Tag Archive | "Ed Dickson"

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McClain likely to start season on reserve PUP list

Posted on 20 August 2013 by Luke Jones

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OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Injured linebacker Jameel McClain is still an active member of the Ravens, working out on a daily basis, attending meetings, and even jumping out of the weight room to startle a few oblivious reporters during Tuesday’s practice at the team’s facility.

When the 28-year-old returns to action, however, remains a mystery after he suffered a spinal cord contusion more than nine months ago in a game against the Washington Redskins. McClain was placed on the physically unable to perform list at the start of training camp and will likely begin the regular season with that designation, according to head coach John Harbaugh.

McClain has undergone periodic magnetic resonance imaging to determine how well his spinal cord is healing, but he hasn’t been cleared for contact despite optimism throughout the offseason that he would be ready to play this season. A limited participant during spring organized team activities, McClain is now facing a minimum of a six-game absence should he be placed on the reserve PUP list, which allows the Ravens to remove him from the 53-man roster but prohibits him from returning until after the first six weeks of the regular season.

“If we go with the PUP [designation], which I think we will at this point, [we’ll] probably get another MRI before we make that decision,” Harbaugh said. “If we do that, then we’ll just do it again when that time comes, and we’ll see where he is.”

In McClain’s absence, the Ravens have turned to veteran newcomer Daryl Smith to man the “Mike” inside linebacker position previously held by future Hall of Famer Ray Lewis. The Ravens recently renegotiated McClain’s current contract to reduce his 2013 base salary from $3 million to $1.5 million in what didn’t appear to be an encouraging sign for his availability this season.

Injured on Dec. 9 and placed on season-ending injured reserve, McClain was forced to watch from the sideline as the Ravens won Super Boxl XLVII in New Orleans. He made 44 starts over the last three seasons, most of those next to Lewis while serving as the defense’s weakside inside linebacker.

“There are a lot of people that probably think he could play,” Harbaugh said. “I think we’ve had this conversation now with [McClain] and his family, and we all feel like, ‘Let’s be unanimous on this.’ Jameel will continue to remain a part of us through the PUP. He’s in every meeting, [and] he’s training young guys. He’s staying in phenomenal shape.”

Under the rules of the reserve PUP list, a player has a three-week window to begin practicing at the conclusion of the first six weeks. From the point that the player returns to practice, he then has an additional 21-day window before the team must return him to the 53-man roster or place him on IR for the remainder of the season. If the player is unable to return to practice at the conclusion of the first three-week window, he must be placed on IR or released.

Harbaugh made it clear on Tuesday that the Ravens haven’t ruled out McClain from returning this season despite the growing outside pessimism about his status for the 2013 season and even beyond.

“We’ll just keep taking the MRIs, and when the MRI is clear, then he’ll go,” Harbaugh said. “The MRI will be clear. There’s no question that at some point in time it will be clear. It’s just impossible to tell the time frame.”

Attendance steady

Counting down to the all-important third preseason game of the summer, the Ravens were once again looking promising from a health standpoint as tight end Ed Dickson, linebacker Elvis Dumervil, and defensive end Marcus Spears were all practicing for the second straight day.

Dickson worked on a limited basis Monday after being sidelined for two weeks with a slight hamstring tear, but he is not expected to play in Thursday’s game against the Carolina Panthers. However, optimism is growing that he’ll be available for the regular-season opener against Denver on Sept. 5.

“It’s really taken a turn for the better, probably in the last five days,” Harbaugh said. “He’s worked really, extremely hard, so we’re happy to see that and we’ll have to see. You never know. But we’ll have to see where it goes in the next week or so and see where we’re at.”

Dumervil and Spears figure to have a good chance of playing in what’s viewed as the final dress rehearsal for the starting units on Thursday before the start of the regular season.

There were no other changes to the attendance list as wide receiver Deonte Thompson (foot), linebackers Adrian Hamilton (wrist) and McClain (neck), offensive lineman Ryan Jensen (foot), tight end Dennis Pitta (hip), and defensive end Kapron Lewis-Moore (knee) were all absent from the portion of practice open to the media. Tuesday marked the first time this summer where the Ravens used a regular-season format for media viewing of practice, only opening the first 30 minutes of the afternoon workout to reporters.

Harbaugh said Sunday that cornerback Lardarius Webb (knee) and right guard Marshal Yanda (shoulder) likely have a good chance to receive some reps against Carolina, but a final decision is not expected to be made until the day before the game.

Extensive time for starters Thursday night

Harbaugh confirmed that the Ravens plan to play most starters for at least the first half of Thursday’s game against Carolina, following a similar strategy to what they’ve previously done in his tenure.

