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Our Ravens/Browns “Pats on the Ass”

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Our Ravens/Browns “Pats on the Ass”

Posted on 15 September 2013 by Glenn Clark

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

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

Here are our “Pats on the Ass” following the Ravens’ 14-6 win over the Cleveland Browns at M&T Bank Stadium Sunday…

Glenn’s Pats…

5. Arthur Jones

4. Elvis Dumervil

3. Bernard Pierce

2. Daryl Smith

1. Torrey Smith (Pat on Both Cheeks)

(Continued on Page 2…)

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Ravens defense aiming to make expectations reality in post-Lewis era

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Ravens defense aiming to make expectations reality in post-Lewis era

Posted on 03 September 2013 by Luke Jones

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

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — The Ravens heard the questions, the concerns, and the doubts about their once-proud defense in the weeks and months that followed their win in Super Bowl XLVII.

How would they survive without the retiring Ray Lewis, arguably the greatest middle linebacker in NFL history and unquestionably the leader and face of the franchise for their entire 17-year existence? What would they do to replace future Hall of Fame safety Ed Reed’s presence in the defensive backfield as well as in the locker room? And how could they afford to lose younger talents such as Paul Kruger, Dannell Ellerbe, Bernard Pollard, and Cary Williams in a quest to rebuild an aging and frequently-ineffective defense?

Those who downplayed Lewis’ departure because of his declining play over the final seasons of his career couldn’t overlook the colossal void in leadership and identity that needed to be addressed for an organization that both empowered and depended upon his presence. And after years of watching former Baltimore defensive players escape Lewis’ shadow before finding that the grass wasn’t greener elsewhere, the Ravens themselves will now see how they fare without him.

“In the spring, everybody was hitting the panic button on us because of the guys we lost,” Pro Bowl linebacker and 2011 Defensive Player of the Year Terrell Suggs said. “Even though we were very sad to see those guys go, the show must go on.”

The time for change was right as general manager Ozzie Newsome remembered what some had seemingly forgotten while basking in the image of confetti dropping in New Orleans in a storybook ending for the 2012 Ravens. Though praised for a “bend but don’t break” style that was good enough to complement quarterback Joe Flacco’s incredible postseason performance, the Baltimore defense finished 17th in total defense, tied for 12th in points allowed, 20th against the run, 17th against the pass, and tied for 15th in sacks.

Frankly, the defensive numbers and overall performance were un-Raven-like as Baltimore was weak along the defensive line as well as at safety, prompting Newsome to trade wide receiver Anquan Boldin and his $6 million base salary in 2013 to clear just enough salary cap space to rebuild the defense in terms of both talent and leadership. Defensive ends Chris Canty and Marcus Spears would provide improved depth upfront while free safety Michael Huff seemed like a good bet to, at worst, match the declining play of Reed for a fraction of the cost that the Houston Texans paid for the longtime Raven’s services in free agency.

The prize of the group, however, was Denver Broncos defensive end Elvis Dumervil, who was released due to a contract-restructuring snafu made by his former agent and joined the Ravens after signing a five-year deal worth a maximum value of $35 million. It appeared to be a bargain for a three-time Pro Bowl selection whose work ethic and leadership have been praised by everyone in the organization from the moment he stepped foot in Owings Mills in the spring.

“I think [it comes with] the way you play on the field and how you lead by example,” Dumervil said. “Leadership doesn’t come with talking or speech — it’s just how you carry yourself. I’ve always been a leader. That’s just natural for me, and I think I’ve learned how to follow before I can lead.”

After drafting four defensive players in the first four rounds of April’s draft, Newsome had one more trick up his sleeve in signing longtime Jacksonville Jaguars linebacker Daryl Smith to a one-year deal on the same day the Super Bowl champs visited President Barack Obama at the White House. The 31-year-old has stepped in to play Lewis’ Mike linebacker position while looking like the team’s best player in the preseason, recording 14 tackles and a sack while showing steady ability in pass coverage.

Initially perceived as little more than an insurance policy for injured inside linebacker Jameel McClain, Smith has been praised by everyone in the organization, ranging from his new defensive teammates to quarterback Joe Flacco. Smith’s personality couldn’t be more different from Lewis, which might be a positive while handling such an unenviable task of replacing a legend.

