Tag Archive | "John Beck"

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Ravens ink QB Marc Bulger to 1-year deal

Posted on 23 June 2010 by Luke Jones

In an effort to improve their depth behind starter Joe Flacco, the Baltimore Ravens have signed veteran quarterback Marc Bulger to a one-year, $3.8 million deal Wednesday, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

The deal will also include incentives that could be reached should Bulger receive more snaps than expected in 2010.

Entering his 10th season, Bulger had spent his entire career with the St. Louis Rams, taking the reins of the St. Louis offense permanently in 2003 after backing up Kurt Warner for two years. The 33-year-old quarterback played in nine games last season, going 140 of 247 for 1,469 yards, five touchdowns, and six interceptions.

The Rams released Bulger in early April, clearing the way for St. Louis to draft Oklahoma quarterback Sam Bradford with the top pick of the NFL Draft a few weeks later.

Bulger joins returning backups Troy Smith and John Beck but clearly figures to be the No. 2 behind Flacco, who is entering his third season as the team’s starter. A $3.8 million investment in a backup is a hefty price, but general manager Ozzie Newsome has significantly improved the depth at the quarterback position.

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Blog & Tackle: 2010 NFL Free Agency primer

Posted on 05 March 2010 by Chris Pika

The 2010 NFL free agency period began March 5 with 531 players who can negotiate with all 32 clubs, and the landscape in an uncapped year is much different. Here are the Ravens players directly impacted by free agency, and some of the rules going forward in the 2010 season.

Restricted free agents in the 2010 Final (uncapped) League Year are players who have completed three, four or five accrued seasons and whose contracts have expired. They have received qualifying offers from their old clubs and are free to negotiate with any club until April 15, at which time their rights revert to their original club. If a player accepts an offer from a new club, the old club will have the right to match the offer and retain the player. If the old club elects not to match the offer, it can possibly receive draft-choice compensation depending on the amount of its qualifying offer. If an offer sheet is not executed, and the player receives the June 1 tender from his old club, the player’s rights revert exclusively to his old club on June 1.

Restricted free agents who received qualifying offers from their old clubs and are subject to the first refusal/compensation system of the NFL Collective Bargaining Agreement. The old club has a right of first refusal to all players listed below.  Compensation is as listed in the column on the right. If the old club has only a right of first refusal but is not entitled to any compensation, the designation “ROFR” appears in the column. In order to submit an offer sheet, a new club must have available the required choice or choices, defined as its own or better choices in the applicable rounds, in the 2010 NFL Draft. Offer sheets may be submitted to an old club by no later than 11:59:59 p.m., New York time, on Friday, April 15.

(Ravens Player, Pos., School, Compensation)
Barnes, Antwan  LB  Florida International 4th
Beck, John  QB  Brigham Young  3rd
Burgess, Prescott  LB  Michigan  6th
Chester, Chris  G  Oklahoma  3rd
Clayton, Mark  WR  Oklahoma  2nd
Cundiff, Billy  K  Drake  ROFR
Gaither, Jared  T  Maryland  1st
Koch, Sam  P  Nebraska  2nd
Landry, Dawan  DB  Georgia Tech  2nd
McClain, Le’Ron  RB  Alabama  1st
Moll, Tony  T  Nevada  5th
Smith, Troy  QB  Ohio State  5th
Washington, Fabian  DB  Nebraska  2nd
Williams, Demetrius  WR  Oregon  4th
Yanda, Marshal  G  Iowa  2nd
 
Unrestricted veteran free agents in the 2010 Final (uncapped) League Year are players who have completed six or more accrued seasons whose contracts have expired. They are free to sign with any club, with no compensation owed to their old club, through July 22 (or the first scheduled day of the first NFL training camp, whichever is later). At that point, their rights revert to their old club if it made a “tender” offer (110 percent of last year’s salary) to the player by June 1. Their old club then has until the Tuesday after the 10th week of the season (November 16) to sign the player. If the player does not sign by November 16, he must sit out the season. If no tender is offered by June 1, the player can be signed by any club at any time throughout the season.

Unrestricted free agents with six or more accrued seasons. Subject to the CBA’s “Final Eight Plan” rules, the players in this category may be signed by any club in the league until 4:00 p.m., New York time, on July 22 (or the first scheduled day of the first training camp, whichever is later), with no rights of any character held by the old club.

(Ravens Player, Pos., School)
Bannan, Justin  DT  Colorado
Edwards, Dwan  DE  Oregon State
Ivy, Corey  DB  Oklahoma
Mason, Derrick  WR  Michigan State
Smith, L.J.  TE  Rutgers
Tyree, David  WR  Syracuse
Walker, Frank  DB  Tuskegee
Washington, Kelley  WR  Tennessee
 
Players with fewer than six accrued seasons who received no qualifying offer or no minimum tender from their old club.  The players in this category may be signed immediately with no rights of any character held by the old club. There is no signing deadline applicable to these players.

(Ravens Player, Pos., School)
Jones, Edgar  TE Southeast Missouri
Ryan, Greg  C  Western Kentucky
Saucedo, Lou  T  Montana State
Terry, Adam  T  Syracuse
 
Here are some of the rules pertaining to the above players, especially in light of the “Final Eight Plan” currently in place that impacts the Ravens for the 2010 NFL season.

Q. What is the time period for free agency signings this year?
A. For restricted free agents, from March 5 to April 15.  For unrestricted free agents who have received the June 1 tender from their prior Club, from March 5 to July 22 (or the first scheduled day of the first NFL training camp, whichever is later). For franchise players, from March 5 until the Tuesday after the 10th week of the regular-season (November 16).  If he does not sign by November 16, he must sit out the season. There are no transition player designations this year.
 
Q. What is the difference between a restricted free agent and an unrestricted free agent?
A. In the 2010 League Year, players become restricted free agents when they complete three, four or five accrued seasons and their contract expires. Unrestricted free agents have completed six or more accrued seasons. An unrestricted free agent is free to sign with any club with no compensation owed to his old club.
 
Q. What constitutes an “accrued season?”
A. Six or more regular-season games on a club’s active/inactive, reserved-injured or “physically unable to perform” lists.
 
Q. What is the Final Eight Plan?
A. During the Final League Year, the eight clubs that make the Divisional Playoffs in the previous season have additional restrictions that limit their ability to sign unrestricted free agents from other clubs. In general, the four clubs participating in the championship games are limited in the number of unrestricted free agents that they may sign; the limit is determined by the number of their own unrestricted free agents signing with other clubs. They cannot sign any UFAs unless one of theirs is signed by another team.
 
For the four clubs that lost in the Divisional Playoffs (including the Ravens), in addition to having the ability to sign unrestricted free agents based on the number of their own unrestricted free agents signing with other clubs, they may also sign players based on specific financial parameters. Those four only will be permitted to sign one unrestricted free agent for $5,807,475 million or more in year one of the contract, plus the number of their UFAs who sign with another team. They also can sign any unrestricted free agents for no more than $3,861,823 million in year one of the contract with limitations on the per year increases.
           
In the case of all final eight teams, the first year salary of UFAs they sign to replace those lost cannot exceed the first year salary of the player lost with limitations on the per year increases.

Q. Is there an Entering Player Pool in the Final League Year?
A. Yes. The CBA provides that the league has the right to keep the rookie pool in the Final League Year.
 
Q. Is there a Minimum Team Salary in the Final League Year?
A. There is no Minimum Team Salary in the Final League Year.
 
Q. Are there individual player minimum salaries in the Final League Year?
A. Yes, but they rise at a rate somewhat slower than player minimum salaries rise in capped years.
 
Q. Do any player contract rules from capped years remain in place for the Final League Year?
A. Yes. Some rules like the “30% increase rule” are still in effect in the Final League Year for player contracts signed in capped years. That rule restricts salary increases from 2009 to 2010 and beyond. For example: a player with a $500,000 salary in 2009 would be limited to annual salary increases of $150,000 ($500,000 x 30%) beginning in 2010.

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Bengals-Ravens Notebook: 100-yard streak snapped, Ed Reed strikes again

Posted on 11 October 2009 by Luke Jones

– The Baltimore rush defense hadn’t allowed a 100-yard rusher in nearly three years before the Bengals’ Cedric Benson ended the streak at 39 games on Sunday.

