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Ravens defense desperate to bounce back from Week 1 embarrassment

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Ravens defense desperate to bounce back from Week 1 embarrassment

Posted on 12 September 2013 by Luke Jones

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

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — The Ravens defense has heard the snickering and the mocking over the last week since their 49-27 loss to the Denver Broncos.

As if setting team records for points allowed and touchdown passes surrendered in their first game without future Hall of Famers Ray Lewis and Ed Reed wasn’t enough, the Ravens also witnessed former teammate Anquan Boldin catch 13 passes for 208 yards. Of course, it was general manager Ozzie Newsome who famously said in a Sports Illustrated interview this summer that the veteran receiver’s $6 million salary for 2013 was used to bolster the Baltimore defense.

Surrendering 510 yards of total offense to quarterback Peyton Manning and the Broncos offense clearly wasn’t part of the plan for a defense many expected to be markedly better than last year’s unit.

“It was definitely tough being the punch line for a lot of jokes on the countdown shows and the morning shows opening weekend in the NFL,” said defensive end Chris Canty, who collected a sack and three quarterback hits in his Baltimore debut. “We’re definitely excited about having the opportunity to change the perception of what people think about us.”

No one wore his emotion on his sleeve more than defensive coordinator Dean Pees, who met with the local media for more than 13 minutes on Thursday. The frustration was apparent in his voice, reflecting that his expectations were much higher than the end result in Week 1.

It’s easy to forget after the 35-point second-half debacle, but the defense held the Broncos to a respectable 14 points and 174 yards in the first half at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. Of the 510 yards Pees’ unit surrendered, 307 came on the nine plays of 20 yards or more given up — six of which came in the second half.

“This has been a hard week, because I’m disappointed in the outcome,” defensive coordinator Dean Pees said. “I’m disappointed in the statistics, which look terrible. I’m not disappointed in the total defensive effort that we gave. I’m disappointed in nine plays.”

So, what exactly did the Week 1 performance mean aside from contributing to the first season-opening loss of the John Harbaugh era? Was the early hype surrounding the new-look defense undeserved with apparent vulnerability in the secondary?

Is enough credit being given to Manning and a Broncos team that treated the opener like their Super Bowl following January’s heartbreaking divisional round defeat at the hands of the eventual world champion Ravens? As much as we discussed the potential of Pees’ unit in 2013, the Ravens featured six new starters from last year and such change doesn’t always come together as quickly as you expect on paper.

The Ravens should view their first-half performance and the 59 defensive snaps in which they held Denver to 203 yards as positives on which to build, but those nine plays were critical in transforming a competitive game into one of the worst defeats in the Harbaugh era.

You can’t sugarcoat the reality of what happened.

“Big plays in this business will kill you,” Canty said. “Offenses are too good. You’ve got to limit the opportunities to drive the ball down the football field. Dean talks a lot about making people go the long, hard way [to score]. We just didn’t do that enough last Thursday and we paid the price for it.”

Much of the frustration expressed by Pees on Thursday stemmed from the fact that he felt so many of the mishaps were either avoidable and correctable. From missed tackles to blown coverages, there wasn’t much to like with the pass defense as Manning threw five touchdowns in the second half.

Should it be chalked up to miscommunications, the infamous Denver altitude, or simply the brilliance of Manning and his ability to exploit any imperfection in technique or positioning?

“Your guess is just as good as mine,” linebacker Terrell Suggs said. “Not every week [do] you get to practice or play against a team that’s explosive like they were. They were a good football team, but that was last week. We’re here to focus on the Cleveland Browns.”

As much as fans and media continue to dwell on last week, the Ravens have turned the page in focusing on Cleveland and an offense lacking the explosiveness of their Week 1 opponent. Second-year quarterback Brandon Weeden is a far cry from Manning and the Browns lack the array of receiving weapons on display in Denver.

The Browns make no secret about their desire to pound the football with bruising running back Trent Richardson, which should play right into the Ravens’ hands. While there were some questions about a secondary featuring new starting safeties Michael Huff and James Ihedigbo entering the season, most agree the strength of the Baltimore defense is its front seven, which didn’t play poorly against the Broncos.