“It’s individualized,” Harbaugh said. “There will be starters that will probably play into the second half, and there will be starters that probably won’t make it to the end of the half.”

Based on how the final preseason game has been handled in recent seasons, the third preseason will mark the final live-game action of the summer for most starters.

 

 

 

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Dickson, four others return to practice on Monday

Posted on 19 August 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 the third preseason game only a few days away, the Ravens enjoyed their best attendance for practice in quite some time with tight end Ed Dickson highlighting a list of returning players.

Outside linebacker Elvis Dumervil (groin), defensive end Marcus Spears (hamstring), wide receiver Torrey Smith, and running back Anthony Allen also returned to the practice field as the Ravens worked in helmets, shells, and shorts on Monday afternoon. Dumervil had missed the last two practices after suffering a minor groin injury in the preseason game against Atlanta while Spears had been sidelined since the preseason opener on Aug. 8. According to coach John Harbaugh, Smith was simply given a day of rest on Sunday while Allen was dealing with “a little nick” as both players only sat out one practice.

The best news of the day had to be the return of Dickson, however, as he did some light running and worked on lateral movement while catching some passes in the early portion of practice. While his hamstring is still less than 100 percent, his ability to practice on a limited basis more than two weeks ahead of the Ravens’ regular-season opener in Denver is a promising sign for his availability in Week 1.

“I’m going to test the waters. I don’t want to re-aggravate it, so I’m just going to [listen to] what the coaches say,” Dickson said. “I feel like I’m ready to get out there and do the things I do. Practice is as hard as a game out here. I feel like if I get to practice fully, I feel like I’m good to go.”

Dickson injured his hamstring on Aug. 4 when the Ravens held their first public practice of the summer at the Naval Academy in Annapolis. He was noncommittal once again when asked whether he would be available for Week 1, but the fourth-year tight end acknowledged an increased level of optimism after making it back to the practice field with plenty of time remaining to work his way back to full strength.

“It’s encouraging just to not to be in the treatment center watching [practice] out the window,” Dickson said. “I feel good.”

Only six players were sidelined for Monday’s workout with outside linebacker Adrian Hamilton (wrist) being the only new addition to the list of absentees. Other players not working included wide receiver Deonte Thompson (foot), offensive lineman Ryan Jensen (foot), linebacker Jameel McClain (neck), defensive end Kapron Lewis-Moore (knee), and tight end Dennis Pitta.

The Ravens released veteran cornerback Chris Johnson earlier in the day on Monday and have yet to fill his spot on the 90-man roster. General manager Ozzie Newsome and Harbaugh must trim the roster from 90 to 75 players on Aug. 27 and make final cuts on Aug. 31.

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Old friend Stokley officially rejoins Ravens at stadium practice Sunday

Posted on 11 August 2013 by Luke Jones

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BALTIMORE — The man who caught the first touchdown in Ravens Super Bowl history officially reunited with the team who drafted him as wide receiver Brandon Stokley was present for Sunday’s practice at M&T Bank Stadium.

The 37-year-old receiver who played in Baltimore from 1999 through 2002 watched practice but didn’t participate as the Ravens held their second public practice of the summer. Earlier in the day, the Ravens officially announced a one-year contract with Stokley and waived wide receiver Marcus Rivers to create room on their 90-man preseason roster.

With the foot injury to wide receiver Deonte Thompson and the questions surrounding the wide receiver position, Stokley’s addition became a no-brainer in the Ravens’ minds.

“It gives us experience,” coach John Harbaugh said. “It gives us a guy who can catch balls in the slot and has done that over a number of years. He’s done a great job of that. It’s an asset for us. More than anything, it’s a need potentially in a certain area, but we still have guys who are in the process of stepping up there.”

Stokley had a solid season with former Indianapolis teammate Peyton Manning in Denver last year, catching 45 passes for 544 yards and five touchdowns.

For the veteran receiver, Sunday felt like a homecoming as Stokley recalled arriving in Baltimore 14 years earlier as a fresh-faced rookie taken in the fourth round of the 1999 draft out of Louisiana-Lafayette. It only took 384 catches, 5,224 yards, and 39 touchdowns for the 15th-year veteran to come full circle.

“This is where I started. A lot of old, good memories,” said Stokley, who believes he can provide the Ravens with a target who can help move the chains and provide another option inside the red zone. “It’s just a great organization, great fans, just all around a great place. I’m just trying to come in here and work hard, do my best, and hopefully help out in any way that I can.”

