Tag Archive | "crockett gillmore"

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Gillmore to IR, J. Smith has “good chance” to return Sunday

Posted on 21 December 2015 by Luke Jones

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — The Ravens’ injured reserve list grew once again on Monday as tight end Crockett Gillmore will officially miss the rest of the season.

The 2014 third-round pick was in his first season as a starter and had been sidelined with a back injury since Dec. 6. Gillmore also missed two games earlier this year with a calf injury, meaning he will have missed a total of six games in 2015.

Head coach John Harbaugh said last week that Gillmore appeared unlikely to play again this season.

“It’s not working out. His back flared up again,” Harbaugh said last Wednesday. “He also has the [sore] shoulder. It’s not looking good for Crockett right now.”

The Ravens now have 19 players on IR, which doesn’t include tight end Dennis Pitta being on the physically unable to perform list or linebacker Zach Thompson, who was released from IR after receiving an injury settlement earlier this month.

While many fans lamented the free-agent loss of Owen Daniels, pondered the status of Dennis Pitta, and looked forward to the arrival of rookie draft picks Maxx Williams and Nick Boyle in the offseason, Gillmore immediately grabbed hold of the No. 1 tight end job over the summer and caught 33 passes for 412 yards and four touchdowns in 10 games. Used mostly as a blocking tight end as a rookie, the Colorado State product proved he was capable of being a reliable target as a pass-catcher.

Able to break tackles with a massive 6-foot-6, 270-pound frame, Gillmore has drawn comparisons to former New York Giants tight end Mark Bavaro with his impressive physicality.

The loss of Gillmore was expected, but the Ravens hope to have No. 1 cornerback Jimmy Smith back in action against Pittsburgh this coming Sunday. Smith injured his hamstring on the opening series of Sunday’s loss to Kansas City and did not return.

With the postseason-hopeful Steelers sporting the league’s fifth-ranked passing game, the struggling Ravens will need all the help they can get in the secondary.

“Jimmy has a good chance,” Harbaugh said. “I just talked to him and I think he’s got a good chance to play, so we’ll see how it goes this week.”

To take Gillmore’s place on the 53-man roster, the Ravens signed former Cincinnati Bengals outside linebacker Chris Carter. Also a former member of the Steelers, Carter is a five-year NFL veteran who had 10 tackles in 13 games for the Bengals this season before being waived last week.

Carter was selected by Pittsburgh in the fifth round of the 2011 draft out of Fresno State.

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Gillmore could be next Ravens player to go to injured reserve

Posted on 16 December 2015 by Luke Jones

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — One of the few offensive bright spots for the Ravens in 2015 has been the development of Crockett Gillmore, but the second-year tight end could be the latest player to move to injured reserve.

Still dealing with a back issue that surfaced during the Week 13 loss to Miami, Gillmore will not play in Sunday’s game against the Kansas City Chiefs, according to head coach John Harbaugh.

“It’s not working out. His back flared up again,” Harbaugh said. “He’s also got the shoulder [issue]. It’s not looking good for Crockett right now.”

Currently fourth on the team in receptions (33) and third in receiving yards (412), Gillmore missed two games earlier in the season with a calf injury and has been banged up in recent weeks. The Ravens are hurting at the tight end position with Gillmore injured and rookie Nick Boyle being suspended four games for violating the NFL’s performance-enhancing substance policy.

Harbaugh indicated that Gillmore could be placed on IR where 18 players currently reside, and that’s not even counting veteran tight end Dennis Pitta, who has spent the entire season on the reserve physically unable to perform list.

“Potentially. We’ll see,” Harbaugh said. “Maybe he’ll come back tomorrow and I’ll hear, ‘Crockett’s feeling great, and he’ll be out there Sunday.’ I’m just being more honest than I usually am, probably, with an injury. Maybe I’m as frustrated as everybody, I guess, right now.

“I’m sure [Chiefs head coach Andy Reid] is appreciative of that, too.”

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Schaub questionable, Gillmore doubtful for Seattle game

Posted on 11 December 2015 by Luke Jones

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — John Harbaugh wasn’t tipping his hand about his quarterback situation on Friday, but the Ravens coach doesn’t think Seattle is waiting with bated breath over who will be under center, either.

After missing his third straight practice with what’s been listed as a chest injury, Matt Schaub was officially designated as questionable for Sunday’s game. Should Schaub not be able to play, sixth-year quarterback Jimmy Clausen would make his first start for the Ravens after being claimed off waivers from Chicago on Nov. 24.