Benson’s 28-yard touchdown run pushed him over the century mark while also giving the Bengals a 10-7 lead in the third quarter. The former Texas Longhorn rushed 27 times for 120 yards in the Bengals’ 17-14 victory over the Ravens.

“It sucks,” defensive tackle Haloti Ngata said about allowing a 100-yard rusher. “We definitely try to stop the run first, and basically, we didn’t do that today. We’ve got to go back and fix it, and hopefully do better this week.”

Kansas City Chiefs running back Larry Johnson was the last opponent to eclipse the 100-yard mark against the Baltimore defense before Benson on Sunday. Johnson’s 120-yard day took place in Kansas City on Dec. 10, 2006.

– Ed Reed continued to cultivate a Hall of Fame resume on Sunday, picking off Carson Palmer in the second quarter and returning it 52 yards for the first score of the game. It was Reed’s sixth career interception return for a touchdown, a franchise record.

It was the 45th interception of his eight-year career. His 45 interceptions and 1,213 interception return yards rank first among all active players in the NFL since 2002, Reed’s rookie season.

“It means nothing if you lose at the end of the day,” Reed said. “When you lose, everything else is out the window. Individual stuff doesn’t matter at the end of the day.”

Including the postseason, Reed has scored 13 touchdowns in his career. He is also the only player in NFL history to score touchdowns off of an interception, a blocked punt, a punt return, and a fumble recovery.

– Despite the offense scoring only seven points on the day, it was another sterling performance by second-year running back Ray Rice. The shifty back registered 143 yards from scrimmage against Cincinnati with 69 coming on the ground and 74 receiving yards (a new career high).

His 48-yard catch and run to the end zone looked to be the decisive blow for the Ravens before Palmer and the Bengals drove 80 yards in the final two minutes for the winning touchdown. Rice is averaging 114.4 net yards per game through the first five weeks of the season.

– Palmer was brilliant on Cincinnati’s final drive, but the Bengals were aided by three crucial Baltimore penalties.  Defensive back Chris Carr was flagged for illegal contact, linebacker Ray Lewis was called for unnecessary roughness on a violent helmet-to-helmet hit on Chad Ochocinco, and Frank Walker’s pass interference penalty on 3rd-and-16 gave the Bengals a fresh set of downs at the Baltimore 20-yard line.

Following the Walker flag, Palmer connected with Andre Caldwell for the game-winning 20-yard touchdown.

“I felt like I went around him and batted the ball down, but we haven’t watched the film yet, so I could be inaccurate,” Walker said about the questionable call.

– Quarterback Joe Flacco’s 186 passing yards moved him past Steve McNair into third place in team history with 4,260 career yards through the air.

– Wide receiver Mark Clayton passed Qadry Ismail into third place for all-time receiving yards in team history. The fifth-year wideout has 2,849 yards in his career.

– Derrick Mason did not record a catch for the Ravens offense, making it the first time since Oct. 15, 2006 that the veteran receiver did not have at least one reception for the Baltimore offense.

– Tight end and special teams player Edgar Jones left the game with a hamstring injury and did not return. His was the only reported injury for the Ravens.

– The Ravens’ inactives were John Beck (third quarterback), Jalen Parmele, Prescott Burgess, Oniel Cousins, Jared Gaither, Tony Curtis, Kelly Talavou, and Paul Kruger.

– The Ravens (3-2) will travel to Minnesota to take on the undefeated Vikings (5-0, first place in the NFC North) at the Metrodome next Sunday.

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Live from Westminster: The swan song from McDaniel College

Posted on 22 August 2009 by Luke Jones

4:05 p.m. – I chatted with Frank Walker as he walked off the field, and he was definitely glad to be breaking camp, though he emphasized it was a great experience in Westminster.

Even though the players were eager to leave summer camp behind, they continued to sign autographs for the fans out here in Westminster this afternoon.  You can tell these guys genuinely enjoy interacting with the fans.  The organization does things the right way, and it’s why the Ravens are king in this town.

4:00 p.m. – The special teams practice has concluded, as has the Ravens’ 2009 training camp here in Westminster.  The team will hold a walk-through tomorrow morning (closed to the media and public) before breaking camp.

The hour-long afternoon practice was uneventful, but tackle Oniel Cousins did not practice with the other young offensive linemen.  There was no word on any injury, but I did overhear offensive line coach John Matsko asking Cousins if he’d be able to play Monday as they were leaving the field toward the end of practice.

Cousins is the team’s top reserve tackle, so this will definitely be a situation to monitor leading up to Monday night’s game with the Jets.  The Ravens are thin at the position with veteran tackle Adam Terry already on injured reserve.

1:33 p.m. – I’m getting ready to head out to the field for the last public workout of the summer.  If the hotel lobby is any indication, I may be the only member of the local media out there this afternoon.

The ESPN Monday Night Football crew is here, as they prepare to broadcast Monday night’s game.  I saw Ron Jaworski and Jon Gruden chatting with Harbaugh and Joe Flacco during lunch.

12:03 p.m. – As previously mentioned below, Suggs and Clayton were again absent from practice.

Harbaugh once again described Suggs’ Achilles strain as a “nagging injury” but admitted he thought the star linebacker would have returned by this point.  Suggs has been riding the exercise bike to maintain his conditioning.

Suggs injured the heel on Aug. 2 and has missed the last 20 days of training camp.

Clayton was working out after practice, catching passes from quarterback John Beck.  He appears to be making progress, but it’s doubtful we’ll see the receiver before the last preseason game, if not the regular season opener.

12:00 p.m. – When asked how long the first team would play against the Jets on Monday night, Harbaugh suggested we’ll see the starting units into the second quarter if not the entire half.  It will all depend on the number of plays they receive in the first quarter or so.

Of course, Harbaugh did say the amount of time will vary from player to player, so one would think veterans like Ray Lewis and Ed Reed will not play as long as younger starters such as Tavares Gooden or Michael Oher.

11:56 a.m. – The last Ravens practice open to the public and media will take place at 2:00 p.m. this afternoon.  It will only be a special teams practice, so many of the big names will not be present.

The team will hold a walk-through tomorrow (closed to the media and general public) before breaking camp and returning to the Owings Mills facility.  It’s obvious to see how eager the players are to break camp and get back to their normal lives and routines without the two-a-days in the August heat.

11:47 a.m. – I spoke to Kevin Byrne after practice, and while there is no official number yet, the Ravens expect to set a new record for a camp that did not include a scrimmage.  The overall record of 111,492 fans was set in 2001—the year following the Super Bowl XXXV victory.

If you ever wondered how the team comes up with those training camp attendance figures, no, it’s not the job of a new intern or long snapper Matt Katula, as it was suggested by one reporter.

The team uses the number of parked cars and multiplies it by 3 to get their estimated figures.

11:42 a.m. – Derrick Mason was once again wearing No. 85 in practice.  There was no word on whether the NFL has squashed his plan to honor the late Steve McNair by wearing No. 9 during practices.

11:37 a.m. – Harbaugh speculated with reporters about having the longest camp in the NFL.  When Philadelphia was mentioned as having a longer camp, the Ravens head coach jokingly suggested they’ll try to have the longest one next year.

He was pleased with the work his players have completed this summer and described the defense’s transition from Ryan to Mattison as “seamless.”

11:27 a.m. – Willis McGahee is expecting the second preseason game to be more intense than usual when considering who will be coaching on the other sideline.

With Rex Ryan returning to Baltimore as the head coach of the New York Jets, McGahee expects both sides to really go after each other compared to what you would normally see in the preseason.

When asked about his former teammate Bart Scott and his propensity for trash talk, McGahee playfully replied, “Bart’s going to be Bart.”

Monday night clearly won’t resemble a postseason game, but it’s definitely  more compelling than what you’ll typically find during an August football game.  As Glenn Clark has said all week, it wouldn’t surprise me to see Ryan mix in more blitzing than normal in a preseason game.

