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Our Ravens/Vikings “Pats on the Ass”

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Our Ravens/Vikings “Pats on the Ass”

Posted on 08 December 2013 by Glenn Clark

After every Baltimore Ravens victory, Ryan Chell and I take to the airwaves on “The Creative Deck Designs Postgame Show” on AM1570 WNST.net to offer “Pats on the Ass” to players who have done something to deserve the honor.

We give pats to two defensive players, two offensive players and one “Wild Card”-either another offensive or defensive player, a Special Teams player or a coach. We offer a “Pat on Both Cheeks” to someone who stands out, our version of a “Player of the Game.” Ryan and I select five different players/coaches each.

Here are our “Pats on the Ass” following the Ravens’ 29-26 victory over the Minnesota Vikings Sunday at M&T Bank Stadium…

Glenn Clark’s Pats…

5. Chris Canty

4. James Ihedigbo

3. Ray Rice

2. Marlon Brown

1. Jacoby Jones (Pat on Both Cheeks)

(Continued on Page 2…)

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Pitta “closer” to returning to action, Canty probable for Steelers game

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Pitta “closer” to returning to action, Canty probable for Steelers game

Posted on 27 November 2013 by Luke Jones

(This blog brought to you by Atlantic Remodeling. Visit www.atlanticremodeling.com to learn about their Red Cent Guarantee!)

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Despite facing the challenges of preparing for a short week, the Ravens couldn’t ask for a much better bill of health for their Thanksgiving night meeting with the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Defensive end Chris Canty (shoulder) was listed as probable after practicing on a limited basis all week and is the only Baltimore starter even listed on the injury report. Rookie safety Brynden Trawick was ruled out for Thursday’s game after suffering an ankle injury in the Week 12 win over the New York Jets last weekend and missing all three practices this week.

The only drama regarding the Ravens’ health picture is the status of tight end Dennis Pitta, who has now been practicing for a week in his return from a dislocated and fractured hip suffered on July 27. The Ravens must activate Pitta by 4 p.m. Thursday in order for him to play against the Steelers, but head coach John Harbaugh was tight-lipped regarding the fourth-year tight end’s status for Thursday night.

“He’s closer. Yes, he is,” Harbaugh said. “Dennis Pitta is closer [to returning].”

Pitta’s chances of returning for last Sunday’s game against the Jets were always considered extremely remote, but it remains to be seen whether the Ravens will activate him against their AFC North rival. Baltimore has wanted to see Pitta practice enough to not only get back into football shape but determine how strong his hip is in responding to the rigors of contact and being back on the field.

With the Ravens having a 10-day gap between the Steelers game and their next contest against the Minnesota Vikings on Dec. 8, Week 14 could be a more realistic target date for his return.

Meanwhile, the Steelers are unlikely to have outside linebacker Lamarr Woodley after he was listed as doubtful for Thursday’s game. He has missed Pittsburgh’s last two games with a calf injury and sat out Wednesday’s practice after working on a limited basis a day earlier.

The Steelers also ruled out starting nose tackle Steve McLendon (ankle) earlier in the week, but defensive end Brett Keisel is probable after missing the last two games with a foot injury.

Baltimore announced Wednesday that rookie defensive end Kapron Lewis-Moore will not be activated from the non-football injury list after his three-week practice window expired. This ends the Notre Dame product’s season after he was drafted in the sixth round of April’s draft.

Lewis-Moore tore his ACL in the BCS national championship game against the University of Alabama last January.

The referee for Thursday’s game will be Clete Blakeman.

The forecast calls for temperatures in the low 30s with much calmer winds than the Ravens have dealt with in their previous three games.

Here is the final injury report of the week:

BALTIMORE
OUT: S Brynden Trawick (ankle)
PROBABLE: DE Chris Canty (shoulder)

PITTSBURGH
OUT: DT Steve McLendon (ankle)
DOUBTFUL: LB LaMarr Woodley (calf)
PROBABLE: T Marcus Gilbert (ankle), DE Brett Keisel (foot), TE Heath Miller (NIR), S Troy Polamalu (NIR), LB Stevenson Sylvester (hamstring), S Shamarko Thomas (ankle)

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Ravens light on injuries in short week to prepare for Steelers

Posted on 26 November 2013 by Luke Jones

(This blog brought to you by Atlantic Remodeling. Visit www.atlanticremodeling.com to learn about their Red Cent Guarantee!)