“I don’t think it matters to the Seahawks. They don’t care,” Harbaugh said. “They’re going to play against our offense. That’s what they’re getting ready for. That’s not going to matter to them. But we really don’t know yet.”

According to Harbaugh, Schaub worked out on his own on Thursday while Clausen continued to receive the starting reps in practice with the newly-signed quarterback Bryn Renner working behind him. After expressing optimism on Wednesday regarding his status, Schaub declined an interview request in the locker room following Friday’s practice.

Offensive coordinator Marc Trestman has constructed a menu of plays for Clausen as he continues to get up to speed with the Baltimore offense in a short period of time. He said he’s feeling more comfortable working with center John Urschel and starting receivers Kamar Aiken and Chris Givens after he did not receive first-team reps in his previous two weeks with Baltimore.

Schaub has prepared to play from a mental standpoint while resting a body that was battered in last Sunday’s loss to Miami.

“There’s no sense in putting him out here in practice where he can get banged and bumped around,” Harbaugh said. “But if he can go, he will. If it’s best for our team for Jimmy to go, then that’s the way we’ll do it there.”

Should Clausen start against the Seahawks, he would come the sixth quarterback in NFL history to start two games against the same opponent in a season while playing for two different teams. The 2010 second-round pick from Notre Dame can only hope the results are better this time around after the Bears were shut out in a 26-0 final in Week 3.

“It’s crazy to think of it,” said Clausen was asked about potentially making history. “I’ve seen crazier things happen to me and to other guys in the league before, so we’ll see what happens.”

Starting tight end Crockett Gillmore (back) and wide receiver Marlon Brown (back) were both listed as doubtful after missing practice all week. Rookie tight end Maxx Williams has been fully cleared from the concussion protocol and is probable to play against the Seahawks. He would be in line to start with Gillmore likely out and fellow rookie Nick Boyle suspended for the rest of the season.

To no surprise, the Ravens officially ruled out left tackle Eugene Monroe, who will miss his third straight game with a shoulder injury and has started just six games all season.

In the second season of a five-year, $37.5 million contract, Monroe has started and finished just three games in 2015. Harbaugh hinted at the possibility of the 28-year-old being placed on season-ending injured reserve, but nothing had been made official as of Friday afternoon.

That resolution could mean the end of Monroe’s time in Baltimore as he simply hasn’t been reliable over the last two seasons at one of the most important positions on the field.

“He’s not going to play this week,” Harbaugh said. “Any other announcements beyond that, season-wise, a decision has been made, but I don’t think it’s really for me to announce it at this time. We’ll let Eugene or Ozzie [Newsome] announce what the plans are with that.”

Cornerback Jimmy Smith was added to the injury report as a limited participant in Friday’s practice because of a knee issue, but he was designated as probable to play. Nose tackle Brandon Williams (shoulder) and right tackle Rick Wagner (ankle) were also probable after missing practice on Wednesday and being limited the rest of the week.

Meanwhile, Seattle officially ruled out defensive end Demarcus Dobbs (concussion) and declared defensive tackle Jordan Hill (toe) as doubtful to play. Running back Marshawn Lynch (abdomen) was already ruled out for Sunday’s game earlier in the week.

The referee for Sunday’s game is Walt Coleman.

According to Weather.com, the forecast for Sunday calls for mostly cloudy skies with temperatures in the high 60s and winds up to four miles per hour.

Below is the final injury report of the week:

BALTIMORE
OUT: OT Eugene Monroe (shoulder)
DOUBTFUL: WR Marlon Brown (back), TE Crockett Gillmore (back)
QUESTIONABLE: QB Matt Schaub (chest)
PROBABLE: DE Chris Canty (non-injury), LB Elvis Dumervil (non-injury), LB Daryl Smith (non-injury), CB Jimmy Smith (knee), OT Rick Wagner (ankle), DT Brandon Williams (shoulder), TE Maxx Williams (concussion)

SEATTLE
OUT: DE Demarcus Dobbs (concussion), RB Marshawn Lynch (abdomen)
DOUBTFUL: DT Jordan Hill (toe)
PROBABLE: DE Cliff Avril (non-injury), DE Michael Bennett (non-injury)

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Ravens tight end Boyle suspended for rest of 2015 season

Posted on 07 December 2015 by Luke Jones

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — A disappointing first season for the 2015 Ravens draft class took another hit on Monday with fifth-round tight end Nick Boyle being suspended for the remainder of the season.

