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Youth comes up big for Ravens in thrilling victory

Posted on 01 December 2015 by Luke Jones

Monday will go down as one of the most thrilling finishes in the 20-year history of the Ravens as well as in the annals of Monday Night Football.

But as Crash Davis from “Bull Durham” would remind you, “The moment’s over.”

If you’re trying to focus on the long haul, what can the 4-7 Ravens really take away from Monday’s win that worsened their 2016 draft position?

Though all players and coaches continue to fight admirably with all 11 of Baltimore’s games being decided by a single possession in 2015, the performances of five players under the age of 25 might bring the most hope from Monday’s win as it relates to the Ravens’ goal of returning to a championship level.

Below is a look at each in no particular order of significance:

WR/RS Kaelin Clay
Age: 23
Impact: Prior to Monday, the rookie from Utah was best known for a major gaffe against Oregon last season, but the sixth-round pick of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers announced his presence with authority by returning the Browns’ first punt of the game 82 yards for a first-quarter touchdown. Even better was the fact that Clay returned three other punts and two kickoffs without putting the ball on the ground, a factor that’s been a concern for Baltimore returners this season. Clay played only one offensive snap, so it remains to be seen what he can offer as a receiver, but his big return energized the Ravens early.

DE Brent Urban
Age: 24
Impact: After missing the first 26 regular-season games of his NFL career due to injuries, the 6-foot-7 Urban made a major impact in blocking Travis Coons’ 51-yard field goal attempt, which allowed safety Will Hill to return the ball 64 yards for the game-winning touchdown with no time remaining. The 2014 fourth-round pick also made two tackles in his 11 defensive snaps and offered a glimpse of why the Ravens elected to use their designation to return on him after he tore his biceps early in training camp. He will be one of the most intriguing young players to watch over the final five weeks of the season.

RB Terrance West
Age: 24
Impact: We all know the local kid’s story and the baggage he already carries in only his second NFL season, but the 225-pound back showed good vision against his old team, rushing for 37 yards on seven carries in his Ravens debut. With Justin Forsett and Lorenzo Taliaferro both out for the season, West will have every opportunity to make an impact for an offense lacking established weapons. It will be up to him to show the maturity and work ethic that will warrant more carries in the coming weeks, but the former Towson star made valuable contributions for his hometown team in Week 12.

DT Timmy Jernigan
Age: 23
Impact: After beginning the season in John Harbaugh’s doghouse due to a foolish roughing the passer penalty in Oakland, the 2014 second-round pick has quietly picked up his play over the last seven games, registering three sacks and eight quarterback hits. In 42 defensive snaps against Cleveland, Jernigan finished with three tackles, a half-sack, and three quarterback hits to wreak havoc in the pocket along with veterans Elvis Dumervil and Chris Canty. Jernigan’s sack total doesn’t stand out, but he ranks second behind Dumervil with 10 quarterback hits and has been the Ravens’ best interior rusher.

RB Buck Allen
Age: 24
Impact: It helped facing the league’s 32nd-ranked run defense, but the 2015 fourth-round pick continued to impress in his first start, carrying 12 times for 55 yards and catching four passes for 29 yards that included a 13-yard touchdown in the second quarter. It remains to be seen whether the 220-pound Allen can consistently thrive running between the tackles, but his receiving ability out of the backfield is as dynamic as anyone the Ravens have used since Ray Rice at his best. After facing questions at running back for a few years now, the Ravens would love to see Allen show No. 1 back production.

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Even in rough season, Ravens remind us how fun sports can be

Posted on 01 December 2015 by Luke Jones

It was nice to forget about the Ravens’ big picture for one night in a thrilling 33-27 win over Cleveland.

No, I don’t think Brent Urban’s blocked field goal and Will Hill’s 64-yard return for the game-winning touchdown as time expired will sabotage Baltimore’s 2016 draft position. It was always going to difficult to secure the first overall pick when every game the Ravens play is decided by one possession, leaving too many chances for some breaks to go their way like they did on Monday.