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Despite working on a short week in preparation for a Thanksgiving meeting with the Pittsburgh Steelers, the Ravens appear to be as healthy as they’ve been all season with only two players on the injury report for a second straight day.

Defensive end Chris Canty (shoulder) was a limited participant for a second straight day after briefly leaving Sunday’s win over the New York Jets while rookie reserve safety Brynden Trawick continues to be sidelined by an ankle injury suffered in the first quarter of the Week 12 win.

The good news for the Ravens is the improving health of defensive tackle Haloti Ngata, who is no longer appearing on the injury report after dealing with a left knee injury for the better part of two weeks. The eighth-year defensive lineman made it through the Jets contest without any issues after being a game-time decision.

“It actually stayed loose throughout the game and it loosened up more, so it felt good,” Ngata said. “It was great to get back on the field, and our schedule is great this week for this game Thursday [with] a lot of mental [preparation] and just trying to get ready for the Pittsburgh game.”

Meanwhile, the Steelers are dealing with nagging injuries on the defensive side of the ball as nose tackle Steve McLendon (ankle) has already been ruled out and linebacker LaMarr Woodley (calf) was limited during Tuesday’s practice.

BALTIMORE
DID NOT PARTICIPATE: S Brynden Trawick (ankle)
LIMITED PARTICIPATION: DE Chris Canty (shoulder)

PITTSBURGH
OUT: DT Steve McLendon (ankle)
LIMITED PARTICIPATION: LB LaMarr Woodley (calf), T Marcus Gilbert (ankle), TE Heath Miller (non-injury related), S Troy Polamalu (non-injury related)
FULL PARTICIPATION: DE Brett Keisel (foot), S Shamarko Thomas (ankle), LB Stevenson Sylvester (hamstring)

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Familiarity aids preparation for Steelers on short week

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Familiarity aids preparation for Steelers on short week

Posted on 25 November 2013 by Luke Jones

(This blog brought to you by Atlantic Remodeling. Visit www.atlanticremodeling.com to learn about their Red Cent Guarantee!)

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — With no time to bask in the aftermath of a 19-3 win over the New York Jets, the Ravens immediately shifted their attention Monday toward a Thanksgiving night meeting against the rival Pittsburgh Steelers.

The Thursday night game always brings the challenge of balancing physical recovery from the previous week’s contest with a condensed amount of time to prepare for the next opponent, but the Ravens and Steelers figure to benefit from the great level of familiarity the AFC North rivals have with one another. Having already played in Pittsburgh last month, the Ravens will simply fine-tune what they already know despite the Steelers having won five of their last seven games to rebound from an 0-4 start.

Playing on Thanksgiving for the second time in three years, coach John Harbaugh acknowledged a challenge when playing a less-familiar team on a short week like when the Ravens hosted San Francisco in 2011.

“When you play an opponent that you don’t know, there’s a lot of groundwork that you have to do in terms of establishing their system and how they organize things,” Harbaugh said. “Both teams have a pretty good idea of how the other is organized. We’re pretty far down the road with each other at this point.”

This week’s preparations will involve lighter practices as the Ravens focus on mental reps while preparing for a physical game taking place just 100 hours after completing the win over New York to improve to 5-6 on the season.

The Ravens and Steelers have met in prime time frequently over the years, but this Week 14 meeting will mark the first time the AFC North adversaries have met on a Thursday night. And it will provide the Ravens with an opportunity to top Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger in a late-season game with high stakes, something they’ve never been able to do.

“It’s a rivalry game, so there are not a lot of secrets between the two teams,” defensive end Chris Canty said. “They understand the personnel this year. We have a good feel for what they have. That being said, you have to look at the little nuances, the details, the wrinkles over the past four games [and] what they’ve been doing. How they’ve been attacking teams, what they’ve been having success with, what they’ve been struggling with. You have to try to look at the whole picture and put yourself in situations where you’re able to have the most success.”

As is often the case with Thursday games in which the quality of play suffers, both teams will battle the physical fatigue of playing two games in a five-day period while the Ravens hope to avoid a season sweep at the hands of the Steelers, something that last happened in 2008.