Boyle was banned four games without pay for violating the NFL’s policy on performance-enhancing substances, meaning his rookie campaign comes to an end after he made 18 catches for 153 yards in 11 games. Known as more of a blocking tight end coming out of the University of Delaware, the 6-foot-4, 260-pound Boyle showed impressive ability as a receiver and even outplayed second-round tight end Maxx Williams for large stretches of their rookie season.

Head coach John Harbaugh was quick to point out that Boyle was not suspended for using a serious performance-enhancing drug like steroids.

“It’s nothing like that. He can confirm what it was,” Harbaugh said. “It’s pretty common — it’s what you read about all the time with guys. I don’t think he realized that it was something he shouldn’t be doing. Or, if he did, he just didn’t think it through. I talked to him and he was just telling me how stupid it was and I agreed — it was pretty dumb. Hopefully, he’ll grow and learn from that.”

Boyle’s suspension leaves the Ravens in a difficult spot at tight end as Williams missed Sunday’s game in Miami with a concussion and second-year starter Crockett Gillmore left the game with a back injury and didn’t return. Baltimore could elect to promote veteran tight end Konrad Reuland from the practice squad to take Boyle’s place on the 53-man roster.

Harbaugh expressed optimism regarding the availability of Williams and Gillmore for Sunday’s meeting with the surging Seattle Seahawks.

“Maxx and Crockett both have a really good chance to play,” said Harbaugh, who added that the Ravens would explore making another addition at the position. “We’ll see how that goes. Maxx tells me he’s playing. He’s going through the concussion protocol, so that’s always going to be something that’s hard to determine, but he’s a guy who’s pretty certain he’s going to play.

“Crockett’s the same way. Crockett’s had a myriad of nicks and bruises and contusions and all those kinds of things like that, and this is another one. It will just be day to day. He will not have to practice to play, for sure. With our situation at tight end, if he can play, he’s going to be out there playing. That’s just the kind of guy he is.”

With so many members of the 2015 draft class failing to contribute in meaningful ways this season, Boyle had been one of the lone highlights. First-round receiver Breshad Perriman suffered an eventual season-ending knee injury on the first day of training camp, Williams has been slow to make a big impact, and third-round defensive tackle Carl Davis has faded after a strong start to his rookie season.

Other than fourth-round running back Buck Allen in recent weeks, Boyle has provided the biggest return among Baltimore’s rookies.

“The shame of it is here’s a guy who’s playing so well,” Harbaugh said. “He’s one of the gems of the draft class in terms of a fifth-round pick playing the way he does. He plays hard. He’s been good in the pass game, good in the run game, smart, tough. He’s got a tremendous future. I told him that today, ‘It’s just a shame you’re going to miss four games here. You’re playing like a veteran out there.’

“He’ll learn from it, he’s smart, and we’ll move forward.”

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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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Zuttah absent, Monroe returns to practice on Wednesday

Posted on 11 November 2015 by Luke Jones

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Conducting their first full practice since returning from their bye, the Ravens welcomed back a starting member of their offensive line while being without another.

Left tackle Eugene Monroe (shoulder) was a full participant in Wednesday’s workout, but center Jeremy Zuttah continues to recover from a left shoulder injury suffered in the Week 8 win over San Diego. Monroe had missed the Nov. 1 game against the Chargers, but head coach John Harbaugh had previously expressed optimism that he would return after the bye week.

The Ravens appear optimistic about Zuttah’s chances to be ready for Sunday’s game against Jacksonville.

“We’re anticipating — we’re hoping — that Jeremy will be out later in the week to practice,” Harbaugh said prior to Wednesday’s workout, “but he won’t be out [on the field] today.”

Rookie cornerback Tray Walker (concussion) participated fully in Wednesday’s practice after missing the San Diego game. Though still on injured reserve with the designation to return, defensive end Brent Urban (biceps) also took practiced with his 21-day participation window having opened on Monday.

Wide receiver Breshad Perriman (knee) remains sidelined from practice.

Wednesday also brought the practice debut of former Towson running back Terrance West, who was signed to Baltimore’s practice squad a day earlier. Jettisoned by both Cleveland and Tennessee in the last two months, the Northwestern High grad hopes a return home will be the key to getting his once-promising NFL career back on track.

