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Our Ravens/Jets “Pats on the Ass”

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Our Ravens/Jets “Pats on the Ass”

Posted on 24 November 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’ 19-3 win over the New York Jets Sunday at M&T Bank Stadium…

Glenn’s Pats…

5. Chris Canty

4. Corey Graham

3. Daryl Smith

2. Joe Flacco

1. Jacoby Jones (Pat on Both Cheeks)

(Continued on Page 2…)

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Ravens-Jets: Inactives and pre-game notes

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Ravens-Jets: Inactives and pre-game notes

Posted on 24 November 2013 by Luke Jones

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

BALTIMORE — It’s rare to find a game with playoff implications between two teams lacking a winning record, but that’s exactly where the Ravens and Jets find themselves in the muddled AFC wild-card picture in late November.

The 5-5 Jets come to Baltimore currently holding the No. 6 seed in the conference by way of a tiebreaker over the Miami Dolphins, but a Ravens win would pull them even with the Jets and Baltimore already holds a head-to-head tiebreaker against Miami with the Week 5 win over the Dolphins. Of course, the Ravens view the start of a three-game homestand as a golden opportunity to not only climb back to and above the .500 mark but to solidify their chances of advancing to the postseason for a sixth consecutive season under coach John Harbaugh.

Defensive tackle Haloti Ngata (knee) will play after being listed as questionable and being deemed a game-time decision on Friday. The Pro Bowl nose tackle went through a pre-game warmup with defensive line coach Clarence Brooks, firing out of a three-point stance several times to test the explosiveness and stability of his left knee.

It will be interesting to see how the Ravens handle his workload considering he logged only one practice this week and another game awaits in just four days with the Steelers coming to town Thanksgiving night.

As we learned Saturday, tight end Dennis Pitta (hip) remains on injured reserve with the designation to return after the Ravens elected not to place him on the 53-man roster for Sunday’s meeting with the Jets. Pitta practiced all week, but the organization wants to take its time in determining that Pitta is healthy and ready to return to live-game action.

As expected, cornerback Lardarius Webb (abs) and inside linebacker Daryl Smith (hamstring) are active and will start despite being listed as questionable on the final injury report of the week. Neither player’s status was really in doubt after they practiced on a limited basis all week.

Wide receiver Brandon Stokley (groin) is active for the first time since Week 3, which might be a sign of the Ravens emphasizing the short passing game with the high winds expected throughout the game. Fellow receiver Deonte Thompson is inactive for Sunday’s game.

Meanwhile, the Jets will be without top receiver Jeremy Kerley (elbow), who was ruled out on Saturday after initially being listed as doubtful against the Ravens.

For the third straight game in which the Ravens have been involved, high winds will be a factor as temperatures are only expected to rise to the mid-30s. Winds will be as high as 26 miles per hour, but at least the Ravens should be used to such conditions after the brutal weather in Chicago last week.

Sunday marks the ninth time the Ravens and the Jets have met in the regular season with Baltimore holding an impressive 7-1 record in the all-time series. The Ravens have won seven straight while New York has never beaten them in Baltimore and last won a game over the Ravens in 1997.

The Ravens are wearing purple jerseys with black pants while the Jets will don white tops with white pants on Sunday afternoon.

The referee for Sunday’s game will be Jeff Triplette.

Here are Sunday’s inactives:

BALTIMORE
CB Asa Jackson
S Omar Brown
RB Bernard Scott
OL Ryan Jensen
WR Deonte Thompson
LB John Simon
DT Brandon Williams

NEW YORK
QB David Garrard
WR Jeremy Kerley
RB Alex Green
LB Garrett McIntyre
G Will Campbell
T Ben Ijalana
OL Oday Aboushi

Follow WNST on Twitter throughout the afternoon for updates and analysis as Drew Forrester, Nestor Aparicio, and I bring live coverage from M&T Bank Stadium throughout the day.

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Ngata questionable for Jets game after returning to practice Friday

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Ngata questionable for Jets game after returning to practice Friday

Posted on 22 November 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 defensive tackle Haloti Ngata joined the rest of his teammates on the field for the final full practice of the week and is listed as questionable for Sunday’s game against the New York Jets.