Even with the catastrophic breakdowns in the secondary, the Ravens held the pass-happy Broncos to 2.9 yards per carry on 23 attempts while collecting three sacks and hitting Manning seven times. Much of that came with Baltimore using an extra defensive back, leaving the box more vulnerable against the run. You’d expect the Ravens to play more of their base defense on Sunday, with Courtney Upshaw seeing more than the 37 snaps he played against Denver and defensive tackle Arthur Jones possibly returning to action after a three-week layoff due to an irregular heartbeat.

“To ask our line to play a six-man box all game against their running game and hold them to [65] yards?” Pees said. “Best we’ve ever done. To hit Manning that many times? [That’s the] best we’ve ever done. But it all negates because of the other. That’s why it is personal. It bothers me, and the only thing that’s going to take the stink off of it is you know what.”

The most intriguing aspect of Sunday’s game might be potential adjustments made in the secondary from Week 1. After Corey Graham struggled playing the nickel against veteran slot receiver Wes Welker, Pees moved Lardarius Webb to the inside when the Ravens used three cornerbacks.

As he did prior to last year’s ACL injury, Webb can lock down the slot receiver while serving a more active role in stopping the run, which wouldn’t be a bad idea with the Browns more committed to the ground attack than most teams. However, it will be interesting to see how Pees handles the nickel this year considering neither Webb nor Graham has the size of former cornerback Cary Williams to play on the outside opposite Jimmy Smith in the nickel package, leaving the secondary potentially vulnerable against taller wideouts.

Cleveland offensive coordinator Norv Turner is surely aware of the Ravens’ struggles against Broncos tight end Julius Thomas, who caught five passes for 110 yards and two touchdown while abusing linebackers and safeties. Browns tight end Jordan Cameron was one of the lone highlights of his team’s Week 1 loss to Miami as he caught nine passes for 108 yards and a touchdown.

Rookie inside linebacker Arthur Brown saw only six defensive snaps and could be an option to spell Josh Bynes in the nickel package — as he did through much of the preseason — and first-round safety Matt Elam could be called upon if either Huff or Ihedigbo falter in pass coverage. Elam replaced Huff late in the game in Denver and figures to be a major factor defensively sooner rather than later.

Even with potential personnel and scheme adjustments made by Pees moving forward, the most improvement will need to come from within as the Ravens are convinced the season opener was more aberration than reality against one of the greatest quarterbacks in NFL history. Lewis and Reed may no longer be in the defensive huddle, but their high defensive standard still remains as holdovers and newcomers always reference it.

But talking about it and actually showing it are two different things, a lesson the Ravens learned in embarrassing fashion last week.

“We know we have some things we need to work on, so this week, we go back to work, because we want to be better,” Webb said. “[It was] kind of an embarrassment. Raven football, we don’t play that way.”

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Ngata, Webb receive Ravens’ top defensive rankings in Madden 25

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Ngata, Webb receive Ravens’ top defensive rankings in Madden 25

Posted on 23 August 2013 by WNST Staff

Courtesy of EA Sports, here are the defensive and special teams player rankings for the Baltimore Ravens in Madden 25, which will be available in stores Tuesday. If you missed the offensive rankings, check here.









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Taylor evaluated for potential concussion; Webb, Yanda receive first preseason action

Posted on 23 August 2013 by Luke Jones

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

The Ravens lost their first preseason game of the summer Thursday night but appeared to make it through the 34-27 loss to the Carolina Panthers with relative health.

Coach John Harbaugh reported only one injury following the game as backup quarterback Tyrod Taylor left the game in the fourth quarter and was evaluated for a potential concussion. Third-string quarterback Caleb Hanie replaced Taylor after he was taken to the locker room for further tests.

“He went through the concussion protocol there, so we’ll just have to play that one by ear, have not heard anything on that,” Harbaugh said. “Other than that, we came out healthy. [I'm] very pleased about that.”

Cornerback Lardarius Webb and right guard Marshal Yanda made their preseason debuts and reported no setbacks following the game as Webb played an outside cornerback spot in the nickel package and Yanda played the first couple series with the starting offensive line.

Webb hadn’t played in a game since suffering a torn ACL last Oct. 14 and had been practicing on a limited basis from the start of training camp before increasing his level of contact in recent days.

“When I finally got back out there, it felt like football again,” Webb said. “The thing I got most out of it was being out there with the defense, just running around with them smiling and having fun –- that’s what I got out of it. It’s going to come along. It’s going to be good. I’m just happy to be out there with the guys.”

