Tag Archive | "eugene monroe"


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Four Ravens players absent from Wednesday’s practice

Posted on 23 September 2015 by Luke Jones

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Counting down to the home opener against Cincinnati after an extended stay out west, the Ravens were without four key players during Wednesday’s workout.

Left tackle Eugene Monroe (concussion), wide receiver Breshad Perriman (knee), running back Lorenzo Taliaferro (foot), and defensive end Chris Canty (calf) were not present during the portion of practice open to reporters. Head coach John Harbaugh offered no update on Monroe’s progress in recovering from a concussion suffered on the opening drive of the Week 1 loss at Denver.

“I really don’t have any update on a concussion,” Harbaugh said prior to Wednesday’s practice. “It’s never something that you get an update on. He’s in the protocol and he’s working on it right now.”

Making his season debut in Oakland on Sunday, Taliaferro rushed seven times for 34 yards and a touchdown in the 37-33 loss to the Raiders. It remains unclear whether the second-year running back’s injury was to the same foot he hurt last December.

Canty left Sunday’s game with a calf injury and played just 16 defensive snaps. The veteran defensive lineman was available in the locker room after Wednesday’s practice, but he would not commit to being able to play against the Bengals.

“I’m optimistic. I can’t make any promises,” the 32-year-old defensive end said. “The coaches and the medical staff probably would be able to tell you more, but I’m optimistic about the opportunity to be able to be out there. We’ll just see what happens.”

Newly-acquired cornerback Will Davis was taking part in practice on Wednesday and will wear No. 39 for the Ravens. Harbaugh said the organization had liked the 5-foot-11, 190-pound cornerback from Utah State leading into the 2013 draft before Miami selected him in the third-round.

General manager Ozzie Newsome traded a 2016 seventh-round choice to the Dolphins in exchange for Davis.

“He’s a guy who has really good coverage skills we feel like,” Harbaugh said. “With the types of defenses we play, we think he fits us really well, but we’ll find out. We’ll find out by how he plays and how he conducts himself.”

Despite tweaking his knee during Sunday’s loss, inside linebacker C.J. Mosley was taking part in Wednesday’s practice and was not included on the injury report. Cornerback Rashaan Melvin was also removed from the injury report after missing his second straight game with a hamstring ailment that’s hindered him off and on since the beginning of August.

Meanwhile, the Bengals were without two key offensive starters as wide receiver A.J. Green (knee) and left tackle Andrew Whitworth (back) both missed Wednesday’s practice. Safety Reggie Nelson (groin) was a limited participant.

Below is Wednesday’s full injury report:

DID NOT PARTICIPATE: DE Chris Canty (calf), OT Eugene Monroe (concussion), WR Breshad Perriman (knee), RB Lorenzo Taliaferro (foot)

DID NOT PARTICIPATE: WR A.J. Green (knee), DT Marcus Hardison (knee), DT Pat Sims (hip), OT Andrew Whitworth (back)
LIMITED PARTICIPATION: DE Wallace Gilberry (thigh), CB Leon Hall (non-injury), S Reggie Nelson (groin)

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Ravens-Raiders: Inactives and pre-game notes

Posted on 20 September 2015 by Luke Jones

The Ravens face a challenge in replacing the injured Terrell Suggs, but the man signed to take his spot on the 53-man roster this week was deactivated for Sunday’s meeting with the Oakland Raiders.

After head coach John Harbaugh deemed him ready to play on Friday, veteran outside linebacker Jason Babin was surprisingly among the Ravens’ seven inactives for Week 2. The 35-year-old was signed to a contract on Tuesday and practiced all week with his new team.

“His whole thing is just making sure he knows where to line up,” Harbaugh said after Friday’s workout. “He has been in defenses [and is] a really smart guy. I’m very confident that he can line up and play good football. He played [during the preseason]. It’s not like he’s a guy that hasn’t been playing in training camp. He has been playing up until a week ago, so he’s in football shape, and he’s ready to go.”