Of course, Stokley’s first run with the Ravens didn’t include the opportunity to play with a franchise signal-caller like Joe Flacco as Stokley played with the likes of Tony Banks, Trent Dilfer, Chris Redman, and Elvis Grbac. In four seasons with Baltimore, he caught just 60 passes before joining Indianapolis where he caught 139 passes while playing with Peyton Manning over the next four seasons.

Stokley was quite complimentary of Flacco after being reminded by reporters that he was on the opposing sideline in Denver when the Baltimore quarterback connected with Jacoby Jones on the 70-yard touchdown to force overtime in the divisional-round thriller against the Broncos.

“He’s unbelievable,” Stokley said. “You saw what he did last year in the playoffs. That run that they went on was awesome. It takes a special quarterback to do that.”

Thompson out, Pierce possible for Atlanta game Thursday night

Harbaugh confirmed that Thompson’s left foot sprain wasn’t something that will keep him sidelined for an extended period of time but ruled out the second-year receiver for Thursday’s game against the Atlanta Falcons.

Thompson injured the foot making a 5-yard catch in the second quarter of the preseason opener against Tampa Bay and didn’t return. He was seen wearing a walking boot following the game and hasn’t practiced since. It appears, however, he will be ready to play in the all-important third preseason game in less than two weeks.

“Deonte sprained his foot. It’s not serious,” Harbaugh said. “We’re going to hold him out of this game and re-evaluate him on Friday [to] see where he’s at. I would expect him back for the Carolina game.”

The Baltimore coach also confirmed reports that the injury to running back Bernard Pierce’s knee wasn’t serious, labeling the injury as a bruise. The second-year back tweaked his knee on a 20-yard touchdown early in the second quarter of Thursday’ game and didn’t return.

Despite not practicing over the last two days, Pierce still has a chance to play against the Falcons, according to Harbaugh.

Dickson on mend, no timetable for return

Sunday marked a week since Ed Dickson suffered a slightly-torn hamstring tear and while he’s not ready to announce a date for his return, the fourth-year tight end continues to make progress in rehabbing the injury.

“Every little thing I can do, I’m taking it day by day,” Dickson said. “This type of injury with a muscle, you’ve got to take it day by day. I’m doing all the little things, staying conditioned, and trying to catch as many balls as I can.”

Dickson has taken some consolation in knowing he can take his time recovering fully after the recent veteran additions of Visanthe Shiancoe and Dallas Clark, but the 2010 third-round pick said it’s been frustrating being sidelined after the season-ending loss of Dennis Pitta on July 27.

Asked whether he was confident that he’d be ready to go for the start of the regular season as Harbaugh has previously said, Dickson wouldn’t speak in specific terms, only expressing concern that he doesn’t want the injury to linger into the regular season.

“I can’t make any predictions,” said Dickson about his availability for the season opener on Sept. 5, “but I’m working hard to do that. I’m trying my hardest to get back out there. It kills me. I’m hard on myself.”

Absences growing at practice

The Ravens were without 13 players for Sunday’s stadium practice as linebacker Courtney Upshaw was a new absence to add to the list.

Joining him as non-participants were wide receivers Thompson (foot) and Marlon Brown, Pierce (knee), tight ends Dickson (hamstring) and Pitta (hip), offensive linemen Marshal Yanda (shoulder) and Ryan Jensen (foot), cornerback Chris Johnson (undisclosed), linebackers Bryan Hall (hamstring) and Jameel McClain (neck), and defensive linemen Marcus Spears (undisclosed) and Kapron Lewis-Moore (knee).

Johnson had practiced on Saturday before once again being sidelined for Sunday’s workout.

Odds & ends

Kicker Justin Tucker continued his outstanding training camp as he connected on field goals from 20, 39, 48, 35, 52, and 58 yards. He then proceeded to miss attempts from 64 and 67 yards even though each kick had more than enough distance. The NFL record for the longest field goal is 63 yards. … A day after being chastised for lackadaisical play by Harbaugh, rookie wide receiver Aaron Mellette turned in his strongest practice of the summer, making consecutive difficult catches on a slant pattern and sideline route during 7-on-7 drills and topping those receptions with an outstanding leaping catch over the middle for a long gain while working with the second-team offense a few minutes later. … With Thompson sidelined, the Ravens primarily used Torrey Smith, Jacoby Jones, and Tandon Doss in their three-wide sets, but David Reed also received some reps with the first-team offense. Harbaugh said after Sunday’s practice that they’re going to take a closer look at Doss in the slot after using him in the slot and on the outside in the first couple weeks of practice. … As he did in his first tour of duty with the Ravens, Stokley will wear No. 80 and plans to practice on Monday. … The Ravens announced approximately 25,000 fans were in attendance for Sunday’s open and free practice at M&T Bank Stadium.