11:22 a.m. – When asked about the differences between Rex Ryan and new defensive coordinator Greg Mattison, Pryce noted that Mattison gives the defense more time to meet with positional coaches.  The defensive schemes are very similar with just a few minor tweaks.

The veteran defensive lineman also noted that both men clearly have a passion for football, but everyone’s personality is different.

11:18 a.m. – Pryce spoke to reporters after practice and said this is the deepest defensive line on which he has ever played, an impressive statement considering Pryce played on two Super Bowl-winning defenses in Denver.

He emphasized how big the return of Dwan Edwards to the rotation will be for the defense.  Edwards missed the entire 2008 season with a back injury.

11:16 a.m. – The defensive play of the morning came from cornerback Domonique Foxworth when he picked off a Cleo Lemon pass.

The former Terp has had a very solid training camp and looks very comfortable playing in the Ravens defense.

11:13 a.m. – Rookie Eron Riley had the catch of the morning, grabbing a jump ball in a crowd on a pass thrown by John Beck.

The former Duke receiver has good size at 6-3 but hasn’t really done enough to warrant serious consideration for a roster spot.

11:08 a.m. – It will be interesting to see where Jayson Foster fits into the plans on Monday night.  Though mostly working with the second offense, he continues to receive a few reps with the first unit.

His shining play of the morning was a 33-yard touchdown reception from Troy Smith.

While he still may be on the outside looking in when the team trims the roster to 53, Foster is certainly one of the biggest surprises of training camp, even earning comparisons to Wes Welker from offensive coordinator Cam Cameron earlier this week.

11:04 a.m. – The Ravens worked on fake field goals at the beginning of practice before focusing on various third-down packages on defense.

The scout team offense showed a few Wildcat looks to the defense, but they were not very impressive.  Cedric Peerman will never be confused with Ronnie Brown as he threw a wounded duck that was easily picked off by Ed Reed (sporting the red jersey today).

On the next play, Yamon Figurs tried to take the shotgun snap but fumbled.  Needless to say, it was a comedy of errors from the Wildcat scout team.

11:02 a.m. – Terrell Suggs (Achilles heel), Mark Clayton (hamstring), and Dannell Ellerbe (knee) did not practice today, and Trevor Pryce did not participate in any team drills.

Pryce spoke to the media after practice and basically equated it to a morning off with no significant injury.

10:58 a.m. – The Ravens held their last full-squad workout this morning, a brief hour and a half practice in shorts and shells.

John Harbaugh eliminated the individual portions of practice, leaving only the team drills to execute.  The team practiced on the lower field due to the torrential rains that swept through the area last night, leaving the upper grass fields very slick.

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Getting down to 53: The final days of training camp

Posted on 18 August 2009 by Luke Jones

We’re in the final week of training camp in Westminster, but the Ravens do not need to make any cuts until Sept. 1, when they must trim the roster to 75 players.  The team must then narrow down to the regular season number of 53 by Sept. 5.

For those begging for help at the wide receiver position, the late cut dates mean any veteran receiver that could possibly shake free and help the cause in Baltimore probably won’t be available until right before the regular season.

I’ve listed the number of players I predict the Ravens to keep at each position in parentheses. This list does not include the practice squad of eight players the Ravens will keep in addition to the 53-man roster.

QUARTERBACKS (3)
LOCK: Joe Flacco, Troy Smith, John Beck
BUBBLE: None
LONG SHOT: Cleo Lemon, Drew Willy
Skinny: It’s been an interesting week regarding quarterbacks, but Cam Cameron made it clear the Ravens are still committed to Beck as the No. 3 guy.  Smith’s play in the preseason has further cemented his status as the backup to Flacco.

RUNNING BACKS (5)
LOCK: Ray Rice, Willis McGahee, Le’Ron McClain
BUBBLE: Jalen Parmele, Matt Lawrence, Cedric Peerman
LONGSHOT: Jason Cook
Skinny: Parmele is a favorite of Cameron, and Lawrence impressed during the preseason opener last week.  Peerman appears to currently trail these two on the depth chart.  Despite being the only other fullback behind McClain on the roster, Cook appears to be a candidate for the practice squad at this point.

WIDE RECEIVERS (5)
LOCK: Derrick Mason, Mark Clayton, Demetrius Williams, Kelley Washington
BUBBLE: Justin Harper, Yamon Figurs, Jayson Foster
LONG SHOT: Biren Ealy, Bradon Godfrey, Eron Riley, Ernie Wheelwright
Skinny: Losing Marcus Smith for the season is a major blow to the special teams units, an area in which the second-year receiver thrived.  Williams’ inability to remain healthy continues to frustrate the staff.  Harper has a ton of potential but is very inconsistent.  Foster has put his name into consideration with a good performance against the Redskins and an ability to make plays during practice.

TIGHT ENDS (3)
LOCK: Todd Heap, L.J. Smith
BUBBLE: Edgar Jones, Davon Drew
LONG SHOT: Isaac Smolko
Skinny: Drew continues to be very quiet on the practice field.  Jones is a good special teams player and has played some H-back during camp.  His ability to play linebacker if needed makes him a valuable commodity on the 53-man roster.

OFFENSIVE LINEMEN (8)
LOCK: Jared Gaither, Ben Grubbs, Matt Birk, Chris Chester, Michael Oher, Marshal Yanda, Oniel Cousins
BUBBLE: David Hale, Tre Stallings, Joe Reitz
LONG SHOT: Robby Felix, Stefan Rodgers, Bryan Mattison
Skinny: The team should definitely look to add a veteran tackle, because Cousins is too inconsistent as the third tackle, but he’s improved from last season. Hale’s ability to play both guard and center will likely land him on the roster.

DEFENSIVE LINEMEN (6)
LOCK: Kelly Gregg, Haloti Ngata, Trevor Pryce, Justin Bannan
BUBBLE: Dwan Edwards, Brandon McKinney, Kelly Talavou
LONG SHOT: Will Johnson, Nader Abdallah
Skinny: Edwards and McKinney are the favorites to land the final two defensive line spots on the roster.

LINEBACKERS (10)
LOCK: Ray Lewis, Terrell Suggs, Jarret Johnson, Tavares Gooden, Antwan Barnes, Jameel McClain, Paul Kruger, Brendon Ayanbadejo
BUBBLE: Jason Phillips, Dannell Ellerbe, Prescott Burgess
LONG SHOT: Tony Fein, Will VanDeSteeg
Skinny: Ellerbe’s knee sprain was a disappointment considering how much he’s impressed over the last two weeks.  Burgess has been around for a couple years, but will it be enough?

CORNERBACKS (6)
LOCK: Domonique Foxworth, Fabian Washington, Chris Carr, Lardarius Webb, Samari Rolle, Frank Walker
BUBBLE: K.J. Gerard, Evan Oglesby, Derrick Martin
LONG SHOT: None
Skinny: Rolle’s health continues to be a concern.  Walker is probably safe because his physical style is much different than the other pure cover guys in the secondary.  Considering how many talented, young linebackers are currently on the roster, I predict the Ravens will go with 10 backers and only six corners.  If they go with seven corners, Gerard, Oglesby, and Martin are all in the mix.  Martin has seen reps at both safety and corner this summer.

SAFETIES (4)
LOCK: Ed Reed, Dawan Landry, Haruki Nakamura, Tom Zbikowski
BUBBLE:
LONG SHOT: None
Skinny: No drama at this position.  These four are locks.

KICKER (1)
LOCK: None
BUBBLE: Graham Gano, Steve Hauschka
LONG SHOT: None
Skinny: It’s been a very close race so far, with Hauschka possibly holding the slightest of edges.  There are still three preseason games to clarify the picture.

PUNTER (1)
LOCK: Sam Koch
BUBBLE: None
LONG SHOT: None
Skinny: Koch practiced some field goals this week to be prepared in an emergency situation.

LONG SNAPPER (1)
LOCK: Matt Katula
BUBBLE: None
LONG SHOT: None
Skinny: Ngata is the backup field goal snapper, and McGahee is the No. 2 long snapper for punts.  Let’s hope neither has to be called into action.