Yanda had been sidelined for the entire spring after undergoing offseason shoulder surgery and didn’t return to the practice field until Aug. 12.

His return paid immediate dividends for the Ravens as they put together a nine-play, 69-yard touchdown drive on the opening series that included 24 rushing yards from running back Ray Rice.

“I just try to go out there and do my part and help the team,” Yanda said. “Just to go out there and execute and play my best and just help the team. That’s what everyone is trying to do. Just get back in the groove.”

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McClain’s status still up in air at start of Ravens training camp

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McClain’s status still up in air at start of Ravens training camp

Posted on 23 July 2013 by Luke Jones

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

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Throughout the offseason, the Ravens expressed optimism that inside linebacker Jameel McClain would be ready to play by the start of training camp after suffering a bruised spinal cord that ended his 2012 season prematurely.

A day after the sixth-year linebacker was placed on the physically unable to perform list to begin camp, coach John Harbaugh acknowledged McClain hasn’t progressed as far as doctors anticipated he would by this time, leaving his status in question for the foreseeable future. McClain injured his neck in a loss to the Washington Redskins on Dec. 9 and was placed on injured reserve later in the month.

McClain will turn 28 later this week and was in attendance for most organized team activities in the spring, but was limited to individual work on the side and didn’t take part in team drills.

“Jameel is a tougher one to predict because he’s got the back issue. It’s a spinal cord issue,” Harbaugh said Tuesday on the first day of camp open to media. “So, that just has to heal. Until that heals and we have proof that it’s healed, he’s not going to be out there.”

The top candidates in the inside linebacker mix include second-round selection Arthur Brown, who is fully recovered from sports hernia surgery, and former Jaguars linebacker Daryl Smith, who was signed to a one-year deal in early June. Defensive coordinator Dean Pees said this spring that McClain would be a starter when healthy but with his slower-than-expected recovery, the Ravens must now look more closely at other options should he not be ready for the start of the season.

McClain started 44 of the 45 games he played over the last three seasons, so the Ravens are still hoping to take advantage of his experience after the retirement of future Hall of Famer Ray Lewis and the free-agent departure of Dannell Ellerbe.

“Doctors had anticipated he would be out there at this time,” Harbaugh said. “It’s a little slower than we had hoped. When he’s ready, he’ll be out there. He’s going to continue to take some more tests. He’ll take some more tests [Wednesday], and we’ll have more for you on that on Thursday.”

In addition to McClain, Pro Bowl guard Marshal Yanda was placed on the active PUP list to begin camp as he continues to rehabilitate his surgically-repaired shoulder. Harbaugh said Yanda is “doing great” and will be involved during individual periods and walk-throughs until he’s ready to return to the practice field on a full-time basis.

According to the Baltimore coach, no other players will be placed on the active PUP list due to health concerns, which is good news for cornerback Lardarius Webb after he took part in Tuesday’s practice in a limited role. The fifth-year defensive back worked on a limited basis throughout OTAs after working his way back from last October’s ACL surgery.

“We will bring him along as we see fit, but you saw him out there today,” Harbaugh said. “He’s doing well.”

Defensive tackles Haloti Ngata (knee) and Terrence Cody (hip surgery), linebacker Albert McClellan, and offensive lineman Antoine McClain took part in Tuesday’s practice to varying levels of participation, meaning each will avoid the PUP list after dealing with health concerns in the offseason.

Veteran tight end Ed Dickson was also present and working on Tuesday after he suffered a minor groin strain at the end of mandatory minicamp in mid-June.

Harbaugh didn’t express great concern over wide receiver Jacoby Jones failing the team’s mandatory conditioning test on Monday, but he wasn’t offering any justification for the veteran, who is expected to have the inside track on the starting job opposite Torrey Smith in the first-team offense. Jones will retake the test on Wednesday when the rest of the veterans report to Owings Mills.

“I won’t make any excuses for him,” Harbaugh said. “He should pass it, but he’s battling. We’ll see — it’s up to him. It’s his job to do. That’s the facts. Facts are stubborn things.”

Jones was placed on the non-football injury list on Monday, which is a designation that can be used for any player who fails the conditioning test as well as for those who suffer an injury away from team headquarters.

Tuesday’s practice was reserved for quarterbacks, rookies, and select veterans coming off injuries.