 

 

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Ravens tight end Dickson out “week or so” with slight hamstring tear

Posted on 05 August 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. — Already reeling from the season-ending injury to starting tight end Dennis Pitta less than two weeks ago, the Ravens received additional concerning news at the position on Monday.

After leaving Sunday’s practice with a hamstring strain in Annapolis on Sunday, tight end Ed Dickson underwent an MRI and will be sidelined for at least Thursday’s preseason opener against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and potentially longer. However, coach John Harbaugh expressed confidence that Dickson will be ready to return to the practice field well before the regular-season opener against the Denver Broncos on Sept. 5.

“There’s a little tear in there, so we’re going to hold him back for a week or so and we’ll see where we’re at,” Harbaugh said. “We’re going to try to get him healthy. It’s going to be a matter of time, but it’s not going to be a long time.”

Dickson was sidelined for most of last year’s preseason after suffering a shoulder injury in the first preseason game. That slow start was followed by a disappointing season in which Dickson made only 21 catches for 225 yards and no touchdowns in the regular season. Since Pitta is expected to be sidelined for the entire year with a dislocated and fractured hip that required surgery, the Ravens are expected to feature Dickson prominently in their passing offense.

The fourth-year tight end had turned in a tremendous training camp, showing consistent hands and sometimes lining up in the slot before injuring the hamstring at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium during the first open practice of the summer. As much as the Ravens would like to have him available, they will surely exercise caution to prevent a potential setback for the 2010 third-round pick.

Dickson’s absence has led to newly-signed veteran Visanthe Shiancoe to take most of the reps with the first-team offense with veteran Billy Bajema, rookie Matt Furstenburg, and 2012 practice-squad member Alex Silvestro working behind him. Rookie fullback Kyle Juszczyk is also being considered for more action at the tight end position.

The Ravens do not plan to make any additions at the tight end spot in the immediate future, but that could change depending how the current healthy tight ends on the preseason roster perform on Thursday. The 33-year-old Shiancoe is expected to start, but the veteran is just now getting up to speed with offensive coordinator Jim Caldwell’s system.

“We have enough tight ends for Thursday for sure,” Harbaugh said. “We’ll be fine. We [might] have to address it there, depending on how we get out of that game.”

Linebacker Daryl Smith, defensive tackle Terrence Cody, and cornerback Chris Johnson joined Dickson as new absentees from practice, but they were just receiving a day off from practice, according to Harbaugh. Both Smith and Cody were available for post-practice interviews on Sunday and weren’t dealing with any apparent injuries.

Safety James Ihedigbo returned to the practice field after coach John Harbaugh gave the veteran a day off to rest a neck issue he’s dealt with during training camp. His absence was considered precautionary as he continues to battle rookie Matt Elam for the starting strong safety job.

Others not participating on Monday included guard Marshal Yanda (shoulder), wide receiver David Reed (groin), linebacker Jameel McClain (neck), offensive lineman Ryan Jensen (foot), defensive end Kapron Lewis-Moore (knee), and tight end Dennis Pitta (hip).

Running back Ray Rice left practice roughly 20 minutes early after turning his ankle, but the injury isn’t considered a concern, according to Harbaugh. The sixth-year back appeared to be receiving a light day in terms of reps throughout the course of the workout.

Offensive lineman Ramon Harewood was practicing for the second straight day after missing a week due to swelling in his knee that required an injection.

Camp highlights from Monday

The Ravens appeared out of sync early during the afternoon practice, committing several penalties and even having issues with some players lining up incorrectly.

At one point with the second-team defense on the field, defensive coordinator Dean Pees expressed his frustration by shouting, “We aren’t going to be out there Thursday to line you up!”

Wide receivers Deonte Thompson and Aaron Mellette are beginning to look more comfortable over the last few days of practice. Thompson is receiving extensive reps with the first-team offense in both the three-wide set and some two-wide formations. Meanwhile, the seventh-round rookie Mellette is working more and more with the second-team offense after beginning camp at the bottom of the depth chart and working with the third unit.

Gino Gradkowski and A.Q. Shipley continue to split playing time at the center position with the starting offense, but Shipley provided one of the highlight blocks of the day in stopping blitzing inside lineback Josh Bynes in his tracks during an 11-on-11 team drill. Bynes went to the ground and appeared to temporarily be stunned until he went back to the defensive huddle and continued practicing.