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Live from Westminster: Rolle to see another specialist for neck, still on PUP list

Posted on 16 August 2009 by Luke Jones

6:57 p.m. — The Ravens will hold two practices on Monday, a morning session at 8:45 a.m. and an afternoon workout at 2:45 p.m.  Both practices are full-squad sessions and are open to the public.

WNST’s Glenn Clark will be providing all of the coverage including hourly reports, blogging, and Twitter updates, so be sure to follow WNST.net for all of your Ravens training camp coverage!

6:50 p.m. — One of the last drills of practice involved some pressure situations late in the half.  The first and second offenses were presented with different scenarios in which they would have to run a play, kill the clock (if necessary), and line up for a field goal.

The starting offense struggled mightily in this drill with a few dropped passes, batted passes (courtesy of Antwan Barnes), and even a Flacco stumble and fumble while trying to escape pressure.

It was clear that Harbaugh was not thrilled with the way his offense played during this portion of practice.  Ed Reed was talking trash and reminding the offense they were still out there.

6:46 p.m. — I’m really starting to think Ed Reed is just trying to mess with people—including the media.  After playing in Thursday’s game and not wearing the red jersey during Saturday morning’s practice, the All-Pro was back in the red jersey this afternoon even though the players practiced in shorts and shells.

It’s clear the coaching staff is giving Reed the freedom and input to decide when he wants to engage in contact, but it’s impossible to really gauge his health with the constant change in jersey color.

6:43 p.m. — Terrell Suggs (Achilles) and Mark Clayton (hamstring) did not practice, but both players were out on the field, wearing spikes, and working on conditioning individually.

I watched Suggs run up the steps to the McDaniel College gymnasium, and he looked very mobile and had little trouble doing it.  I think he’s pretty close to getting back on the practice field, but that’s just my opinion.

I still haven’t received any signals of concern from the organization regarding the Pro Bowl linebacker.

6:40 p.m. — Landry continues to have an excellent camp, as he nearly picked off Flacco during 7-on-7 drills this afternoon, deflecting away the attempt.

With the emergence of Jim Leonhard in Landry’s absence last season, the strong safety is out to prove he’s a strong force in the secondary, and if his play during camp is any indication, I like his chances.

6:37 p.m. — Graham Gano and Steve Hauschka once again faced off in a series of field goal attempts this afternoon, with the latter appearing to have a slight edge in the early kicking portion of practice.

Hauschka made field goals from 31, 39, 41, and 48 yards.  On the 31-yard attempt, Harbaugh even tried to rattle him by signaling a time out much like an opposing coach would do in a pressure situation.  Hauschka made the attempt after the “timeout.”  Hauschka missed an attempt from 53 yards away.

Gano made kicks from 39, 48, and 53 yards but missed tries from 38 and 51 yards.

6:32 p.m. — Cameron pulled out a couple of gadget plays this afternoon to keep practice fresh.

On one play, Flacco hit Kelley Washington on a 10-yard curl with the receiver immediately lateraling to Ray Rice who was trailing on the play.  The ol’ hook and lateral was executed to perfection.

The offense also worked on a play with a series of laterals, mostly between the skill position players, but left tackle Jared Gaither even took one and quickly got rid of the ball.

6:29 p.m. — It was an inconsistent practice for Justin Harper.  The gifted receiver made an amazing one-handed catch on a pass thrown by Joe Flacco but was then chastised by Harbaugh later in practice for not using two hands to make catches.

The coaching staff wants to see more consistency with the 6-3 receiver, as the speed and size are certainly there.  It’s not a lack of effort with Harper, but it’s more about paying attention to detail and using good technique to catch the football.

6:28 p.m. — Jayson Foster appears to have worked his way up the depth chart after his impressive performance against Washington, lining up as a second-team receiver and catching several long passes during practice today.

At 5-7, Foster is undersized, but he’s fun to root for and shows ability in the return game.  I’d still say he’s a long-shot for the 53-man roster, but we’ll see if he can continue to demand notice from the coaching staff.

6:24 p.m. — ESPN’s Chris Mortensen was in Westminster today, and the Ravens’ PR staff presented the NFL reporter a key to training camp.  The fans loved the gesture, and it was a fun moment.

6:20 p.m. — The Ravens have signed veteran quarterback Cleo Lemon, giving them five quarterbacks on the current roster.  The team brought back rookie Drew Willy yesterday, but it appears he won’t be in Westminster for long after the Lemon signing.

Lemon has worked with offensive coordinator Cam Cameron in San Diego and Miami.  The veteran quarterback—who was originally signed by the Ravens as an undrafted free agent in 2002—was the starting quarterback that led the then-winless Dolphins to a victory over the Ravens in the 2007 season, hitting Greg Camarillo for a 64-yard touchdown pass in overtime.

Today was also Lemon’s 30th birthday, so it was clearly a nice present for the veteran quarterback to find his way on an NFL roster.

6:17 p.m. — John Beck was dressed to practice and took part in the walk-through portion of practice but did not throw any passes of real substance during the session.

I spoke to him after practice, but he deferred to the coaching and training staff regarding his injured shoulder.  He did confirm there was nothing broken or torn.

Beck expressed hope to throw later this week, but he said it isn’t up to him.  Harbaugh also implied that Beck’s injury was not as serious as speculated and his recovery wouldn’t be too long.

6:11 p.m. — Today’s practice was the longest of the summer, lasting over two and a half hours, and it also came on one of the hottest days of the summer here in Westminster.

Despite the heat, it is no excuse for media members to sit or lay down on the sideline, a violation of team rules and a policy held by most teams in the NFL.  A couple national media members learned this rule the hard way today.  After noticing the media members—no, they weren’t “big” names—laying on the ground, Harbaugh threw them out of practice.

All I can say is I’m glad it wasn’t me!

6:08 p.m. — Yamon Figurs limped off the field toward the end of practice, as he continues to recover from foot surgery earlier this year.  Figurs has stepped up his play recently at the receiver position, so hopefully this minor setback with the foot will not keep him out of practice.

Wide receiver Ernie Wheelwright left the field after banging knees with Dawan Landry during passing drills.  He did not return to practice.

6:05 p.m. — Jarret Johnson (back spams), Chris Carr (back spasms), Demetrius Williams (hamstring), and Dannell Ellerbe (knee sprain) all missed practice this afternoon.

Harbaugh said Ellerbe’s knee sprain could keep him sidelined for a week, and he may miss next Monday’s preseason game against the New York Jets.

5:56 p.m. — Perhaps the biggest news from today’s training camp was John Harbaugh revealing that Samari Rolle will see another specialist regarding his injured neck that has had him on the PUP list since the start of training camp.

Harbaugh said they simply want to be sure about the cornerback’s health, but the head coach had expressed optimism two weeks ago that Rolle would be returning within a couple of days.  Clearly that hasn’t happened, and the injury is still a concern.

Rolle has been seen on the field receiving electronic stimulation and has worked on conditioning on the field on several occasions.

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Live from Westminster: Gaither returns to practice, Divens placed on IR

Posted on 15 August 2009 by Luke Jones

3:45 p.m. — The afternoon special teams practice lasted about an hour with the only news being the absence of returner Chris Carr.  He did not practice this afternoon and was walking very gingerly, suggesting he’s dealing with some type of leg issue.

Carr walked off the field with trainer Bill Tessendorf in the closing minutes of the morning session.

1:27 p.m. — The Ravens will hold a special teams practice at 2:00 p.m. this afternoon.  Tomorrow morning’s practice has been CANCELLED.  The team will have a full-squad practice on Sunday afternoon at 2:45 p.m.

1:23 p.m. — Unofficially, Steve Hauschka was two of four in field goal attempts.  Hauschka made attempts from 20 and 41 yards but appeared to miss from 47 and 51 yards.  Both of these attempts were very close, and it was difficult to tell.  There were no officials standing underneath the goal posts, so I was just judging from my spot on the sideline.  I guess I need to hire my own personal referee to help me with this part of the blog!

Hauschka appears to have a slight edge over Graham Gano at this point, but there are three preseason games remaining before any decision needs to be made.

