrick Lewis

Posted on 14 March 2015 by Luke Jones

After watching a number of their own depart in the first week of free agency, the Ravens have made their first significant addition of the offseason by agreeing to a deal with safety Kendrick Lewis.

Baltimore agreed to a three-year contract with the 26-year-old who started 16 games for the Houston Texans last season and spent the first four years of his NFL career as a starter with the Kansas City Chiefs. Lewis collected 84 tackles, two interceptions, three forced fumbles, and six pass breakups for Houston last season, but the Texans signed safety Rahim Moore to a three-year, $12 million contract earlier this week.

With starting safety Darian Stewart signing a two-year deal with Denver on Friday, the Ravens had an obvious need at the position and Lewis is considered a strong tackler despite being unremarkable in coverage. The 2010 fifth-round pick out of Ole Miss graded out as Pro Football Focus’ 27th-ranked safety in the NFL among those who played in at least half of his team’s snaps last year. Stewart was graded 23rd by the same publication.

The Lewis signing completes a fascinating game of musical chairs as he replaces Stewart, who will replace Moore in Denver after the ex-Broncos safety signed with Houston to take Lewis’ starting job. Houston was reportedly interested in bringing back the 6-foot, 198-pound Lewis, but he viewed Baltimore as a better opportunity.

Though not an addition appearing to have a great deal of upside, Lewis gives the Ravens a veteran option in anticipation of what looks to be a weak 2015 draft class of safeties beyond Alabama’s Landon Collins. Lewis and Will Hill would appear to have the inside track as Baltimore’s starting safeties at this early stage of the offseason, but others figure to be in the mix such as disappointing 2013 first-round pick Matt Elam and 2014 third-round pick Terrence Brooks, who is currently recovering from knee surgery and isn’t expected to be ready for the start of the season.

A restricted free agent, Hill was given the $1.542 million low tender before the start of free agency, which gives the Ravens the right of first refusal should another team sign the 24-year-old to an offer sheet.

Though general manager Ozzie Newsome doesn’t typically sign unrestricted free agents due to their negative impact on the compensatory pick formula, the loss of five unrestricted free agents of their own means that the Lewis addition wouldn’t appear to impact their ability to earn the maximum number of four compensatory picks for next year’s draft.

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Harbaugh owes Andy Reid dinner for help getting to playoffs

Posted on 30 December 2014 by Luke Jones

Before turning his attention toward a wild-card meeting with Pittsburgh, head coach John Harbaugh thanked an old friend for helping the Ravens get to the postseason on Sunday.

Harbaugh reached out to Kansas City head coach Andy Reid via text messaging after the Chiefs knocked off San Diego to help the Ravens secure their sixth postseason berth in seven years. Baltimore earned the No. 6 seed after the 20-10 win over Cleveland and Kansas City’s 19-7 victory over the Chargers.

“I promised Andy dinner. He responded very favorably to that.,” said Harbaugh as he laughed. “He’s looking forward to his dinner. It probably won’t be cheap.”

Of course, Harbaugh worked as an assistant under Reid for nine years in Philadelphia, serving as his special teams coordinator for all but one of those seasons. The Ravens coach may need to sweeten the pot when remembering Reid and the Chiefs still had playoff hopes of their own in Week 17 before Baltimore and Houston both won.

It remains unclear whether Harbaugh will treat Reid to Maryland crab cakes or some famous Kansas City barbecue. Perhaps they’ll compromise by reminiscing over a couple Philly cheesesteaks.

Regardless of what’s ultimately on the menu, Harbaugh was glad to see the Chiefs rise to the occasion in the regular-season finale.

“Sometimes we don’t acknowledge how tough it is for everyone, [because] we look at our own situation all the time so hard,” Harbaugh said. “Everyone in this league fights week in and week out. It’s just a great league; it’s a great sport. It was a great victory for the Chiefs, and we’re happy they got it.”

The Ravens are scheduled to host the Chiefs at M&T Bank Stadium during the 2015 season.

