Tag Archive | "ma’ake kemoeatu"

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Why the Ravens will survive offseason purge

Posted on 01 July 2013 by jeffreygilley

I just finished celebrating the Super Bowl victory when the Ravens began losing players. Some were to retirement while others were just released or traded. The losses include Carry Williams, Paul Kruger, Ray Lewis, Ed Reed, Bernard Pollard, Ma’ake Kemoeatu, and Dannell Ellerbe. At first, this was troubling but Ozzie Newsome had a plan and executed it to perfection.

Overwhelming, yes. But the Ravens are set up for long term success at the right price. That is something I have always admired about Ozzie Newsome. Newsome doesn’t get attached to players and approaches football from a business aspect at all times.

I guarantee you Newsome and the Ravens front office were laughing their you know whats off when players like Kruger and Ellerbe signed with other teams. Not to say Ellerbe and Kruger are bad players but they are not worth $75 million combined. Not to mention Ellerbe has struggled with injuries his entire career and Kruger had one good season.

Replacing Kruger and Ellerbe will be Arthur Brown and Elvis Dumervil. The Ravens also have replacements lined up for Williams, Pollard, and Kemoeatu. But notice how I didn’t mention replacements for Boldin, Lewis, or Reed. No one can replace those players.

Boldin is the only loss that truly concerns me. The roster is filled with young receivers with high ceilings and raw ability but that only takes you so far. Boldin brought intangibles to the offense that personified the Ravens playing style. He was also the guy Flacco looked for in clutch situations. None of the young receivers like Deonte Thompson, Tandon Doss, or Tommy Streeter can replace Boldin but maybe Dennis Pitta can.

Look for the Ravens to use Pitta in more of a slot receiver role in 2013. With Pitta in the slot, they can utilize Ed Dickson who is a dangerous weapon when given the chance. Versatile rookie fullback Kyle Juszczyk could also line up across from Dickson as a second tight end.

In a way, while they have lost Boldin, the offense has a chance to be more versatile. Replacing Boldin with a wide range of young fast receivers to stretch the field which fits Flacco’s skill set.

Expect the Ravens to make the playoffs once again. The defense has improved and Flacco can carry this offense. In addition, I dont trust the Bengals to make much of an improvement and the Ravens have owned the Steelers lately.

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Kemoeatu describes Super Bowl as “dream come true”

Posted on 30 January 2013 by WNST Staff

DEFENSIVE TACKLE MA’AKE KEMOEATU

 

(on the feeling of playing in a Super Bowl) “It feels like a dream come true. It feels great to be here. We always dream about getting here but now we’re finally here.”

 

(on if he’s flying in any family to Louisiana) “We are flying a lot of family here, about 20 of them. It was expensive to fly them from Hawaii, but we’re making it happen.”

 

(on who his favorite players to watch were while growing up) “My favorite player to watch growing up was Joe Montana. Then when I got to college, it was always Ray Lewis, because I’m a defensive guy. It’s been a dream come true to be able to play with those guys now.”

 

(on his thoughts about the organization’s leadership) “Baltimore has always been a great organization. They’ve just gotten better as far as keeping the guys close and pushing the guys to become better players. Bringing in the right players and the right coaches to get things done.”

 

(on if the organization has made a point of bringing in players who play well together) “I think so. The way I feel about our defense is we have guys who really mesh well together. With all the injuries that we went through, with key guys getting injured, the coaches did a good job of putting the right guys in at the right time, just moving guys around. I don’t think anyone could have done a better job than the coach did, as far as finding the right rookie guy to move up to play this position and in another game, moving him around. I think they’ve done a really great job of doing that.”

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The Five Plays That Determined The Game: Ravens/Broncos

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The Five Plays That Determined The Game: Ravens/Broncos

Posted on 15 January 2013 by Glenn Clark

Following every Baltimore Ravens game this season, Ryan Chell and I will take to the airwaves Tuesdays on “The Reality Check” on AM1570 WNST.net with a segment known as “The Five Plays That Determined The Game.”

It’s a simple concept. We’ll select five plays from each game that determined the outcome. These five plays will best represent why the Ravens won or lost each game.

This will be our final analysis of the previous game before switching gears towards the next game on the schedule.