Listed as a limited participant after sitting out on Wednesday and Thursday, Ngata (left knee) was suited up during the portion of the workout open to the media. The 340-pound defensive lineman played catch and did some light high-knee movement but was not very active during the first 20 minutes of practice.

Ngata hadn’t taken part in a practice since injuring his left knee two weeks ago against the Cincinnati Bengals even though he returned to finish playing in that game. The Ravens used a combination of Terrence Cody, DeAngelo Tyson, and rookie Brandon Williams in Ngata’s absence last Sunday.

“He practiced today, so we’ll just have to see how he comes out of that right now,” coach John Harbaugh said. “And it will be interesting to see how he fared and how he feels tomorrow. We’ll just have to see how he’s doing.”

Cornerback Lardarius Webb (abs) and linebacker Daryl Smith (thigh) are also listed as questionable but are both expected to play after practicing on a limited basis all week. Wide receivers Marlon Brown (knee) and Brandon Stokley (thigh) are both probable for Sunday’s game.

Tight end Dennis Pitta (hip) did extensive individual work during Friday’s practice, running routes and cutting well while working with tight ends coach Wade Harman. It was the most active Pitta had looked in his three days during the viewing portion of practices.

The Ravens would need to place Pitta on the 53-man roster by 4 p.m. on Saturday in order for him to play against the Jets. He said several times Wednesday about a need to take things slow in his return to the practice field, but the Ravens also have a history of being aggressive in activating some players coming back from injuries over the last couple years.

“We’re going to see how I feel tomorrow. We’ll see how I feel the next day and then go from there,” Pitta said. “There’s always an adjustment when you’re doing it for the first time again. It comes back quick and it’s feeling good. I’ll just continue to keep working on it and get it more comfortable.”

Harbaugh said “there is always a chance” that Pitta could play on Sunday, but it would still be considered a surprise if the fourth-year tight end suited up this quickly after his return to practice. The Ravens are not required to list Pitta on the injury report since he is not part of the active roster.

The Baltimore coach revealed that left guard Kelechi Osemele underwent back surgery earlier this week and the procedure was “very successful.” The expected recovery time is three to four months after the second-year lineman was officially placed on injured reserve Nov. 8.

“He was in a little bit of pain,” Harbaugh said. “I had a chance to spend some time with him and his mom and his fiancee yesterday. He walked through the building, so he’s up and walking, very gingerly. But he’ll start his recovery and his rehab now.”

The Jets listed linebacker Garrett McIntyre (knee) and wide receiver Jeremy Kerley (elbow) as doubtful for Sunday’s game but designated tight end Kellen Winslow (knee) and wide receiver Santonio Holmes (foot/hamstring) as probable despite each missing practices this week.

The referee for Sunday’s game will be Jeff Triplette.

Though Sunday’s forecast in Baltimore pales in comparison to the severe conditions witnessed in Chicago, the Ravens will once again deal with high winds as temperatures are expected to be in the mid-30s with winds up to 24 miles per hour.

Here is the final injury report of the week:

BALTIMORE
QUESTIONABLE: DT Haloti Ngata (knee), LB Daryl Smith (thigh), CB Lardarius Webb (Abs)
PROBABLE: WR Marlon Brown (knee), WR Brandon Stokley (thigh)

NEW YORK
DOUBTFUL: LB Garrett McIntyre (knee), WR Jeremy Kerley (elbow)
PROBABLE: OL Willie Colon (calf), CB Antonio Cromartie (hip), DL Kenrick Ellis (back), QB David Garrard (knee), WR Stephen Hill (knee), WR Santonio Holmes (foot/hamstring), WR David Nelson (illness), WR Greg Salas (finger), TE Kellen Winslow (knee)

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Ngata’s status remains in question against Jets on Sunday

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Ngata’s status remains in question against Jets on Sunday

Posted on 21 November 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. — Moving a day closer to Sunday’s meeting with the New York Jets in Baltimore, the Ravens were again without Pro Bowl defensive tackle Haloti Ngata on Thursday.

Ngata hasn’t practiced in nearly two weeks as he continues to recover from a left knee injury sustained against the Cincinnati Bengals on Nov. 10. The defensive lineman missed his first game of the season last Sunday in Chicago and appears to be a question mark once again as the Ravens try to remain afloat in the AFC playoff race.