Elam heavier in wallet, lighter on feet

Fresh off officially signing his rookie contract earlier in the week, first-round safety Matt Elam acknowledged he saved “a lot of money” by not hiring an agent to help complete the four-year, $6.767 million contract that includes a team option for a fifth year.

Elam relied on his older brother Abe Elam, who has also played in the NFL, as well as others who offered advice, ranging from those closest to him to attorneys to various NFL players currently in the league. The University of Florida product stands to save roughly $200,000 over the length of the contract by passing on formal representation.

Due to the NFL’s slotting system for rookie contracts, most of the drama has been eliminated from post-draft negotiations after years of holdouts and record-setting deals for top picks.

“I felt like I built the team that helped me learn a lot of things about a contract,” said Elam, who was complimented by Harbaugh for the way he handled negotiations. “I knew all the language and everything about the contract.”

Though Elam gained extra money in his wallet, he elected to drop some weight before the start of training camp to be lighter on his feet as he adjusts to the speed of the NFL.

The 32nd overall pick told reporters he lost eight pounds over the summer and is playing at roughly 200 pounds to begin training camp.

“I just go out there and keep on improving to be the best I can be,” said Elam, who is expected to start at strong safety as a rookie. “People have high expectations for me. They want me to do great things, but I’ve got to live up to my own expectations.”

Flacco candid on first day of camp

CONTINUE ON NEXT PAGE >>>>>

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Yanda, McClain on PUP list, J. Jones on non-football injury list to start camp

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Yanda, McClain on PUP list, J. Jones on non-football injury list to start camp

Posted on 22 July 2013 by Luke Jones

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

Having kicked off their 2013 training camp with rookies, quarterbacks, and injured veterans reporting to Owings Mills on Sunday, the Ravens announced they’ve placed Pro Bowl guard Marshal Yanda and inside linebacker Jameel McClain on the physically unable to perform list.

The use of the active PUP list is a common occurrence for any player with a preexisting injury from the offseason, and both Yanda and McClain were considered likely candidates for the designation at the beginning of the summer. Yanda is recovering from offseason shoulder surgery while McClain continues to work his way back to full strength from the season-ending spinal cord contusion he suffered last December.

Yanda missed mandatory minicamp back in the spring as coach John Harbaugh said the offensive lineman could be limited at the start of training camp. However, there is little concern that the seventh-year guard won’t be ready to go long before the start of the regular season.

McClain continues to make strong progress but is at the mercy of doctors for medical clearance. Both the Ravens and McClain have expressed countless times that they expect him to be cleared to play again, and the veteran linebacker did individual work during spring practices.

A more surprising move came in the form of the Ravens placing wide receiver Jacoby Jones on the non-football injury list. That designation can be used for any player suffering an injury away from the team’s training facility or for those who fail the conditioning test upon reporting to camp. Those individuals remain on the non-football injury list until they can pass, which then clears them to begin practicing.

According to The Sun, Jones did indeed fail the team’s conditioning test, but no official word has come from the Ravens about it.

Jones missed the early portion of the offseason training program due to his participation on “Dancing With the Stars” but returned to take part in spring workouts and mandatory minicamp without any health concerns.

The Ravens did not make any formal announcements regarding the status of a number of other notable veterans including cornerback Lardarius Webb (ACL surgery), defensive tackles Haloti Ngata (sprained MCL) and Terrence Cody (hip surgery), and linebackers Arthur Brown (sports hernia surgery) and Albert McClellan (shoulder surgery).

Center Antoine McClain missed organized team activites and minicamp after undergoing foot surgery and is another candidate for the designation.

Baltimore also announced that rookie defensive end Kapron Lewis-Moore (ACL surgery) was placed on the non-football injury list, but that wasn’t a surprise as his status remains up in the air for the 2013 season after he suffered a serious knee injury in the BCS title game as a member of the Notre Dame defensive line in January.

The Ravens also waived rookie wide receiver Omarius Hines on Monday.

Players placed on either the active PUP list or the non-football injury list still count against the 90-man roster limit but may be removed at any time to begin practicing. These lists are often confused with the reserve versions on which a player can be placed before the start of the regular season that removes him from the 53-man roster but sidelines him for at least the first six weeks of the season.