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Only one scenario remains for Ravens to make playoffs

Posted on 23 December 2014 by Luke Jones

The Ravens already knew they needed a win over the Cleveland Browns in Week 17 to keep their playoff hopes alive, but one of their two remaining possibilities for help was thrown out on Monday night.

Baltimore would have clinched a playoff spot with a win on Sunday and Cincinnati losing its final two games, but the Bengals defeated the Denver Broncos on Monday night to officially clinch a playoff spot. They will play the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field on Sunday night with the winner taking the AFC North crown.

Head coach John Harbaugh and the Ravens are still in the hunt, however, as they can punch their ticket to the postseason with a win and a Kansas City victory over the San Diego Chargers. At 9-6, the Ravens currently hold the same record as the Chargers, but San Diego’s Week 13 win in Baltimore serves as the tiebreaker.

Harbaugh’s younger brother Jim was unable to lead San Francisco to a win over the Chargers on Saturday, so the seventh-year head coach will now turn to his NFL mentor Andy Reid and the Chiefs for the necessary help to get into the playoffs. Harbaugh served as the special teams coordinator under Reid for eight years in Philadelphia before becoming the head man in Baltimore in 2008.

“Our emphasis is completely and squarely on the Cleveland Browns,” Harbaugh said. “That’s what we’re going to be doing. I’m sure they’ll flash the score up there; I’m sure we’ll see it. It’ll be a matter of [looking up], ‘OK, what’s the score?’ But we’re not going to be immersed in any other game. That’s a recipe for disaster.”

After the Orioles were swept by the Royals in the American League Championship Series in October, perhaps it’s in the stars for Kansas City to do Baltimore a favor by beating the Chargers on Sunday.

Otherwise, the Ravens will face the reality of having missed the playoffs for the second straight year.

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Only one scenario remains for Ravens to clinch playoff spot in Week 16

Posted on 21 December 2014 by Luke Jones

Jim Harbaugh is likely on his way out as the head coach in San Francisco, and his team was unable to put his older brother and the Ravens in position to potentially clinch a playoff spot on Sunday afternoon.

With the 49ers’ overtime loss to the San Diego Chargers, the Ravens can only clinch an AFC wild-card berth with a win over the Houston Texans and losses by Pittsburgh to Kansas City and Cincinnati to Denver. Such a scenario would not only guarantee the Ravens no worse than a wild-card spot, but it would land Baltimore in first place in the AFC North entering Week 17.

The Ravens can win the division by running the table and Pittsburgh and Cincinnati each losing at least one more game. The Bengals host the Broncos on Monday night before traveling to Heinz Field to take on the Steelers in Week 17.

Of course, John Harbaugh and the Ravens are guaranteed a playoff berth if they win their final two games against Houston and Cleveland.

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Ngata

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Morning Reaction Tuesday Top 7 Ravens for Week 5

Posted on 09 October 2012 by Luke Jones

Below are our Tuesday Top 7 Ravens players in the 9-6 win over the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 5. We’ll track our rankings throughout the 2012 season using the following point system:

No. 1 – 7 points
No. 2 – 6 points
No. 3 – 5 points
No. 4 – 4 points
No. 5 – 3 points
No. 6 – 2 points
No. 7 – 1 point

You can hear our explanations HERE.

Luke Jones’ Top 7 …

7) Haloti Ngata
Ngata

6) Sam Koch
Koch

5) Bernard Pollard
Pollard

4) Cary Williams
Williams

3) Paul Kruger
Kruger

2) Justin Tucker
Tucker

1) Ray Rice
Rice

Drew Forrester’s Top 7

CONTINUE >>>

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Ed Reed: “I knew Cassel was on QB sneak at goal line”

Posted on 07 October 2012 by WNSTV

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Ravens near full strength for road test against Chiefs

Posted on 05 October 2012 by Luke Jones

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Having 10 days between their fourth and fifth games of the season, the Ravens continue to find themselves very fortunate in the injury department as their entire 53-man roster practiced again on Friday.

Making final preparations for the Kansas City Chiefs, offensive lineman Jah Reid was the only player limited and was listed as questionable for Sunday’s game on the final injury report of the week.