Here are the five plays that determined the Ravens’ 38-35 2OT win over the Denver Broncos Saturday at Sports Authority Field at Mile High in an AFC divisional playoff game…

(Note: not all pictures are always of actual play)

Glenn Clark’s Plays…

5. Ma’ake Kemoeatu tackles Ronnie Hillman for no gain on 3rd & 7 (4th quarter)

4. Dennis Pitta 27 yard catch from Joe Flacco on 3rd & 13 from Baltimore 3 (Overtime)

3. Justin Tucker 47 yard field goal GOOD (Double Overtime)

2. Jacoby Jones 70 yard touchdown catch from Joe Flacco (4th quarter)

1. Corey Graham intercepts Peyton Manning pass intended for Brandon Stokley (Overtime)

(Ryan’s Plays on Page 2…)

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Trying to fix Ravens defense starts up front

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Trying to fix Ravens defense starts up front

Posted on 24 October 2012 by Luke Jones

The problems exist all over the field for a Ravens defense stewing during its bye week.

Ranked 26th in total yards allowed and tied for 17th in points surrendered, the Ravens no longer face questions of whether they can regain their long-enjoyed status as one of the elite defenses in the NFL. Truthfully, just improving enough to be a middle-of-the-pack unit would be a welcome change after allowing more than 180 rushing yards in each of the last three games and surrendering 43 points in Sunday’s loss to the Texans, the most allowed by the Ravens since 2007.

Frustrated fans are calling for wholesale changes, seeking new signings, trades, or even a new defensive coordinator. The Ravens aren’t pulling the plug on Dean Pees, who has had to adapt to significant personnel losses in his first year in the position, and the likelihood of bringing in any new players to make a significant impact is remote at this point in the season.

To improve upon a defense on pace to be one of the worst seen in Baltimore since the franchise’s inception in 1996, Ravens coaches and players alike will need to look from within for the answers.

“Personnel-wise, there’s not a whole lot you can do, really,” coach John Harbaugh said. “I like our players. Our players are most definitely good enough to get the job done, and we’ll just continue to improve there. Does that mean young guys? We’re going to keep developing the young guys, and as those guys emerge, sure, they are going to get an opportunity.”

The blame for the struggles belongs to everyone invested, but the root of the Ravens’ biggest problems — the poor run defense and inability to sustain a consistent pass rush — starts up front where the Baltimore defense has been thoroughly controlled at the line of scrimmage. And that’s where Harbaugh’s suggestion of relying on young players grows more unsettling.

Aside from All-Pro defensive tackle Haloti Ngata, who is now struggling with nagging knee and shoulder injuries, the Ravens haven’t seen any of their other defensive linemen emerge to fill the void left behind by veterans who’ve departed in recent years. Terrence Cody, Pernell McPhee, and Arthur Jones have made little impact after being entrusted to assume bigger roles this season. Paul Kruger and Courtney Upshaw weren’t able to consistently get after the quarterback in the absence of five-time Pro Bowl pass-rusher Terrell Suggs. And a returning Ma’ake Kemoeatu has faded after a strong preseason to supplant Cody as the starting nose tackle.

Those shortcomings have led to the Baltimore defensive line being dominated at the line of scrimmage, failing to maintain gap control and allowing offensive linemen to get to the second level to block linebackers. The front four hasn’t made life difficult for opposing quarterbacks, who have then been able to pick on struggling cornerbacks.

The linebackers and secondary haven’t played well either, but their best chance for improvement starts with the defensive line, whose play impacts every level of the defense.

“[It's] a work in progress. We’re not where we’ve been in the past, obviously,” Harbaugh said. “We’ve been a dominant run front. We’ve been able to play the run with seven in the box and pretty much dominate the run. We’re not there right now. So, that’s what we’ve got to work towards.”

Figuring out how to fix it is the biggest problem as Pees has already employed a rotation of defensive linemen, with none making a consistent impact other than a healthy Ngata.

Cody has regressed so significantly since a strong start last season that he’d taken only roughly 30 percent of the team’s defensive snaps this season prior to Sunday when Kemoeatu was inactive due to a knee injury. The 2010 second-round pick has made only 12 tackles after collecting 34 in 2011 and doesn’t command the double teams you’d like to see to free up inside linebackers to make plays. Neither he nor Kemoeatu have handled the nose tackle position with any level of consistent effectiveness.