Here is the more technical descriptions of the designation:

Once they are designated as physically unable to perform, they are prohibited from practicing with the team. They can, however, rehabilitate individually and participate in team meetings. If a player begins training camp on the PUP list, they can be moved to the active roster at any time, even after one practice. A player is not allowed to be placed on the PUP list if they start training camp on the active roster.

If a player beginning the season on active PUP would then come off to participate in a practice and suffer a new injury or re-injure a preexisting condition, he would no longer be eligible for the PUP list in either capacity.

Any player who begins training camp without any designation but injures himself in even the first practice of the summer is ineligible for the PUP list.

To put it simply, the active PUP list is the necessary procedure for potentially placing any player on the reserve PUP list in which he’d miss the start of the regular season. With most players, this doesn’t even come close to happening and they’re able to return to the practice field at some point during the early portion of training camp.

 

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Jimmy Smith, the breakout player of 2013

Posted on 13 July 2013 by jeffreygilley

Every year, there are players who “break out.” This year, one of them will be the physically imposing Jimmy Smith.

Smith was brought to Baltimore with high expectations. He was dubbed the Ravens’ next great cornerback and was expected to match up with the best of the best.

Going into the 2011 draft, Smith was viewed as a top ten talent. Some experts even said Smith was better than Patrick Peterson, the fifth overall pick in the same draft.

Smith has had an inconsistent start to his career. In a 35-7 blowout victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2011, Smith was injured on the very first play. Smith would come back that season and played well in stretches but was susceptible to double moves.

Perhaps Smith’s inconsistent play can be attributed to his college career. Smith was plagued by off field issues but they did not overshadow his performance in his junior and senior seasons. Over that time period, Smith gave up 11 completions with only one being for a first down. Those statistics are impressive by themselves but even more so when you consider Smith played in the pass-happy Pac 12-Conference. When looking at film from that year, teams rarely tested him in the passing game. Smith even excelled in run defense.

Because of his success in college, Smith is not used to being tested. Now that he has experience, he will have a great 2013 season.

Smith also has momentum on his side going into 2013. As I predicted, Smith had a huge impact on Super Bowl XLVII. Smith, the Ravens best tackling cornerback was assigned to cover Michael Crabtree towards the end of the game. Smith more than delivered by breaking up two passes. By forcing these two incompletions, the 49ers turned the ball over and the rest is history.

Lardarius Webb is the unquestioned number one corner on the Ravens’ roster. Smith will have to compete with Corey Graham who is second on the depth chart at this point. Offseason reports suggest Smith is a completely different player. According to these reports, Smith is more of a professional and is pushing Graham early on. Graham is a great corner but is more of a nickel corner. In addition, Smith’s physical prowess make him more suited to play on the outside.

The Ravens will need a solid year out of Jimmy. Have you seen the schedule? There are many elite receivers the Ravens will face. They include Demaryius Thomas, Andre Johnson, AJ Green, Brandon Marshall, and Calvin Johnson. Outside of Smith, there is not a cornerback on the roster that can match up physically with these players.

Expect a great season out of Jimmy Smith. He has every tool to become a superstar in the NFL.

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Baltimore Ravens 2013 Season Preview Part Three: Predicting the Biggest Positional Battles

Posted on 06 July 2013 by jeffreygilley

It’s no secret the Ravens are a different team. Starters that must be replaced include Carry Williams, Ed Reed, Ray Lewis, Dannell Ellerbe, Vonta Leach, and Anquan Boldin. Paul Kruger is also gone but he was more of a role player that rotated starts with rookie Courtney UpShaw.

The following are my projections for the most heated roster battles.

Receiver:

Torrey Smith is the only receiver guaranteed a starting spot. Jacoby Jones is a veteran but struggled in Houston when given a larger workload. Therefore, Jones will be competing with Tandon Doss, Deonte Thompson, Tommy Streeter, David Reed, and LaQuan Williams. So far, Thompson has made the most of offseason workouts. According to reports, he displays great hands and improved route running ability to go along with his blazing speed.

When the Ravens face the Broncos on Sept. 5, Jacoby Jones will start across from Torrey Smith. He is experienced and made plays when given the opportunity last season. The third receiver will be Danton Doss with Deonte Thompson winning the fourth receiver spot on the depth chart. Doss’s skill set translates well to the slot receiver position. His hands, physicality, and ability to get upfield after the catch will make him a nice weapon for Flacco.