In the same light, the exhilarating victory shouldn’t be viewed as “redemption” or a catalyst that will allow the Ravens to climb back into a mediocre AFC wild-card race. After all, the only thing the Ravens really proved on Monday is that they were better than the perennial doormat of the AFC North.

But that chaotic final play reminded us just how much fun sports can be. Nothing more, nothing less.

It hasn’t exactly been the greatest few months in local sports with the Orioles failing to return to the playoffs, Maryland football being dreadful, and the Ravens in the midst of the most disappointing season in franchise history. It’s easy to become jaded watching a team that’s already out of the race and looking toward next season, especially after losing your franchise quarterback to a season-ending knee injury last week.

In fact, I counted myself among those seeing no benefit to the Ravens winning any games down the stretch as they’d only be worsening their position in a draft in which general manager Ozzie Newsome needs to come away with high-impact talent. But a funny thing happened as I watched the injury-ravaged Ravens take on the hapless Browns in one of the worst matchups of the season.

I enjoyed myself.

Make no mistake, Baltimore and Cleveland did not play a great game, but it was entertaining with big plays, backbreaking mistakes, questionable coaching decisions, and one of the craziest finishes in the long history of Monday Night Football. And as the teams exchanged multiple possessions in the final two minutes and Matt Schaub threw his second interception of the night to set the Browns up in Baltimore territory, I still pondered the most absurd way in which the game could end and decided on the following:

Of course, it was nothing more than a tongue-in-cheek prediction — I’ve been awful in forecasting Ravens games this season — but I couldn’t believe my eyes just a couple minutes later as Urban blocked Travis Coons’ 51-yard attempt and Hill scooped up the football to streak down the sideline for the score.

It was one of those moments that reminds fans — and even cranky reporters — why we watch sports in the first place. Of course, Baltimore’s joy was Cleveland’s agony as the Browns picked the worst time to, well, “Brown” away a game.

You couldn’t help but feel good for Hill, who had blown the deep middle coverage on Travis Benjamin’s game-tying touchdown catch with 1:47 remaining in the game. I felt even better for Urban, a 2014 fourth-round defensive end who was playing in his first NFL game after seeing his entire rookie year and most of his second season lost due to injuries.

Two players the Ravens hope will factor into their future making the game-winning play on Monday night.

It will be fine going back to feeling conflicted about the remaining five games of the season as the Ravens travel to Miami to take on the 4-7 Dolphins on Sunday. I can understand a fan never wanting to root against his or her team, no matter what it means for draft implications. At the same time, the Ravens only stand to benefit in the long run by losing more than winning the rest of the way.

But I hope we all could enjoy what transpired on the final play of Monday night’s game.

The wild win doesn’t make up for a losing season and doesn’t mean the Ravens will fail to come away with excellent players in next year’s draft. It’s also not a sign of an upcoming miraculous run to the postseason.

It was just a really fun moment that we hope to witness from time to time as sports fans.

One in which silly imagination suddenly sprung into fun reality for a team experiencing far too much of the cruel kind this season.

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Ravens-Browns: Inactives and pre-game notes

Posted on 30 November 2015 by Luke Jones

Once upon a time, Matt Schaub was one of the better quarterbacks in the NFL, but the 34-year-old hasn’t made a start in nearly two years and has long since been forgotten by much of the football world.

After losing Joe Flacco to a season-ending knee injury last week, the Ravens have no other choice but to turn to Schaub against the Cleveland Browns on Monday night. Not only does Flacco’s streak of 137 consecutive starts (counting the postseason) officially come to an end, but Schaub will become the first not named Flacco to start at quarterback for the Ravens since Troy Smith on Dec. 30, 2007, which marked the final game for both Hall of Fame left tackle Jonathan Ogden and Super Bowl XXXV winning coach Brian Billick.

Of course, Flacco headlines a list of season-ending injuries to key Baltimore starters that includes wide receivers Steve Smith and Breshad Perriman, linebacker Terrell Suggs, running back Justin Forsett, and center Jeremy Zuttah. To make matters worse, the Ravens will be without starting left tackle Eugene Monroe (shoulder) and left guard Kelechi Osemele (knee) against the Browns after both were listed as doubtful on the final injury report.