Coach John Harbaugh has declined to answer questions regarding Ngata’s status as the Ravens used a combination of Terrence Cody, DeAngelo Tyson, and rookie Brandon Williams at the nose tackle position against the Bears in Week 11. With Ngata’s absence leaving a major void in the middle of the defensive line, the Bears were able to rush for 104 yards in the 23-20 overtime victory at Soldier Field.

All other players were accounted for at practice as linebacker Daryl Smith (thigh) and cornerback Lardarius Webb (abs) were limited participants for the second straight day. Wide receivers Marlon Brown (knee) and Brandon Stokley (thigh) practiced fully.

Tight end Dennis Pitta (hip) was practicing for the second straight day, but the Ravens do not have to include him on the injury report since he remains on injured reserve with the designation to return.

Coach John Harbaugh moved up the start of Thursday’s practice to allow players to finish their workday earlier to get some extra rest. The Ravens have a quick turnaround for next week’s game as they will play Pittsburgh on Thanksgiving night, roughly 100 hours after the conclusion of Sunday’s contest against the Jets.

Meanwhile, the Jets downgraded the status of tight end Kellen Winslow (knee) as he sat out practice a day after working on a limited basis. Linebacker Garrett McIntyre (knee) and wide receiver David Nelson (illness) also missed practice while wide receiver Santonio Holmes (foot/hamstring) was limited after failing to practice on Wednesday.

Here is Thursday’s injury report:

BALTIMORE
DID NOT PARTICIPATE: DT Haloti Ngata (knee)
LIMITED PARTICIPATION: LB Daryl Smith (thigh), CB Lardarius Webb (Abs)
FULL PARTICIPATION: WR Marlon Brown (knee), WR Brandon Stokley (thigh)

NEW YORK
DID NOT PARTICIPATE: LB Garrett McIntyre (knee), WR David Nelson (illness), TE Kellen Winslow (knee)
LIMITED PARTICIPATION: WR Santonio Holmes (foot/hamstring), WR Jeremy Kerley (elbow)
FULL PARTICIPATION: OL Willie Colon (calf), CB Antonio Cromartie (hip), DL Kenrick Ellis (back), QB David Garrard (knee), WR Stephen Hill (knee), WR Greg Salas (finger)

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Ngata only Ravens player missing from Wednesday’s practice

Posted on 20 November 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 received good news Wednesday with tight end Dennis Pitta’s return to the practice field, but Pro Bowl nose tackle Haloti Ngata remained sidelined with a left knee injury.

After missing Sunday’s game against the Chicago Bears, Ngata was absent as the Ravens cranked up preparations for the New York Jets. The defensive lineman missed all three practices last week and was ruled inactive last Sunday, missing his first game of the 2013 season.

Coach John Harbaugh declined comment on the decision to hold Ngata out following Sunday’s game and would not reveal whether the weather conditions at Soldier Field contributed to the eighth-year defensive tackle being held out.

“I’m not getting in to all that. There’s no reason for us to put that out there publicly,” Harbaugh said during his Monday press conference. “What advantage would there be for us to comment on that? It wouldn’t help us. But, I appreciate you asking. I understand why you do. It’s fair, in all honesty. I just don’t want to put that out there right now.”

Linebacker Daryl Smith (thigh) and cornerback Lardarius Webb (abs) were both limited participants on Wednesday after both players missed practice time last week before playing against the Bears.

Rookie wide receiver Marlon Brown (knee) was a full participant after missing Sunday’s game as the poor field conditions were a factor in the decision to rule him inactive.

As announced earlier in the day, tight end Dennis Pitta (hip) took part in practice, playing catch and running routes at half-speed during the portion of practice open to reporters. The Ravens are not required to list Pitta on the injury report since he is not currently on the 53-man roster.

Pitta’s return to practice triggers the start of a 21-day window in which he can work with the team before a decision must be made on his roster standing. If the Ravens do not place Pitta on the active roster at the end of the three-week period — they may activate him sooner, of course — he must remain on injured reserve for the rest of the season.

