Tag Archive | "John Harbaugh"


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Ravens uncertain about Perriman’s status for season opener

Posted on 05 September 2015 by Luke Jones

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Just a week before the season-opening game in Denver, the status of Ravens rookie receiver Breshad Perriman remains uncertain as he recovers from a sprained knee.

Injured on the first day of full-squad practice on July 30, the first-round pick hasn’t practiced since and has only been spotted doing light work without any running involved. It’s unclear whether Perriman will return to the practice field this coming week to keep his availability — even on a very limited basis — in play against the Broncos.

“I don’t know. I really don’t have the answer for that,” head coach John Harbaugh said on Saturday. “I think he has a chance, yes. But to what degree, that’s wide open right now. I don’t know.”

The Ravens cut second-year receiver Jeremy Butler on Saturday and have six wideouts on the initial 53-man roster: Perriman, Steve Smith, Kamar Aiken, Marlon Brown, Michael Campanaro, and Darren Waller.

Aiken is expected to start opposite Smith with Brown serving as the No. 3 option to begin the season. With Perriman currently sidelined, the Ravens lack a speedy receiver on the outside to stretch the field, an obvious concern for an offense needing to replace free-agent departure Torrey Smith.

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Ravens trade rookie center Easton to San Francisco

Posted on 05 September 2015 by Luke Jones

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — As they counted down to Saturday’s 4 p.m. deadline to pare the roster to 53 players, the Ravens returned to the practice field with all healthy members of their 70-man roster on Saturday morning.

But before practice had concluded, Baltimore traded rookie free agent center Nick Easton to the San Francisco 49ers for an unspecified draft pick. As the media viewing portion of practice was wrapping up, head coach John Harbaugh was speaking with the undrafted free agent as ESPN first reported the Ravens were working on a trade. Easton played well in the preseason — grading out as Pro Football Focus’ top center in the NFL — but Baltimore’s numbers on the interior line made him a long shot to make the 53-man roster.

“Nick could have made our team, too, if we didn’t have as much depth,” Harbaugh said. “I think [the 49ers] might have had an injury at center. We have guys like that. Those are the type of guys you try to develop first and foremost for your team. When you have a need, they’re there for you, and we want to develop those guys.”

Wide receiver Breshad Perriman (knee), defensive tackle Timmy Jernigan (knee), cornerback Rashaan Melvin (undisclosed), offensive lineman John Urschel (undisclosed), defensive linemen DeAngelo Tyson (shoulder) and Micajah Reynolds (undisclosed), linebacker Zach Thompson (concussion), running back Lorenzo Taliaferro (knee), and defensive end Brent Urban (biceps) were not present during the portion of practice open to media. Urban remains a clear candidate to be placed on injured reserve with the designation to return, a move that cannot happen until Sunday at the earliest.

Tight end Maxx Williams (upper body) continued to practice in a red non-contact jersey after Harbaugh said earlier in the week that he is expected to be ready for the season opener in Denver on Sept. 13.

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Five questions pondering Ravens hype, running backs, pass rush, more

Posted on 04 September 2015 by Luke Jones

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

Five questions …

1. Is it just me or is Sports Illustrated picking the Ravens to win the Super Bowl a reflection of an AFC without a dominant team? Before you call me Lambasting Luke, I’m still betting on John Harbaugh and Joe Flacco to lead Baltimore to its seventh postseason appearance in eight years and I’ll buy that the Ravens could be very dangerous come January. But this is also a football team that lost a five-time Pro Bowl defensive tackle, starting wide receiver, starting tight end, and impact pass rusher in the offseason, and their replacements are currently injured, unproven, or a combination of both. The secondary still lacks depth to make you feel comfortable and the return game is an absolute mess. To be clear, all teams have issues and question marks every season, but starting the season with five of their first seven games on the road isn’t a comfortable proposition with so much early uncertainty. Looking at it objectively, Ravens fans have no reason to feel slighted by the national media this summer.