In addition to the annual bragging rights and occasional bad blood between Baltimore and Pittsburgh, the teams are both 5-6 and tied with four other teams in the AFC in fighting for the No. 6 seed. A win puts one team in great position to snatch the final playoff spot in the conference with a strong final quarter of the season while the loser will need to rely heavily on help from others with no margin for error over the final four weeks.

“You just have to be into it mentally. It’s a big game,” right tackle Michael Oher said. “A lot of things are riding on it. It is the Steelers — big rivalry game. It’s going to be a physical game, and you’ve just got to get after it.”

Thanksgiving game permanent fixture?

Playing on Thanksgiving night for the second time in the last three seasons, Harbaugh expressed pride in the Ravens and the city of Baltimore being showcased before a national audience on what he called most guys’ favorite holiday.

The coach even suggested the organization would be open to becoming a Thanksgiving fixture in the same way that Detroit and Dallas have over the years.

“If at any point in time the NFL and Roger [Goodell] want to make this a tradition, wouldn’t we all be for that in Baltimore?” Harbaugh said. “I think that would be pretty amazing. We love it and I know our fans do, too.”

With the Ravens not playing at home in the NFL’s season opener back in September — a privilege that has been given to the defending Super Bowl champions in recent years — many viewed a second Thanksgiving home game in three years as a concession made to owner Steve Bisciotti and the Ravens when the schedule was released in late April.

Players and coaches will delay their own holiday celebrations for a day while trying to get back to .500, but it’s clear that many within the organization have embraced playing in the holiday game.

“I love playing on Turkey Day. How could you not love playing on Thanksgiving?” Canty said. “I remember when I was a little kid, we used to round up all the kids in the neighborhood and get a football and just go out and play sandlot ball on Thanksgiving. Then, go in and eat some turkey. It doesn’t leave [you]. You’re just excited about the opportunity to go out there in front of a national audience.”

Monday’s injury report

In lieu of a normal practice just over 24 hours following their respective Week 12 games, the Ravens held a light walk-through Monday evening while the Steelers did not practice, only releasing an estimated injury report.

Defensive tackle Haloti Ngata (knee), Canty (shoulder), linebacker Arthur Brown, and tight end Dennis Pitta (hip) were all present for the walk-through as the Ravens focused primarily on mental preparation while completing the indoor workout. Canty was the only player of those four who was listed on the injury report as a limited participant.

Reserve safety Brynden Trawick (ankle) did not participate after leaving early in Sunday’s game against the Jets and failing to return.

Meanwhile, the Steelers are dealing with a slew of injuries on the defensive side of the ball as starting nose tackle Steve McLendon (ankle) was already ruled out for Thursday’s game and defensive end Brett Keisel (foot) and linebacker LaMarr Woodley are both less than 100 percent after missing Sunday’s game in Cleveland.

Pittsburgh also lost reserve cornerback Curtis Brown due to a torn ACL suffered in Sunday’s win over the Browns.

Here is Monday’s official injury report:

BALTIMORE
DID NOT PARTICIPATE: S Brynden Trawick (ankle)
LIMITED PARTICIPATION: DE Chris Canty (shoulder)

PITTSBURGH
OUT: CB Curtis Brown (knee), DT Steve McLendon (ankle)
LIMITED PARTICIPATION: LB Stevenson Sylvester (hamstring)
FULL PARTICIPATION: DE Brett Keisel (foot), S Shamarko Thomas (ankle), LB LaMarr Woodley (calf)

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Our Ravens/Jets “Pats on the Ass”

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Our Ravens/Jets “Pats on the Ass”

Posted on 24 November 2013 by Glenn Clark

After every Baltimore Ravens victory, Ryan Chell and I take to the airwaves on “The Creative Deck Designs Postgame Show” on AM1570 WNST.net to offer “Pats on the Ass” to players who have done something to deserve the honor.

We give pats to two defensive players, two offensive players and one “Wild Card”-either another offensive or defensive player, a Special Teams player or a coach. We offer a “Pat on Both Cheeks” to someone who stands out, our version of a “Player of the Game.” Ryan and I select five different players/coaches each.