The decision to deactivate Babin meant rookie Za’Darius Smith was expected to fill a significant role as Baltimore’s backup outside linebacker behind Elvis Dumervil and Courtney Upshaw. Smith, a fourth-round pick in this year’s draft, was a healthy inactive last week.

The Ravens also deactivated Rashaan Melvin (thigh) despite the third-year cornerback practicing on a limited basis all week. Rookie wide receiver Darren Waller (ankle) was active despite being added to the injury report on Friday.

As expected, defensive tackle Timmy Jernigan (knee) and No. 2 running back Lorenzo Taliaferro (knee) were active after practicing fully all week. Jernigan was expected to return to his starting spot along the Baltimore defensive line with rookie Carl Davis returning to a reserve role.

With starting left tackle Eugene Monroe (concussion) inactive, the Ravens included reserve offensive lineman Ryan Jensen among their 46 active players on game day. Second-year tackle James Hurst was expected to start in Monroe’s place.

Rookie wide receiver Breshad Perriman (knee) was officially ruled out for Week 2 on Friday, but he reportedly increased his activity level in a pre-game workout by doing some light running. The first-round pick hasn’t practiced since spraining his knee on July 30.

For the Raiders, veteran safety Charles Woodson was active despite suffering a dislocated shoulder in Oakland’s season opener. He practiced on a limited basis Thursday and Friday.

These teams are meeting for the eighth time in the regular season with the Ravens holding a 6-1 advantage in the series. Baltimore is 1-1 playing in Oakland, but that does not include the Ravens’ win in the 2000 AFC championship game. The Raiders’ lone win against the Ravens came in the 2003 season while Baltimore has won four straight in the series.

The forecast for Sunday afternoon’s game in Oakland calls for sunny skies, temperatures in the high 80s, and winds up to 10 miles per hour, according to Weather.com.

Referee Pete Morelli and his crew will officiate Sunday’s game at O.co Coliseum.

The Ravens will be wearing white jerseys with black pants while Oakland will sport its black home tops with silver pants.

Here are Sunday’s inactives:

LB Jason Babin
CB Rashaan Melvin
RB Terrence Magee
OT Eugene Monroe
DT Christo Bilukidi
DE Kapron Lewis-Moore
WR Breshad perriman

CB Dexter McDonald
FB Jamize Olawale
OL Jon Feliciano
OL Matt McCants
DT Justin Ellis
WR Rod Streater
DE Benson Mayowa

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Monroe, Perriman ruled out for Sunday’s game in Oakland

Posted on 18 September 2015 by Luke Jones

Still sidelined after sustaining a concussion on the first series of the season opener last week, Ravens left tackle Eugene Monroe was ruled out for Sunday’s game against the Oakland Raiders.

Monroe missed practice all week and has yet to be cleared from the NFL’s concussion protocol, meaning second-year lineman James Hurst will likely start in Monroe’s place. Wide receiver Breshad Perriman was also ruled out for Week 2 as he has yet to practice since spraining his knee on the first day of training camp.

The good news for Baltimore was the expected availability of defensive tackle Timmy Jernigan and running back Lorenzo Taliaferro after each suffered knee injuries in the preseason. Both were listed as probable to play after practicing fully all week. Running back Justin Forsett (shoulder) was also designated as probable after being limited during Wednesday’s practice but being a full participant the rest of the week.

Cornerback Rashaan Melvin (thigh) and rookie wide receiver Darren Waller (ankle) were listed as questionable to play against Oakland. Melvin has dealt with a hamstring issue since last month and was only a limited participant in practices this week while Waller was a new addition to Friday’s injury report, leading you to believe he may have injured his ankle during the final practice of the week.

Head coach John Harbaugh confirmed Friday that veteran newcomer Jason Babin will play on Sunday after being signed to replace the injured Terrell Suggs on the roster earlier this week.