James Hurst will start at left tackle while Ryan Jensen will receive his second straight start in place of the injured Osemele, leaving little experience protecting Schaub’s blindside in his first start since Dec. 29, 2013, his final game with the Houston Texans.

Former Browns running back and Towson standout Terrance West is active and will play in his first game for his hometown team. The 2014 third-round pick is expected to back up rookie Buck Allen, who is making his first NFL start in place of the injured Forsett.

As expected, second-year defensive end Brent Urban will make his NFL debut after being activated from the injured reserve list late last week. Urban suffered a torn biceps in early August and was placed on IR with the designation to return at the start of the season. The 2014 fourth-round pick missed his entire rookie season due to a knee injury suffered early in his first training camp.

With Urban active, rookie defensive lineman Carl Davis is a healthy scratch for the first time this season after seeing his playing time decrease in recent weeks.

Rookie wide receiver Daniel Brown and rookie guard Kaleb Johnson are also active after being promoted to the 53-man roster from the practice squad earlier in the day.

As expected, third-year receiver Marlon Brown was deactivated with a back injury.

The Browns are dealing with their own share of injuries as cornerback Joe Haden, starting guard Joel Bitonio, and wide receivers Andrew Hawkins and Taylor Gabriel were among their inactives. The recently-demoted Johnny Manziel is active, however, and will serve as Cleveland’s No. 3 quarterback behind new starter Josh McCown and backup Austin Davis.

Monday night’s referee will be Brad Allen.

According to Weather.com, the Monday night forecast in Cleveland calls for cloudy skies and temperatures in the mid-40s with winds up to nine miler per hour.

Baltimore will wear white jerseys with black pants while the Browns sport brown jerseys with orange pants for their rare nationally-televised home game.

Monday marks the 34th overall meeting between these AFC North foes with Baltimore holding a 24-9 advantage. However, the Browns are seeking their first season sweep of the Ravens since 2007, which also happened to be Baltimore’s last losing season.

Ogden, Ray Lewis, Ed Reed, Terrell Suggs, and Flacco are arguably the best — or at least the most important — players in franchise history, but Monday marks the first time the Ravens ever play a game without any of them on the field.

Below are Monday night’s inactives:

BALTIMORE
WR Marlon Brown
CB Tray Walker
CB Cassius Vaughn
OT Eugene Monroe
G Kelechi Osemele
DT Carl Davis
DE Kapron Lewis-Moore

CLEVELAND
WR Andrew Hawkins
WR Taylor Gabriel
CB Joe Haden
CB Pierre Desir
S Don Jones
G Joel Bitonio
DL Randy Starks

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Ravens make roster moves hours before Monday night game

Posted on 30 November 2015 by Luke Jones

The Ravens made changes to their 53-man roster hours before their Monday night game in Cleveland.

Offensive lineman Kaleb Johnson and wide receiver Daniel Brown were promoted to the 53-man roster while wide receiver Chuck Jacobs was cut and tight end Chase Ford (shoulder) was placed on injured reserve on Monday morning.

With starting left tackle Eugene Monroe (shoulder) and starting left guard Kelechi Osemele (knee) both listed as doubtful on the final injury report, the Ravens were facing the prospects of having just six healthy offensive linemen for Monday’s game against the Browns. A Rutgers product signed as a rookie free agent in the spring, Johnson played well in the preseason and had spent the entire season on the Ravens’ practice squad.

The 6-foor-4, 316-pound guard was set to serve as the primary interior line backup in his first game on the active roster.

Meanwhile, Brown was a bit of a preseason standout who caught second-half touchdown passes against Philadelphia and Atlanta. Entering training camp, the 6-foot-5 James Madison product was considered an intriguing developmental project and had spent a sizable portion of the regular season on the practice squad.

Jacobs had been signed to the practice squad on Nov. 4 and had been promoted to the 53-man roster last week, but he did not appear in a game for the Ravens.

With rookie tight end Nick Boyle missing last week’s game with a foot injury, the Ravens had signed Ford as extra depth earlier in the month, but he was added to the injury report on Friday with a shoulder injury.