Here are our “Pats on the Ass” following the Ravens’ 19-3 win over the New York Jets Sunday at M&T Bank Stadium…

Glenn’s Pats…

5. Chris Canty

4. Corey Graham

3. Daryl Smith

2. Joe Flacco

1. Jacoby Jones (Pat on Both Cheeks)

(Continued on Page 2…)

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Ravens list six starters as questionable against Bears for Sunday

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Ravens list six starters as questionable against Bears for Sunday

Posted on 15 November 2013 by Luke Jones

(This blog brought to you by Atlantic Remodeling. Visit www.atlanticremodeling.com to learn about their Red Cent Guarantee!)

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — The Ravens saw three players return to the practice field on Friday before listing six starters as questionable for Sunday’s game against the Chicago Bears.

The players given that designation included nose tackle Haloti Ngata (knee), cornerbacks Lardarius Webb (groin) and Jimmy Smith (groin), inside linebacker Daryl Smith (hamstring), safety James Ihedigbo (toe), and wide receiver Marlon Brown, who was a new addition to the injury report after sitting out Friday’s practice.

Webb, Daryl Smith, and defensive end Chris Canty (knee) returned to the practice field after missing time earlier in the week. Canty was added to Thursday’s injury report as a non-participant while the other two were sidelined on Wednesday and Thursday.

“Those guys have all done a good job,” said coach John Harbaugh, who deferred to the injury report released later in the day when asked about the team’s health. “They all work really hard & do everything they can to get back.”

Ngata was present and suited up to practice during the portion open for media viewing but was listed as a non-participant. However, the fact that he made it to the field could be interpreted as a positive sign for his status after spraining his left knee and temporarily leaving the field during last Sunday’s win over the Cincinnati Bengals.

Smith deemed himself healthy enough to play against the Bears as he’s missed four practices over the last two weeks with what’s listed as a thigh injury. He left the field gingerly in overtime before the Ravens prevailed 20-17 to improve their record to 4-5 on the season.

“I feel pretty good, ready to go,” said Smith after working on a limited basis Friday. “Hopefully it won’t be a habit, but I took a couple days to do a little rehab and let everything settle down and rest. I’m looking forward to Sunday.”

Outside linebacker Terrell Suggs (neck) practiced fully after being added to the report as a limited participant due to a reported collision in Thursday’s practice. He and Canty were both designated as probable to play on Sunday.

Ihedigbo and Jimmy Smith practiced on a limited basis all week, making it very likely that both will play despite being given the questionable designation..

Sunday’s forecast in Chicago is calling for strong storms and high winds with an 80-percent chance of precipitation and winds gusting up to 28 miles per hour. Despite that less-than-promising combination, temperatures are expected to rise into the low 60s.

“Footing will be an issue there,” said Harbaugh about the conditions and how they can impact the overall game plan. “It’s probably more of a situation where you have the various game-plan options that you need plays-wise and things like that available, but you won’t know until you start playing the game how it’s going to affect the game.”

The referee for the game between the Ravens and Bears will be Gene Steratore.

Here is the final injury report of the week:

BALTIMORE
QUESTIONABLE – DT Haloti Ngata (knee), LB Daryl Smith (thigh), CB Lardarius Webb (groin), Marlon Brown (knee), S James Ihedigbo (toe), CB Jimmy Smith (groin)
PROBABLE – DE Chris Canty (knee), RB Bernard Pierce (toe/knee), WR Brandon Stokley (thigh), LB Terrell Suggs (neck)

CHICAGO
OUT: LB Lance Briggs (shoulder), QB Jay Cutler (ankle), DT Jeremiah Ratliff (groin)
DOUBTFUL: LS Patrick Mannelly (calf), DE Shea McClellin (hamstring)
QUESTIONABLE: TE Martellus Bennett (ankle)
PROBABLE: T Jordan Mills (quad)

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Ravens missing four defensive starters during Thursday’s practice

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Ravens missing four defensive starters during Thursday’s practice

Posted on 14 November 2013 by Luke Jones

(This blog brought to you by Atlantic Remodeling. Visit www.atlanticremodeling.com to learn about their Red Cent Guarantee!)

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Moving closer to an important showdown with the Chicago Bears this weekend, the Ravens were without four defensive starters during Thursday’s practice.

Defensive tackle Haloti Ngata (knee), cornerback Lardarius Webb (groin), and inside linebacker Daryl Smith (thigh) were all absent for the second straight day. Each played in last Sunday’s 20-17 overtime win against the Cincinnati Bengals, but Ngata and Smith both left the game at different points and were expected to be limited in practices this week.