With Monroe sidelined and two wide receivers on the injury report, the Ravens could choose to add one of their two practice-squad offensive tackles — rookie De’Ondre Wesley or veteran Tony Hills — or a receiver — Jeremy Ross and Jeremy Butler are on the practice squad — to the 53-man roster. Rookie running back Terrence Magee’s spot is likely vulnerable with Baltimore now having four healthy backs on the active roster.

Meanwhile, the Raiders expect to have their starting quarterback under center on Sunday after Derek Carr practiced fully all week and was listed as probable on their final injury report.

Despite suffering a dislocated shoulder in Oakland’s season-opening loss to Cincinnati, veteran safety Charles Woodson practiced on a limited basis on Thursday and Friday and is officially questionable for Sunday’s game.

The referee for Sunday’s game is Pete Morelli.

The game-day forecast in Oakland calls for mostly sunny skies and temperatures around 90 degrees with winds 10 to 15 miles per hour, according to Weather.com.

Below is the final injury report of the week:

OUT: OT Eugene Monroe (concussion) WR Breshad Perriman (knee)
QUESTIONABLE: CB Rashaan Melvin (thigh), WR Darren Waller (ankle)
PROBABLE: DE Chris Canty (non-injury), RB Justin Forsett (shoulder), DT Timmy Jernigan (knee), LB Daryl Smith (non-injury), RB Lorenzo Taliaferro (knee)

OUT: DT Justin Ellis (ankle), DE Benson Mayowa (knee), RB Jamize Olawale (ankle)
QUESTIONABLE: S Charles Woodson (shoulder)
PROBABLE: QB Derek Carr (right hand)

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Jernigan, Taliaferro practice fully for second straight day

Posted on 18 September 2015 by Luke Jones

Moving closer toward their Week 2 meeting with the Oakland Raiders, the Ravens are likely to regain a key starter on their defensive line with Timmy Jernigan practicing fully for a second straight day.

The second-year defensive tackle and backup running back Lorenzo Taliaferro were full participants on Thursday and appear set to make their respective returns after suffering knee injuries during the preseason. Starting running back Justin Forsett (shoulder) also practiced fully on Thursday after being a limited participant a day earlier.

Left tackle Eugene Monroe (concussion) and wide receiver Breshad Perriman (knee) missed practice again on Thursday while inside linebacker Daryl Smith and defensive end Chris Canty received the day off.

The Raiders received good news on Thursday with veteran safety Charles Woodson (shoulder) returning to practice on a limited basis. Starting quarterback Derek Carr (hand) was a full participant for a second consecutive practice.

Below is Thursday’s official injury report:

DID NOT PARTICIPATE: DE Chris Canty (non-injury), T Eugene Monroe (concussion), WR Breshad Perriman (knee), LB Daryl Smith (non-injury)
LIMITED PARTICIPATION: CB Rashaan Melvin (thigh)
FULL PARTICIPATION: RB Justin Forsett (shoulder), DT Timmy Jernigan (knee), RB Lorenzo Taliaferro (knee)

DID NOT PARTICIPATE: DT Justin Ellis (ankle), DE Benson Mayowa (knee), RB Jamize Olawale (ankle)
LIMITED PARTICIPATION: S Charles Woodson (shoulder)
FULL PARTICIPATION: QB Derek Carr (right hand)

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Ravens practice in San Jose with Monroe sidelined

Posted on 17 September 2015 by Luke Jones

Practicing in San Jose, Calif. ahead of their Week 2 meeting with the Oakland Raiders, the Ravens were without starting left tackle Eugene Monroe for Wednesday’s workout.

Monroe suffered a concussion in the first quarter of the season-opening loss last Sunday and remains sidelined as he goes through the league-mandated protocol. Second-year tackle James Hurst replaced him in Denver and struggled mightily against Broncos outside linebacker DeMarcus Ware all afternoon.

Wide receiver Breshad Perriman also remains out of practice as he continues to recover from a sprained knee suffered on the first day of training camp on July 30. The 2015 first-round pick is not expected to play against Oakland as his return isn’t imminent until he can at least begin accumulating some practice time.