2. Is it just me or should we probably not be surprised about the concern at the wide receiver position beyond Steve Smith? I’m as guilty as anyone for buying into the hype of a young group of receivers competing for roster spots this summer. No one predicted the knee injury to first-round rookie Breshad Perriman to linger so long, but the receivers behind him failed to quell concerns that Smith would be Flacco’s only trusted target entering the year. Perhaps we need to be more realistic in looking where these players came from when projecting how much impact they can bring. Kamar Aiken, Marlon Brown, and Jeremy Butler were all undrafted, and Michael Campanaro (seventh) and Darren Waller (sixth) are late-round picks. Yes, teams are uncovering more and more gems who are drafted late (Pittsburgh’s Antonio Brown in the sixth round) or undrafted entirely (Victor Cruz of the New York Giants), but the Ravens have always struggled to draft and develop useful receivers.

3. Is it just me or could the Ravens’ consideration for giving Brent Urban the designation to return reflect vulnerabilities with their pass rush? The organization remains high on the 6-foot-7 defensive end’s potential, but we’re still talking about someone who’s never played as much as an NFL preseason game. The Ravens hope that rookie Za’Darius Smith can step into the hybrid role formerly occupied by Pernell McPhee, but they were hoping Steven Means could bring pass-rush impact before a groin injury ruined his summer. Teams do often use their I.R.-designated to return spot for role players — Asa Jackson received it last year, for example — but that typically occurs a few weeks into the season when you’re getting to a point where you won’t be able to use it waiting any longer. Terrell Suggs and Elvis Dumervil are still forces off the edge and Timmy Jernigan shows rush ability when healthy, but the Ravens may view Urban as a high-ceiling — and necessary? — wild card later this year.

4. Is it just me or is it scary to think the Ravens’ only sure thing at running back is currently Justin Forsett? Rookie fourth-round Buck Allen has shown good hands catching passes out of the backfield, but the USC product averaged just 2.5 yards per carry in the preseason and is now the No. 2 running back with Lorenzo Taliaferro out with a sprained MCL. Terrence Magee and Fitz Toussaint had a few solid moments this summer, but neither are the type of back who inspires confidence, making you wonder if Ozzie Newsome needs to explore the market for a veteran addition in the coming days. Taliaferro’s injury was the last thing the Ravens needed with so many questions at receiver and tight end, but the good news is that they should feel confident in finding a veteran to run behind one of the best offensive lines in the NFL. Still, who would have imagined a year ago that Forsett would not only be coming off a Pro Bowl season, but he would represent the only sure thing in the backfield entering 2015?

5. Is it just me or are halftime interviews completely worthless? Harbaugh drew plenty of criticism for his halftime interview in the third preseason game and rightly so as he needs to be better than that with both media and — more importantly — the fans with which he’s indirectly speaking in the process. The coach’s unkind words for Comcast SportsNet’s Brent Harris prompted many to compare him to brother Jim, who is clearly viewed as the more surly Harbaugh. With those sentiments understood, can you recall a time when a halftime interview brought anything memorable besides similar meltdowns by coaches or players? We live in an age where we want as much access as possible, but it seems counterintuitive to ask a coach or player to reflect meaningfully in the midst of competition. Perhaps a compromise would be to interview a coach just before the start of the second half after he’s addressed his team and has calmed his emotions from the first half, but the next halftime interview I hear bringing anything but bland coach speak or an unflattering exchange will be the first one.

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Ravens begin trimming roster down to league-mandated 53

Posted on 04 September 2015 by Luke Jones

Less than 24 hours after their final preseason game in Atlanta, the Ravens continued reducing their roster ahead of Saturday’s 4 p.m. deadline by waiving five players.