Webb spoke to reporters in the locker room prior to Thursday’s workout and did not appear to be noticeably favoring an injury.

Defensive end Chris Canty (knee) was the only new absence on Thursday after he practiced and was not listed on the injury report a day earlier. Canty also addressed reporters prior to sitting out practice and gave no indication that he was dealing with an injury.

Cornerback Jimmy Smith (groin) and strong safety James Ihedigbo (toe) were both present and working after being listed as a limited participant on Wednesday’s injury report.

Linebacker Terrell Suggs (neck) was added to the injury report as a limited participant.

Meanwhile, Chicago added starting tight end Martellus Bennett (ankle) to their injury report after he didn’t participate on Thursday.

Here is Thursday’s injury report:

BALTIMORE
DID NOT PARTICIPATE: DT Haloti Ngata (knee), LB Daryl Smith (thigh), CB Lardarius Webb (groin), DE Chris Canty (knee)
LIMITED PARTICIPATION: S James Ihedigbo (toe), CB Jimmy Smith (groin), LB Terrell Suggs (neck)
FULL PARTICIPATION: RB Bernard Pierce (toe/knee), WR Brandon Stokley (thigh)

CHICAGO
OUT: LB Lance Briggs (shoulder), QB Jay Cutler (ankle)
DID NOT PARTICIPATE: LS Patrick Mannelly (calf), DE Shea McClellin (hamstring), DT Jeremiah Ratliff (groin), TE Martellus Bennett (ankle)
LIMITED: T Jordan Mills (quad)

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Ravens defense aiming to reverse trend of late-game struggles

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Ravens defense aiming to reverse trend of late-game struggles

Posted on 07 November 2013 by Luke Jones

(This blog brought to you by Atlantic Remodeling. Visit www.atlanticremodeling.com to learn about their Red Cent Guarantee!)

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Ravens defensive coordinator Dean Pees recollected Thursday that his defense came under fire a year ago for being lousy statistically despite the Ravens’ 6-2 record midway through the 2012 season.

Of course, a 3-5 record this season doesn’t sit well with Pees despite his unit’s overall improvement, but problems still exist on his side of the ball. Ranked 10th overall in total yards and points per game allowed, the Ravens have forced only 10 turnovers — ranked 11th in the AFC — and have struggled to get defensive stops late in games when they’ve been trailing. And with an offense that’s struggled immensely, those defensive shortcomings have contributed to three straight losses.

“More games are lost than won in the National Football League,” defensive end Chris Canty said. “We’ve got to stop shooting ourselves in the foot, stop doing the things that cause you to lose games, and just play solid ball.”

According to Football Outsiders, the Baltimore defense ranks fifth in the NFL in average defensive drive time (2:21), making their late-game struggles even more puzzling. In losses to Green Bay, Pittsburgh, and Cleveland, the Ravens have surrendered a drive of six minutes or longer that’s been pivotal in either allowing the opposition to build on a second-half lead or to prevent the Baltimore offense from having a final opportunity to tie the game or take the lead.

Many have pondered how much the offense’s first-half struggles have tired out the defense, but the final time of possession wasn’t lopsided in any of the three losses with the Ravens having the ball for at least 28:38 in each game. In Week 9, the Browns took possession of the ball with a 21-18 lead and 6:44 remaining in the fourth quarter and remained on the field until kicking a field goal with 14 seconds remaining. On that drive in which the Browns converted a third-and-3 from their own 36 and a fourth-and-1 from the Baltimore 43 with 3:12 remaining, Pees opined that his defense played tentatively instead of aggressively in trying to make a play.

“You’ve got to feel good enough about yourself that you don’t worry about making a mistake,” Pees said. “You guys have heard me tell you the analogy before – and that’s what I told them this week – you practice that way out here and you go 100 miles an hour, because there’s really not a lot on the line. Somehow, mentally, you’ve got to make yourself play it the same way in a game. I know it’s on the line, we all know it’s on the line, but you’ve got to go. And you’ve just got to make a play.”

Regardless of the exact reasons why, the Ravens are frustrated with their growing reputation of being unable to finish defensively after generally playing well over the first three quarters of the game.