“It’s impossible to say, really,” said Harbaugh when asked about a timetable for Pitta’s return to live-game action. “Withing getting ahead of ourselves here, as soon as possible. But safety is No. 1 and his ability to perform out there are the two factors in that.”

For the Jets, wide receiver Santonio Holmes (foot/hamstring) and linebacker Garrett McIntyre (knee) did not participate in Wednesday’s practice.

Here is Wednesday’s injury report:

BALTIMORE
DID NOT PARTICIPATE: DT Haloti Ngata (knee)
LIMITED PARTICIPATION: LB Daryl Smith (thigh), CB Lardarius Webb (Abs)
FULL PARTICIPATION: WR Marlon Brown (knee), WR Brandon Stokley (thigh)

NEW YORK
DID NOT PARTICIPATE: WR Santonio Holmes (foot/hamstring), LB Garrett McIntyre (knee)
LIMITED PARTICIPATION: WR Jeremy Kerley (elbow), TE Kellen Winslow (knee)
FULL PARTICIPATION: OL Willie Colon (calf), CB Antonio Cromartie (hip), DL Kenrick Ellis (back), QB David Garrard (knee), WR Stephen Hill (knee), WR Greg Salas (finger)

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Ravens-Bears: Inactives and pre-game notes

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Ravens-Bears: Inactives and pre-game notes

Posted on 17 November 2013 by Luke Jones

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

CHICAGO — Weather will play a major factor on Sunday as the Ravens travel to Soldier Field in Chicago looking to improve to 5-5 and improve their standing in the AFC playoff picture.

With intense storms, winds averaging 25-30 miles per hour with gusts upwards of 50, and a tornado watch in the forecast Sunday afternoon, both teams will likely need to lean on their respective running games with Chicago possessing the league’s 15th-ranked rush offense. Meanwhile, the Ravens’ dramatic struggles in running the ball have been well documented, but the Bears are ranked 31st against the run and have allowed 129.4 yards per game on the ground this season.

The Ravens will be without two key starters as defensive tackle Haloti Ngata and wide receiver Marlon Brown were both ruled inactive prior to kickoff. Ngata sprained his left knee in last Sunday’s win over the Bengals and missed practice all week despite suiting up and making an appearance at the beginning of Friday’s practice. Terrence Cody and Brandon Williams will be leaned upon to play a more significant role at the nose tackle position in Ngata’s absence.

Brown’s deactivation leaves the Ravens with just four active receivers for Sunday’s game, and 6-foot-5 rookie will be missed in the red zone. His absence will likely lead to more opportunities for Tandon Doss and Deonte Thompson in the passing game.

For the Bears, tight end Martellus Bennett (ankle) is active and will start, but starting defensive end Shea McClellin (hamstring) is inactive after being listed as doubtful on Chicago’s final injury report of the week.

Sunday’s referee will be Gene Steratore.

The Ravens are wearing white jerseys with black pants while Chicago is donning dark blue throwback jerseys with white pants.

The all-time series between these teams is tied 2-2 with the Ravens winning the last meeting in Baltimore back in 2009. However, the Bears are 2-0 against the Ravens at Soldier Field with victories in 1998 and 2005.

Here are Sunday’s inactives:

BALTIMORE
DT Haloti Ngata
WR Marlon Brown
S Omar Brown
RB Bernard Scott
WR Brandon Stokley
OL Ryan Jensen
LB John Simon

CHICAGO
DE Shea McClellin
DT Jeremiah Ratliff
LS Pat Mannelly
OL Jonathan Scott
OL James Brown
QB Jay Cutler
LB Lance Briggs

Follow WNST on Twitter throughout the afternoon for updates and analysis as Nestor Aparicio and I bring live coverage from Chicago throughout the day.

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Ravens list six starters as questionable against Bears for Sunday

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Ravens list six starters as questionable against Bears for Sunday

Posted on 15 November 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 saw three players return to the practice field on Friday before listing six starters as questionable for Sunday’s game against the Chicago Bears.

The players given that designation included nose tackle Haloti Ngata (knee), cornerbacks Lardarius Webb (groin) and Jimmy Smith (groin), inside linebacker Daryl Smith (hamstring), safety James Ihedigbo (toe), and wide receiver Marlon Brown, who was a new addition to the injury report after sitting out Friday’s practice.