Cornerback Corey Graham had a highlight interception return off a pass that bounced off the hands of wide receiver Tandon Doss, who was trying to rein in an errant pass from quarterback Joe Flacco.

Harbaugh on the late Art Donovan

Less than 24 hours after the death of Baltimore Colts legend Art Donovan, Harbaugh shared a story of the first time his father was able to meet the Hall of Fame defensive tackle four years ago and expressed his sadness of the loss of a civic legend.

Senior vice president of public and community relations Kevin Byrne took Jack Harbaugh to an alumni dinner to meet Donovan, who was drinking his customary favorite beverage at the event.

“He had a bucket of Schlitz on ice there,” Harbaugh said. “My dad knows Schlitz real well from his days in Crestline, Ohio. He’s familiar with Schlitz. My grandpa drinks Stroh’s, so that’s a good combination -– Schlitz and Stroh’s –- especially if you want a headache in the morning. They drank Schlitz [beers] all night. Art was telling stories and my dad probably told a few stories, too. He can tell a story, too. And they really hit it off real well.

“[Donovan was a] great man, great Baltimore tradition, and he’ll live on in our hearts forever.”

The Ravens flew the flags at their Owings Mills practice facility at half-mast on Monday.

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Ravens tight end Dickson sidelined with minor groin strain

Posted on 13 June 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. — As the Ravens concluded their final day of mandatory minicamp, tight end Ed Dickson was absent from the field for a second straight day.

“Ed had a groin strain,” coach John Harbaugh said. “We are resting him. He wasn’t able to practice.”

Several others were absent from the field including Pro Bowl guard Marshal Yanda (shoulder surgery), offensive lineman Antoine McClain (foot surgery), safety Omar Brown (undisclosed), and running back Damien Berry (undisclosed). Harbaugh said Tuesday that Yanda should be ready to go for training camp on at least a limited basis to start.

Pro Bowl defensive tackle Haloti Ngata, nose tackle Terrence Cody (hip surgery), defensive end Kapron Lewis-Moore (ACL surgery), and wide receiver Marlon Brown (knee) were all present but not participating. Ngata appeared to be receiving the day off as he continues to work on his conditioning after rehabbing his injured knee for a large portion of the offseason.

Cornerback Lardarius Webb and linebackers Jameel McClain and Albert McClellan continued to work on a limited basis while rookie linebacker Arthur Brown (sports hernia surgery) appeared to be close to 100 percent as he took part in most individual and team drills.

The Ravens received another health scare during Friday’s midday practice as outside linebacker Adrian Hamilton went down with a lower back injury during an 11-on-11 session. However, all signs point to it only being a minor issue despite the second-year linebacker being in noticeable pain for a few minutes before walking off the indoor field gingerly.

“[We] got a quick report,” Harbaugh said. “It doesn’t seem serious. It was all muscular, so he should be fine. That’s early.”

Players dealing with injuries will now received a lengthy break as the Ravens will have the next several weeks off before reconvening in Owings Mills for the start of training camp in the final week of July.

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Ravens LB Arthur Brown sidelined after sports hernia surgery

Posted on 22 May 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. — Instead of mixing it up with veterans in the Ravens’ first week of organized team activities, rookie linebacker Arthur Brown is instead sidelined after undergoing sports hernia surgery two weeks ago.

The second-round draft pick had the procedure shortly after the team’s mandatory rookie minicamp earlier this month and will likely be sidelined for the remainder of the spring schedule. Though the news is far from crippling, it does take valuable reps away from the Kansas State product who is projected by most to be a starting inside linebacker in the Ravens’ 3-4 base defense.

“He’s recovering from that,” coach John Harbaugh said. “It’s a four-to-six week deal and he should be fine soon enough.”

That leaves the Ravens with both projected starters at inside linebacker less than 100 percent as veteran Jameel McClain continues to improve in his recovery from a spinal cord contusion suffered last December. The sixth-year linebacker dressed out to practice and did some limited work during Wednesday’s practice but did not participate in team drills. He has yet to be cleared for full contact, but the expectation continues to be that McClain will be in plenty of time to play this season.

Joining McClain on the practice field in a limited capacity was cornerback Lardarius Webb, who showed impressive quickness in his backpedal despite wearing a brace on his surgically-repaired left knee. The Ravens expect Webb to be 100 percent by the start of training camp in July and his showing on Wednesday suggested that should be a very accurate projection.

The Ravens have offered a positive prognosis on each player throughout the offseason and Webb began running at the beginning of the voluntary offseason workout program in mid-April.