And that recent trend, coupled with the offense’s extremely slow starts all season, has led to the Ravens being as close to must-win mode as they can be against the division-leading Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday.

“It’s always frustrating. You’ve got to win games,” linebacker Terrell Suggs said. “They’re on scholarship, too, so to say – the opposing team – and they’re making plays. It’s just one of those things. You’ve just got to get after it and do it.”

Punting problems

Sam Koch is just one of several established veterans experiencing rough seasons as the longtime punter struggled again last Sunday in Cleveland, three times failing to pin the Browns inside the 20 when kicking near midfield.

The worst of the three offenses came on his final opportunity of the day from his own 46 when he produced a 25-yarder that went out of bounds at the Cleveland 29. The shank gave the Browns solid field position that preceded their game-clinching drive that erased all but the final 14 seconds of the game.

“It’s very frustrating,” Koch said of his season. “I put all the time and work and effort into to trying to make that perfect game.”

Koch’s 37.6 yard net punting average ranks 28th in the league and would be his lowest since 2007 (36.0).

“Sam would be the first one to tell you that he’s been inconsistent,” special teams coordinator Jerry Rosburg said. “There have been situations in games where we need a better ball; [the final punt against the Browns] was an example of it. You’ve also seen him in games where he can hit exactly what we want. We put a lot on Sam. We ask him to do things that other punters in this league aren’t asked to do in terms of direction and so forth. He has demonstrated in practice,time and time and time again that he can do all of that. We just need to do that same kind of performance in the game.”

“Ngata”-nough

CONTINUE ON NEXT PAGE >>>>>

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Assessing the Ravens’ offseason veteran additions

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Assessing the Ravens’ offseason veteran additions

Posted on 24 October 2013 by Luke Jones

(This blog brought to you by Atlantic Remodeling. Visit www.atlanticremodeling.com to learn about their Red Cent Guarantee!)

At 3-4 and below the .500 mark this late in a season for the first time in the John Harbaugh era, the Ravens face an uphill battle in advancing to the postseason for the sixth straight season.

Clearly at a crossroads as the first defending Super Bowl champion since the 2006 Pittsburgh Steelers to hold a losing record after seven games, the Ravens made a number of offseason additions to reload a roster that dealt with free-agent departures, salary-cap casualties, and retirees. It’s time to revisit those moves to see how they’ve worked — or haven’t worked — as the Ravens try to regroup during their bye week.

Grades are included for free-agent signings and trade additions made prior to the start of training camp with the players listed in the order in which they were acquired. Contract terms are listed in parentheses for free-agent additions.

DE Chris Canty (three years, $8 million)
Grade: C+
Skinny: The Ravens needed a 5-technique defensive end and Canty has been solid, but he hasn’t offered as much as a pass rusher as the team would have hoped. Canty is fourth on the team with two sacks, but defensive coordinator Dean Pees has often replaced him with Arthur Jones in the nickel package for improved run support. 

DT Marcus Spears (two years, $2.75 million)
Grade: C-
Skinny: Hamstring and knee injuries have hampered the veteran defensive lineman, but Spears has offered very little when he’s been part of the defensive line rotation and has little pass-rush ability. It would be easy to envision rookie Brandon Williams wrestling away some of Spears’ snaps  in the second half of the season. 

LB Elvis Dumervil (five years, $26 million)
Grade: B+
Skinny: The three-time Pro Bowl selection has been more of a situational player with the run-stopping presence of Courtney Upshaw, but Dumervil has 27 quarterback pressures and is the league’s sixth-most efficient pass rusher, according to Pro Football Focus. He had a miserable day in Pittsburgh, but Dumervil has been the bookend pass rusher Terrell Suggs needed and an upgrade over former Raven Paul Kruger for a cheaper price.

S Michael Huff (three years, $6 million)
Grade: F
Skinny: Huff was benched after a disastrous performance in the season opener against Denver, forcing the Ravens to essentially go with two strong safeties in the secondary with James Ihedigbo and Matt Elam. The former Raider hasn’t taken a defensive snap since Week 4 and has brought very little to special teams, making it possible that he doesn’t even make it through the rest of the season before being cut. 