Webb, Daryl Smith, and defensive end Chris Canty (knee) returned to the practice field after missing time earlier in the week. Canty was added to Thursday’s injury report as a non-participant while the other two were sidelined on Wednesday and Thursday.

“Those guys have all done a good job,” said coach John Harbaugh, who deferred to the injury report released later in the day when asked about the team’s health. “They all work really hard & do everything they can to get back.”

Ngata was present and suited up to practice during the portion open for media viewing but was listed as a non-participant. However, the fact that he made it to the field could be interpreted as a positive sign for his status after spraining his left knee and temporarily leaving the field during last Sunday’s win over the Cincinnati Bengals.

Smith deemed himself healthy enough to play against the Bears as he’s missed four practices over the last two weeks with what’s listed as a thigh injury. He left the field gingerly in overtime before the Ravens prevailed 20-17 to improve their record to 4-5 on the season.

“I feel pretty good, ready to go,” said Smith after working on a limited basis Friday. “Hopefully it won’t be a habit, but I took a couple days to do a little rehab and let everything settle down and rest. I’m looking forward to Sunday.”

Outside linebacker Terrell Suggs (neck) practiced fully after being added to the report as a limited participant due to a reported collision in Thursday’s practice. He and Canty were both designated as probable to play on Sunday.

Ihedigbo and Jimmy Smith practiced on a limited basis all week, making it very likely that both will play despite being given the questionable designation..

Sunday’s forecast in Chicago is calling for strong storms and high winds with an 80-percent chance of precipitation and winds gusting up to 28 miles per hour. Despite that less-than-promising combination, temperatures are expected to rise into the low 60s.

“Footing will be an issue there,” said Harbaugh about the conditions and how they can impact the overall game plan. “It’s probably more of a situation where you have the various game-plan options that you need plays-wise and things like that available, but you won’t know until you start playing the game how it’s going to affect the game.”

The referee for the game between the Ravens and Bears will be Gene Steratore.

Here is the final injury report of the week:

BALTIMORE
QUESTIONABLE – DT Haloti Ngata (knee), LB Daryl Smith (thigh), CB Lardarius Webb (groin), Marlon Brown (knee), S James Ihedigbo (toe), CB Jimmy Smith (groin)
PROBABLE – DE Chris Canty (knee), RB Bernard Pierce (toe/knee), WR Brandon Stokley (thigh), LB Terrell Suggs (neck)

CHICAGO
OUT: LB Lance Briggs (shoulder), QB Jay Cutler (ankle), DT Jeremiah Ratliff (groin)
DOUBTFUL: LS Patrick Mannelly (calf), DE Shea McClellin (hamstring)
QUESTIONABLE: TE Martellus Bennett (ankle)
PROBABLE: T Jordan Mills (quad)

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Ravens missing four defensive starters during Thursday’s practice

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Ravens missing four defensive starters during Thursday’s practice

Posted on 14 November 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. — Moving closer to an important showdown with the Chicago Bears this weekend, the Ravens were without four defensive starters during Thursday’s practice.

Defensive tackle Haloti Ngata (knee), cornerback Lardarius Webb (groin), and inside linebacker Daryl Smith (thigh) were all absent for the second straight day. Each played in last Sunday’s 20-17 overtime win against the Cincinnati Bengals, but Ngata and Smith both left the game at different points and were expected to be limited in practices this week.

Webb spoke to reporters in the locker room prior to Thursday’s workout and did not appear to be noticeably favoring an injury.

Defensive end Chris Canty (knee) was the only new absence on Thursday after he practiced and was not listed on the injury report a day earlier. Canty also addressed reporters prior to sitting out practice and gave no indication that he was dealing with an injury.

Cornerback Jimmy Smith (groin) and strong safety James Ihedigbo (toe) were both present and working after being listed as a limited participant on Wednesday’s injury report.

Linebacker Terrell Suggs (neck) was added to the injury report as a limited participant.

Meanwhile, Chicago added starting tight end Martellus Bennett (ankle) to their injury report after he didn’t participate on Thursday.