“He doesn’t say a lot, because he’s just about business, and then you sit down and talk to him and realize the depth of his character and personality,” head coach John Harbaugh said. “He’s a great family man, he’s a mature guy, he’s a man. And he’s also – I really believe – one of the most underrated defensive players in football over the last eight [or] nine years. We feel pretty fortunate that he’s here right now.”

The common threads among the five veteran newcomers were the leadership qualities they displayed with their former teams. It was clear the Ravens weren’t simply placing the defensive leadership crown on the heads of Suggs and Pro Bowl defensive tackle Haloti Ngata alone.

There was no replacing Lewis or Reed, but the Ravens appear to be pleased with their by-committee approach as they enter Thursday night’s opener against the Denver Broncos. On paper and in the controlled environment of spring and summer practices, the transition has appeared organic and seamless.

Suggs will be viewed as the new figurehead, but the 30-year-old has acknowledged repeatedly that he’s not looking to be the next Lewis and has appeared more subdued than in past seasons. Overall, it’s a Baltimore defense that lacks the bravado of past units without the camera-friendly Lewis out in front, but the quiet confidence veteran newcomers and young players alike have expressed seems appropriate in a new era.

“It’s different like in any organization when you lose guys that have been there for so long that they kind of assume those roles,” defensive coordinator Dean Pees said. “I think everybody else kind of sat back and just said, ‘Well, that’s really kind of not my role. That’s kind of Ed [Reed] and Ray’s [Lewis] role.’ Now those guys are stepping up, and I don’t think it’s any one particular guy who’s saying, ‘OK, I’m going to be the new Ray Lewis.’ It’s just a bunch of guys collectively stepping up and showing some leadership.”

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Flacco excited to see what rookie receivers bring to table

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Flacco excited to see what rookie receivers bring to table

Posted on 01 September 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. — It wasn’t long ago that Joe Flacco joked about not knowing the names of most new teammates on the Ravens roster after an offseason filled with changes.

However, the Ravens quarterback isn’t saying that any longer about a pair of rookie receivers who could factor heavily into the Baltimore passing attack as early as Thursday’s opener against the Denver Broncos. Undrafted free agent Marlon Brown and seventh-round pick Aaron Mellette began the summer in relative anonymity in Flacco’s eyes but grabbed his attention after the pair combined to make 19 catches for 309 yards and four touchdowns in four preseason games.

“They’re big, they’re strong, they’re fast, and they’re physical,” Flacco said. “They obviously have some talent. I think they are going to be guys that help us out a lot — in the short term [and] long term. We still have to go out there and play and feed them the ball and see what they can do.”

Mellette entered training camp as the bigger household name among Ravens fans after being taken with a seventh-round pick back in April. Playing for FCS school Elon, the 6-foot-2 receiver made an astonishing 304 catches for 4,254 yards and 44 touchdowns in his college career and grabbed 97 passes for 1,398 yards and 18 touchdowns in his senior year alone.

The 6-foot-5 Brown didn’t live up to expectations as a prized recruit at the University of Georgia but could be an attractive option in the red zone with his statuesque frame. The Ravens have lacked a wide receiver of his height during Flacco’s career after 2012 sixth-round pick Tommy Streeter failed to pan out.

Brown finally appeared to be realizing his potential in his senior season with the Bulldogs when he caught 27 catches for 469 yards and four touchdowns before tearing the ACL in his left knee in a game against Ole Miss on Nov. 3, 2012. The 22-year-old is still working his way back to full strength — missing spring organized team activities and even a handful this summer — but his ability began to shine as he became more comfortable physically and mentally in the Ravens offense.

“I have a mindset where I wanted to make the team and ultimately make a difference on the team, whether it’s on special teams or offense,” said Brown, who was in the weight room when coach John Harbaugh personally informed him that he’d made the team. “That’s what I’m trying to do. They haven’t really told me my primary role or anything. I’m going to go out there and work hard and if they tell me to go in, I’m going to go in.”

The biggest compliment paid to both Brown and Mellette is the amount of polish they showed in practices and preseason games despite their lack of experience. Unlike an array of other young receivers that failed to show marked improvement over the course of the summer, Brown and Mellette climbed from the third-string offense and working with third quarterback Caleb Hanie to eventually receive opportunities with Flacco and the starters over the final two weeks of the summer.