Wide receivers Daniel Brown and Tom Nelson, cornerback Quinton Pointer, inside linebacker Andrew Bose, and offensive lineman Blaine Clausell were the first cuts announced by Baltimore on Friday afternoon. Those moves leave the active roster with 70 players, meaning 17 more moves must be made to get down to the league-mandated 53 players.

A punt block and a touchdown catch in Thursday’s loss to the Falcons weren’t enough to land the 6-foot-5 Brown a roster spot, but head coach John Harbaugh said after the game that the James Madison product had made a good case for a role on the practice squad. Nelson, a former NFL safety, had been in the mix as a returner, but he never distinguished himself as an option at wide receiver.

Pointer stood out during spring workouts and the early part of training camp, but the 5-foot-9 defensive back faded after that, making it apparent that he wasn’t going to be in strong contention to make the team.

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Predicting the Ravens’ 53-man roster at the end of 2015 preseason

Posted on 03 September 2015 by Luke Jones

With the 2015 preseason in the books, the Ravens now turn their full attention toward the season opener against the Denver Broncos on Sept. 13.

But first, it’s time to go on the record with the final projection of the Ravens’ 53-man roster to begin the regular season as head coach John Harbaugh and general manager Ozzie Newsome will make their final decisions by 4 p.m. on Saturday. Of course, this will only be the beginning as the Ravens will explore the possibility of adding other players who will become available over the next few days.

With injury concerns at receiver, running back, and on the defensive line as well as overall depth questions in the secondary, the Ravens could be active as they have been in the past in adding veteran talent just before the start of the season. Many have also speculated that Baltimore could be in the market to add a veteran return specialist, which appeared to be an even bigger concern after Thursday’s preseason loss in Atlanta.

Though Newsome, Harbaugh, and the remainder of the coaching staff and front office are aware of the number of players at each position, trying to boldly pinpoint a specific number of receivers or linebackers isn’t the most accurate way of projecting the roster. In filling out the back end of their roster, the Ravens will look carefully at players’ special-teams abilities in addition to what they bring to their position.

The numbers in parentheses indicate the total number of players they are projected to keep at that given position.

IN: Joe Flacco, Matt Schaub
OUT: Bryn Renner
Skinny: The veteran Schaub quelled some concerns with a strong performance in the preseason finale, but the Ravens hope they won’t need him to play for the rest of the season. Meanwhile, Renner was solid after a rough start on Thursday, but he still figures to have a decent chance to make the practice squad.

IN: Justin Forsett, Kyle Juszczyk, Lorenzo Taliaferro, Buck Allen
OUT: Terrence Magee, Fitz Toussaint, Kiero Small
Skinny: The prediction here is that the Ravens will waive both Magee and Toussaint to create a temporary roster spot to accomodate Brent Urban and to explore veteran backs that may become available elsewhere. They will then have the option to bring back either one assuming they clear waivers.

IN: Steve Smith, Breshad Perriman, Kamar Aiken, Marlon Brown, Michael Campanaro, Darren Waller
OUT: Jeremy Butler, Daniel Brown, Tom Nelson
Skinny: Butler has had a role on special-teams units this summer, but he just hasn’t shown enough ability to gain separation with extensive looks in the passing game. Marlon Brown’s job wasn’t in danger, but it was nice seeing him show up emphatically in the first quarter on Thursday night.

IN: Crockett Gillmore, Maxx Williams, Nick Boyle
OUT: Konrad Reuland
Skinny: This position group has been decided ever since Harbaugh confirmed last month that Pitta would begin the year on the PUP list. You have to wonder how quickly Williams will be able to make an impact after being limited with injuries quite a bit this summer.

IN: Marshal Yanda, Kelechi Osemele, Rick Wagner, Eugene Monroe, Jeremy Zuttah, John Urschel, James Hurst, Robert Myers, Jah Reid
OUT: Ryan Jensen, Kaleb Johnson, Nick Easton, Blaine Clausell
Skinny: The current injury to Jensen makes the decision a little easier to stick with Myers, a 2015 fifth-round pick who struggled during the preseason. A good summer for Johnson makes him an attractive option for the practice squad along with Jensen.