Cornerback:

I am a huge Jimmy Smith fan. Smith has too much potential to be the Ravens nickel corner. If he can put everything together, he will be starting opposite Lardarius Webb. Corey Graham would then be the team’s nickel corner. Successfully defending two passes to Michael Crabtree towards the end of the Super Bowl will be positive plays for Smith to build upon.

Chykie Brown could be a sleeper to receive playing time this season. He showed promise last season and played frequently towards the end of the season.

Inside linebacker:

John Harbaugh and the Ravens have a lot of options at inside linebacker. Jameel McClain will likely start. Therefore, the competition really comes down to Arthur Brown and Darryl Smith. Brown was a second round selection in the 2013 draft and is projected to be a defensive rookie of the year candidate. But Smith brings experience and proven ability at inside linebacker. In the beginning of the season, I think Smith will start on running downs and Brown will play on passing downs. Brown has excellent coverage ability and when paired with McClain, they could make up a great duo in pass coverage.

Bryan Hall could also receive playing time pending the training camp competition. Hall played along the defensive line last season but is making the switch to inside linebacker. Hall could play in certain blitz packages but for the most part, will be a special teams player.

Nose tackle

After a solid 2011 season, many thought Mount Cody would break out in 2012. But Cody struggled. He was consistently pushed around and made little impact against teams with great running games. Ozzie Newsome has made an effort to improve the middle of the defense through the draft and free agency. Brandon Williams was drafted in the third round and Marcus Spears and Chris Canty were signed in free agency. Spears and Canty won’t play nose tackle but they will improve the middle of the defense.

I think Brandon Williams will win the starting job. Cody had hip surgery which could explain his poor play in 2012. If Cody can get healthy and play like he did in 2011, the Ravens will have a great rotation at nose tackle.

Center

Replacing Matt Birk will be difficult. Birk was a great leader and will be replaced by either Gino Gradkowski or AQ Shipley. Gradkowski was drafted out of Delaware in the fourth round of the 2012 draft. Gradkowski was projected to be the starter once Birk retired but Shipley played very well for the Colts last season. He played so well that he earned a plus 6.9 rating from Pro Football Focus.

Gradkowski is the early favorite but Shipley is a solid veteran that could start should Gradkowski struggle.

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Top 10 Baseball Distractions

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Top 10 Baseball Distractions

Posted on 27 May 2013 by Glenn Clark

We’re doing things backwards a bit this week because of the holiday. The “Monday Reality Check” will now be a “Tuesday Reality Check.” T10BD reflects the week beginning tomorrow, May 28 through Monday, June 3rd. And before we get started, this feels appropriate.

Honorable Mention: MLL-Hamilton Nationals @ Chesapeake Bayhawks (Saturday 7:30pm from Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium live on CBS Sports Network); WNBA: Atlanta Dream @ Washington Mystics (Sunday 4pm Verizon Center)

10. Tim McGraw (Saturday 7pm Jiffy Lube Live); Kelly Rowland & The Dream (Tuesday 7pm Rams Head Live), Pop Evil (Thursday 7pm Rams Head Live); Aaron Neville (Tuesday 8pm Rams Head on Stage), Bacon Brothers (Friday & Saturday 6:30pm & 9:30pm Rams Head on Stage), Candlebox (Monday 8pm Rams Head on Stage); Fall Out Boy (Friday 8pm 9:30 Club); Flobots (Sunday 7pm U Street Music Hall); John Fogerty “Wrote A Song For Everyone” available in stores/on iTunes (Tuesday)

Not much to like here. I mean, I’m not a Tim McGraw guy but I’ve had a few BBQ stains in my day…

Dear Aaron Neville-thanks for letting us borrow your city to win a Super Bowl. Cheers!

I hate how much people my age know every word to every Fall Out Boy song. But damn if I’m not one of them.

John Fogerty + Foo Fighters + “Fortunate Son” = I might watch this video all night.