It was this climb that contributed to the likes of Tandon Doss, David Reed, and LaQuan Williams being let go.

“They don’t feel like rookies out there,” Harbaugh said. “Marlon has had the advantage of playing at a big program in the Southeastern Conference, and I think that shows. Aaron has had the advantage of having caught hundreds of balls in his college career.”

With Torrey Smith, Jacoby Jones, and Brandon Stokley ahead of the rookies on the depth chart, it remains to be seen how big of a role each will play in the early stages of the season. During Sunday’s practice, Brown and Mellette were wearing No. 87 and 88 jerseys, which appeared to be a product of the pair playing the scout-team roles of Denver wide receivers Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker in preparation for Thursday’s opener.

The Ravens only hope that Mellette and Brown will one day make their mark in a way similar to that talented pair with the Broncos, forcing opponents’ scout-team receivers to wear their No. 13 and 14 jerseys in preparation.

But a simple continuation of the improvement they showed over the course of the preseason would be an encouraging start for the Ravens.

“I would anticipate that those two guys will be a factor here going forward,” Harbaugh said. “How much they’ll play early, or how much they’ll be a part of the game plan and those kinds of things are really, really hard to say.”

Webb ready to go

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Bovada sets Flacco’s 2013 touchdown number at 22.5

Posted on 28 August 2013 by WNST Staff

Courtesy of Bovada, (www.Bovada.lv, Twitter: @BovadaLV).

Baltimore Ravens

Joe Flacco – Total Passing Yards in the 2013 Regular Season 

Over/Under                               3750

 

Joe Flacco – Total Passing Touchdowns in the 2013 Regular Season  

Over/Under                               22½

 

Joe Flacco – Total Interceptions thrown in the 2013 Regular Season   

Over/Under                               12½

 

Will Joe Flacco win a playoff game for the 6th consecutive year?   

Yes                  +250     (5/2)

No                    -400     (1/4)

 

Ray Rice – Total Rushing Yards in the 2013 Regular Season    

Over/Under                               1100½

 

Ray Rice – Total Receiving Yards in the 2013 Regular Season

Over/Under                               500½

 

Ray Rice – Total Receptions in the 2013 Regular Season         

Over/Under                               62½

 

Ray Rice – Total Rushing & Receiving Touchdowns in the 2013 Regular Season         

Over/Under                               12

 

Jacoby Jones – Total Receiving Yards in the 2013 Regular Season      

Over/Under                               650½

 

Jacoby Jones – Total Receiving Touchdowns in the 2013 Regular Season       

Over/Under                               4

 

Torrey Smith – Total Receiving Yards in the 2013 Regular Season       

Over/Under                               1000½

 

Torrey Smith – Total Receiving Touchdowns in the 2013 Regular Season        

Over/Under                               8

 

Elvis Dumervil – Total Sacks in the 2013 Regular Season        

Over/Under                               9

 

Haloti Ngata – Total Sacks in the 2013 Regular Season

Over/Under                               4½

 

Terrell Suggs – Total Sacks in the 2013 Regular Season          

Over/Under                               8½

 

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McClain likely to start season on reserve PUP list

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McClain likely to start season on reserve PUP list

Posted on 20 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. — 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

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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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T. Smith rests Sunday; Webb, Yanda possible for Thursday’s game

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T. Smith rests Sunday; Webb, Yanda possible for Thursday’s game

Posted on 18 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. — Traveling by bus just a few minutes to Stevenson University for the final public practice of the summer, the Ravens saw another significant member of their 2013 roster missing as wide receiver Torrey Smith did not participate.

Coach John Harbaugh said after practice that Smith was simply given a day to rest, but reports indicated the third-year wide receiver had his calf wrapped during Saturday’s practice, which suggested he might be dealing with a minor injury. Running back Anthony Allen joined Smith as a new absence from the practice field on Sunday as he dealt with “a little nick” in Harbaugh’s words.

Outside linebacker Elvis Dumervil wasn’t practicing for the second straight day despite coach John Harbaugh once again downplaying the significance of the groin injury the three-time Pro Bowl selection suffered in the second preseason game. His absence means even more reps for second-year linebacker Courtney Upshaw at the strongside outside position.