The good news for the Ravens on Wednesday was the full participation of both defensive tackle Timmy Jernigan (knee) and running back Lorenzo Taliaferro (knee). Both appear to be good bets to return to action on Sunday after suffering their respective injuries in the preseason and practicing on a limited basis last week.

Cornerback Rashaan Melvin (thigh) and running back Justin Forsett (shoulder) were limited participants during Wednesday’s workout.

Meanwhile, the Raiders received good news with Derek Carr (right hand) practicing fully, which reinforced head coach Jack Del Rio’s expressed optimism earlier in the day that the second-year quarterback would play this week.

In addition to officially announcing the signing of veteran outside linebacker Jason Babin — who will wear No. 56 — and the placement of injured linebacker Terrell Suggs on season-ending injured reserve, the Ravens terminated the practice-squad contract of quarterback Bryn Renner and signed offensive tackle Tony Hills to the 10-man unit. The 30-year-old has played in 13 career NFL games and joins De’Ondre Wesley as the second offensive tackle on the practice squad, perhaps a reflection of the uncertainty surrounding Monroe’s status for Sunday.

Below is Wednesday’s official injury report:

DID NOT PARTICIPATE: T Eugene Monroe (concussion), WR Breshad Perriman (knee)
LIMITED PARTICIPATION: RB Justin Forsett (shoulder), CB Rashaan Melvin (thigh)
FULL PARTICIPATION: DT Timmy Jernigan (knee), RB Lorenzo Taliaferro (knee)

DID NOT PARTICIPATE: DT Justin Ellis (ankle), DE Benson Mayowa (knee), RB Jamize Olawale (ankle), S Charles Woodson (shoulder)
FULL PARTICIPATION: QB Derek Carr (right hand)

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Harbaugh on offensive tackles: “They’ve got to do a better job”

Posted on 14 September 2015 by Luke Jones

Of all the Ravens’ problems on the offensive side of the ball leading to Sunday’s season-opening loss in Denver, none were more surprising than the horrendous play of the offensive line.

Not only was the Baltimore offense held to six points — Jimmy Smith’s interception return provided the other seven in the 19-13 loss — and 173 total yards, but quarterback Joe Flacco was harassed throughout the afternoon. The Broncos may have only collected two sacks, but Flacco was pressured on 64.7 percent of his dropbacks, an astonishing rate for an offensive line regarded as one of the best in the NFL entering the season.

On Monday in San Jose, Calif. where the Ravens are preparing for their Week 2 meeting in Oakland, John Harbaugh expressed his disappointment with the play of his offensive line. The Baltimore coach acknowledged the challenge of competing against a superb defense, but he added that they didn’t see any strategic surprises from Broncos defensive coordinator Wade Phillips during Sunday’s game.

Pro Bowl right guard Marshal Yanda was the only member of the offensive line to receive a positive grade from Pro Football Focus, but it was the play of tackles Rick Wagner, James Hurst, and Eugene Monroe that was particularly problematic. The Broncos’ four outside linebackers — DeMarcus Ware, Von Miller, Shaquil Barrett, and Shane Ray — combined for 19 total pressures on Flacco. 

“Our tackles, they’ve got to do a better job,” said Harbaugh, who added that the Ravens should have provided extra help in pass protection. “They have to set square, and they have to punch on time. And when they do that, they’ll do well against anybody, and when you don’t do that, you’re not going to do well against anybody. That was really an issue for us in the course of the game.”

Monroe exited the game after the opening series with a concussion and didn’t return, leaving second-year tackle James Hurst to be eaten alive by Ware. Rick Wagner wasn’t any better on the opposite side as he struggled against Miller and didn’t look like the Pro Bowl-caliber right tackle he was last season, a possible indication that he’s still knocking off rust from last December’s Lisfranc injury. The 2013 fifth-round pick was sidelined for spring workouts before he began practicing at the start of training camp in late July.

Of course, the offensive line also failed to establish the running game, gaining just 73 yards on 23 attempts. This allowed the Broncos’ pass rushers to pin their ears back and tee off on Flacco in the pocket.