The Ravens now have 17 players on IR before hitting the month of December, and that doesn’t include veteran tight end Dennis Pitta, who has spent the entire 2015 season on the physically unable to perform list.

Schaub on verge of being paid

Though the Ravens never envisioned Matt Schaub playing when they signed him in March, the 34-year-old is set to make an additional $1 million if he plays 10 percent of Baltimore’s snaps, something that now looks like a formality with starter Joe Flacco out for the season.

It’s difficult envisioning Schaub having too much success with the depleted offense around him, but the playing time he’s now on track to receive will eat up $1 million of Baltimore’s 2016 salary cap since bonuses and incentives aren’t applied until the following season. Schaub is also being paid a $2 million base salary for the 2015 season.

The Ravens probably wouldn’t be too disappointed if Schaub is unable to lead them to many wins down the stretch — it would help their 2016 draft positioning, after all — but they’d like to see him show enough to feel confident in re-signing him as a backup who could step in for Flacco during spring organized team activities and training camp if the franchise quarterback isn’t fully recovered from his knee injury.

Canty in ominous position in locker room

The Baltimore locker room in Owings Mills holds a 2015 injury “graveyard” as the lockers of Terrell Suggs, Steve Smith, Breshad Perriman, and Justin Forsett are next to each other. Not only are those four individuals out for the year, but they’ve been placed on IR in the order of their lockers from right to left, beginning with Suggs in mid-September and continuing most recently with Forsett last week.

So, who lockers to the left of Forsett?

It’s defensive end Chris Canty, who has noticed the same trend. The 33-year-old missed four games earlier this season with a calf injury.

“Don’t you put that evil on me, Ricky Bobby,” said Canty, quoting the late Michael Clarke Duncan’s character in the comedy Talladega Nights. “I see where you’re going with that, and I’m going to stay prayed up.”

Next up

In Week 13, the Ravens travel to Miami to take on the disappointing Dolphins, who suffered an abysmal 38-20 loss to the New York Jets in Week 12.

Having already parted ways with head coach Joe Philbin in early October, Miami fired offensive coordinator Bill Lazor and promoted quarterbacks coach Zac Taylor to the position on Monday. Entering the season expecting to compete for a playoff spot, the Dolphins are in last place in the AFC East with a 4-7 record.

The Dolphins ran the ball just nine times against the Jets while quarterback Ryan Tannehill threw 58 passes and was sacked three times in Sunday’s loss.

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Ravens-Browns: Five predictions for Monday night

Posted on 29 November 2015 by Luke Jones

What do two bad teams with headaches at the quarterback position need more than anything?

A national audience for Monday Night Football?

Much to the chagrin of ESPN and NFL executives, the Matt Schaub era begins Monday night with the 3-7 Ravens traveling to Cleveland to take on the 2-8 Browns. It’s never a good thing when a primetime game holds far more draft implications than influences on the playoff race, but head coach John Harbaugh will try to navigate his team to a win in his first-ever regular-season game without Joe Flacco under center.

Of course, Flacco is just one of many injuries that have gutted a team that entered the 2015 season with Super Bowl aspirations. Now, it remains to be seen whether the Ravens will even win another game over their final six weeks.

Meanwhile, the Browns are rested coming off their bye week, but controversy surrounds their football team with the latest off-field concerns leading to second-year quarterback Johnny Manziel being benched.

It’s time to go on the record as the Ravens and Cleveland meet for the 34th time in their regular-season history and the Browns look for their first regular-season sweep of Baltimore since 2007. The Ravens hold a 24-9 advantage in the all-time series and are 11-5 playing in Cleveland.

Here’s what to expect as Baltimore tries to win its second road game of the season …

1. Buck Allen will surpass 135 total yards in his first NFL start. The rookie is the most compelling Ravens player to watch for the remainder of the season, and he’ll be facing the NFL’s 32nd-ranked run defense. Of course, Baltimore is far from 100 percent along its offensive line, and the Browns are likely to use eight men in the box to try to take away the run and force Schaub to make plays through the air. This will keep Allen from piling up huge numbers on the ground, but he’ll be a favorite receiver out of the backfield for his 34-year quarterback making his first start in almost two years.