12:48 p.m. — Harbaugh had a blue work shirt with the name “John” on it this morning, symbolizing how he wants his team to work hard just like an average person works hard at a regular job for a living.  It was amusing seeing the head coach of the Baltimore Ravens wearing a shirt you’d typically see worn by a plumber or electrician.

Harbaugh is really big on slogans and symbolism for his football team.

12:44 p.m. — A couple other health-related notes to pass on about the morning practice.  Demetrius Williams did practice but had an ice pack on the right hamstring during the final moments of practice.  He’s battled the nagging injury for most of camp.

Chris Carr left the field with trainer Bill Tessendorf shortly before practice concluded.  There are no specifics on any potential injury at this time.

12:32 p.m. — Linebacker Dannell Ellerbe did not practice this morning.  There is no word on any injury.

Ellerbe has been one of the surprises of camp, taking reps with the first-team defense at times and gaining serious consder

12:29 p.m. — At the very end of practice, Joe Flacco brought the fans to their feet when he scrambled around while trying to find a receiver but finally found his way to the end zone on his feet.  He spiked the football after scoring, gaining a loud cheer in the process.

Not to be outdone, Troy Smith connected with Matt Lawrence for a touchdown, scoring for the second-team offense.

12:27 p.m. — Receiver Kelley Washington had one of the highlights of the morning, making a long, one-handed touchdown reception, beating Fabian Washington on the play.

12:24 p.m. — Ray Rice continues to impress with his ability to catch the ball coming out of the backfield.  During 7-on-7 drills, he made a nifty one-handed grab.

Another lesser-known running back, Matt Lawrence, continues to make a name for himself after an impressive performance against the Redskins.  Lawrence beat Oglesby on a long pass reception.

Both Lawrence and Jalen Parmele—a player liked by offensive coordinator Cam Cameron—clearly appear to be ahead of sixth-round pick Cedric Peerman on the depth chart.  Peerman hasn’t had a bad camp, but he’s done little to really stand out among his peers at the running back position.

12:09 p.m. — Cornerback Evan Oglesby dropped a sure interception thrown by Troy Smith this morning.  For a player like Oglesby trying to make the 53-man roster, you want to make every possible play you can to impress the coaching staff.

12:06 p.m. — Terrell Suggs and Mark Clayton were both absent from practice, though I saw both players out on the field working on some light conditioning.  Despite Suggs not practicing in two weeks, no one really seems too concerned about his status for the regular season.  He is not wearing any boot or apparent brace for the injured heel.

Clayton is expected to miss at least one or two more preseason games as he recovers from a hamstring injury.

Marcus Smith made an appearance during practice on crutches.  He is out for the year with a torn ACL and will undergo surgery next week.  Doctors must wait for the swelling to subside before repairing the knee.

You have to feel badly for Smith.  While fans tend to view professional athletes as little more than millionaires, these guys are human beings, and it has to be incredibly frustrating to put in so much work throughout the offseason, only to tear up your knee in the preseason opener.  Smith will not only be a loss at the receiver position, but he is one of the best special teams players on the team.  He was a great gunner on the punt team, so the Ravens will need someone else to step up in his absence.

12:04 p.m. — The offensive line had some struggles with the snap count when they worked from their own 1-yard line this morning.  L.J. Smith jumped once and then several members of the offensive line committed a false start on the following play.  This could not have made Harbaugh happy after seeing his team commit nine penalties on Thursday night—one of the few negatives you can take from the game.

Yamon Figurs had a great morning, catching two long passes from Troy Smith, beating Frank Walker for a touchdown and grabbing a 33-yard pass against Evan Oglesby.  These are the types of practices Figurs needs to have to improve his standing with the organization.  He is one of those veterans who suddenly finds himself squarely on the bubble.

12:00 p.m. — Ed Reed did not wear the red jersey during the full-squad workout this morning, no surprise considering he played against the Redskins.

11:58 a.m. — Jared Gaither returned to the practice field this morning after sitting out Thursday night’s preseason opener.  It was more of a precautionary move to keep the big left tackle out, as he continues to battle soreness with the strained trapezius muscle.

Marshal Yanda also practiced this morning after sitting out Thursday’s game.

11:55 a.m. — John Harbaugh wanted his players to quickly forget the impressive 23-0 victory over the Washington Redskins on Thursday night, and he proved it by holding one of the longest practices of the summer this morning.  Practice lasted two hours and 20 minutes.

I have a few roster notes to pass along.  Quarterback Drew Willy has been re-signed to the 80-man training camp roster.  You may remember Willy was on the roster during OTAs and was signed after the draft.  He played his college ball at the University of Buffalo and knows the offensive system better than any other quarterback the team could sign at this point.

John Beck’s injured throwing shoulder does not have a tear, but there is still no set timetable on his return.  He obviously did not practice this morning.

If Beck must miss an extended period of time, the Ravens could be interested in quarterback Cleo Lemon.  The veteran quarterback tried out for the team after the morning practice.

The team also signed receiver Bradon Godfrey, a rookie out of Utah and Paul Kruger’s former teammate.  Godfrey is 6-3 and 197 pounds—very skinny legs.  He had been signed by the Atlanta Falcons earlier in the offseason.

The Ravens also placed defensive tackle Lamar Divens on injured reserve with a hip injury.  Divens was competing for a roster spot on a very deep defensive line and could not get healthy during training camp.

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Ravens 23 Redskins 0 (Preseason Games Merit No Clever Nickname)

Posted on 14 August 2009 by Derek Arnold

Whether starters or backups, veterans or rookies, none of the Ravens had much problem disposing of the Washington Redskins last night in the first preseason action of 2009. There was plenty of good that comes from a double-digit shutout win, of course, but there was also some bad sprinkled in. Here’s what I noticed:

Michael Oher = BEAST.

Michael Oher

Wow, what a game this kid had. We knew he was going to be solid, but he came out and absolutely mauled people from the start. Any of you picking up Madden today, let me know what Oher’s run-blocking rating is – because anything less than say, a 95, isn’t giving the man-child his due. He straight up pancaked at least two Redskins.

Now, if only we could get the guy a helmet that fits.

Oher lost his dome-piece twice, the second time right before he bashed heads with the Skins defender, and was a bloody mess as a result. After going into the locker room to get three stitches to close the gash (and some saran wrap around his noggin to hold on the gauze), Oher was right back on the field.

Looks like another great pick by the Ravens’ front office.

Quarterbacks Effective

Joe Flacco was a quiet 9/15 for 103 yards. Joe Cool didn’t do anything spectacular, but he was efficient in going through his reads, avoided any sacks or turnovers, and led two 60+ yard scoring drives. Unfortunately, both drives stalled in the red zone (Deja Vu alert). Perhaps Flacco’s best throw of the night, a sideline pass to Marcus Smith, bounced off Smith’s chest.

Troy Smith saw the most action last night, throwing 30 passes and completing 14 of them for 200 yards and a score. He was impressive in his ability to sidestep pressure and extend plays, but Smith still has a tendency (as I noted here) to lock on to his primary reciever. It didn’t hurt hit against the Redskins’ 2nd-teamers, but against a starting NFL defense, methinks it would be a different story.

John Beck wasn’t bad either, going 5/9 for 105 yards. He may give Troy some competition for the backup job, yet. He looks too good to be a #3 QB in the NFL, though.

All 3 quarterbacks benefited from…

YAC

Ray Rice caught a short check-down from Flacco in the 1st quarter and turned it into a 34-yard gain. Near the end of the game, Jayson Foster grabbed a quick out from Beck, dodged a defender, and raced 64 yards before being pulled down just short of the goal line. Foster likely earned himself a closer look as camp continues.

This is an area where Ravens receivers have struggled year-after-year, and it was nice to see somebody step it up, even if it was just a RB and a likely-to-be-cut WR.

Kickers

I mentioned that the kicking game would be interesting to keep an eye on. Steve Hauschka was 2/2, hitting from 21 and 37 yards, and put one of his kickoffs into the end zone, though not deep enough to garner a touchback. Gano hit from 39, but banged a 28-yard attempt off the right upright as time expired. He probably wishes Coach John Harbaugh had just let the clock run out.