Other players absent from Sunday’s practice were wide receiver Deonte Thompson (foot), defensive tackle Marcus Spears (hamstring), tight ends Ed Dickson (hamstring) and Dennis Pitta (hip), offensive lineman Ryan Jensen (foot), linebacker Jameel McClain (neck), and defensive end Kapron Lewis-Moore (knee).

Though Harbaugh said last week that Thompson would have a chance to play in the third preseason game, it now appears the second-year receiver has all but been ruled out as he continues to recover from a sprained foot suffered in the preseason opener against Tampa Bay. The speedy slot receiver has missed valuable practice time in trying to establish himself as a viable option in the passing game.

“Deonte will be further evaluated after this week,” Harbaugh said, “but his was a couple-week injury.”

Approximately 3,100 fans were in attendance for the practice at Mustang Stadium after winning a lottery similar to the one that awarded select fans a rare opportunity to take in training camp practices at the team’s Owings Mills facility this summer.

Yanda, Webb still possible for Thursday

Pro Bowl right guard Marshal Yanda was a full participant in his second straight practice on Sunday as he continues to work his way back to full strength from offseason shoulder surgery and cornerback Lardarius Webb delivered a big hit to wide receiver Aaron Mellette in 11-on-11 team work in what amounted to his most physical play of the summer.

Harbaugh remains undecided whether either veteran will take part in the all-important third preseason game but acknowledged that he’d like to get each at least a few reps against the Carolina Panthers. The Ravens generally don’t play most of their starters in the preseason finale and certainly wouldn’t put Webb or Yanda in harm’s way with most other starters sitting out.

Webb has practiced on a limited basis since the beginning of training camp as he works his way back to full strength following an ACL injury suffered last October.

“We’ll have to make that decision probably the day before the game,” said Harbaugh, who added that there’s a good chance that both Webb and Yanda could play. “He looks pretty good out there right now, so we might leave a little bit of that up to him and the doctors obviously. It would be nice to get him the work before we tee it up for real.”

Coming off two straight Pro Bowl seasons, Yanda acknowledged that he still has plenty of work to do to get himself ready for the start of the regular season on Sept. 5 against the Denver Broncos.

Yanda returned to the practice field last week on a limited basis and has finally taken part in live-contact drills over the last two practices.

“I just need the timing of the game and my footwork and my punch and stuff like that,” Yanda said. “The shoulder’s feeling good. It’s coming along. I’m a little rusty, but it’s going to be. I haven’t had the pads on since February.”

All hands on deck

With Smith absent from Sunday’s practice, the Ravens used a plethora of receivers in his place including rookies Aaron Mellette and Marlon Brown, who received extensive action with the first-team offense.

The primary alignment for three-wide sets appeared to be Jacoby Jones, Brandon Stokley, and Brown, but Mellette provided one of the highlights of the evening practice by catching a long touchdown from quarterback Joe Flacco, beating veteran cornerback Chris Johnson. Stokley also provided several good catches while working in the slot position, and it appears he and Flacco are building an improved comfort level with a week of work under their belts.

“What you saw today is [that] we’re going to give those young guys an opportunity,” Harbaugh said. “Some of the young receivers have done an excellent job, and I think we owe it to our team and owe it to them to see what they can do in there with the first group. We’ll practice those guys and probably play them a little more with the ones this week.”

Perhaps the most intriguing formation involved veteran tight end Dallas Clark and fullback Kyle Juszczyk working in a two-tight set as Juszczyk worked from a flexed position in the slot. The Harvard product made a really nice catch on a seam route, beating Christian Thompson and Brynden Trawick in coverage for a 32-yard touchdown.

Though it’s never wise to read too much into any given practice, third-year wide receiver Tandon Doss primarily ran with the second-team offense as the Ravens seized the opportunity to evaluate their rookie wideouts with the starting unit minus Smith.

Rare struggles for Tucker

Second-year kicker Justin Tucker experienced rare struggles during Sunday’s practice as he missed field goals from 46, 57, and 64 yards. He missed the 46-yarder wide to the right, which was an extremely rare miss from that distance this summer.

His 57-yard attempt hit the crossbar while his 64-yarder was well short before rookie cornerback Marc Anthony fielded it in the back of the end zone.

Tucker connected on other kicks from 36, 48, and 51 yards.