2. Paul Kruger and Armonty Bryant will combine for three sacks against a battered Baltimore offensive line. As if life wasn’t difficult enough for Schaub without Steve Smith and Justin Forsett, Eugene Monroe and Kelechi Osemele are doubtful to play and James Hurst and Ryan Jensen will be entrusted to protect his blindside. This spells trouble for someone who is already going to be readjusting his live-game clock after minimal playing time over the last two years. For all of the justified complaints about Monroe’s durability, Hurst is a major liability and Flacco paid the price for it last week.

3. Gary Barnidge and Crockett Gillmore will each catch touchdowns for their respective teams. The Browns tight end had eight catches for 139 yards and a touchdown in Cleveland’s Week 5 win over the Ravens and will follow that with another strong performance on Monday. Meanwhile, Gillmore will make the Browns pay for using a strong safety in the box by beating man coverage for a red-zone touchdown. Considering Schaub doesn’t have a particularly strong arm and his receivers have little experience, Gillmore will now become an even bigger part of what the Ravens do through the air.

4. Brent Urban will bat down a pass and collect a tackle in his NFL debut. Not even the Ravens know exactly what to expect from Urban, who has yet to play as much as a preseason game snap in his two years in the NFL. But this is the time for the organization to start to find out about the 2014 fourth-round pick. At 6-foot-7 and 295 pounds, Urban should be an intriguing inside rusher in passing situations and will provide another option at the 5-technique defensive end spot. The Ravens thought enough of Urban to use the designation to return, so it will be interesting to finally watch him play.

5. Josh McCown will outplay Schaub in a listless 20-16 win for Cleveland. Neither of these teams are any good, but you generally side with the team who has the better quarterback and the Ravens likely would have preferred Manziel to start instead of McCown, who threw for over 450 yards in the Week 5 game at M&T Bank Stadium. Unless the Schaub from circa 2010 shows up — not the guy who has struggled mightily since 2013 — the Ravens just aren’t going to be a great bet to beat anyone for the rest of the season. There’s always a very real chance that the Browns self-destruct at a critical point in the game, but the Ravens have been just as guilty of doing that in this nightmare season.

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Future now all that matters for 2015 Ravens

Posted on 28 November 2015 by Luke Jones

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — The Ravens are facing the Cleveland Browns in arguably the most irrelevant nationally-televised game in franchise history.

Perhaps ESPN Monday Night Football broadcaster Mike Tirico said it best last week when he asked analyst Jon Gruden if he loved football and followed that by saying, “We’ll test you and see how much all of you love it out there.”

Not only are these AFC North foes playing out the string with their playoff hopes having already been dashed weeks ago, but the Ravens will be competing in their first-ever contest without any of Ray Lewis, Jonathan Ogden, Ed Reed, Terrell Suggs, or Joe Flacco, who are arguably the five most significant players in their 20 years in Baltimore.

But ask head coach John Harbaugh if he cares about the outside perception of his injury-depleted team and of Monday night’s game between two of the worst teams in the AFC.

“We want to go win a football game. It’s a fight out there,” Harbaugh said on Saturday. “We’re not sitting there saying, ‘Oh, I wonder what everybody thinks about me.’ I’m not worried about [that]. We’re not in seventh grade here. ‘I wonder what they think of me. What are they texting about us? What does Snapchat say?’

“We don’t care what they think. We’re going to go out there and be our best, do our best and try to accomplish everything we can accomplish.”

It’s the right attitude for the Ravens to have as there’s no such thing as tanking the remainder of the season with a slew of players — and, frankly, several coaches — fighting for jobs in 2016 and beyond. But when your current starting offense — aside from four-time Pro Bowl right guard Marshal Yanda — more closely resembles one for a fourth preseason game, there’s no hiding from the truth.

Wins and losses do not matter as it relates to the context of the 2015 season. The end result only affects where the Ravens might pick in next April’s draft as the organization is in desperate need of impact talent. In that way, they’re better off losing as many of their final six games as possible.