The favorable report continues an excellent trend for the Ravens through the first five weeks of the regular season. Aside from Reid — who continues to work his way back from a calf injury originally suffered in the team’s mandatory minicamp in June — the only player to miss a game due to injury was linebacker Paul Kruger, who sat out Baltimore’s Week 2 loss against the Philadelphia Eagles.

“What we have to focus on is the things that we can control and I think our guys do a good job of taking care of themselves,” coach John Harbaugh said. “We have a strong team, physically. Obviously, [head trainer Mark Smith] and [strength and conditioning coach Bob Rogucki] do a great job, but the focus [is] on how we play right now. That’s what we think about and that’s how we’re spending our time.”

The only other player listed on the Ravens’ injury report all week was wide receiver Torrey Smith, who is dealing with a mild ankle sprain suffered in the Week 4 win over Cleveland. However, the second-year wideout has been a full participant all week in practices and will play on Sunday.

Conversely, Kansas City dealt with a plethora of injuries all week and has already ruled out starting defensive end Glenn Dorsey, running back Peyton Hillis, and wide receiver Devon Wylie.

Two other defensive starters, inside linebacker Derrick Johnson and free safety Derrick Lewis, are listed as questionable.

Here’s the final injury report for the week:

BALTIMORE
QUESTIONABLE: OL Jah Reid (calf)
PROBABLE: WR Torrey Smith (ankle)

KANSAS CITY
OUT: DE Glenn Dorsey (calf), RB Peyton Hillis (ankle), WR Devon Wylie (hamstring)
DOUBTFUL: CB Jalil Brown (hamstring)
QUESTIONABLE: LB Derrick Johnson (groin), S Kendrick Lewis (shoulder), DE Ropati Pitoitua (elbow)
PROBABLE: WR Jon Baldwin (hamstring), CB Brandon Flowers (heel), G Ryan Lilja (back)

Offensive line keeping tabs on Hali

Looking to rebound from a rough performance against the Browns, the Baltimore offensive line is cognizant of Kansas City’s pass-rushing duo of outside linebackers Tamba Hali and Justin Houston.

While Houston is still developing in his second NFL season, Hali is a two-time Pro Bowl selection and has accumulated 54 1/2 sacks in his seven-year career. The Ravens will pay close attention to where he lines up before the snap as head coach Romeo Crennel likes to find various matchups in which Hali can thrive.

“Obviously, that guy’s a hell of a player,” guard Marshal Yanda said. “They want to get mismatches on him so they’re going to move him around a little bit. We’ve seen him inside, they’ll put him on the guards too, right tackle and left tackle. They’re going to move him around as much as they can because the guy is who he is.”

With cornerbacks Brandon Flowers and Stanford Routt using press coverage, the Chiefs will rely on the two outside linebackers to force pressure on quarterback Joe Flacco as the Ravens wide receivers try to gain separation off the line of scrimmage.

“That front seven is outstanding,” offensive coordinator Cam Cameron said. “Those defenses, historically, have fed off the crowd. I know they’ve gotten behind in a couple of their home games so far, but when the game is tight, that defense feeds off the crowd.”

Odds & ends

The Chiefs have not enjoyed a lead during a game all season. Their only win came in Week 3 when kicker Ryan Succop booted a game-winning field goal in overtime over the New Orleans Saints. … Chiefs feature back Jamaal Charles and Baltimore running back Ray Rice rank first and second in the NFL in yards from scrimmage through the season’s first four weeks. … Baltimore has a league-leading eight touchdown drives of 80-or-more yards this season, including two of 90-or-more yards. … The Chiefs have three players who formerly played in Baltimore, wide receiver Terrance Copper, linebacker Edgar Jones, and center Bryan Mattison. Ravens safety Bernard Pollard was selected by the Chiefs in the second round of the 2006 draft and spent three seasons in Kansas City. … Pete Morelli will be the official for Sunday’s game at Arrowhead Stadium. … Sunday’s forecast in Kansas City calls for temperatures in the mid to upper 50s and clear skies.