Harbaugh said he spoke with wide receiver Steve Smith following his successful Achilles tendon surgery in Charlotte, N.C. on Monday.

“He’s in great spirits,” Harbaugh said. “He’s looking forward to the rehab, and he was pretty fired up about the way [the surgery] went.”

Meanwhile, the Jaguars were without two starters during their Wednesday workout as standout second-year receiver Allen Hurns (foot/thigh) and outside linebacker Dan Skuta (groin) were non-participants.

Below is Wednesday’s full injury report:

BALTIMORE
DID NOT PARTICIPATE: WR Breshad Perriman (knee), C Jeremy Zuttah (shoulder)
LIMITED PARTICIPATION: TE Crockett Gillmore (shoulder)
FULL PARTICIPATION: T Eugene Monroe (shoulder), CB Tray Walker (concussion)

JACKSONVILLE
DID NOT PARTICIPATE: DT Michael Bennett (hamstring), DE Chris Clemons (non-injury), WR Allen Hurns (foot/thigh), LB Dan Skuta (groin)
LIMITED PARTICIPATION: WR Marqise Lee (hamstring), S James Sample (shoulder)
FULL PARTICIPATION: G Zane Beadles (knee), RB Toby Gerhart (groin), WR Rashad Greene (thumb), TE Julius Thomas (abdomen)

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Pitta, Ravens make difficult — and right — decision in end

Posted on 11 November 2015 by Luke Jones

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Dennis Pitta desperately wanted to return to the football field this season.

Still loving the game and feeling a sense of obligation to the Ravens after signing a long-term contract last year, the 30-year-old tight end rehabbed rigorously to return from the second serious hip injury suffered in a 14-month period. But the skilled route-runner known for finding open windows in coverage couldn’t separate from the memory of him collapsing to the ground without being touched after making a simple catch in Cleveland on Sept. 21, 2014.

As difficult as the decision was, he and the Ravens made the right one in the end as he will remain on the reserve physically unable to perform list for the rest of the season.

“Obviously, I’m extremely disappointed that I won’t be out there this season,” Pitta said. “It’s something that I’ve been working hard to be able to do. I’ll continue to rehab and do everything I can to make sure I’m healthy and put myself in the best position that I can.”

His disappointment is understandable after playing in just seven games since dislocating and fracturing his right hip the first time in practice on July 27, 2013. Pitta returned to play in the final four games of that season, catching 20 passes for 169 yards and a touchdown.

The healthy return prompted general manager Ozzie Newsome to sign the 2010 fourth-round pick to a five-year, $32 million contract that included $16 million guaranteed. But Pitta injured his hip a second time in Week 3 of the 2014 season and hasn’t played since.

Returning to practice last month after beginning the season on the PUP list, the Brigham Young product acknowledged hearing conflicting opinions from those close to him — including his concerned wife, Mataya —  about whether he should resume his playing career. According to head coach John Harbaugh and teammates, Pitta looked like his old self making plays against the Baltimore defense in practices, but the stability of a twice-repaired hip wouldn’t allow his safe return at this time.

“It didn’t quite respond the way we had hoped,” said Pitta, who added that there were things on and off the field that weren’t “quite right” with the hip. “Sitting down with doctors over the last couple of days, we decided that it was certainly too much of a risk at this time and too unsafe to take the field. That was a decision that we made collectively.

“At the end of the day, we can’t ignore what sound medical science has to say.”

Pitta said Wednesday that he still hopes to continue his career and isn’t yet ready to announce his retirement, but it’s difficult envisioning what would change doctors’ minds next season after he’s already spent 14 months rehabbing from the second injury. Whether the Ravens will keep Pitta on the roster to find out is another story as his guaranteed $5 million salary for 2015 made it a no-brainer for both sides to explore his potential return this season.

Next year, his $5 million salary is not guaranteed and Pitta is scheduled to carry a $7.2 million salary cap figure. Cutting him in the offseason — possibly with a post-June 1 designation — would save cap space and not leave the Ravens on the hook for his 2016 salary in the event of another injury.

Having drafted two rookie tight ends — Maxx Williams and Nick Boyle — this spring after selecting Crockett Gillmore last year, the the organization prepared this offseason as though Pitta would not be able to return to the field.