“We stuck with the run game,” Harbaugh said. “We were patient with it, but we need to get more out of it than 3.2 yards a carry. There’s no doubt about it. It’s the offensive line, it’s the running backs, it’s the scheme, it’s the formations — it’s all of it. We all take responsibility for that.”

Because of an exceptional 2014 season, the Ravens’ offensive line deserves the benefit of the doubt after just one poor performance, but the group needs to play much better moving forward.

Replacing Suggs

Much has already been written about the Ravens’ challenge in replacing injured linebacker Terrell Suggs, and Harbaugh predictably expressed confidence that their internal options would rise to the occasion. However, he didn’t rule out the possibility of adding a veteran free agent to help fill the void left behind by the franchise’s all-time sacks leader.

“We still believe we have the pass rushers that can get the job done, but we’re still in the process of evaluating our options, personnel-wise,” Harbaugh said. “There’s a chance we can bring somebody in. We’ll look at all those options over the next couple days.”

Harbaugh said that Elvis Dumervil will assume Suggs’ rush linebacker position on first and second downs with Courtney Upshaw remaining as the strong-side outside linebacker. Rookie Za’Darius Smith and veteran Albert McClellan will also be part of the equation.

Smith returning punts

At age 36 and serving as the Ravens’ No. 1 receiver, Steve Smith didn’t appear to be a likely answer as the primary punt returner, but that’s exactly what he was on Sunday against the Broncos.

Smith returned two punts for 32 yards and could continue to serve in that capacity, according to Harbaugh. Michael Campanaro was listed as the primary punt returner on the Week 1 depth chart, but the second-year wideout missed the last couple weeks of the summer due to injury.

“If ‘Camp’ gets more reps, he can go back there and do it,” Harbaugh said. “We have [Lardarius Webb], who practices all the time. He can go back there and do it. I think we have guys that can do it and be effective. But I kind of like Steve back there. He looks good to me back there.”

Recuperating Raiders

While the Ravens dealt with the loss of Suggs and the concussion to Monroe on Sunday, the Raiders did not escape the injury bug in their season-opening loss to Cincinnati as starting quarterback Derek Carr (thumb) and starting safeties Charles Woodson (shoulder) and Nate Allen (knee) all went down.

A magnetic resonance imaging exam on Carr’s thumb was reportedly encouraging, but it remains to be seen whether he can return for Sunday’s game. A Monday ESPN report said the Raiders fear Allen suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament while Woodson would undergo an MRI on his shoulder.

Taliaferro on Twitter

It’s no secret that injured running back Lorenzo Taliaferro (knee) is moving closer to a return after he practiced on a limited basis late last week, but the 2014 fourth-round pick shared that sentiment on his official Twitter account following Sunday’s game. That didn’t sit well with Harbaugh when he was asked about it on Monday afternoon.

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“I’m going to have to talk to him about that,” Harbaugh said. “Taliaferro, [Timmy] Jernigan — way too much chatter out there on social media. Maybe, Kevin [Byrne], make a note of that.”

The aforementioned tweet was deleted on Monday evening.

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Ravens-Redskins: Inactives and pre-game notes

Posted on 29 August 2015 by Luke Jones

BALTIMORE — The dress rehearsal for the 2015 season has finally arrived as the Ravens welcome the Washington Redskins to Baltimore for the all-important third preseason game of the summer.

With starters expected to play the entire first half in a final tuneup before the season opener in Denver on Sept. 13, head coach John Harbaugh hopes to see a crisp performance after last week’s poor showing in Philadelphia. Most starters will not play in Thursday’s preseason finale in Atlanta as has been the custom in Harbaugh’s eight summers at the helm.

The Ravens will be without three key starters as left tackle Eugene Monroe (forearm), left guard Kelechi Osemele (Achilles), and cornerback Lardarius Webb (hamstring) are all dealing with injuries. Ryan Jensen, John Urschel, and Rashaan Melvin are expected to start at their positions, respectively.