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Morning Reaction Picks and Comment – Week 5

Posted on 05 October 2012 by Luke Jones

Here are this weekend’s picks as Drew Forrester and Luke Jones will pick every NFL game as well as local college football contests this season. And as a special treat, they pick their respective high schools’ games.

Drew Forrester finished 12-3 last week while Luke Jones was 11-4 in Week 4. Forrester is 38-24 overall and Jones is 41-21 after four weeks of play. Official standings are only kept based on the NFL picks.

(Editor’s note: Drew picked a 27-20 Rams victory on Thursday night while Luke incorrectly chose an Arizona 20-17 win.)

To hear their full explanations, click HERE.

Orioles at Rangers (AL Wild Card play-in game): Texas 8-5 (Drew), Baltimore 5-4 (Luke)
Ravens at Chiefs:
Baltimore 34-13 (Drew), Baltimore 24-14 (Luke)
Falcons at Redskins:
Atlanta 31-17 (Drew), Atlanta 27-20 (Luke)
Eagles at Steelers:
Pittsburgh 20-17 OT (Drew), Pittsburgh 24-20 (Luke)
Packers at Colts:
Green Bay 30-19 (Drew), Green Bay 27-16 (Luke)
Browns at Giants:
New York 33-17 (Drew), New York 31-14 (Luke)
Titans at Vikings:
Tennessee 28-21 (Drew), Minnesota 27-21 (Luke)
Dolphins at Bengals:
Miami 23-20 (Drew), Cincinnati 27-17 (Luke)
Seahawks at Panthers:
Carolina 28-24 (Drew), Carolina 24-17 (Luke)
Bears at Jaguars:
Chicago 24-13 (Drew), Chicago 21-16 (Luke)
Broncos at Patriots:
New England 34-24 (Drew), New England 28-20 (Luke)
Bills at 49ers:
San Francisco 31-7 (Drew), San Francisco 25-13 (Luke)
Chargers at Saints:
New Orleans 33-17 (Drew), New Orleans 31-27 (Luke)
Texans at Jets:
New York 24-20 (Drew), Houston 20-13 (Luke)
Wake Forest at Maryland:
Terps 21-19 (Drew), Terps 20-14 (Luke)
Towson at James Madison:
Tigers 28-25 (Drew), Tigers 24-21 (Luke)
Navy at Air Force:
Falcons 38-10 (Drew), Falcons 27-13 (Luke)
Morgan State at Savannah State:
Bears 28-12 (Drew), Bears 21-10 (Luke)
Glen Burnie at Chesapeake:
Gophers 23-18 (Drew), Cougars 21-20 (Luke)
Susquehannock at West York:
Bulldogs 41-8 (Drew), Warriors 14-13 (Luke)

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Ravens passing attack preparing for physical Chiefs secondary

Posted on 04 October 2012 by Luke Jones

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Seeing the Ravens among the top offensive teams in the NFL is enough to make you blink twice after years of riding the coattail of the defense, but it represents a changing of the guard in Baltimore.

Through the first four games of the season, the Ravens rank second in total offense and fifth in points per game while their defense has slipped to 23rd overall in yards allowed this season. Much of the offensive improvement falls on the shoulders of fifth-year quarterback Joe Flacco, who is on pace for his first 5,000-yard season when he has yet to even throw for 4,000 in a season.

However, Flacco would be the first to tell you his expanded set of weapons in the passing game has helped him immensely as the addition of the speedy Jacoby Jones and the improvement of 2011 second-round pick Torrey Smith have led to a more dynamic passing game, which ranks fourth in the league in yardage. Baltimore leads the league with 26 plays of 20-or-more yards this season, with 24 coming through the air.

“[Defenses] definitely have to decide how to play us,” Flacco said. “They’ve tried to take those guys away, and sometimes they’ve left them one-on-one out there. In either situation, I think we’ve done a good job of running routes underneath and winning underneath.”

The one week in which the Baltimore receivers seemed to be outmatched came against the Philadelphia Eagles as cornerbacks Nnamdi Asomugha and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie played press coverage with a single deep safety for much of the afternoon. Ravens wideouts were held to just six catches for 85 yards, with Jones catching a 21-yard touchdown in the second quarter.