Even so, the layers of frustration are apparent for both Pitta and the Ravens in the midst of a 2-6 season.

“It’s been kind of a roller-coaster ride,” said Harbaugh, recalling the memories of both injuries. “You have hopes. I was hoping that he’d be able to play. To see him come out here and perform well [in practices], that part of it was a plus. But the other thing that overrides all of that is the fact that you want what’s best for the player. His safety and going forward as far as his quality of life overrides all of it.”

In parts of five seasons in Baltimore, Pitta has caught 138 passes for 1,369 yards and 11 touchdowns. The 6-foot-4, 245-pound tight end added three more touchdown catches in the 2012 postseason run that culminated with a win in Super Bowl XLVII in New Orleans, a game in which he caught four passes for 26 yards and a 1-yard touchdown.

No one will ever forget Jacoby Jones’ 70-yard touchdown catch in the divisional-round game in Denver that January, but that game-tying play still may not have mattered if not for Pitta’s catch on third-and-13 from the Ravens’ own 3 in the first overtime period. Baltimore didn’t score on that drive, but the 24-yard reception flipped field position and allowed Sam Koch to eventually punt the ball deep into Denver territory instead of being forced to kick from deep in his own end zone and potentially set the Broncos offense up on a short field.

That critical conversion is easily one of the most underrated plays in franchise history and likely allowed the run to an eventual championship to continue. The spectacular pitch and catch epitomized quarterback Joe Flacco’s trust in his close friend and teammate on the field.

“It’s great to have a guy that you know you can go to and you know what he’s going to do,” Flacco said. “He’s going to be in the right spot, he’s going to win, and he’s going to catch the ball at the end of the day. To have a guy like that on the field with you, it makes your job a little bit easier. He was definitely a big part of that.”

Pitta said Wednesday that he doesn’t want his final play in the NFL to be the one in Cleveland that resulted in him being carted off the field. The Ravens didn’t want that, either.

But both made the right decision not to take the risk of that happening again.

Even if it marks the end of Pitta’s career with the Ravens.

“I’ll continue to work,” Pitta said, “and hopefully that won’t be the end of the story.”

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Ravens-Chargers: Five predictions for Sunday

Posted on 31 October 2015 by Luke Jones

Both the Ravens and the San Diego Chargers entered 2015 with high expectations, making their records halfway through the season among the biggest surprises in the NFL.

Now, these struggling teams meet with their playoff hopes all but gone, but the 1-6 Ravens aim for a win to feel good about as they enter next week’s bye. Meanwhile, the Chargers sport the top-ranked passing game in the NFL, but they’ve been a difficult team to figure out after losing by just seven to undefeated Green Bay at Lambeau Field two weeks ago and then falling behind 30-3 to Oakland in the first half of a home loss last Sunday.

With some time off and a chance to escape a miserable season looming, it remains to be seen how focused the Ravens will be as they’ve lost two of their last three games going into their bye week under John Harbaugh.

It’s time to go on the record as Baltimore and San Diego meet for the second consecutive year at M&T Bank Stadium. The teams have split 10 all-time meetings in the regular season with the Chargers winning two of the last three. The Ravens are 2-1 against San Diego in games played in Baltimore.

Here’s what to expect as Baltimore tries to win its first game in three tries against an AFC West opponent this season …

1. The Ravens defense will finally force a turnover after a four-game drought. It’s been more than a month since Elvis Dumervil stripped Andy Dalton of the football and C.J. Mosley picked up the fumble and ran for a touchdown in the Week 3 loss to Cincinnati, which was the last takeaway for Baltimore. Sporting just four takeaways in their first seven games, the Ravens are on pace to shatter the franchise-worst mark of 22 set in 1996 and tied last season. With 18 periods of football having passed without a Ravens takeaway, I won’t bother with specifics, but the defense will come away with one against a San Diego offense that will be throwing a lot and has had its own issues protecting the ball.

2. Chargers receiver Keenan Allen will catch 12 passes for over 130 yards and a touchdown. The 6-foot-2 wideout is off to an incredible start with a whopping 62 catches for 690 yards and three touchdowns in seven games, and there’s not a single Ravens cornerback — including Jimmy Smith — playing with the confidence to slow Allen down right now. With the Baltimore secondary so concerned with giving up the big play, Allen will feast in the short-to-intermediate portion of the field while the Ravens give him plenty of cushion. In the Chargers’ 34-33 win over the Ravens last season, Allen caught 11 passes for 121 yards and two touchdowns and he will post similar numbers on Sunday.