Rex-Less Defense

As promised, new DC Greg Mattison ran most plays out of his base 3-4 defense, going light on the blitzing. He admitted after the game that he was not satisfied with the amount of pressure the Ravens were able to get on the QB while only rushing four, so it will be interesting to see if his tactics change at all moving forward. While Kelly Gregg, Justin Bannan, and Haloti Ngata are all extremely effective D-linemen, getting to the QB has never been any of their bread-and-butter. The return of T-Sizzle to the lineup will obviously help, but there were times watching the game when Ravens fans, more accustomed to an aggressive scheme, wanted to see more bodies flying towards the pocket.

Still, the Ravens racked up 3 sacks, an interception, and a fumble recovery, and ended the day +2 in the turnover department. We’ll happily give Mr. Mattison’s debut a favorable review.

Return Game

Did veteran return man Chris Carr have a few butterflies in his first appearance in purple? He called for a fair catch on a punt return when nobody was within about 12 yards of him (although, as pointed out by the RaveTV broadcast team, this could have been due to his noticing that the Ravens had already been flagged on the play), and dropped another punt before scooping it up and gaining positive yardage.

Jayson Foster had the best punt return of the night, a 21-yard gain.

Ledarius Webb, a guy we have big hopes for here at the Nest, had returns of 6 and 10 yards, an unspectacular start.

Yamon Figurs, widely considered the odd man out of the group, did nothing special on punt returns either. However, he did have two receptions, one of which went for 42 yards. He’ll likely need a couple similar performances catching passes in the coming games to make the opening day roster.

Speaking of Receivers…

Ravens wideouts had an up-and-down night. Marcus Smith dropped a couple, including the aforementioned sideline throw from Flacco. He tried to redeem himself by making a tackle on special teams, but he injured himself in the process, and is rumored to be seriously hurt.

Justin Harper, the star of training camp so far, had 4 catches for 57 yards, including a 19-yard TD, but had at least 3 drops of catchable balls. Some consistency would be very nice to see.

Kelley Washington and Demetrius Williams, two guys who will likely see plenty of the field (barring injuries) in 2009, combined for 3 catches for 42 yards. We’ll excuse Washington for doing the Chad Pennington “air stab,” because he looked -300% as dorky doing it as Chad does.

Ravens 23 Redskins 0

Just wanted to type that one more time, because hey…kicking the crap out of the skins is always fun, even if it is just practice.

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Ravens spank Redskins in preseason opener

Posted on 14 August 2009 by Luke Jones

In a thoroughly dominating performance, the Baltimore Ravens upended their neighbors to the south, beating the Washington Redskins, 23-0.

Though the starting unit failed to put the ball in the end zone, quarterback Joe Flacco and the offense moved the ball consistently against the Redskins’ defense.  Flacco finished his night going 9 of 15 for 103 yards.

His longest pass came on a 34-yard completion to Ray Rice out of the backfield.  Rice and Willis McGahee both looked strong running the ball, combining for 48 yards on only nine carries.

“I thought they ran hard,” coach John Harbaugh said.  “You know they got the ball north and south.  It’s good to see the checkdowns [from the quarterbacks].”

Despite moving the ball deep inside Washington territory twice, the Ravens had to settle for two Steve Hauschka field goals.

“The three penalties in the first half hurt us,” offensive coordinator Cam Cameron said.  “We can correct those.  We held the ball and moved the ball early, but we have to score touchdowns, not field goals.  Ball security was good, and we’ve worked hard on that.”

The Ravens finally found the end zone at the end of the first half when backup quarterback Troy Smith hit a wide-open Justin Harper for a 19-yard touchdown.  Harper had dropped two passes before redeeming himself on the scoring play.

“I thought that was pretty tough coverage,” Smith said.  “It was a key catch he made.  Harper can catch anything that he puts his mind to.”

The Ravens finished the night with 500 total yards, including 399 in the air.  Smith finished with 200 passing yards while John Beck added 105.

The defense—regardless of whether it was the first-, second-, or third-string unit—dominated the Washington offense throughout the night, holding the Redskins to only 11 first downs and 196 yards of total offense while forcing two turnovers.  It was a stellar debut for new defensive coordinator Greg Mattison, who was presented the game ball by Ray Lewis at the end of the game.

Jameel McClain led the team in tackles with six while Tavares Gooden added five stops.

“I don’t think we’ve skipped a beat,” defensive tackle Kelly Gregg said.  “The goal is to always get off the field as fast as possible.  It makes things that much better when you see your offense drive the ball and get first downs.”

The black mark on an otherwise satisfying performance was the number of penalties committed throughout the night.  The Ravens had nine penalties, costing themselves 70 yards in the process.  Harbaugh voiced his displeasure with the miscues after the game.

“We have to find a way to work it out,” Harbaugh said.  “All types of penalties.  And that’s probably the most disappointing thing.”

First-round pick Michael Oher had a stellar debut at right tackle, despite sustaining a gash on his forehead early in the game.  After receiving two stitches he returned to the field and even took some reps with the second offense.

“He’s ready to play,” Rice said.  “He’s physical.  He got out there and got a jump on people.  He just needs to continue to get better each game.”

In the second half, the defensive dominance continued as Paul Kruger and Tom Zbikowski added sacks and Derrick Martin picked off a Colt Brennan pass in Baltimore territory.

Rookie running back Cedric Peerman added a seven-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter to put the Ravens up by 23 points.

Despite the positive outcome of the preseason opener, the Ravens took another hit at the wide receiver position, as Marcus Smith went down with a serious knee injury.  Harbaugh speculated that the injury involves the ACL.  Smith will have further examination on the knee.

Smith was in the mix to compete for the third or fourth receiver spot on the roster, but his season now appears in jeopardy.

In the kicking game, Hauschka gained the upper hand, making field goals from 21 and 37 yards.  Graham Gano hit a 39-yarder in the third quarter but missed a 28-yard attempt as time expired.

Harbaugh savored the win but emphasized how much improvement is needed between now and the regular season opener on Sept. 13.

“It was a good start, and obviously we have a whole lot of work to do.  Our guys realize that.”

The team will take tomorrow off before returning to Westminster for practice on Saturday morning at 8:45 a.m.  The practice is open to the general public.

Injury Updates:

In addition to Smith going down with a knee injury and Oher sustaining a cut on his forehead, safety Haruki Nakamura suffered a stinger and Beck left the game in the fourth quarter with an injury to his throwing shoulder.

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Live from the Purple Crab Cake: Ravens blank Skins, 23-0

Posted on 13 August 2009 by Luke Jones

11:11 p.m. — Just a few injury notes to pass along.  John Harbaugh confirmed that Marcus Smith sustained a severe knee injury in tonight’s game, speculating that it could be an ACL.

Troy Smith re-entered the game late in the fourth quarter after John Beck had an undisclosed injury.  Harbaugh does not believe the injury is serious.

Safety Haruki Nakamura suffered a “stinger” but should be fine.

10:35 p.m. — Gano misses a 28-yard field goal as time expires.  Tough break for the rookie in the kicking competition.  Final score:  Ravens 23, Redskins 0.

10:28 p.m. — Troy Smith is back in at quarterback.  This is definitely an interesting development.

After Jason Cook recovered a fumble, Matt Lawrence just picked up 14 yards and a first down.

10:26 p.m. — The Redskins continue to look terrible offensively and are in danger of being shut out.

Ernie Wheelwright nearly blocked the punt.

10:24 p.m. — Paul Kruger just picked up the sack on Brennan, showing great speed off the edge.

I’ve been singing his praises during training camp, so it’s nice to see him deliver in his first preseason game.

10:19 p.m. — Beck just completed a 64-yard pass to little Jayson Foster.

Peerman scores the touchdown from seven yards out, as he made a nice cut to get into the end zone.

Ravens 23, Redskins 0

10:12 p.m. — Just to give you a picture of how much better the depth in the secondary is, Frank Walker, a starter in the AFC Championship game, is playing in the fourth quarter of a preseason game.

This is no knock on Walker, but it shows how deep the secondary is, and the team still awaits the return of Samari Rolle.

10:06 p.m. — On first down, Beck is nearly picked off by defensive end Jeremy Jarmon.

He then hits Peerman on second down for a gain of six yards.