And if we’re being honest, the Ravens aren’t equipped to win with what remains of the original 2015 roster — no matter how hard they try. The loss of Flacco was the final straw in that regard.

That’s why it’s important for the organization to get an extended look at younger players the rest of the way. The list is headlined by rookie running back Buck Allen, who will be making his first NFL start after veteran Justin Forsett suffered a season-ending arm injury last week.

“We’re excited to put the ball in Buck’s hands and see what he can do and give our other guys an opportunity to play, and that’s the nature of our league,” offensive coordinator Marc Trestman said. “The next guy has to be ready to help us. It can happen during the course of the game — which it did — and it happens week to week. That’s an expectation that we have that they’ll play well for us.”

Regardless of how many games they win or lose the rest of the way, the Ravens would love to see Allen look the part of a starting running back for the future after selecting him in the fourth round this past spring. Learning more about other little-used players such as safety Terrence Brooks, defensive end Brent Urban, and the forgotten 2013 second-round linebacker Arthur Brown could go a long way in trying to revamp the roster in the offseason in hopes of once again being a playoff contender next season.

Harbaugh won’t say it publicly, but identifying pieces for the future and making decisions about dead weight on the roster must be the top priority. Other than determining whether he can play at a level warranting a return to back up Flacco next season, it’s just not compelling to see how Matt Schaub — or any number of other known commodities — will fare against the Browns in front of a national audience.

It’s an unfamiliar place in which the Ravens find themselves, but all eyes need to be on the future for the final six games of a nightmare season. They’ll show up and play to the best of their ability, but these Ravens are firmly in evaluation mode.

Any other thinking would be shortsighted.

“Everything you do you have to be thinking about the short term and the long term, so we try to do both,” Harbaugh said earlier this week. “Definitely from a coaching perspective, your focus is most certainly on the short term — and your players and your coaches — and getting ready for the next game. But there is an awareness of the long term, for sure.”

The long term is the only intrigue remaining in a lost season that — unfortunately — will be on display for the football world to see on Monday night.

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Osemele, Monroe doubtful to play against Cleveland

Posted on 28 November 2015 by Luke Jones

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Playing in their first game without franchise quarterback Joe Flacco since 2007, the Ravens offensive line will be far less than 100 percent for Matt Schaub against Cleveland on Monday night.

On the final injury report of the week, starting left guard Kelechi Osemele (knee) and starting left tackle Eugene Monroe (shoulder) were both listed as doubtful to play against the Browns. Though estimated as a limited participant on Thursday’s injury report — a day on which the Ravens didn’t practice due to the Thanksgiving holiday — Osemele did not take part in any practices this week after already missing last Sunday’s game against St. Louis.

Monroe hasn’t taken part in practices all week after re-injuring his shoulder in the third quarter of the Rams game. The veteran offensive tackle has already missed four games and parts of three others in an injury-plagued 2015 campaign.

“The guys who haven’t practiced, they have reps; they can play,” head coach John Harbaugh said. “We’ll just get them to Monday night — we have an extra day — and see how they’re doing, see where we’re at, and if they can play, they will. That’s the kind of guys they are, and if they can’t, the next guys are ready to play. It’s a cohesive group. I’m not too worried about the [offensive] line at all. It’s a cohesive group, we have depth, and no matter who is playing is going to play really well.”

Should the pair not be able to play, the Ravens would start James Hurst at left tackle and Ryan Jensen at left guard. Of course, it was Hurst who rolled into Flacco’s left knee to cause a season-ending injury on the final drive of last week’s win over St. Louis.

Baltimore would likely need to add another healthy offensive lineman to the 53-man roster, meaning guards Kaleb Johnson and Robert Myers could be candidates to promote from the practice squad. With Monroe and Osemele injury, the Ravens have just six healthy offensive linemen on the current roster.

They listed No. 3 cornerback Shareece Wright as questionable after a back issue flared up on Friday. He did not take part in Saturday’s practice and would likely be replaced by veteran Kyle Arrington in the nickel package if he cannot play.