IN: Brandon Williams, Timmy Jernigan, Chris Canty, Carl Davis, Lawrence Guy, Kapron Lewis-Moore
INJURED RESERVE-DESIGNATED TO RETURN: Brent Urban (must be on the 53-man roster until Sunday)
OUT: DeAngelo Tyson, Christo Bilukidi, Micajah Reynolds
Skinny: A strong finish to the summer put Lewis-Moore back on the positive side of the bubble as he’s finally starting to show signs of the player he was at Notre Dame before suffering two major injuries. Tyson becomes the odd man out after an injury-riddled summer and a disappointing 2014 season.

IN: Daryl Smith, C.J. Mosley, Zachary Orr, Albert McClellan, Arthur Brown
OUT: Andrew Bose
Skinny: Brown is in a tenuous position as the Ravens still think he possesses upside as a linebacker, but his special-teams ability clearly lags behind Orr and McClellan. Baltimore will try to carry the 2013 second-round pick on the roster, but positional needs elsewhere will make it difficult.

IN: Terrell Suggs, Elvis Dumervil, Courtney Upshaw, Za’Darius Smith
OUT: Brennen Beyer, Zach Thompson
Skinny: The Ravens hope Smith is ready to step into Pernell McPhee’s old hybrid role in passing situations, but the fourth-round rookie remains a work in progress. A strong performance in the final preseason game was a nice statement from Beyer to land on the practice squad.

IN: Lardarius Webb, Jimmy Smith, Kyle Arrington, Tray Walker, Rashaan Melvin, Asa Jackson
OUT: Cassius Vaughn, Quinton Pointer
Skinny: Jackson makes the 53-man roster for now, but the Ravens really need to pursue an upgrade at cornerback and in the return game. Vaughn and Pointer were too up and down over the course of the summer to warrant roster spots.

IN: Will Hill, Kendrick Lewis, Terrence Brooks, Anthony Levine
OUT: Brynden Trawick, Nick Perry
Skinny: Trawick is a victim of the numbers game after serving a steady role on special teams over the last couple seasons. The Ravens need Brooks to knock off the rust from the knee injury as quickly as possible to sure up depth behind Hill and Lewis.

IN: Sam Koch, Morgan Cox, Justin Tucker
OUT: None
Skinny: This trio begins its fourth season together as the Ravens easily possess one of the best sets of specialists in the NFL.

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Pitta officially placed on PUP list, Guy returns to practice field

Posted on 01 September 2015 by Luke Jones

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — The Ravens trimmed their roster to the NFL-mandated 75 players on Tuesday by officially placing tight end Dennis Pitta on the reserve physically unable to perform list.

Baltimore also waived offensive linemen De’Ondre Wesley and Darryl Baldwin. The latter had been placed on the non-football injury list on Monday.

Attempting to return from a second right hip dislocation and fracture in two years, Pitta has been running routes and working out on his own, but the 30-year-old has not been fully cleared to return to the field. Head coach John Harbaugh had already said last month that Pitta would begin the regular season on the PUP list, meaning he is not eligible to return until Week 7 at the earliest.

The Ravens prepared all offseason as though Pitta would not be able to return to football by drafting tight ends Maxx Williams and Nick Boyle a year after selecting current starter Crockett Gillmore in the third round of the 2014 draft.

“As far as I’m concerned as a coach, I think you plan for the worst, and you hope for the best,” Harbaugh said. “I’m planning on him not being back. That would be the plan from a football standpoint, and I think he’s planning on being back. It’ll just come down to whether it’s a smart thing to do, and whether it’s what he wants to do, and really, what his family wants to do.”

Wesley injured his knee in the preseason loss to Philadelphia on Aug. 22 and had not returned to the practice field.