Harper just dropped another pass on third down.  He needs to use his hands to catch the ball instead of trying to trap it with his body.

The Ravens go for it on fourth down, and Beck throws one at the feet of Ernie Wheelwright.  Washington takes over at their own 38-yard line.

10:00 p.m. — Beck just completed a 13-yard pass to sixth-round pick Cedric Peerman, but it’s seven yards shy of a first down.

Sam Koch punts it down to the six-yard line, leaving the Redskins with poor field position to start another drive.

9:58 p.m. — We’ve reached the end of three quarters, and the Ravens hold a comfortable 16-0 lead over the hated Redskins.

9:55 p.m. — Cousins was just called for a holding penalty and continues to have a tough night.

The Ravens definitely need to explore a veteran option at the tackle position to back up Jared Gaither and Michael Oher.

9:54 p.m. — John Beck is now at the helm for the Ravens offense.

Smith finished 12 of 28 for 188 yards and a touchdown.  While the completion percentage isn’t very good, Smith did a great job running the two-minute drive on the team’s lone touchdown of the night at the end of the first half.

9:51 p.m. — Colt Brennan is sacked by Tom Zbikowski on third down, forcing a Redskins punt.

9:44 p.m. — Derrick Martin just picked off Colt Brennan.  The former corner is adjusting to the safety position, and the interception will certainly help his case for a spot on the 53-man roster.

9:41 p.m. — Cam Cameron was not satisfied with his starting offense settling for field goals instead of touchdowns.

“The three penalties in the first half hurt us.  We can correct those.  We held the ball and moved the ball early, but we have to score touchdowns, not field goals.  Ball security was very good, and we’ve worked hard on that.”

9:39 p.m. — Greg Mattison had some halftime thoughts on his defense.

“The turnover at the end of the second quarter was big, and our offense took it right down the field for the touchdown.  Before that, we were sound.  We need more pressure on the quarterbacks, especially in passing situations.”

9:36 p.m. — The action is moving quickly in the second half, as the Ravens begin a drive at their own 23-yard line.  Jalen Parmele is shaken up, and we have an injury timeout.

9:33 p.m. — Here are a few quotes about the Ravens’ performance in the first half:

Flacco:  “It felt great to be out there.  As an offense, everything felt really good.  I was happy with the way our receivers and running backs were moving.  Our line did a heck of a job for being their first time out there.”

Kelly Gregg:  “It was a little nerve-racking, but it’s really great to be back.  I was just soaking everything up.  There were a few butterflies, but it was a lot of fun to be out here pounding again with the guys.”

Ray Rice talking about Michael Oher:  “He’s ready to play.  He’s physical.  He got out there and got a jump on people.  He just needs to continue to get better each game.”

9:24 p.m. — On 3rd and 15, Smith throws it away.

Graham Gano makes the 39-yard field goal, making the score 16-0.

9:22 p.m. — Smith with a 37-yard completion to Yamon Figurs who keeps his feet in-bounds.  Figurs will need more plays like that to solidify a spot on the 53-man roster.

On 3rd and 5, Smith hits Lawrence for a gain of 11, moving the chains and setting the Ravens up at the Skins’ 16-yard line.

9:20 p.m. — The second half is underway, and the Ravens begin the drive deep in their own territory.

Smith has really been impressive and just threw a first-down completion to Harper.  It’s clear these two have a solid chemistry.

Oniel Cousins gets called for holding, pushing the ball back to the 15.

9:09 p.m. — We’re still trying to find out more about Marcus Smith

Flacco was 9 of 15 for 103 yards.  A solid outing and hopefully enough to sil

9:01 p.m. — Cartwright rushes for 5 yards to close out the half.  Ravens lead, 13-0.

8:58 p.m. — Smith with a great pump fake and throws the 19-yard touchdown pass to Harper.  These two have hooked up repeatedly in Wesminster, and they find the same magic tonight.

Hauschka’s extra point makes the score 13-0.  The Ravens have thoroughly dominated this one.

The drive covers 10 plays, 69 yards, and lasts 107.  You have to be impressed with Troy Smith’s work in the two-minute drill.

8:57 p.m. — On 3rd and 4 from the 32, Smith hits a slant to Harper who makes the catch for the first down and takes it to the 19.  Smith spikes the ball with 19 seconds remaining.

On the next play, Smith tries to hit Harper in the end zone, but it falls incomplete.

8:55 p.m. — Orakpo gets in there again and hits Smith as he tries to throw.  I’m very impressed with the rookie from Texas.

Smith then completes a 14-yard pass to Lawrence, and the Ravens have the ball at the Washington 38 yard-line.

8:54 p.m. — After Smith completes passes to Edgar Jones and Matt Lawrence, the Ravens are all the way up to their own 48.  The Ravens use their final timeout with 59 seconds remaining in the half.

8:53 p.m. — On 3rd and 6 from the 30, Collins does not get the snap off in time and is called for a delay of game.

Now, 3rd and 11 from the 35, Collins completes a pass to Keith Eloi who then gets stripped by Tom Zbikowski.  The ball is recovered by Dwan Edwards.

8:47 p.m. — Fred Davis fumbles the ball after making the catch.  Prescott Burgess forced the fumble.  The Redskins recover at the Baltimore 34, and we’ve reached the two-minute warning.

8:43 p.m. — The Redskins are finally moving the ball after Malcolm Kelly makes a nice catch on third down with Chris Carr defending.  Kelly again snatches one for a gain of seven, setting up 2nd and 3 from their own 48.

8:41 p.m. — Thank goodness we can finally stop talking about the silly Michael Vick to Baltimore rumors.  Vick has signed a deal with the Philadelphia Eagles.

8:39 p.m. — Harper fails to bring another pass in on third down.  The Redskins are getting some heavy pressure on Troy Smith.  Cousins is having a difficult time blocking Orakpo, the Redskins’ first-round pick.

The Washington offense takes over at their own 11-yard line.  You know Jim Zorn wants to see a positive drive here.

8:36 p.m. — It’s nice seeing Michael Oher back in the game after suffering a nasty gash to the forehead.

Smith just lofted a nice touch pass to L.J. Smith for a gain of 35 yards.  A healthy L.J. Smith would give the Ravens a nice duo at the tight end position.

8:34 p.m. — The Ravens force the Redskins to go three-and-out, as the second-team defense is now in for the Ravens.

Lardarius Webb returns the 55-yard Hunter Smith punt to the 24.

8:31 p.m. — On third down, Cousins had a difficult time trying to block Brian Orakpo and gets called for holding.  The pass falls incomplete, and the Redskins decline the penalty.

After the punt, the Skins will start at the 22.

8:27 p.m. — Justin Harper can’t come up with a low—but catchable—pass from Smith.  He has blazing speed but needs to show the ability to catch the ball in traffic.

On second down, Smith throws high but Harper cannot rein it in with a defender ready to unload on the young receiver. It certainly isn’t a good start for Harper, a guy whose praises I’ve been singing over the last few weeks.

The Ravens take their second timeout on 3rd and 10.

8:26 p.m. — Troy Smith is your new quarterback.

Flacco finishes 9 of 15 for 103 yards.  A steady preseason debut that hopefully silences some critics.

Campbell was 3 of 6 for 38 yards.

8:25 p.m. — Barnes and Ellerbe combine on the tackle on the kickoff.

Todd Collins is the new Redskins quarterback.  Barnes almost picked off a pass in the flat intended for Eddie Williams.

On third down, Haruki Nakamura punches the ball away from Hagans, forcing another Washington punt.

Carr has some trouble fielding the punt but recovers and returns it to the 32-yard line.

Injury update: Washington’s Lorenzo Alexander has an abdominal strain, and his return is questionable.

8:21 p.m. — After a short pass to McGahee fails to pick up the first down, Hauschka makes the 36-yard field goal.  He’s 2-for-2 tonight.

Not a bad drive from the Ravens, but the Smith drop really hurt.  The drive lasts 14 plays and spans 71 yards.  It took 6:36.

8:19 p.m. — Flacco completes a third-down play to Marcus Smith, picking up the first down.