The combination of McPhee and Jones hasn’t made anyone forget about veteran defensive end Cory Redding, who left in free agency in the offseason. Emerging as the steal of the 2011 draft for the Ravens with six sacks during his rookie season, McPhee added weight to become a three-down defensive end and has dealt with the effects of arthroscopic knee surgery in the spring. Lacking the explosiveness he displayed as a rookie, he has only 16 tackles and 1/2 sack and saw his playing time drastically reduced on Sunday, taking part in only 20 percent of the defensive snaps after playing in roughly 70 percent of the defensive plays through the first six weeks of the season.

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Ngata, J. Smith, Kemoeatu return to practice; Reed downplays labrum injury

Posted on 18 October 2012 by Luke Jones

(Updated: 4:45 p.m.)

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Moving one day closer to a battle against the team with which they’re tied for the best record in the AFC, the Ravens saw three defensive starters return to the practice field on Thursday, including All-Pro defensive tackle Haloti Ngata.

Ngata was missing from practice during the portion open to reporters but was listed as a limited participant on Thursday’s injury report. The Pro Bowl defensive lineman missed Wednesday’s workout as he continued to rest a sprained MCL. He is still regarded as a good bet to play against the Houston Texans.

Cornerback Jimmy Smith (groin) and nose tackle Ma’ake Kemoeatu (knee) were present and working for the portion of practice open to the media. Kemoeatu wore a bulky brace on his right knee as he walked onto the practice field.

Offensive lineman Ramon Harewood was a new absence for Thursday’s practice and wasn’t listed on the injury report for Wednesday. The 2010 sixth-round pick was benched last week after starting the first five games of the regular season and was replaced by veteran Bobbie Williams against Dallas.

Outside linebacker Terrell Suggs was practicing for the second straight day and walked onto the field using a different doorway then Wednesday, once again toying with photographers and cameramen and preventing them from getting optimum shots.

Veteran safety Ed Reed was once again practicing Thursday despite revealing he’s been dealing with a torn labrum. He downplayed the significance of the injury and its impact on his ability to tackle.

“I’m not a pitcher. I don’t play baseball,” Reed said. “That’s something that we knew about. It’s nothing to worry about. It is what it is. The last few weeks, I have been dealing with it.”

Offensive tackle Kelechi Osemele had his right hand and wrist heavily wrapped as he began practicing on Thursday.

Meanwhile, Texans cornerback Johnathan Joseph missed his second straight practice as he deals with a groin injury. The standout corner is expected to be a game-time decision for Sunday.

Here is Thursday’s official injury report …

BALTIMORE
DID NOT PARTICIPATE: T Ramon Harewood (head)
LIMITED PARTICIPATION: DT Ma’ake Kemoeatu (knee), T Bryant McKinnie (thigh), DT Haloti Ngata (knee), CB Jimmy Smith (abs)

HOUSTON
DID NOT PARTICIPATE: CB Johnathan Joseph (groin)
LIMITED PARTICIPATION: NT Shaun Cody (back), S Quintin Demps (thumb/forearm), DE David Hunter (toe), OLB Jesse Nading (foot/neck), RB Ben Tate (toe)
FULL PARTICIPATION: OLB Bryan Braman (knee), G Antoine Caldwell (concussion), ILB Bradie James (calf), WR Lestar Jean (knee), C Ben Jones (knee), S Shiloh Keo (neck/back/thumb), C Chris Myers (hip), G Wade Smith (knee)

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Suggs returns to practice field; Ngata, J. Smith absent Wednesday

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Suggs returns to practice field; Ngata, J. Smith absent Wednesday

Posted on 17 October 2012 by Luke Jones

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — With cameras lined up just outside the main door where most Ravens players walk out to the practice field, linebacker Terrell Suggs threw everyone a curveball when arriving for his first practice of the season.

Using a side door to trick reporters and photographers, Suggs was accompanied to the field by safety Ed Reed, who was shielding the 2011 Defensive Player of the Year like a bodyguard would hide a celebrity from paparazzi. The pair howled with laughter as Suggs appeared in pads for the first time since suffering a partial tear of his Achilles tendon back in the spring.