Flacco attempted 42 passes against the Eagles but only targeted wide receivers 12 times as he instead looked at tight ends Dennis Pitta and Ed Dickson and running back Ray Rice. He averaged only 5.5 yards per attempt in the Ravens’ 24-23 loss.

Possessing the league’s 13th-ranked pass defense, the Kansas City Chiefs will employ a similar defensive style with their 3-4 alignment as opposed to the Eagles’ 4-3 scheme.

“They are playing bump-and-run Cover 1, a lot of single-high coverage,” offensive coordinator Cam Cameron said. “They feel good about their inside linebackers’ ability to cover. They like their ability to get edge pressure to help their secondary. So, I like the way they’re aggressive. Most teams that can play bump-and-run man-to-man play Cover 1, they can give you some problems.”

Comparatively speaking, cornerback Brandon Flowers brings a physical presence similar to Rodgers-Cromartie while Stanford Routt is more of a speed coverage back like Asomugha. Neither is as talented as the tandem in Philadelphia, but the Chiefs also have one of the best young safeties in the league in Eric Berry to offer assistance in coverage.

Going back through the last few seasons, receivers have struggled to beat press coverage and gain separation against more physical defensive backs and it’s a strategy the Ravens will once again encounter in Kansas City. If Flacco cannot find open targets, he will face heat from outside linebackers Tamba Hali and Justin Houston coming around the edges.

The Kansas City defense showed its potential last season in handing the 13-0 Packers their only loss of the regular season as they sacked quarterback Aaron Rodgers four times and held him to only 235 yards passing on 35 attempts while holding their talented wide receivers in check.

“You better be able to run through those seven yards, get yourself free, get yourself clean, get some separation so Joe can get the ball out,” Cameron said. “These guys do an outstanding job rushing the passer. You saw last year when Green Bay went in there undefeated and they got a ton of pressure on Rodgers. The combination of their coverage and their pressure is the toughest part.”

Pollard not feeling sentimental

Strong safety Bernard Pollard began his NFL career in Kansas City where he was a second-round selection in the 2006 draft.

Playing for then-coach Herman Edwards, Pollard spent three seasons with the Chiefs and amassed 189 tackles, three interceptions, and one sack in his time there. However, the seventh-year safety says he doesn’t view the game with any special significance.

“It’s not about me. A lot of guys on this team have been on other teams,” Pollard said. “It’s not about that individual. It’s about us as a team going into a hostile environment and getting a win.”

However, Pollard went on to discuss how many of his former teammates remain in Kansas City, including running back Jamaal Charles as the two spent the 2008 season together before Pollard wound up in Houston a year later. That year, Charles was a rookie from the University of Texas.

The Baltimore defensive player credited his former teammates for hanging tough in Kansas City after a rough start to the 2011 season that included season-ending injuries to Charles and Berry and the dismissal of head coach Todd Haley. Pollard is anxious to face the talented Charles, who ranks second in the NFL with 415 rushing yards.

“It’s going to be fun being able to see him,” Pollard said. “Just to see him become the player that he is. When they drafted him in the third round, just to see him now, the guy is a very talented player. That’s what Herm wanted. You look at a lot of players that they have, Herm drafted a lot of those men that are key athletes on their team.”

Injury report

CONTINUE >>>

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Ravens’ eyes wide open over potential of turnover-laden Chiefs

Posted on 03 October 2012 by Luke Jones

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — As the Ravens prepare to travel to Kansas City to take on the Chiefs Sunday, they don’t see a 1-3 team fighting for its life in the AFC West.

Instead, they remember the team from two seasons ago that gave Baltimore everything it could handle in the first half of play before an injury to running back Jamaal Charles crippled the Chiefs and led to a 30-7 win in the Wild Card round of the 2010 playoffs. New head coach Romeo Crennel has replaced Todd Haley since then, but many of the players from that division-winning squad remain in Kansas City.