Here is Thursday’s injury report:

BALTIMORE
DID NOT PARTICIPATE: DT Haloti Ngata (knee), LB Daryl Smith (thigh), CB Lardarius Webb (groin), DE Chris Canty (knee)
LIMITED PARTICIPATION: S James Ihedigbo (toe), CB Jimmy Smith (groin), LB Terrell Suggs (neck)
FULL PARTICIPATION: RB Bernard Pierce (toe/knee), WR Brandon Stokley (thigh)

CHICAGO
OUT: LB Lance Briggs (shoulder), QB Jay Cutler (ankle)
DID NOT PARTICIPATE: LS Patrick Mannelly (calf), DE Shea McClellin (hamstring), DT Jeremiah Ratliff (groin), TE Martellus Bennett (ankle)
LIMITED: T Jordan Mills (quad)

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Arthur Jones becoming force along Ravens defensive line

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Arthur Jones becoming force along Ravens defensive line

Posted on 13 November 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. — Growing up in a household with two younger brothers who’ve achieved fame in the athletic realm, Ravens defensive tackle Arthur Jones is finally drawing much-deserved recognition of his own.

First, it was winning Super Bowl XLVII and getting the best of younger brother Chandler Jones — a defensive end and 2012 first-round pick for the New England Patriots — along the way to championship glory. Now, he is gaining further notoriety as one of the Ravens’ best defensive players in his fourth year.

Success didn’t come immediately for Jones as a knee injury in his final season at Syracuse caused his draft status to plummet before the Ravens selected him in the fifth round of the 2010 draft. Playing behind veterans such as Haloti Ngata, Kelly Gregg, and Cory Redding on the defensive line, Jones was active for just two games as a rookie.

At the same time, his other younger brother was becoming one of the most famous mixed martial art fighters in the world while cheering on his older brother in Baltimore.

“When he first started, we’d be out there watching like, ‘Is he even playing right now?’” said UFC light heavyweight champion Jon “Bones” Jones, who visited the Ravens at their Owings Mills facility on Wednesday. “Not only has Arthur managed to be in the game full-time, but he’s becoming an impact player, and that’s amazing to see.”

Now a starting defensive tackle for the league’s eighth-ranked defense in points allowed, Jones faced the problem that many young defensive linemen encounter when entering the NFL without overwhelming size like Ngata’s 340-pound frame. Listed at 6-foot-3 and 300 pounds coming out of college, Jones bounced back and forth among the different defensive line positions while learning the Ravens’ 3-4 system.

Jones became a regular member of the defensive line rotation in 2011 — appearing in 14 games and making one start — and was tabbed to compete with fellow defensive lineman Pernell McPhee last season at the 5-technique defensive end spot vacated by Redding. However, that position required more speed and didn’t allow Jones to fully utilize the strong leverage he gained from a wrestling background.

The transformation for Jones started midway through last season when the Ravens began using him more exclusively at the 3-technique defensive tackle spot that lines up on the outside shoulder of the opposing guard. Over the final six weeks of the 2012 season, Jones collected the first 4 1/2 sacks of his career and continued to be a major contributor in the Ravens’ postseason run to a title.

“The more guys play, the more they see, the more they just kind of understand what you want,” defensive coordinator Dean Pees said of Jones prior to the bye week. “When you’re early on and you play on a defense that’s a multiple-type defense, you really spend a heck of a lot of time just memorizing what the heck [you’re] supposed to do rather than just playing ball. Once that kind of clicks in, it makes a difference in a player who makes more plays, because it comes natural now.”

After missing the 2013 season opener due to an irregular heartbeat that put his career at a temporary standstill this summer, Jones has become one of the best players on the Baltimore defense in collecting four sacks and 28 tackles, five of them for a loss.

He has often pointed to a critical point in his career taking place during the NFL lockout in 2011 when he spent extensive time training with his brother Jon in the mixed martial arts. The workouts not only improved his hand placement critical for defensive line play but left him in the best shape of his life, and he’s continued to train with his young brother.

“I give a lot of credit to [Jon],” Jones said. “In the offseason, I work out with him faithfully on hand fighting, wrestling, [and] leverage. Just having good pad level is a game-changer in this league, so if you can learn how to use your hands and have good leverage, you can do some good things.”