3. Joe Flacco will throw two touchdowns to tight ends against a banged-up San Diego defense. With Pro Bowl safety Eric Weddle and starting inside linebacker Manti Te’o both out with injuries, Flacco should find room in the middle of the field for Crockett Gillmore and his two rookie tight ends to move the chains and make plays. The Chargers are allowing a league-worst 5.3 yards per carry and will stack the box trying to stop Justin Forsett, which should open the seam for Flacco to find Gillmore for a few chunk plays. With emerging second-year cornerback Jason Verrett matched against Steve Smith, the Ravens will need their tight ends to make plays in the middle of the field and they will.

4. Philip Rivers will become the second quarterback to throw for over 400 yards at M&T Bank Stadium this season. Considering journeyman Josh McCown passed for more than 450 yards against the Ravens in their last home game, there’s little reason to think a struggling defense will slow the NFL’s leading passer after Rivers nearly threw for 400 yards in last year’s win over Baltimore. With the Ravens only able to generate pressure using the blitz, Rivers will get rid of the ball quickly against a secondary reluctant to play press coverage. This will result in a long day for a Dean Pees defense that ranks dead last in the NFL in third-down defense.

5. Baltimore will not be able to overcome a short week and the league’s top-ranked passing game in a 30-24 loss. At first blush, I was inclined to pick the home team against a 2-5 opponent that was embarrassed at home by the Raiders a week ago, but coming off a short week is a bigger challenge than many think with the Ravens sporting a 3-5 record in games immediately following a Monday road game under John Harbaugh. Until the Ravens prove otherwise, I just can’t see them beating one of the top quarterbacks in the league when their own offense is so mediocre. We haven’t seen the Ravens make enough big plays on either side of the ball, and that will be the difference again in another close loss to a team that just isn’t a great matchup for them, especially with less time to prepare.

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Ravens-49ers: Inactives and pre-game notes

Posted on 18 October 2015 by Luke Jones

With their pride already wounded after a 1-4 start to 2015, the Ravens’ bodies may feel even worse as five players were officially ruled out or doubtful and five starters were listed as questionable prior to their Week 6 game against the San Francisco 49ers.

Baltimore received good news on Sunday afternoon, however, with wide receiver Steve Smith (back), running back Justin Forsett (ankle), outside linebacker Elvis Dumervil (groin), guard Marshal Yanda (ankle), and tight end Crockett Gillmore (calf) all being listed as active. How much each will be able to play remains to be seen as Forsett and Dumervil only returned to practice on Friday while Smith is returning to live-game action a little over two weeks after suffering multiple microfractures in his lower back.

Even with Forsett active, rookie Buck Allen would still figure to receive an increased workload, especially in wake of second-year running back Lorenzo Taliaferro being placed on injured reserve earlier in the week. Rookie free agent Terrence Magee was promoted from the practice squad on Saturday and will serve as the No. 3 running back while the recently-claimed Raheem Mostert was deactivated for Sunday’s game.

With five of their seven deactivated players dealing with injuries — including starting cornerback Lardarius Webb — the Ravens may have pushed the issue a little more with several of their banged-up starters who are less than 100 percent. Newly-signed cornerback Shareece Wright could see extensive playing time with Webb absent, Will Davis gone for the season, and nickel back Terrence Brooks (thumb) also out for Sunday’s game.

Meanwhile, the 49ers officially deactivated veteran running back Reggie Bush with a calf injury, but No. 1 option Carlos Hyde (foot) was active for Sunday’s game. As expected, tight end Vernon Davis (knee) was also active and will make his return to the field after a two-game absence.

John Parry will be the referee for Sunday’s game at Levi’s Stadium.

The Ravens will be wearing white jerseys and white pants while San Francisco dons its red tops with gold pants.

According to Weather.com, the forecast for San Clara, Calif. calls for mostly cloudy skies and temperatures in the high 60s with winds up to 14 miles per hour on Sunday afternoon.

Sunday marks the fifth regular-season meeting between the Ravens and the 49ers with Baltimore owning the 3-1 edge, which, of course, does not include the 34-31 victory in Super Bowl XLVII. The Ravens are also seeking their seventh straight win against NFC opponents.