A disappointing season continues for wide receiver Marlon Brown, who was listed as doubtful with a back injury after not practicing all week. The third-year wideout played a season-low four offensive snaps in Week 11 and has become a complete afterthought in the Ravens’ passing game after beginning the year as the No. 3 receiver.

Rookie tight end Nick Boyle (foot) is probable to play against Cleveland after missing the first game of his NFL career last week.

Tight end Chase Ford (shoulder) was also listed as doubtful for Monday’s game after failing to participate in Saturday’s practice.

Meanwhile, the Browns officially ruled out Pro Bowl cornerback Joe Haden and wide receivers Taylor Gabriel and Andrew Hawkins with concussions. Veteran defensive end Randy Starks was also declared out with a knee injury.

Below is the final full injury report of the week:

BALTIMORE
DOUBTFUL: WR Marlon Brown (back), TE Chase Ford (shoulder), T Eugene Monroe (shoulder), G Kelechi Osemele (knee)
QUESTIONABLE: CB Shareece Wright (back)
PROBABLE: TE Nick Boyle (foot)

CLEVELAND
OUT: WR Taylor Gabriel (concussion), CB Joe Haden (concussion), WR Andrew Hawkins (concussion), DE Randy Starks (knee)
QUESTIONABLE: G Joel Bitonio (ankle), LB Nate Orchard (groin)
PROBABLE: QB Johnny Manziel (right elbow), QB Josh McCown (ribs), S Donte Whitner (concussion)

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Ravens officially place Forsett on IR, activate Urban

Posted on 27 November 2015 by Luke Jones

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — What was a formality became official on Friday when the Ravens placed running back Justin Forsett on injured reserve and elevated defensive end Brent Urban to the 53-man roster.

Forsett suffered a broken right forearm in Sunday’s win over St. Louis. The injury will sidelined him for the rest of the season, but the 30-year-old is expected to be ready to participate in the Ravens’ offseason workout program.

Head coach John Harbaugh said earlier in the week that Urban would be activated from injured reserve with the designation to return. The second-year defensive lineman suffered a torn biceps in early August, but he began a 21-day practice window on Nov. 9 and needed to be placed on the 53-man roster by Monday.

Returning to the practice field after the Thanksgiving holiday, the Ravens again were without the starting left side of their offensive line as tackle Eugene Monroe (shoulder) and guard Kelechi Osemele (knee) were both absent on Friday. Should the pair not be able to play against Cleveland on Monday night, the Ravens would use James Hurst at left tackle and Ryan Jensen at left guard.

“I thought he did very well. He played fast,” said offensive coordinator Marc Trestman about Jensen in his first NFL start. “I thought it was a really good start for him. And [John] Urschel moving in at center again did a very nice job as well.”

Wide receiver Marlon Brown (back) also remained sidelined with a back injury after he played just four offensive snaps against the Rams on Sunday.

The only new addition to Friday’s injury report was cornerback Shareece Wright, who was a limited participant due to a back issue.

Tight end Nick Boyle (foot) was again practicing fully after missing his first game of the season in Week 11.

The Browns continued to practice without several key players, but starting guard Joel Bitonio (ankle) participated on a limited basis on Friday.

Below is Friday’s full injury report:

BALTIMORE
DID NOT PARTICIPATE: WR Marlon Brown (back), OT Eugene Monroe (shoulder), G Kelechi Osemele (knee)
LIMITED PARTICIPATION: CB Shareece Wright (back)
FULL PARTICIPATION: TE Nick Boyle (foot)

CLEVELAND
DID NOT PARTICIPATE: WR Taylor Gabriel (concussion), CB Joe Haden (concussion), WR Andrew Hawkins (concussion), DE Randy Starks (knee)
LIMITED PARTICIPATION: G Joel Bitonio (ankle)
FULL PARTICIPATION: QB Johnny Manziel (right elbow), QB Josh McCown (ribs), S Donte Whitner (concussion)

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Monroe remains sidelined with shoulder injury

Posted on 26 November 2015 by Luke Jones

Having already missed four full games and left three others due to injuries this season, Ravens left tackle Eugene Monroe is once again dealing with a shoulder issue ahead of Monday night’s game against Cleveland.