“We’ve been encouraged with Lardarius and Jameel, really throughout,” Harbaugh said. “They’ve both done a great job with their rehab. They’ve had no setbacks, so they’re on schedule.”

Baltimore had two players who underwent groin surgery this offseason in rush end Pernell McPhee and nose tackle Terrence Cody. McPhee was participating fully in Wednesday’s practice while Cody was present but not working. Sixth-round defensive end Kapron Lewis-Moore wasn’t practicing as he continues to rehab a surgically-reconstructed ACL.

Linebacker Albert McClellan appeared to be practicing on a limited basis.

There were several key veterans absent from the field for the voluntary workout, including linebacker Terrell Suggs, defensive tackle Haloti Ngata, defensive end Chris Canty, fullback Vonta Leach, right guard Marshal Yanda, and wide receiver Jacoby Jones. Harbaugh provided a predictable answer when asked for comment on those players not being present.

“Every guy that comes or isn’t here has their reason, and they are in communication with us,” said Harbaugh, who mentioned that Canty was present on Tuesday. “It’s a voluntary workout. We coach the guys who are here, though.”

Asked to comment on Jones’ third-place finish in ABC’s Dancing with the Stars, Harbaugh offered congratulations to his No. 2 wide receiver and return specialist for the way in which he represented the organization, but you could also tell the Ravens head coach is eager to see Jones get back to football.

Jones has told the organization he’s remained in great condition while taking part in the competition and will report to Owing Mills for work on Thursday.

“I was proud of Jacoby through the whole thing. I am looking for him on the next flight back here to Baltimore, Jacoby,” said Harbaugh as he laughed. “He should be getting off the plane any second here at BWI. Should be expecting him tomorrow — will be looking for him. He should be in great shape. I thought he did great.”

Tight end Ed Dickson took part in Wednesday’s practice despite having not yet signed his restricted original-round tender. According to a team official, Dickson along with the Ravens’ four exclusive-rights players — running back Bobby Rainey, safety Omar Brown, safety Anthony Levine, and linebacker Adrian Hamilton — were all practicing after signing offseason workout program and minicamp participation agreements.

A similar agreement is used for unsigned rookie draft picks that allows for participation in OTAs and minicamp practices.

 

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Ravens retain rights to all six restricted free agents

Posted on 11 March 2013 by Luke Jones

(Updated: 5:40 p.m.)

Entering the offseason with six restricted free agents, the Ravens have retained the rights to all of them through different channels.

Tight ends Dennis Pitta and Ed Dickson and defensive lineman Arthur Jones were each tendered contracts as Pitta and Jones received second-round designations while Dickson was awarded an original-round tender on Monday. Pitta and Jones are each in line to make $2.02 million this season while Dickson’s tender is worth $1.323 million for the 2013 season.

Restricted free agents who ultimately sign and play for their one-year tender are eligible to become unrestricted free agents after the 2013 season. It’s also possible that general manager Ozzie Newsome could explore a long-term contract for Pitta as the Ravens ultimately did with cornerback Lardarius Webb last offseason, but the tender prevents him from hitting the open market in the sense of an unrestricted free agent.

A second-round designation allows another team to negotiate with and sign a player to an offer sheet, but it provides seven days for the original team to match the offer. If that team elects not to match, it receives a second-round pick from the other team as compensation for losing the player.

The original-round tender provides compensation equal to the round in which the player was drafted as a rookie. In Dickson’s case, the Ravens would receive another team’s third-round draft choice if they elected not to match a signed offer sheet.

Wide receiver David Reed was non-tendered but signed a two-year contract to remain with the Ravens. According to The Sun, the deal reportedly has a maximum value of almost $2.5 million but will be a lower cap number than the $1.323 million for the original-round tender, the lowest amount you can tender a restricted free agent.

Long snapper Morgan Cox was also non-tendered and agreed to a two-year deal.

Offensive lineman Ramon Harewood was the last of the six restricted free agents to be addressed as the Ravens reached an agreement on a one-year deal with the 2010 sixth-round pick.

Teams had until 3:59 p.m. on Tuesday to tender contracts to restricted free agents or they would become unrestricted free agents for the start of the new league year.

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Difficult decisions still loom for Ravens after locking up Flacco

Posted on 02 March 2013 by Luke Jones

General manager Ozzie Newsome and the Ravens front office had to wake up smiling the morning after reaching an agreement in principle with Joe Flacco on a six-year, $120.6 million contract that’s expected to be finalized Monday.