Below are Sunday’s inactives:

BALTIMORE
WR Darren Waller
WR Breshad Perriman
CB Lardarius Webb
S Terrence Brooks
RB Raheem Mostert
C Ryan Jensen
DL Chris Canty

SAN FRANCISCO
WR Bruce Ellington
RB Reggie Bush
LB Gerald Hodges
G Brandon Thomas
OL Ian Silberman
NT Mike Purcell
LB Corey Lemonier

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Ravens list five starters as questionable for Sunday

Posted on 16 October 2015 by Luke Jones

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Working out for the final time before traveling to California for Sunday’s meeting with the San Francisco 49ers, the Ravens saw three Pro Bowl players return to practice before listing five total starters as questionable.

Running back Justin Forsett (ankle), right guard Marshal Yanda (ankle), and outside linebacker Elvis Dumervil (groin) were all listed as questionable after returning to practice on Friday. Forsett and Dumervil left Sunday’s loss to Cleveland with their respective ailments while Yanda has appeared on the injury report with an ankle issue for the last two weeks.

Head coach John Harbaugh suggested that Forsett and Dumervil would be game-time decisions against the 49ers.

“I feel good. I feel a lot better than I did earlier in the week,” Forsett said. “It’s been progressing every day. As far as Sunday, it’s still a work in progress. Hopefully, we get some more progress in the ankle coming up before that day.

Wide receiver Steve Smith (back) and tight end Crockett Gillmore (calf) were listed as questionable after practicing for the third consecutive day, which would make one think the two are likely return to action in some form against the 49ers. However, Smith did not present an optimistic outlook regarding his Week 6 status a little over two weeks after suffering multiple microfractures in his back.

“To be honest, my expectancy of playing is very low,” Smith said after Friday’s practice. “I went out there Wednesday, it was alright. Thursday, tried to open up a little bit [and] couldn’t open up too much. I didn’t really go too much today, so I’m just trying to be smart. I’m not really sure what I’m really going to do.

“How I feel today, it doesn’t look like I can go as much as I would like to. I’m just trying to look at the long-term health.”

Five players were missing from Friday’s practice as cornerback Lardarius Webb (hamstring), safety Terrence Brooks (thumb), wide receivers Darren Waller (concussion) and Breshad Perriman (knee), and defensive end Chris Canty (calf) were absent. Webb was listed as doubtful while the other four were officially ruled out for Sunday’s game.

Of course, the Ravens are not only trying to fix their 25th-ranked pass defense, but they will be facing former teammates and talented 49ers receivers Anquan Boldin and Torrey Smith. Familiarity helps in preparing to match up, but that doesn’t make the challenge much easier for a group that’s struggled to stop anybody this season.

“You go up against Anquan, you’re in for a battle,” defensive coordinator Dean Pees said. “He’s going to be physical. He’s going to be tough. He’s going to play hard. And if that ball is anywhere in his vicinity, he’s going to catch it. I still remember all those catches on the sideline at the Super Bowl that he probably shouldn’t have made.

“And Torrey can take the top off of anybody’s defense. We know what those guys are. We’re looking forward to it.”

John Parry will be the referee for Sunday’s game at Levi’s Stadium.

According to Weather.com, the forecast calls for mostly sunny skies and temperatures in the low 70s with winds 10 to 20 miles per hour in Santa Clara, Calif. on Sunday afternoon.

Below is the final injury report of the week:

BALTIMORE
OUT: S Terrence Brooks (thumb), DE Chris Canty (calf), WR Breshad Perriman (knee), WR Darren Waller (concussion)
DOUBTFUL: CB Lardarius Webb (thigh)
QUESTIONABLE: LB Elvis Dumervil (thigh), RB Justin Forsett (ankle), TE Crockett Gillmore (calf), WR Chris Givens (ankle), WR Steve Smith (back), G Marshal Yanda (ankle)
PROBABLE: LB Daryl Smith (non-injury)

SAN FRANCISCO
DOUBTFUL: RB Reggie Bush (calf)
QUESTIONABLE: LB Ahmad Brooks (shoulder), TE Vernon Davis (knee), WR Bruce Ellington (calf), LB Eli Harold (knee), RB Carlos Hyde (foot), G Brandon Thomas (ankle)
PROBABLE: G Alex Boone (shoulder), LB Navarro Bowman (NIR), TE Vance McDonald (chest), OT Joe Staley (knee)

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