“Not a lot has changed with the personnel there, so we know what they are capable of,” running back Ray Rice said. “That’s a very dangerous team with a lot of weapons. Like I said, I never really get into a team’s record. I go into every game just preparing for the opponent.”

On the surface, the comments sound polite and standard when a good team is playing an inferior opponent, but the Ravens have made it clear they’re not taking a road trip to Kansas City lightly. In addition to Arrowhead Stadium being one of the more challenging venues in the NFL in which to play, the Chiefs have the league’s fourth-ranked offense and the second-best rushing attack in the league.

Charles is second in the NFL with 415 rushing yards after missing most of the 2011 season with an ACL injury and is known as a dangerous runner in open space. The Chiefs complement his speed with power backs Peyton Hillis and Shaun Draughn.

Kansas City also has the 17th-ranked passing game with wide receiver Dwayne Bowe ranked fourth in the AFC with a team-high 342 receiving yards and three touchdowns.

The Chiefs do not rank as favorably defensively — sitting 13th overall in yards allowed and 31st in points allowed per game — but still possess talent in pass rushers Tamba Hali and Justin Houston as well as talented young safety Eric Berry.

So, why exactly have they dropped three of their first four games?

“They’re a very talented football team,” Harbaugh said. “When you look at the statistics, they’re way out in front in every statistical category except one — and that’s turnovers. And they know that. So, I’m sure they feel like if they can get that part of it cleaned up, they’ve got a great chance of winning football games.”

Kansas City sports the NFL’s worst turnover ratio at minus-13 with the next-worst team sitting at only minus-7 (Dallas). Quarterback Matt Cassel has been the main culprit in the turnover department, throwing seven interceptions and losing three fumbles to account for 10 of the Chiefs’ 15 turnovers through four games.

The Baltimore defense sees the potential in the offense they’ll be facing on Sunday, but the 23rd-ranked unit will try to continue Kansas City’s trend of making mistakes. The Ravens have forced eight turnovers this season, which is tied for third in the AFC.

It begins and ends with rattling Cassel, who’s been sacked 13 times already. However, Crennel has left the door open regarding the possibility of backup Brady Quinn replacing Cassel if his poor play continues.

“[Cassel’s] got a lot of weapons around him, all the way around him actually,” linebacker Ray Lewis said. “They added a lot of new pieces, and I just think they’re doing a great job. You take away the turnovers and things, [and] they’re doing an awfully great job with their offense.”

Reed the ball coach?

Safety Ed Reed has spent plenty of time discussing his future in recent months, but the comments he made Wednesday had nothing to do with a desire for a new contract or a feeling of being slighted by the organization.

The 34-year-old talked about life after football and his desire to become a coach after his playing days are over.

“Right now, it’s just high school because I want to be around my son,” said Reed, who lamented losing so much time away from his family while playing at the University of Miami and in the NFL. “I would love to coach at this level probably at some point, maybe even college because I feel like you can get the kids while they’re young and still give them information.”

Always a vocal leader in the secondary, Reed has received praise from coaches and teammates alike this season for taking an even bigger role in helping to prepare teammates for opponents as well as offering advice on how to take care of their bodies.

“He is making sure we know exactly what we are doing so we can go 110 percent,” cornerback Lardarius Webb said. “He is in it this year. All the other years, he would teach us a little something here and there, but this year, it’s all 110 percent. He is teaching us everything that he can possibly know, and I am happy for it.”

Reed’s six-year contract that was signed in 2006 expires after the 2012 season.

Injury report

BALTIMORE
LIMITED PARTICIPATION: T Jah Reid (calf)
FULL PARTICIPATION: WR Torrey Smith (ankle)

KANSAS CITY
DID NOT PARTICIPATE: WR Jon Baldwin (hamstring), CB Jalil Brown (hamstring), DE Glen Dorsey (calf), CB Brandon Flowers (heel), RB Peyton Hillis (ankle), LB Derrick Johnson (groin), DE Ropati Pitoitua (elbow), WR Devon Wylie (hamstring)
LIMITED PARTICIPATION: S Kendrick Lewis (shoulder), G Ryan Lilja (back)

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