Defensive end Lawrence Guy (knee) returned to the practice field on Tuesday, a good sign for a thin group of young defensive linemen going into the preseason finale against Atlanta.

Seven players on the active roster were missing from Tuesday’s workout including wide receiver Breshad Perriman (knee), defensive linemen Timmy Jernigan (knee) and DeAngelo Tyson (shoulder), cornerback Rashaan Melvin (undisclosed), offensive lineman Ryan Jensen (concussion), and running back Lorenzo Taliaferro (knee). Second-year defensive end Brent Urban (biceps) remains on the active roster, an indication that the Ravens are considering him placing him on injured reserve with the designation to return.

Teams are only allowed one designation, so the Ravens must weigh the benefits of Urban potentially returning in the second half of the season against the desire to save the option for a potential injury to a more prominent player early in the year.

Williams continues to practice in a red-contact jersey and did not play in the third preseason game against Washington, but Harbaugh would not delve into the specifics of the 2015 second-round pick’s ailments.

“He’s got an issue that we just can’t get him banged around with,” Harbaugh said. “He’s practicing, so he should be there for Denver, but we just want to protect him from a bump. We’ve done that in the past with guys.”

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Ravens hurting on defensive line entering preseason finale

Posted on 31 August 2015 by Luke Jones

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — A defensive line once possessing great depth is suddenly a concern as the Ravens approach Thursday’s preseason finale in Atlanta.

After starting defensive tackle Timmy Jernigan (right knee) and veteran reserves Lawrence Guy (knee) and DeAngelo Tyson (shoulder) all left Saturday’s preseason loss to Washington with injuries, the Ravens had just six defensive linemen on the field for Monday’s practice. Head coach John Harbaugh acknowledged this could be problematic for Thursday’s preseason finale with the Ravens preferring to rest starters Brandon Williams and Chris Canty against the Falcons.

“It’s going to be tight,” Harbaugh said. “The idea that we go in there with 75 guys [on the roster] is really not 75, because it’s going to end up being 35 guys probably with the injuries [and veterans resting]. It’s going to be a strain on those guys. It’s a tough game, but it’s also an opportunity for those guys to show what they can do. They’ll be excited to play.”

Should none of their injured defensive linemen return in time for Thursday’s game, the Ravens would be forced to rely heavily on rookie Carl Davis, Kapron Lewis-Moore, Christo Bilukidi, and Micajah Reynolds.

Jernigan injured his right knee on a legal cut block from Redskins right tackle Morgan Moses on the fourth defensive play of the game on Saturday. The Ravens are hopeful that the second-year defensive tackle will be able to play in the season opener on Sept. 13, but his status remains uncertain.

“It doesn’t look to be overly serious, but I can’t put any timetables on it,” Harbaugh said. “But it’s not something that’s going to keep him out [for an extended time]. It’s not going to be a surgery or anything like that.”

Durability continues to be a concern for the 2014 second-round pick as he had already dealt with a foot ailment earlier that prevented him from playing in the preseason opener. As a rookie, Jernigan missed a total of five games with knee and foot injuries.

Defensive coordinator Dean Pees expressed some frustration earlier this month about Jernigan missing valuable practice time as he prepares to take the reins from five-time Pro Bowl selection Haloti Ngata at the 3-technique defensive tackle spot. No one doubts Jernigan’s ability, but the physical ailments are becoming a concern at this early stage of his career.

“I still believe he’s the guy that we drafted,” Pees said on Aug. 17. “I just wish we could get him out there a little more, but that’s not his fault.”

Should Jernigan not be ready for the opener, Davis would take his place on the starting line after receiving extensive action this summer. The third-round selection has been the Ravens’ most impressive draft pick with first-round receiver Breshad Perriman and second-round tight end Maxx Williams both dealing with health concerns.

Davis logged 36 defensive snaps and one tackle against Washington. He has has collected seven tackles and a pass breakup in three preseason games.