Normally, James Hurst would have drawn the start at left tackle in place of Monroe, but he was dealing with a concussion and missed extensive practice time this week. Hurst was suited up, but the second-year tackle was not doing much during full-team warm-ups.

Sidelined for nearly three weeks, Webb went through a rigorous pre-game workout on the M&T Bank Stadium field and appeared to be moving well, a strong indication that he’s close to returning. In Webb’s absence, Melvin has received extensive opportunities on the outside with veteran Kyle Arrington continuing to work inside at the nickel position.

Out with a sprained knee suffered on the first day of training camp, rookie wideout Breshad Perriman was on the field catching passes from receivers coach Bobby Engram two hours before the start of the game. For what it’s worth, the 2015 first-round pick did not do any running as he caught passes in a stationary position, another good indication that he will miss the entire preseason.

Rookie tight end Maxx Williams will also sit out Saturday’s game after practicing in a red non-contact jersey all week in Owings Mills.

Wide receiver Michael Campanaro was the first Ravens player on the field a few hours before kickoff, working on stretching and agility drills. Harbaugh has described the injury that’s sidelined him for more than a week as a “soft tissue” ailment, but he did not go through team warm-ups.

Asa Jackson was expected to start the game as the primary returner, but DeAndre Carter, Aldrick Robinson, Tom Nelson, Buck Allen, and Terrence Magee also fielded kicks prior to the game.

The referee for Saturday’s game is Terry McAulay.

The Ravens are wearing purple jerseys with white pants while Washington dons its white tops with gold pants.

Baltimore is 47-30 in all-time preseason play and 20-10 under Harbaugh. The Ravens and the Redskins are meeting in the preseason for the ninth time with Baltimore holding a 6-2 record.

Teams are not required to release a list of inactive for preseason games, but below is an unofficial list of Ravens players on the 90-man roster who were suited up to play on Saturday night:

WR Michael Campanaro
WR Breshad Perriman
CB Lardarius Webb
G Kelechi Osemele
OT Eugene Monroe
TE Maxx Williams
LB Steven Means
CB Tramain Jacobs
RB Lorenzo Taliaferro
OT Darryl Baldwin
OT De’Ondre Wesley
TE Dennis Pitta
TE Allen Reisner
S Matt Elam
DE Brent Urban

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Monroe out for third preseason game with forearm bruise

Posted on 27 August 2015 by Luke Jones

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — The Ravens are likely to be without the starting left side of their offensive line for Saturday’s preseason game against the Washington Redskins.

Left guard Kelechi Osemele was already expected to miss the all-important third preseason contest as he’s been in and out of practices with an Achilles injury for the last three weeks, but head coach John Harbaugh confirmed left tackle Eugene Monroe would not play on Saturday. Monroe injured his right forearm in last Saturday’s preseason loss in Philadelphia and hasn’t practiced all week.

“Eugene’s got a pretty serious bruise there on his forearm,” Harbaugh said on Thursday. “He’s not cleared to practice this week with that. There’s no fracture or anything like that — as far as I know. I’ll put everything with a caveat there. But it should be no problem for the regular season.”

Despite Monroe being sidelined, the Ravens received good news on Thursday with the returns of reserve offensive linemen James Hurst (concussion) and Ryan Jensen to the practice field. In addition to Monroe and Osemele, rookie offensive linemen De’Ondre Wesley and Darryl Baldwin remained sidelined.

Wide receivers Breshad Perriman (knee) and Michael Campanaro (soft tissue injury), cornerback Lardarius Webb (hamstring), linebacker Steven Means (groin), and running back Lorenzo Taliaferro (knee) were also absent from Thursday’s practice.

Cornerbacks Rashaan Melvin and Tramain Jacobs returned to the practice field after missing workouts earlier this week.

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2015 Ravens training camp preview: Offensive line

Posted on 27 July 2015 by Luke Jones

With the Ravens beginning their 20th training camp in franchise history this month, expectations are high for John Harbaugh’s team as they eye their seventh trip to the postseason in eight years.