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Live from Owings Mills: Dumervil misses Saturday with groin injury

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Live from Owings Mills: Dumervil misses Saturday with groin injury

Posted on 17 August 2013 by Glenn Clark

OWINGS MILLS – The Baltimore Ravens returned to practice Saturday after Thursday night’s 27-23 win over the Atlanta Falcons in their second preseason game of 2013.

Head Coach John Harbaugh announced Thursday night that LB Elvis Dumervil had suffered a “slight” groin injury in the victory, an injury that kept Dumervil out of Saturday’s practice session. Harbaugh reiterated Saturday that Dumervil’s injury “was not a serious deal” but could not commit to when the three time Pro Bowler would return to practice.

The former Broncos pass rusher had declared “I’m fine” after the game when asked about the injury.

WR Deonte Thompson (foot), TE Ed Dickson (hamstring) and DL Marcus Spears (hamstring) all remained out of practice Saturday. TE Dennis Pitta (hip), LB Jameel McClain (back), OL Ryan Jensen (foot) and DL Kapron Lewis-Moore (knee) all remained out and are not expected to return soon.

CB Chris Johnson (undisclosed) returned to practice Saturday after missing Thursday night’s game.

OFFENSE STRUGGLES: The day’s offense/defense 11 on 11 competition ended in a tie 50-50 score, but the offense needed to be picked up by their second team unit.

The first team offense struggled throughout the day, including multiple interceptions thrown by QB Joe Flacco. CB Lardarius Webb got a pick when new TE Dallas Clark cut in and Flacco’s pass went outside near the goal line. This was only Clark’s second practice since joining the team.

LB Josh Bynes and S Michael Huff also collected interceptions of the reigning Super Bowl MVP.

ROOKIE RECEIVERS GET CHANCE: Some younger receivers received snaps with the first team offense Saturday.

Undrafted free agent Marlon Brown received steady snaps with the first team during the day, while fellow rookie Aaron Mellette received some snaps with the first team as well after catching his second touchdown of the preseason Thursday night. Harbaugh was happy with Mellette’s performance, saying after practice “that’s how you make it, that’s how you earn your stripes, you make plays.”

Third year receiver Tandon Doss was active Saturday, making a number of catches in the middle of the field.

CAMP OVER: Saturday’s practiced marked the first after the end of the “Training Camp” portion of the Summer. For the first time since the team reported in July, there were no fans at the Owings Mills facility to watch practice.

The Ravens will practice Sunday afternoon at Stevenson University’s Mustang Stadium, marking the final “open” practice of 2013. Fans were able to enter a lottery for the chance to win tickets to Sunday’s practice. The Ravens will practice in Owings Mills Monday and Tuesday before Thursday night’s game against the Carolina Panthers at M&T Bank Stadium.

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Ravens escape second preseason game without any serious injuries

Posted on 16 August 2013 by Luke Jones

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

After the Ravens’ 27-23 preseason win over the Atlanta Falcons, head coach John Harbaugh painted a positive picture from a health standpoint.

Outside linebacker Elvis Dumervil suffered a minor groin injury and rookie safety Matt Elam tweaked his ankle, but the head coach described both as “fine” after the game. Dumervil also downplayed any significance to his ailment in the Baltimore locker room.

“Nothing really injury-wise came out of this game,” Harbaugh said of the injury picture. “So that’s a positive.”

According to The Sun, reserve outside linebacker Adrian Hamilton injured his wrist and will have further tests on it Friday. Rookie defensive tackle Brandon Williams was also shaken up in the second half of Thursday’s game but returned to action soon thereafter.

Last week against Tampa Bay, the Ravens lost wide receiver Deonte Thompson (ankle), running back Bernard Pierce (knee), and defensive tackle Marcus Spears (hamstring) and only Pierce has returned to practice at this point.

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Suggs not ready to stare own football mortality in face

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Suggs not ready to stare own football mortality in face

Posted on 24 July 2013 by Luke Jones

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

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs has never experienced a training camp quite like this as he enters his 11th season in the NFL.

Longtime teammates and mentors Ray Lewis and Ed Reed are no longer in the building, not to mention several other veteran leaders of the defending Super Bowl champions as the Ravens have undergone a more substantial makeover than any past champion in league history.

Those departures coupled with an injury-plagued 2012 season that limited the five-time Pro Bowl selection to just eight games and a career-low two sacks would make just about anyone ponder his own football mortality. But Suggs quickly dispelled any notion that he’s rapidly approaching the same age bracket as the retired Lewis or Reed, who will turn 35 in September.