The Ravens officially cleared Suggs as being ready to practice after being on the reserve physically unable to perform list, meaning he has a 21-day period in which to practice before the 30-year-old must be placed on the 53-man roster. Of course, Suggs can be activated before that point in time as well.

“To what he’s able to do, I think we should just temper our expectations a little bit,” coach John Harbaugh said. “He’s coming off a very serious injury — an Achilles tear — and we’ll just see how he does. He will start today. This is the first time he’s allowed to do it. I think he’s worked really hard. He’s done a great job with the rehab; he’s followed the protocol. He had no setbacks throughout the course of the whole deal, so that’s a credit to him and a credit to the doctors and to our trainers.”

Walking onto the field a few moments after Suggs’ comedic entrance, running back Ray Rice told reporters he and several other teammates had given the five-time Pro Bowl linebacker a warning that the cameras were waiting for him. Suggs jogged on the side field and played catch during the part of practice open for media viewing, which is the segment of the workout devoted to special teams work in which Suggs would have little-to-no involvement, anyway.

He is scheduled to meet with the media on Thursday. Since Suggs is not on the 53-man roster, he wasn’t listed on the injury report but was expected to practice on a very limited basis.

Though the star player’s return was uplifting news for the Ravens, three defensive starters were missing from the open portion of practice as defensive tackle Haloti Ngata (knee), cornerback Jimmy Smith (groin), and nose tackle Ma’ake Kemoeatu (knee) all suffered minor injuries in Sunday’s win over the Dallas Cowboys.

Ngata suffered an MCL sprain and underwent an MRI on Monday, but Harbaugh expressed relief that the results showed it to be a minor injury.

The Ravens will monitor the health of all three players, but they are expected to be available against the Houston Texans this Sunday.

Here is Wednesday’s injury report:

BALTIMORE
DID NOT PARTICIPATE: DT Ma’ake Kemoeatu (knee), DT Haloti Ngata (knee), CB Jimmy Smith (abs)
LIMITED PARTICIPATION: T Bryant McKinnie (thigh)

HOUSTON
DID NOT PARTICIPATE: CB Johnathan Joseph (groin)
LIMITED PARTICIPATION: G Antoine Caldwell (concussion), NT Shaun Cody (back), TE Owen Daniels (NIR), S Quintin Demps (thumb/forearm), RB Arian Foster (NIR), ILB Bradie James (calf), WR Andre Johnson (NIR), OLB Jesse Nading (foot/neck), DE Antonio Smith (NIR), RB Ben Tate (toe)
FULL PARTICIPATION: OLB Bryan Braman (knee), WR Lestar Jean (knee), C Ben Jones (knee), S Shiloh Keo (neck/bacK/thumb), C Chris Myers (hip), G Wade Smith (knee)

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Ravens-Jaguars preseason primer: Five position battles to watch

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Ravens-Jaguars preseason primer: Five position battles to watch

Posted on 22 August 2012 by Luke Jones

Moving ever closer to games that actually count, the Ravens will play their third preseason contest of the summer Thursday as they welcome the Jacksonville Jaguars to M&T Bank Stadium.

Coach John Harbaugh is planning to play his starters well into the third quarter as Baltimore meets Jacksonville in the preseason for the first time ever. Traditionally, the third preseason game is considered the final real test for the regular season as starters see their most extensive action before barely making a cameo — if they even do that — in the final preseason game.

The Ravens will try to find more rhythm on both sides of the football, but the vanilla looks we saw in each of the first two preseason games will remain as the coaching staff does not game-plan for opponents in the preseason. For this reason, some downplay the significance placed on the “dress rehearsal” of the preseason.

“I guess that’s the way we’re trained to kind of look at it, just because that is the game [the starters] play the most in,” quarterback Joe Flacco said. “We want to go out there and put good work forward and good footage that we can look at and learn from. This week is kind of the same. We want to go out there and we want to play well, but at the same time, we need to clean some things up and see what we’re getting better at and see what we still need to work on maybe even a little bit more.”

As is always the case, the preseason holds the most significance for players competing for starting positions or spots on the 53-man roster, but the coaching staff wants to see rhythm and communication improve as some starters will be playing together in a game for the final time before the season opener against the Cincinnati Bengals on Sept. 10.