McGahee displays some nice moves in the open field as he picks up 16 yards.

Flacco with a beautiful pass over the defender that’s dropped by Smith.  That’s a ball that needs to be caught.  After another incompletion to Williams, it brings up 3rd and long from the 26-yard line.

8:13 p.m. — The quarter ends with a five-yard completion to Rice coming out of the backfield.

At the end of the first quarter, Ravens lead the Skins, 3-0.

8:12 p.m. — Flacco’s screen pass to Rice is blown up for a loss after Ben Grubbs could not block Byron Westbrook in the open field.

On 3rd and 9, Flacco hits Washington for a gain of 15 and a first down.  Nice start for the new Raven.

8:09 p.m. — On first down, Flacco hits Mason for a seven-yard gain on the quick out.  Le’Ron McClain lining up in the slot two plays in a row.

Kelley Washington catches a 16-yard pass, moving the chains.  The former Bengal and Patriot has been impressive in camp.

Rice picks up seven yards on first down, as the Ravens are all the way up to their own 40.

8:04 p.m. — On 3rd and 7, Antwan Barnes nearly sacks Campbell, forcing the incompletion.

During the punt return, Jameel McClain is called for holding and will move the Ravens back to their own 10-yard line.  You just know special teams penalties drive Harbaugh crazy.

8:02 p.m. — The Redskins will begin their second drive at their own 23.  Campbell completes a 15-yard pass to Antwaan Randle El.  The Ravens didn’t get much pressure up front on the play.

Ray Lewis and Ed Reed already appear finished for the night.

8:01 p.m. — Flacco’s pass is broken up by DeAngelo Hall on third down, intedned for Mason.

Steve Hauschka hits the 21-yard field goal, and the Ravens take the 3-0 lead with 6:15 remaining in the first quarter.  The highlight of the drive is the 34-yard completion to Rice coming out of the backfield.

You have to be pleased with the Ravens’ opening drive.  It lasted 13 plays, covered 67 yards, and took 5:47 off the game clock.

8:00 p.m. — Oher has been taken to the locker room with a gash on his forehead.  It appears he will need stitches after taking a shot to the head just a few minutes ago.

Joe Reitz has checked in at right tackle for the Ravens in Oher’s absence.

7:58 p.m. — After the timeout, the Ravens give it to McGahee straight up the middle for the first down.  Michael Oher comes off the field bleeding.

On 2nd and goal, Flacco cannot connect with Mason and throws it out of the end zone.  On 3rd and goal from the 3, Washington takes their first timeout.

7:52 p.m. — Willis McGahee has checked in at running back and takes the hand-off for a gain of five yards.  Despite Rice’s strong showing in training camp, the coaching staff is pleased with McGahee’s work in Westminster also.

Flacco keeps it on 3rd and 3 and takes a pretty good hit but comes up just short of the first down.  It will be 4th and 1, and John Harbaugh will use a timeout to ponder what to do.

7:48 p.m. — Rice just caught a short pass over the middle and galloped 34 yards to the Washington 17.  The 5-7 back provides so much versatility in the backfield, and it’s easy to see why the Ravens are so high on the former Rutgers star.

After Rice rushes for two yards, Kedric Golston is slow to get up for Washington.

7:46 p.m. — Flacco’s first-down attempt is batting in the air at the line of scrimmage by Andre Carter.  The ball helplessly falls incomplete.

On second down, Ray Rice shows good speed getting to the edge and picks up six yards.

Kelley Washington lines up as the No 3 receiver on third down before Demetrius Williams catches a slant for an 11-yard gain.  It’s nice seeing Williams on the field and contributing.

7:44 p.m. — The Ravens’ offense will start their first drive of the season from their own 30-yard line.  It will be interesting to watch how well Oniel Cousins performs in Jared Gaither’s absence.

Cousins has had a strong training camp so far.

7:43 p.m. — On 3rd and 6, the Ravens bring the pressure as Campbell throws incomplete, intended for Marques Hagans.

Chris Carr is back deep to return the punt.

7:39 p.m. — The Redskins’ opening play results in a first down in a swing pass to Ladell Betts.

Two plays later, Jason Campbell completes an 11-yard pass to Cooley.  Skins moving the ball well early.

7:39 p.m. — Dannell Ellerbe immediately makes his presence known by bringing down Rock Cartwright.

7:37 p.m. — The Redskins win the toss and elect to receive.

Steve Hauschka will handle all kicking duties in the first half.

7:36 p.m. — Ravens’ captains are Ray Lewis, Ed Reed, Kelly Gregg, Matt Birk, Justin Bannan, and Trevor Pryce.

7:27 p.m. — The starting offense is being introduced to the customary U2 song “Where the Streets Have No Name.”

Ray Rice is the first player announced, and Micheal Oher received a nice ovation from the home crowd.

Derrick Mason is the last player announced, and it’s clear the Ravens’ faithful are glad to have him back after a brief retirement.

7:18 p.m. — Tonight’s referee will be Walt Anderson.  Rounding out the officiating crew is Scott Dawson, Phil McKinnely, Byron Boston, Jimmy Buchanan, James Coleman, and Billy Smith.

7:12 p.m. — Looking around the lower bowl of M&T Bank Stadium, there’s a sprinkling of Skins fans but not as many as I thought there would be.

The Ravens are going back to their locker room after warming up.  Fifteen minutes until kickoff!

7:08 p.m. — I’m a bit surprised to see Ed Reed out there tonight after wearing the red jersey for most of training camp.  I figured the Ravens would hold him out until the second or third preseason game.

Mason will play despite dislocating a finger only two days ago.

I’d be surprised if we see Reed or Mason for longer than a series or two.

7:02 p.m. — Oniel Cousins will start at left tackle in Gaither’s place.  Defensively, Paul Kruger will take Terrell Suggs’ spot with the first defense.

Ladell Betts will get the start at running back and Devin Thomas will line up at receiver for Washington.  On the defensive side of the ball, Fred Smoot will start at corner and Kedric Golston will take Haynesworth’s spot at defensive tackle.

6:58 p.m. — The Ravens announced they have waived receiver Thomas White.

6:56 p.m. — The Ravens have released their inactives for this evening, and they include Terrell Suggs, Mark Clayton, Jared Gaither, Marshal Yanda, Brendon Ayanbadejo, Samari Rolle (PUP), Lamar Divens, and Biren Ealy.

Sitting out for the Redskins will be Carlos Rogers, Clinton Portis, Anthony Alridge, Reuben Riley, Jeremy Bridges, Randy Thomas, Santana Moss, and Albert Haynesworth.

6:40 p.m. — The Ravens specialists are out on the field, and Ed Reed is dressed and appears to be playing.

Reed’s status throughout training camp has been a mystery with him sporting the red non-contact jersey for most practices.

6:16 p.m. — Still no word on the scratch list.

The Ravens will be dressed in all white tonight.

5:46 p.m. — Tonight marks the first time the Ravens have opened the preseason at home since 2007 when they defeated the Philadelphia Eagles, 29-3.

This will be the fifth preseason meeting between the Ravens and their hated neighbors to the south.  The preseason series is tied, 2-2.

In the series that really matters, the regular season, Baltimore enjoys a 3-1 all-time lead.  The most recent meeting was last season’s 24-10 victory for the men in purple on a cold Sunday night in December.

5:24 p.m. — Derrick Mason is out on the field working out and catching passes.  It seems like Mason may attempt to play, but I still suspect we won’t see him for long.

5:19 p.m. — I’m live at M&T Bank Stadium, watching a handful of players warm up—kicking around a soccer ball, no less!—after a heavy rain just passed through the area.  The sun has just peaked out as I type this.

Kickoff is just over two hours away, and we’ll update you on the injury report as soon as we get word.  At this point, Mark Clayton (hamstring) and Terrell Suggs (heel) are the only players ruled out for the game, but there are several players whose status is unknown including Marshal Yanda, Derrick Mason, Demetrius Williams, Todd Heap, Jared Gaither, Ben Grubbs, Trevor Pryce, and Brendon Ayanbadejo.

Stay with us throughout the game, as we’ll be offering analysis, providing injury updates, and answering your questions here at WNST.net!

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