The 6-foot-5, 320-pound Iowa product says he has plenty of room for improvement and is still trying to learn the little tricks needed to succeed at the next level.

“Offensive linemen are smart. They’ve got so many different techniques,” Davis said. “I’m just learning how to play more physical every play. Every play counts. I’m trying to focus on making sure I don’t take any plays off and get better every play.”

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Key veterans return as Ravens begin trimming roster to 75

Posted on 31 August 2015 by Luke Jones

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — As the Ravens began paring their roster to the league-mandated 75 by Tuesday afternoon, a few key veterans returned to the practice field with the preseason winding down.

Left guard Kelechi Osemele (Achilles), left tackle Eugene Monroe (forearm), cornerback Lardarius Webb (hamstring), and wide receiver Michael Campanaro were all present and working during the portion of Monday’s practice open to reporters. Webb and Campanaro had looked good in pre-game workouts before sitting out Saturday’s preseason contest against Washington, signaling their returns were imminent.

Webb was practicing for the first time since Aug. 11 and missed the first three preseason games with the hamstring issue. The 29-year-old cornerback hasn’t played in a preseason game since 2013.

“He practiced today, and I felt like he looked good,” head coach John Harbaugh said. “He should be on schedule for Week 1. Again, I’m confident. I have faith that he’ll be out there Week 1.”

Monroe took part in individual work during the opening portion of practice and was sporting a pad on his right forearm to protect a deep bruise suffered in the Philadelphia game.

The Ravens began trimming their roster on Monday by announcing the cuts of wide receivers DeAndre Carter, Aldrick Robinson, and Trent Steelman, cornerback Tramain Jacobs, offensive linemen Leon Brown and Marcel Jones, long snapper Patrick Scales, and punter Justin Manton. Of those eight, Carter was the most notable after turning some heads in the spring, but issues with ball security severely damaged his chances of making the roster.

Per Monday’s NFL transactions sheet, the Ravens also placed safety Matt Elam (biceps), linebacker Steven Means (groin), cornerback Chris Greenwood (leg), and tight end Allen Reisner (ankle) on season-ending injured reserve and offensive lineman Darryl Baldwin on the reserve non-football illness list. Earlier this month, Harbaugh had alluded to the possibility of Elam or defensive end Brent Urban (biceps) being placed on IR with the designation to return, but now only the latter remains eligible for that.

Baltimore must make two more moves to get down to 75 players by Tuesday’s 4 p.m. deadline.

Ten players on the remaining preseason roster were sidelined for Monday’s practice including receiver Breshad Perriman (knee), defensive linemen Timmy Jernigan (knee), Lawrence Guy (knee), and DeAngelo Tyson (shoulder), cornerback Rashaan Melvin, offensive linemen Ryan Jensen (concussion) and De’Ondre Wesley (knee), running back Lorenzo Taliaferro (knee), tight end Dennis Pitta (hip), and Urban.

Only six defensive linemen were practicing for the Ravens on Monday, which was problematic three games before the fourth preseason game in Atlanta. Numbers could be a concern as Harbaugh would prefer to rest starters Brandon Williams and Chris Canty on Thursday night.

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Beyond Smith, Flacco taking leap of faith through air entering 2015

Posted on 30 August 2015 by Luke Jones

BALTIMORE — As bizarre as it was seeing Steve Smith sit in the stands during Saturday’s 31-13 preseason loss to Washington, the Ravens secretly had to be pleased knowing their top receiver was out of harm’s way.

Of course, head coach John Harbaugh wasn’t thrilled with Smith being ejected from the game for his part in a brawl late in the first quarter, but the 36-year-old hardly played like a man retiring at the end of the season. In less than 15 minutes of action, Smith caught four passes for 95 yards, including a 63-yard touchdown in which he made the Washington secondary look like a junior-varsity unit.