Issues facing the Ravens in the offseason such as becoming more efficient in the red-zone offense and establishing a pass rush without Pro Bowl linebacker Terrell Suggs have carried into the preseason, and Harbaugh would like to see glimpses of optimism in those areas with the season set to kick off in less than three weeks.

“The performances of certain players are a really big part of it, but the performances of groups and units together is probably more important, because that’s how the game is played,” Harbaugh said. “We would expect that to be the case – guys working together better, fewer communication mistakes, being more synchronized.”

Even for longtime veterans such as 17-year linebacker Ray Lewis, the third preseason game provides a nice tuneup to not only be on the field for an extended period but to provide the emotional charge they’ll experience in beginning their quest to return to the AFC Championship game — and try to advance a step further — in 2012.

And while it’s not on the list of priorities for Thursday’s game, the Ravens’ embarrassing 12-7 loss to Jacksonville last season was on the mind of at least one Baltimore defensive player. The Jaguars ran for 132 yards against the Ravens on Oct. 24 of last season, but 105 came from the legs of running back Maurice Jones-Drew, who is currently holding out over a contract dispute.

“This is a good test for us,” Lewis said. “These guys run the ball pretty well, and for us to come in and have this type of test right now, being our third preseason game, yeah, I’m a little ready.”

Unofficially (and largely speculative) injury report

The Ravens are not required to release an injury report like they do for regular-season games, but I’ve offered my best guess at what the injury report would look like if there were one.

Though not dealing with an injury, defensive end Pernell McPhee’s status for Thursday remains unknown as he’s been away from the team since the weekend due to the death of a family member.

Again, this is not meant to be an official injury report:

OUT: OT Jah Reid (calf), LB Josh Bynes (back), TE Dennis Pitta (hand), TE Ed Dickson (shoulder), LB Terrell Suggs (Achilles tendon), WR David Reed (knee), DL Ryan McBean (ankle)
QUESTIONABLE: G Marshal Yanda (leg), LB Sergio Kindle (shoulder), S Sean Considine (head), LB Darryl Blackstock (groin)
PROBABLE: WR Torrey Smith (ankle), G Bobbie Williams (ankle)

Five positions to watch Thursday night

1. Left guard – Bobbie Williams and Kelechi Osemele

Should starting right guard Marshal Yanda be held out Thursday after accidentally being undercut by linebacker Chavis Williams during Monday’s practice, it will be more difficult to get a read on where the Ravens stand with their left guard position. It appears the coaching staff has finally settled on veteran Bryant McKinnie at left tackle and Michael Oher on the right side — the two have practiced in those spots exclusively since the second preseason game — but Osemele has begun working at guard more extensively with the 35-year-old Williams still dealing with scar tissue breaking up in his surgically-repaired ankle.

Interestingly enough, Williams was working at right guard in Yanda’s place, which seemed odd for the lineman expected to start on the left side, but it was the position the veteran primarily played in his years with the Cincinnati Bengals. Osemele has been very impressive this summer, making you wonder if he could eventually unseat Williams in the starting lineup. His ankle makes you question whether Williams will hold up over a 16-game schedule, but the Ravens feel confident that Osemele can be a contributor as a rookie if necessary.

My gut choice if the season started today: Williams gets the nod due to experience, but the Ravens won’t hesitate to go with Osemele if the veteran struggles as the season progresses.

2. Defensive end – Arthur Jones and Pernell McPhee

Thursday would be a golden opportunity for Jones to make up ground if McPhee remains away from the team due to a death in the family. A hip flexor injury cost Jones valuable practice time, allowing McPhee to receive the bulk of the reps and take the lead in the push for the starting job. A 2011 fifth-round pick out of Mississippi State, McPhee had the reputation of being stronger against the run prior to a surprising rookie season that included six sacks, and he played well against the run in the Ravens’ first two preseason games.

Jones has a strong lower body that translates well in run-stopping situations, but he doesn’t stand out when asked to get after the quarterback, which led many to believe he would see time on first and second downs with McPhee spelling him in passing situations. However, it now appears McPhee can handle the duties of a three-down lineman, and Jones could find himself as more of a situational player like he was last season. Regardless of which player the Ravens anoint as the starter, both will factor heavily into the defensive line rotation.