“I’m 30, so I’m alright,” said Suggs, cracking a half-smile. “A lot of these guys were a lot older than me, but I’m 30. If you ask me, I’m probably entering my football prime right now. I’m not going to think about that this year definitely. At the end of the year, probably — I don’t know. It depends on how the year goes.”

And it might be a more important year for Suggs than most realize as he tries to show he is 100 percent after suffering a torn Achilles tendon on the weekend of the 2012 draft and a torn right biceps in a loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers on Dec. 2 of last year. The 2011 Defensive Player of the Year played courageously through significant pain, but he will be out to prove he remains closer to that award-winning performer he was two years ago than the pass rusher who struggled to make a consistent impact last season.

Suggs does have another year remaining on the six-year, $62.5 million contract he signed in the summer of 2009, but that deal carries a $12.4 million cap number in 2014, which is projected to account for roughly 10 percent of next season’s total cap. Unlike this season when cutting Suggs would have netted the Ravens only $1.8 million in cap savings to go along with $11.2 million in dead money, general manager Ozzie Newsome would gain $7.8 million in cap space if he decided to part ways with the 2003 first-round pick next winter.

Knowing the way in which Newsome and the front office view every player as a commodity with an appraised monetary figure, it’s likely that the Ravens will attempt to address that 2014 number in any number of ways — regardless of how Suggs performs this season.

Asked what he expects of himself this season, Suggs wouldn’t offer specifics, saying only that he plans to continue working hard while hoping to stay healthy. Noticeably slimmer this year, the elder statesman of the Baltimore defense is happy to just be able to take part in training camp this year, a notion he wouldn’t have expressed in the past. At this point last year, Suggs was more than two months away from even returning to the practice field.

“It put a lot of things in perspective with things I took for granted,” Suggs said. “Just like the opportunity to go to work and play with my teammates. Every football player will tell you reporting to camp is not really our happiest time, but it’s definitely needed to get our bodies in football shape. I wish I had the opportunity to do training camp last year.”

Dealing with a plethora of personnel changes to the defense has been made easier by the free-agent addition of fellow Pro Bowl linebacker Elvis Dumervil. Suggs paid compliments to former teammates Jarret Johnson and Paul Kruger but recognized Dumervil as the most talented outside linebacker he’s ever played with. The two have combined for a remarkable 148 sacks in their careers.

Asked how effective the pass-rushing tandem can be for the Ravens defense this season, Suggs paused and smiled before offering his answer.

“We can be pretty good,” Suggs said, “if everything goes according to plan and we keep everybody healthy. It’s going to take more than just us two though for the duo to work. There are other guys in the front. It’s a collaborative effort of everybody doing their job in the back end.”

It’s a task that won’t be easy as the Ravens will feature their first defense of the post-Lewis era and could feature as many as nine different starters from the starting defensive unit we saw in Super Bowl XLVII.

With the iconic leader affectionately known as “Mufasa” — a reference to the Disney movie “The Lion King” — and Reed now gone, Suggs admits feeling more responsibility as the longest-tenured player on the roster. However, he plans to remain his playful self in the locker room and on the practice field while acknowledging that the massive shoes of Lewis can’t be filled by any one player individually.

“It’s definitely going to be interesting to see what it looks like,” Suggs said. “I’ve said it before [about] his legacy. He has left a standard here, and every man on this defense will be held accountable in playing to that standard.”

The biggest question for Suggs is whether he can live up to his own impeccable standards that existed prior to the torn Achilles tendon, an injury from which many veterans are unable to regain their full explosiveness. Judging him too harshly on last year’s performance would be unfair after a remarkable — even unprecedented — recovery time of under six months, but the Ravens will be watching closely, hoping the Suggs who collected a combined 25 sacks in 2010 and 2011 resurfaces to lead a revamped defense in 2013.

His future — at least in Baltimore — depends on it.

“You can always do better, especially with this city,” Suggs said. “This is a league of, ‘What have you done for me lately?’ so I don’t want to rest on those laurels. I’m good with those mountains that I’ve climbed, but I’m into climbing more. That’s what we’re in this business for, so I’m looking for my next obstacle. We’ll just determine what that is in the near future.”

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