9. Artie Lange (Saturday 7:30pm & 10pm Howard Theatre); Kevin James (Wednesday 7:30pm Modell Performing Arts Center at The Lyric); Hal Sparks (Thursday-Saturday Baltimore Comedy Factory); After Earth” and “Now You See Me” out in theaters (Friday); Artfest (Saturday 12pm Boordy Vineyards); Great Grapes! Wine and Food Festival (Saturday & Sunday 12pm Oregon Ridge); “A Taste Of Two Cities”-Baltimore vs. DC Food Trucks (Saturday 12pm Rash Field)

I feel like Baltimore should EASILY win a competition against DC in terms of food. All you do is show up with some sweet corn and lather it in Old Bay. Competition over. The Clark Family did a bit too much of that over Memorial Day weekend…

Competition still going? We shove Peppermint Sticks in lemons around these parts, son. What now?

(Continued on Page 2…)

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Ravens LB Arthur Brown sidelined after sports hernia surgery

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Ravens LB Arthur Brown sidelined after sports hernia surgery

Posted on 22 May 2013 by Luke Jones

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

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Instead of mixing it up with veterans in the Ravens’ first week of organized team activities, rookie linebacker Arthur Brown is instead sidelined after undergoing sports hernia surgery two weeks ago.

The second-round draft pick had the procedure shortly after the team’s mandatory rookie minicamp earlier this month and will likely be sidelined for the remainder of the spring schedule. Though the news is far from crippling, it does take valuable reps away from the Kansas State product who is projected by most to be a starting inside linebacker in the Ravens’ 3-4 base defense.

“He’s recovering from that,” coach John Harbaugh said. “It’s a four-to-six week deal and he should be fine soon enough.”

That leaves the Ravens with both projected starters at inside linebacker less than 100 percent as veteran Jameel McClain continues to improve in his recovery from a spinal cord contusion suffered last December. The sixth-year linebacker dressed out to practice and did some limited work during Wednesday’s practice but did not participate in team drills. He has yet to be cleared for full contact, but the expectation continues to be that McClain will be in plenty of time to play this season.

Joining McClain on the practice field in a limited capacity was cornerback Lardarius Webb, who showed impressive quickness in his backpedal despite wearing a brace on his surgically-repaired left knee. The Ravens expect Webb to be 100 percent by the start of training camp in July and his showing on Wednesday suggested that should be a very accurate projection.

The Ravens have offered a positive prognosis on each player throughout the offseason and Webb began running at the beginning of the voluntary offseason workout program in mid-April.

“We’ve been encouraged with Lardarius and Jameel, really throughout,” Harbaugh said. “They’ve both done a great job with their rehab. They’ve had no setbacks, so they’re on schedule.”

Baltimore had two players who underwent groin surgery this offseason in rush end Pernell McPhee and nose tackle Terrence Cody. McPhee was participating fully in Wednesday’s practice while Cody was present but not working. Sixth-round defensive end Kapron Lewis-Moore wasn’t practicing as he continues to rehab a surgically-reconstructed ACL.

Linebacker Albert McClellan appeared to be practicing on a limited basis.

There were several key veterans absent from the field for the voluntary workout, including linebacker Terrell Suggs, defensive tackle Haloti Ngata, defensive end Chris Canty, fullback Vonta Leach, right guard Marshal Yanda, and wide receiver Jacoby Jones. Harbaugh provided a predictable answer when asked for comment on those players not being present.

“Every guy that comes or isn’t here has their reason, and they are in communication with us,” said Harbaugh, who mentioned that Canty was present on Tuesday. “It’s a voluntary workout. We coach the guys who are here, though.”

Asked to comment on Jones’ third-place finish in ABC’s Dancing with the Stars, Harbaugh offered congratulations to his No. 2 wide receiver and return specialist for the way in which he represented the organization, but you could also tell the Ravens head coach is eager to see Jones get back to football.

Jones has told the organization he’s remained in great condition while taking part in the competition and will report to Owing Mills for work on Thursday.

“I was proud of Jacoby through the whole thing. I am looking for him on the next flight back here to Baltimore, Jacoby,” said Harbaugh as he laughed. “He should be getting off the plane any second here at BWI. Should be expecting him tomorrow — will be looking for him. He should be in great shape. I thought he did great.”

Tight end Ed Dickson took part in Wednesday’s practice despite having not yet signed his restricted original-round tender. According to a team official, Dickson along with the Ravens’ four exclusive-rights players — running back Bobby Rainey, safety Omar Brown, safety Anthony Levine, and linebacker Adrian Hamilton — were all practicing after signing offseason workout program and minicamp participation agreements.