As veterans report to Owings Mills on Wednesday and the first full-squad workout takes place the following on July 30, we’ll examine each position group entering the summer.

July 20: Quarterbacks
July 21: Defensive line
July 22: Running backs
July 23: Linebackers
July 24: Wide receivers
July 25: Tight ends
July 26: Cornerbacks
July 27: Offensive line
July 28: Safeties
July 29: Specialists

Below is a look at the Baltimore offensive line:

LOCK: Marshal Yanda, Kelechi Osemele, Rick Wagner, Eugene Monroe, Jeremy Zuttah, John Urschel
BUBBLE: Robert Myers, James Hurst, Jah Reid, Ryan Jensen
LONG SHOT: Marcel Jones, Nick Easton, Leon Brown, Kaleb Johnson, Darryl Baldwin, Blaine Clausell, De’Ondre Wesley

Synopsis: It was only a year ago that concerns were abundant about an offensive line that battled injuries and played poorly during the 2013 season, but much has changed since then. Regarded by most as the best position group on the roster, the offensive line returns returns its top seven players as the Ravens plan to maintain the same zone schemes with new offensive coordinator Marc Trestman that they used so effectively last year under Gary Kubiak. The strength of this group begins with its guards as Marshal Yanda is the best in the NFL and Kelechi Osemele is rapidly rising to a Pro Bowl level. The question for this group early in training camp will be health as center Jeremy Zuttah and right tackle Rick Wagner both missed spring workouts and will be brought along slowly to begin the preseason.

One to watch: Wagner was arguably the Ravens’ biggest question mark entering last season before the 2013 fifth-round pick put together an above-average season at right tackle, solidifying a scrutinized offensive line that ultimately excelled in the running game. All signs point to Wagner being ready to go in plenty of time for the start of the season, but offensive line coach Juan Castillo will carefully watch his footwork coming back from last December’s season-ending Lisfranc injury. Assuming he’s healthy, Wagner and Yanda could form the best right side of an offensive line in the entire NFL this season. 

One on notice: Signed to a five-year, $37.5 million contract last year, Eugene Monroe appeared to be Baltimore’s left tackle for the long haul, but a knee injury cost him five games and his play suffered when he was on the field in 2014. To be clear, there is no left tackle controversy as James Hurst isn’t ready to seriously challenge Monroe, but the Ravens need to see better from the veteran to justify an $8.7 million cap figure next year. If the former Jacksonville Jaguar doesn’t bounce back from a rough 2014 campaign, the Ravens could be back in a position where they’re looking for a left tackle sooner rather than later.

Sleeper: There doesn’t figure to be much room for a sleeper to make his mark this summer with Hurst, John Urschel, and fifth-round rookie Robert Myers projected to lock up roster spots as reserves, but Kaleb Johnson of Rutgers was a priority rookie free agent and has the foot quickness that Castillo desires with his blocking schemes. Projected to play guard at 6-foot-4 and 300 pounds, Johnson will be someone to keep an eye on as the Ravens know they are unlikely to be able to re-sign both Yanda and Osemele and are looking for developmental depth at the guard position.

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Five questions pondering Flacco, Webb, Monroe, Ravens guards

Posted on 05 June 2015 by Luke Jones

Every Friday, I’ll ponder five topics related to the Ravens or Orioles (or a mix of both).

Five questions …

1. Is it just me or should the Cam Newton contract put all discussion to rest about the deal Joe Flacco received two years ago? To some degree, criticism we heard about Flacco’s contract is now being thrown Newton’s way as he received an extension that pays him an average yearly salary of $20.8 million. We spend so much time ranking quarterbacks and determining which ones are “elite” when it really comes down to a very simple question for NFL teams. Can your quarterback win you a Super Bowl with a reasonable supporting cast around him or not? If the answer is yes, you pay him — plain and simple. Of course, determining the line of demarcation is the challenge as Miami recently paying Ryan Tannehill was an example of that. In terms of average annual salary, does Newton deserve to be the fourth-highest paid quarterback in the NFL? No, but it was his turn in line and Carolina has enough reason to think he can eventually lead the Panthers to the promised land. That’s all that matters.