The move not only locks up the franchise quarterback for the long haul, but it’s also expected to provide short-term relief to a tight salary cap that would have had a difficult time absorbing a minimum of $14.9 million with the non-exclusive franchise tag. All the terms of the record-setting contract have yet to be released, but the 2013 cap number is just $7 million, according to CBS Sports’ Jason LaCanfora.

Estimated to have roughly $18 million in cap space before accounting for their quarterback or any of their unrestricted, restricted, or exclusive-rights free agents, the Ravens will now have some space to maneuver but not enough to change the entire landscape of their offseason. Moderation will be the key as Newsome will look to sign a couple of his own unrestricted free agents, make wise decisions on his seven restricted free agents, and then turn toward the open market to explore some shrewd signings.

Here’s a rundown of what to expect as the Ravens address their remaining free agents:

No tag this year

The first order of business will be the potential use of the franchise tag as teams have until Monday at 4 p.m. to designate a player if they so desire. Many have begun asking if Newsome and the Ravens will now use the tag on outside linebacker Paul Kruger or inside linebacker Dannell Ellerbe, but we received a preliminary answer to that query just a few days after the Super Bowl.

“If we get a deal done with Joe, we will not franchise another player,” said Newsome as he appealed to owner Steve Bisciotti with a humorous tone. “We will not do that. You are OK with that, right?”

The 2013 tag numbers released by the NFL on Friday suggest that stance isn’t changing as the Ravens would be looking at a $9.6 million cost at the linebacker position. As it relates to Kruger, the pass rusher could contest that he should be considered a defensive end, which commands an $11.175 million tag number for the 2013 season.

Those price tags are far too expensive for Kruger or Ellerbe as the Ravens would be looking at massive cuts to accommodate the franchise tag, regardless of what Flacco’s 2013 cap number ultimately is.

Cuts still coming

We’ve spent plenty of time discussing which veterans might be on the chopping block due to cap constraints and the Ravens will still pull the trigger on a few. It just won’t be the mass exodus that was feared if Flacco had received either of the franchise tag options.

Offensive lineman Bobbie Williams is the easiest decision as the Ravens will clear $1.2 million from their cap by releasing the 36-year-old lineman. Linebackers Brendon Ayanbadejo ($806,000 in savings) and Jameel McClain ($1.8 million saved) are also likely to go, with McClain becoming far more expendable if the Ravens can sign Dannell Ellerbe to a long-term deal before he hits the open market.

It would be an unpopular decision, but fullback Vonta Leach remains an intriguing option to release as it would save $3 million in cap space. Leach is tremendous at what he does as the best pure fullback in the NFL, but the Ravens are clearly moving toward a pass-heavy attack after committing the richest contract in league history to their quarterback.

The 31-year-old Leach took part in just 39.7 percent of the Ravens’ offensive snaps in the postseason, so can you justify devoting that big of a cap number to the fullback with other pressing needs at left tackle and all over the defense? Should they part ways with Leach, tight end Ed Dickson could serve in more of an H-back capacity and the Ravens could look to a younger, cheaper option coming out of college.

The Flacco contract means wide receivers Anquan Boldin and Jacoby Jones are very likely to be safe, but the Ravens could explore reasonable contract extensions for both as they enter the final years of their respective contracts, thus lowering their cap numbers for 2013. This is especially true for Boldin, who carries a $7.5 million number for the upcoming season and proved himself worthy of a couple more years in Baltimore after an outstanding postseason.

Prioritizing unrestricted free agents

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Dickson wants to bring Lombardi Trophy back to Baltimore

Posted on 29 January 2013 by WNST Staff

TIGHT END ED DICKSON

 

(on San Francisco’s defense) “Every game’s different. We’ve seen the success that Atlanta had. We’re not going to be naïve. I’m sure they’ve made corrections. In the end, it’s all about us and the things that we do well with running the football and passing the ball, just being a balanced offense. We’ve seen a lot of things on film that we can exploit, and we’ll go after those things.”

 

(on making it to the Super Bowl) “I don’t really get star struck. I think the first time I really got star struck was when I met Ray Lewis for the first time. It wasn’t really star struck, though. It was like, ‘Bam,’ then that was it. It’s the grand stage of them all. We worked so hard to get to this moment. It only serves us right to get to this moment and seal it off.”

 

(on his expectations for Sunday) “I’m going to catch four touchdowns. The sky’s the limit. I’m not going to sell myself short. It’s the Super Bowl. I’m not going to get extra emotional about it. I’m just going to do the things we’ve been doing all season and win the game.”

 

(on the expected outcome of the game) “It’s in God’s mind, but we’re here for one reason and one reason only, and that’s to win. We have no distractions. Even Beyonce can’t get us to lose this game.”