OT Bryant McKinnie (two years, $6.3 million)
Grade: D
Skinny: Though McKinnie was technically re-signed, he spent almost two months on the open market as general manager Ozzie Newsome explored other options at left tackle before inking him in early May. McKinnie wasn’t the biggest problem along the offensive line before the Ravens acquired Eugene Monroe, but the 34-year-old wasn’t motivated to play at a high level after winning a Super Bowl and receiving a $2 million signing bonus, making his signing a clear mistake as he was dealt to Miami for a conditional late-round pick earlier this week.

C A.Q. Shipley (acquired for 2014 conditional draft pick)
Grade: D+
Skinny: Expectations weren’t very high for the former Indianapolis Colt, but it’s telling that Shipley hasn’t been able to unseat the struggling Gino Gradkowski at the center position. Shipley is undersized and is not a great option as a backup interior lineman, so it will be interesting to see if rookie Ryan Jensen leapfrogs him on the depth chart in the second half since he’s recovered from a broken foot suffered in the first week of training camp.

LB Daryl Smith (one year, $1.125 million)
Grade: A
Skinny: Not only did Smith make most people forget the embarrassing decision to sign troubled linebacker Rolando McClain, but he’s easily been the best bargain of the offseason as his signing was an afterthought that came on the same day the Super Bowl champions visited the White House. His two interceptions lead the team and he’s made everyone forget about the serious concerns that existed at inside linebacker during the offseason. Smith isn’t Ray Lewis, but he’s been as solid as a rock in the middle of the defense.

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Ravens-Bills: Inactives and pre-game notes

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Ravens-Bills: Inactives and pre-game notes

Posted on 29 September 2013 by Luke Jones

(This blog brought to you by Atlantic Remodeling. Visit www.atlanticremodeling.com to learn about their Red Cent Guarantee!)

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. — Looking for their first win in Buffalo in the 18-year history of the franchise, the Ravens are looking for their fifth consecutive 3-1 start under head coach John Harbaugh on Sunday afternoon.

The Ravens will have the services of Pro Bowl running back Ray Rice, who is active and will return to game action after missing the Week 3 win over Houston while recovering from a left hip flexor strain. Rice practiced all week on a limited basis and was considered a game-time decision, and it remains to be seen how much of the workload he’ll handle as backup Bernard Pierce is expected to receive plenty of carries against Buffalo.

Defensive end Chris Canty is active and will play after missing the Houston game with a groin injury, but veteran wide receiver Brandon Stokley is inactive after he suffered a groin injury in the final practice of the week. The 37-year-old wideout had been listed as questionable.

Wide receiver Deonte Thompson and defensive tackle Brandon Williams are both active and will make their 2013 season debuts after both suffered injuries in the preseason. With Stokley out for Sunday’s game, Thompson and Tandon Doss could factor into the game plan at the wide receiver position more than you would have expected.

Third-string running back Shaun Draughn is active despite being severely limited with a high ankle sprain over the course of the week.

Meanwhile, the Bills secondary has been gutted by injuries as starting cornerbacks Leodis McKelvin and Stephon Gilmore and free safety Jairus Byrd are all inactive for the 19th-ranked pass defense in the league. Starting strong safety Aaron Williams will move to a cornerback spot and former Ravens safety Jim Leonhard will start at strong safety on Sunday afternoon.

Buffalo and Baltimore are meeting for the sixth time in regular-season history with the Ravens enjoying the 4-1 edge over the Bills. This is the second times these teams have met in western New York.

The Ravens will be wearing white jerseys and white pants while the Bills are sporting blue jerseys with white pants in their home stadium.

Sunday’s referee is Jerome Boger, who officiated Super Bowl XLVII in New Orleans.

The forecast calls for temperatures to reach the low 70s, but winds of up to 15 to 25 miles per hour could be a factor Sunday afternoon.

Here are Sunday’s inactives:

BALTIMORE
WR Brandon Stokley
WR Jacoby Jones
S Jeromy Miles
LB Arthur Brown
DT Terrence Cody
OL Jah Reid
OL Ryan Jensen

BUFFALO
K Dustin Hopkins
CB Leodis McKelvin
CB Stephon Gilmore
S Jairus Byrd
CB Ron Brooks
OL Doug Legursky
WR Marquise Goodwin

Follow WNST on Twitter throughout the afternoon for updates and analysis as Nestor Aparicio and I bring live coverage from Ralph Wilson Stadium in Orchard Park.

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