Regarded as strictly a run-stopping lineman early in his career, Jones has emerged as arguably the Ravens’ best interior line pass rusher and has graded out as the team’s third-best defensive player this season behind the pass-rushing duo of Terrell Suggs and Elvis Dumervil, according to Pro Football Focus.

Though nose tackle Haloti Ngata has been named to four Pro Bowls and receives the most recognition along the defensive line, Jones has been the Ravens’ most consistent defensive lineman as he’s progressed from a frequent game-day inactive in his rookie season to one of the better 3-technique defensive tackles in the AFC. His improvement hasn’t gone unnoticed by his teammates, who’ve seen him blossom up front.

“When you see the potential of a player and he grows, and he starts to mature into himself [and] come into his own, it’s pretty good,” Suggs said. “It’s good to see the production that he’s had with success.”

The Ravens’ biggest problem in regards to Jones might be the ability to keep him as he’s scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season. Awarded the second-round tender worth $2.02 million as a restricted free agent this past offseason, the 27-year-old is in line for a good payday on the open market.

With the Ravens projected to have limited salary cap space for the second straight season and needing to address a plethora of offensive issues, Jones might follow a similar path as Paul Kruger, who turned a successful fourth season in Baltimore to a lucrative contract with the Cleveland Browns. Jones joked Wednesday that his younger brother Jon was visiting the team to help negotiate a contract extension with general manager Ozzie Newsome.

It’s true that Jones may never outshine his younger brothers, but he is finally seeing his hard work pay off and the Ravens have benefited along the way.

“He’s turned into a very solid and even excellent defensive lineman in this league, and I think it is because of his work ethic,” coach John Harbaugh said. “He’s talented, he’s quick, he’s explosive. He’s really maximized his physical potential, and he’s one of the best defensive lineman now going. We’re real proud of what he has done.”

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Webb, Ngata, D. Smith missing from Wednesday’s practice

Posted on 13 November 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. — Fresh off their best defensive performance of the season in Week 10, the Ravens were without three defensive starters in returning to the practice field on Wednesday to continue preparations for the Chicago Bears.

Defensive tackle Haloti Ngata, cornerback Lardarius Webb, and linebacker Daryl Smith were all absent during Wednesday’s practice. Ngata temporarily left Sunday’s win over the Cincinnati Bengals with a left knee injury but returned to action and deemed himself fine in the Ravens locker room following the game.

Smith missed two days of practice last week while dealing with a hamstring injury and left the field gingerly in overtime of Sunday’s game, acknowledging to reporters afterward that his hamstring was still tight. The 31-year-old linebacker was listed as questionable on the final injury report for the Bengals game before finishing with nine tackles.

Webb (groin) recorded his first interception of the year against the Bengals and did not appear to be laboring when speaking to reporters after the game, making it possible that Wednesday was a simple day of rest for the No. 1 cornerback. Sliding inside to the nickel position in sub packages, Webb was an active blitzer and finished with five tackles and six pass breakups.

Safety James Ihedigbo (toe) and cornerback Jimmy Smith (groin) were limited participants after playing in Sunday’s game against the Bengals. They were listed as questionable on last week’s injury report.

Starting left guard A.Q. Shipley was present and working during Wednesday’s practice after temporarily leaving Sunday’s game with a neck stinger.

The Bears have already ruled out quarterback Jay Cutler (ankle) and linebacker Lance Briggs (shoulder) for Sunday’s game at Soldier Field.

Here is Wednesday’s report:

BALTIMORE
DID NOT PARTICIPATE: DT Haloti Ngata (knee), LB Daryl Smith (thigh), CB Lardarius Webb (groin)
LIMITED PARTICIPATION: S James Ihedigbo (toe), CB Jimmy Smith (groin)
FULL PARTICIPATION: RB Bernard Pierce (toe/knee), WR Brandon Stokley (thigh)

CHICAGO
OUT: LB Lance Briggs (shoulder), QB Jay Cutler (ankle)
DID NOT PARTICIPATE: LS Patrick Mannelly (calf), DE Shea McClellin (hamstring), DT Jeremiah Ratliff (groin)

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