 

(on the fans’ sendoff in Baltimore) “To see everybody out in Baltimore yesterday, I’ve never seen it like that. I’ve been out there on the harbor to eat a million times and have never seen fans like that. We love it. We want to bring home the trophy to the fans and go party with them. They deserve it. Our leader, Mufasa (Ray Lewis), deserves it. Just everyone in this organization deserves it.”

 

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Why will this one be any different for Ravens against red-hot Denver?

Posted on 08 January 2013 by Luke Jones

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — The Ravens have heard the doubts since the first hours following their wild-card playoff win over the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday night.

The Broncos demolished them in a 34-17 final at M&T Bank Stadium less than four weeks ago, the worst home loss of the John Harbaugh era. The score really wasn’t even that close as Denver seemingly took its foot off the gas pedal after building a 31-3 lead midway through the third quarter.

Denver has a league-best 11-game winning streak and hasn’t lost a game since the Orioles were still playing postseason baseball in early October. Baltimore has been installed as a nine-point underdog by oddsmakers in Las Vegas.

How can the Ravens possibly expect a different result this time around as they travel to Sports Authority Field at Mile High on a short week to take on the mighty Broncos coming off a bye week?

The image of quarterback Joe Flacco throwing an interception returned 98 yards for a touchdown by cornerback Chris Harris right before halftime is just too much to shake, isn’t it?

“It doesn’t surprise me that nobody would really give us too much of a shot,” Flacco said. “They beat us up pretty good a couple weeks ago. I think you always have that little chip that you want to go out there and prove to people that you’re a good football team.”

The Ravens believe they are a better football team now than the one on display that day at M&T Bank Stadium as they were only six days removed from firing offensive coordinator Cam Cameron and promoting quarterbacks coach Jim Caldwell. Five key starters were missing from the lineup due to injury. And what could have been a one-possession game going into halftime — with the Ravens set to receive the opening kickoff of the second half — was dramatically transformed into a 17-0 deficit that broke the spirit of what was an inspired defensive effort against Peyton Manning in the first half.

So, as the rest of the country focuses on the deficiencies that were on full display in that embarrassing loss, the Ravens instead look ahead at Saturday’s opportunity while acknowledging how one play can dramatically change the tone — and outcome — of a football game.

“Everybody has an opinion. Whatever that opinion is, let them have it,” said linebacker Ray Lewis, who reminded reporters that the 2000 Ravens were underdogs through much of their run to Super Bowl XXXV. “One thing about it, the game has to be played. No matter what anybody says or who they feel is going to win, you have to play the game on [Saturday]. That’s the way we feel — let the game play out. Because at the end of the day, some people are going to be right and some people are going to be wrong.”

There’s no way to sugarcoat that the Ravens are the clear underdog in this one as the Broncos have dominated on both sides of the ball — ranked fourth in total offense and second in total defense during the regular season — over the last three months to enter the postseason as the AFC’s No. 1 seed. The Denver defense is led by Defensive Player of the Year candidate Von Miller and Elvis Dumervil, who formed the best pass-rushing duo in the league with a combined 29 1/2 sacks this season. The Broncos battered Flacco to the tune of three sacks and nine quarterback hits in that first meeting.

Manning has played at an MVP-caliber level in throwing for 4,695 yards and 37 touchdowns this season, and wide receiver Eric Decker torched the Ravens with 133 receiving yards in that Week 15 win. The Ravens haven’t beaten a Manning-led team in 11 years as the future Hall of Fame quarterback has gotten the best of them over and over.

But a Baltimore defense without Lewis, Dannell Ellerbe, and Bernard Pollard held the Broncos to 10 points in the first 29 minutes of play on Dec. 16, three coming after a Flacco fumble on the Ravens’ first drive to set up Denver at midfield. It was only after the backbreaking interception on a quick out intended for Anquan Boldin that an undermanned defense completely wilted in the second half.

Flacco and the rest of the offense know they must perform at a much higher level to give the Ravens any chance to pull off the upset in Denver. In Caldwell’s debut as offensive coordinator, Baltimore had a fumble, five three-and-outs, and an interception over its first seven drives.

Recently, the starting offense has looked much better in scoring 57 points in games against New York and Indianapolis that sandwiched the regular-season finale in Cincinnati that was a glorified preseason game. The Ravens also may have finally settled on their best offensive line this past Sunday with veteran Bryant McKinnie finally being inserted at left tackle with Michael Oher moving to the right side and rookie Kelechi Osemele shifting inside to left guard.

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