Baltimore did not practice on Thanksgiving, but an estimated injury report included the seventh-year lineman as a non-participant after he did not practice on Wednesday. In the third quarter of Sunday’s win over St. Louis, Monroe re-aggravated a shoulder injury suffered last month and is once again ailing in what’s been a disappointing season for the left tackle.

“I think it’s a little bit related,” said head coach John Harbaugh about Monroe’s shoulder on Monday. “It goes back to a college injury that he had, I was told. We’ll just see how that progresses during the course of the week.”

Filling in for Monroe against the Rams, second-year tackle James Hurst fell into Joe Flacco’s left knee on the final drive of the game, causing a season-ending to the franchise quarterback. Pro Football Focus has graded Hurst as the third-worst offensive tackle in the NFL this season.

Left guard Kelechi Osemele was listed as a limited participant on Thursday as he continues to deal with a knee injury that sidelined him for Week 11. It remains unclear whether he will return against the Browns after Ryan Jensen started in Osemele’s place against St. Louis.

“I really don’t have any update on that,” Harbaugh said on Wednesday. “It’s just he’s working through some things physically.”

Wide receiver Marlon Brown (back) missed practice on Wednesday and was also listed as a non-participant on Thursday. He played a season-low four snaps on Sunday.

In positive news, rookie tight end Nick Boyle was listed as a full participant after his left foot was in a walking boot last week, forcing him to miss his first NFL game.

Meanwhile, the Browns are dealing with a number of injuries as four starters missed practice on Thursday. Cornerback Joe Haden and wide receivers Andrew Hawkins and Taylor Gabriel are all recovering from concussions.

Below is the full injury report:

BALTIMORE
OUT: RB Justin Forsett (arm)
DID NOT PARTICIPATE: WR Marlon Brown (back), OT Eugene Monroe (shoulder)
LIMITED PARTICIPATION: G Kelechi Osemele (knee)
FULL PARTICIPATION: TE Nick Boyle (foot)

CLEVELAND
DID NOT PARTICIPATE: G Joel Bitonio (ankle), WR Taylor Gabriel (concussion), CB Joe Haden (concussion), WR Andrew Hawkins (concussion), DE Randy Starks (knee)
FULL PARTICIPATION: QB Johnny Manziel (right elbow), QB Josh McCown (ribs), S Donte Whitner (concussion)

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Ravens defensive end Urban to be elevated to 53-man roster

Posted on 25 November 2015 by Luke Jones

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Now in his third week of practice since returning from a torn biceps, Ravens defensive end Brent Urban will be elevated to the 53-man roster.

Head coach John Harbaugh did not immediately announce an official roster move as Urban would not have to be placed on the active roster until Monday if Baltimore elected to wait. The 2014 fourth-round pick injured his biceps in early August and was placed on injured reserve with the designation to return at the start of the regular season.

“Whether he’ll be active or not and play in the [Cleveland] game, we’ll have to figure that out, but Brent will come up and be on the 53-man,” Harbaugh said. “He’s done a really good job. He’s worked hard; he looks good. It’s going to be exciting to see him in real action at some point in time and see how he does, because he hasn’t played that much. But he’s practiced really well.”

It remains unclear when the move will be made official as running back Justin Forsett has yet to be placed on IR after suffering a broken right forearm in Sunday’s win over St. Louis. The Ravens are currently ailing along the offensive line with left tackle Eugene Monroe (shoulder) and left guard Kelechi Osemele (knee) both injured and missing practice on Wednesday, so they may also need to add an offensive lineman to the roster ahead of Monday’s game with Cleveland.

Urban’s 21-day practice window doesn’t expire until Sunday, meaning he can continue to participate without being added to the active roster until then.

In addition to Osemele and Monroe, wide receiver Marlon Brown was also absent from Wednesday’s practice after playing only four offensive snaps against St. Louis.

Rookie tight end Nick Boyle returned to practice after missing the Rams game with a left foot injury that had him in a walking boot last week.

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