The early exit — which eliminated any risk of Smith getting injured in a meaningless preseason game — may have been a blessing in disguise for the Ravens as their pass-catching group lacks a sure thing behind him. Without his No. 1 wideout, Joe Flacco completed just 2 of 6 passes for 24 yards before giving way to backup Matt Schaub late in the first half.

With all meaningful preseason action now in the books — it’s all but guaranteed that Harbaugh will sit most of his starters in Atlanta on Thursday — the Ravens still haven’t answered the questions at wide receiver and tight end that they faced entering the summer. And it’s becoming clear that Flacco will be taking a leap of faith when it comes to the rest of his targets entering the 2015 regular season.

Yes, potential is there as we saw with Crockett Gillmore’s negated 33-yard touchdown catch in which he broke three tackles on his way to the end zone. But the second-year tight end finished the night with just one catch for seven yards and has only made four receptions in the first three preseason games.

Unfortunately, much of the passing game’s upside wore street clothes on Saturday as rookies Breshad Perriman and Maxx Williams could only catch passes from reserve quarterbacks Matt Schaub and Bryn Renner on the sideline late in the first half. Perriman’s status for the season opener remains in question as he continues to recover from a sprained knee suffered on July 30, and Williams has had a disappointing summer, missing some practice time and performing inconsistently when he’s been on the field.

Second-year slot receiver Michael Campanaro has flashed his ability this summer, but he missed his second straight game on Saturday as his durability remains a real concern.

The other receivers who were on the field Saturday didn’t inspire much confidence, either.

Kamar Aiken caught two passes for 29 yards, but it was his offensive pass interference penalty that wiped out Flacco’s touchdown to Gillmore late in the first quarter. Currently penciled in as the starter opposite Smith, Aiken profiles better as a No. 3 receiver at this point and has struggled to gain separation in the preseason.

Entering his third year, Marlon Brown should be getting better, but his disappointing play this summer would probably have his roster spot in jeopardy if it weren’t for the current injuries and the lack of established options behind him.

Jeremy Butler was the surprise of spring workouts, but he’s looked like just another guy matching up against second- and third-team defenses. Rookie Darren Waller may show intriguing upside as a 6-foot-6 target, but the sixth-rounder is still more project than receiving threat at this point.

To be fair, better performances from these individuals in the preseason wouldn’t have fully eliminated the questions facing a passing game that’s trying to replace Torrey Smith and Owen Daniels — it is only the preseason, after all — but the Ravens would have felt a lot better about beginning the season with five of their first seven contests away from M&T Bank Stadium if they’d seen a little more to this point. As it stands, Flacco will be leaning heavily on the ageless Smith, but opposing defenses will be aware, which will likely lead to double teams and bracketed coverage until someone else emerges as a viable threat.

It’s clear that the Ravens need a healthy Perriman, but offensive coordinator Marc Trestman and Flacco still don’t know what that looks like beyond his college tape and spring workouts that can only carry so much weight. Without their first-round pick, the Ravens lack speed on the outside, which should prompt secondaries to clamp down with tight man coverage to limit short-to-intermediate passing.

The Ravens need their young receivers and tight ends to grow up quickly with the season opener in Denver just two weeks away, but there just hasn’t been a lot of evidence to suggest that’s right around the corner.

I wouldn’t bet against Flacco making it work as he enters his eighth year and the Ravens are still built around their running game — making it critical that left tackle Eugene Monroe and left guard Kelechi Osemele are healthy after sitting out Saturday’s game — but it’s fair to feel uneasy with real games rapidly approaching.

So many questions and few answers in the passing game beyond Flacco zeroing in on Smith as the calendar turns to September this week.

The Ravens can only pray that their veteran receiver stays healthy while taking a leap of faith that the rest of their young wideouts and tight ends heal up and catch up quickly.

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Ravens-Redskins: Inactives and pre-game notes

Posted on 29 August 2015 by Luke Jones

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The referee for Saturday’s game is Terry McAulay.

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

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

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

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

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