My gut choice if the season started today: McPhee has stood out on the defensive line as a more complete player and would be the choice as the starter even though Jones will still see plenty of opportunities.

3. Rush linebacker – Albert McClellan and Courtney Upshaw

CONTINUE >>>

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Flacco embracing increased focus on no-huddle offense

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Flacco embracing increased focus on no-huddle offense

Posted on 13 August 2012 by Luke Jones

The Ravens appear primed to use the no-huddle attack more this season than they have at any point during the John Harbaugh era, and that’s perfectly fine with Joe Flacco.

In fact, the fifth-year quarterback wouldn’t have it any other way if given the choice.

“I love the no-huddle,” Flacco said. “We’ve got to get quicker and quicker at it. I like to go up there and run a play, run a play, run play. That’s what we’re going to be, and I think we have to make sure we get it as fast as we can.”

The Baltimore offense operated almost exclusively without a huddle in the preseason opener against the Atlanta Falcons, running 82 plays over the course of the game. Of course, that number becomes even more astonishing when you consider the first-quarter struggles that led the Ravens to only run nine plays for nine total yards in the first 15 minutes.

Running 73 plays in the final three quarters, the Ravens won’t always use the strategy, but Harbaugh stated Saturday that it’s been a major point of focus during organized team activities in the spring and over the first three weeks of training camp.

“That’s something that we have been practicing from the beginning, so obviously, that’s going to be a big part of what we do. We just have to pick our spots and all that.”

What can’t happen when using the no-huddle attack is to go three-and-out as the Ravens did for three consecutive series against the Falcons in the first quarter. Not only does it force a punt back to the opposition, but it leaves the defense even more fatigued than usual and will often result in the opposition controlling the tempo.

“It works really well when you convert; it doesn’t look so good when you don’t convert,” Harbaugh said. “When we have situations during the season, if we are out there, if we chose to go that tempo, that we don’t convert, our defense is going to have to get stops. When we do convert, we are going to build some momentum on our opponents. You have to understand how that goes.”

Veteran defensive lineman pushing Cody

Perhaps the most surprising sight from Sunday’s practice in Annapolis was seeing veteran defensive tackle Ma’ake Kemoeatu lining up with the starting defensive line during several periods while starter Terrence Cody worked with the second-team defense.

Cody is still listed as the starting nose tackle on the team’s most recent depth chart released Saturday, but the 33-year-old Kemoeatu has appeared to not only lock down a spot on the 53-man roster but is now pushing for serious playing time after not even playing in the NFL last season.

“I would say Kemo is pushing for a starting job,” Harbaugh said. “He has done that the last couple of [weeks], really since training camp has started. He’s in great shape, and he’s played extremely well.”

Kemoeatu has battled Achilles tendon and shoulder injuries in recent years and has played in only 14 games over the last three NFL seasons. The veteran played in Baltimore from 2002 through 2005 before signing a long-term contract with the Carolina Panthers.

He signed a one-year contract with the Ravens in early May after being released by the Washington Redskins last July and sitting out the 2011 season.

Upshaw working way back slowly

Rookie linebacker Courtney Upshaw worked in his third straight practice on Sunday after he sat out the preseason opener in Atlanta while still recovering from a right shoulder sprain.

The 22-year-old continues to be very limited and has his right shoulder heavily wrapped. He missed seven straight practices after sustaining the injury in a collision with rookie running back Bernard Pierce on July 28.

Upshaw is stilled listed as the Ravens’ starting rush linebacker on the official depth chart, but Albert McClellan and Sergio Kindle have received the reps in the rookie’s absent. McClellan has played well and is vying to win the starting job, according to Harbaugh.

“I’m not really feeling any pressure,” Upshaw said. “It’s just all these guys are here fighting, and I knew that coming in after they drafted me. But they just want me to get back to fight with them. Honestly, I just want to get back on the field. It’s not even about competing with [McClellan]. I just love the game so much, and I want to be out there playing the game of football.”

Expressing confidence that he would play in the Ravens’ second preseason game this Friday, Upshaw acknowledged that he still feels soreness in the shoulder and would have to be cleared to play by the training staff to compete against the Detroit Lions.

Reed sets record straight

CONTINUE >>>

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