2. Is it just me or does the Ravens’ current guard situation remind you of the 2011 season? Most assume Baltimore will ultimately re-sign Pro Bowl right guard Marshal Yanda while fourth-year left guard Kelechi Osemele will likely depart via free agency after this season, but I do wonder if that would be the best path for the Ravens. Yanda is a four-time Pro Bowl selection and the best guard in the NFL, but he’ll also be 31 in September. If his demands are through the roof, can you justify giving lucrative money to a player who will be approaching his mid-30s during the life of the contract? Meanwhile, Osemele turns just 26 later this month is likely to get even better over the next couple years. The situation isn’t identical, but it reminds me of 2011 when Ben Grubbs and Yanda were both scheduled to become free agents. Many thought the Ravens should sign Grubbs, but Yanda received an affordable extension that summer and the 2007 first-round pick departed the following winter. I’ll still assume that the Ravens keep Yanda, but it would be tough allowing a much younger player to depart.

3. Is it just me or should Lardarius Webb and Eugene Monroe be attending voluntary organized team activities after injury-plagued campaigns last season? Any veteran player has the right to skip voluntary spring practices, but I can’t help but think the Ravens aren’t thrilled to see Webb and Monroe missing OTA workouts — at least the ones that have been open to media thus far. Counting the playoffs, injuries forced Monroe to miss seven starts last season and the left tackle’s contract is structured in a way that the Ravens could release him next offseason if they’re not thrilled with his performance, as was the case last year. Meanwhile, Webb may have restructured his current contract this offseason, but Baltimore could easily cut the veteran cornerback next winter if his play doesn’t improve substantially from 2014. It’s one thing for established veterans to skip spring workouts, but those with question marks from the previous year are taking a chance to further fall out of good graces when they’re not around in the spring.

4. Is it just me or could a healthy Brent Urban be a difference-maker for a revamped defensive line? Much attention has been paid to the interior part of the line following the trade of five-time Pro Bowl defensive tackle Haloti Ngata, but the 5-technique defensive end spot is a position of interest as veteran Chris Canty was cut and re-signed at a cheaper rate earlier this year. Canty has been mostly solid in his two years with Baltimore, but he will also be 33 in November and contemplated retirement this past winter. Urban has been quite active during spring workouts and appears fully recovered from last summer’s knee injury. Not only could he challenge Canty for his starting spot, but the 6-foot-7 University of Virginia product could be an intriguing option to replace Pernell McPhee as an interior pass rusher on third down. Urban will need to prove himself this summer, but it was no secret that the 2014 fourth-round pick was going to be a big part of the rotation as a rookie. It wouldn’t be surprising to see him become a key contributor for the Ravens’ front this season.

5. Is it just me or are the Ravens getting more than enough love this offseason? I’ve made no secret about how impressed I was with general manager Ozzie Newsome’s work in the 2015 draft and the savvy signing of slot cornerback Kyle Arrington last month, but I was surprised to see Sports Illustrated’s Peter King list the Ravens first in his preseason power rankings. Looking at it objectively, Ravens fans would be incensed if Pittsburgh were ranked No. 1 after losing a starting wide receiver, a starting tight end, a five-time Pro Bowl defensive tackle, an impact pass rusher, and a good offensive coordinator. Make no mistake, I expect the Ravens to be a playoff team in 2015 and they could very well be poised to make a championship run if wide receiver Breshad Perriman and tight end Maxx Williams are ready to make meaningful contributions as rookies. Everything the Ravens have done looks strong on paper, but that doesn’t always mean it comes to fruition on the field as quickly as you’d like, especially when relying on unproven players. For the fans who like to play the disrespect card in terms of how the national media views their team, King is taking a leap of faith to put Baltimore at the top of the list.

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