A similar agreement is used for unsigned rookie draft picks that allows for participation in OTAs and minicamp practices.

 

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Webb now running on road to recovery from ACL injury

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Webb now running on road to recovery from ACL injury

Posted on 23 April 2013 by Luke Jones

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Cornerback Lardarius Webb celebrated with his teammates in New Orleans following the Ravens win in Super Bowl XLVII, but knowing he didn’t make an impact on the field left him unsatisfied.

That feeling has been the driving force behind his recovery from a torn ACL suffered in mid-October that sidelined him for the rest of the Ravens’ championship season. As Ray Lewis rode off into the sunset of a brilliant 17-year career and Ed Reed played his final game as a Raven raising the Vince Lombardi Trophy, Webb could only watch from the sideline as he cheered on the rest of his team.

He wants an opportunity to get back — as a player on the field this time.

“It feels good to be a Super Bowl champion, but I want to play,” Webb said. “I want to play in it. That’s still my motivation to this day. I want to play in a Super Bowl.”

Regarded by many as the Ravens’ best defensive performer in the first five weeks of the 2012 season, Webb entered a Week 6 game against the Dallas Cowboys with one interception and was tied for third on the team with 25 tackles. However, the 27-year-old suffered the second devastating injury of his career in tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee less than three years after experiencing the same injury with his other knee.

The news devastated Webb as he could only focus on the long road to recovery as the Ravens experienced an up-and-down regular season before finally getting hot at the right time en route to their second NFL championship.

“It was hard at first. I couldn’t believe it had happened again, going through that adversity,” Webb said. “After a week or two with my family, friends, and this locker room, I was able to keep my head up. Being strong. What I did was just came every day, just worked my butt off. The head trainer [Mark Smith], he’s pushing me hard and he’s taking great care of me.”

Webb has begun running and appears on track to be 100 percent by the summer, but the Ravens have made it a point to take it slow to prevent any setbacks. He had the advantage of a longer recovery time with his second ACL injury compared to when he injured his left knee in the final month of his rookie season in 2009.

The former third-round pick signed a six-year, $50 million contract last offseason and appeared on the cusp of becoming a Pro Bowl cornerback entering the 2012 season. Beginning with the start of the 2011 season, continuing with the 2011 playoffs, and concluding at the time of his knee injury in Week 6 of last year, Webb’s nine interceptions were tied for the league lead.

“He’s coming along well,” strength and conditioning coach Bob Rogucki said. “Right now, as far as the rehab, he’s still under the athletic training staff as far as his legs. I train his upper body; I train his non-involved leg. He is now beginning to run with us, so he’s coming along according to course.”

The Ravens will lean on Webb to provide more leadership along with Terrell Suggs and Haloti Ngata on the defensive side of the football to replace the cavernous void left by Lewis and Reed. That’s a major reason why Webb is reveling in the opportunity to continue his recovery at the team’s Owings Mills facility as the offseason conditioning program began last week.

Even though Webb struggled to make it back to play at a high level in the year immediately following his 2009 knee injury, simply knowing he was eventually able to return to such a high level of play has helped the Nicholls State product push through the difficult process.

“It did, just with my confidence level and what I’m going to have to go through,” Webb said. “It made it very easy. All I can do is come here and work every day and that’s what I do.”

Webb was very brief in answering questions about his progress — perhaps not wanting to look too far ahead — as he simply insists the knee is coming along well without delving into any specific timetable at which he’ll be 100 percent. The coaching staff sees no reason why he won’t be lining up for Baltimore’s first training camp practices in late July.

And with fellow starting cornerback Cary Williams departing for the Philadelphia Eagles in free agency, defensive coordinator Dean Pees will welcome Webb back as soon as he’s cleared.

“Lardarius is on schedule, at least, maybe ahead of schedule,” coach John Harbaugh said. “He looks really good. He should be ready to roll [for] training camp, it looks like. We are going to make sure we don’t have a setback. That’s the most important thing.”

It isn’t easy going through two ACL injuries in three years and missing the opportunity to play in the Super Bowl, but Webb displays the same confidence he had prior to the injury that ended his 2012 season prematurely.

He hears the doubters wondering if he can get back to the same level of play after another serious knee injury and he wears a chip on his shoulder proudly.

“I’m just working my butt off,” Webb said. “When the time comes, No. 21 will be back.”

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