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Ravens begin final wave of cuts with Saturday deadline looming

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Ravens begin final wave of cuts with Saturday deadline looming

Posted on 30 August 2013 by Luke Jones

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OWINGS MILLS, Md. — The Ravens need to trim their roster to the regular-season limit of 53 by Saturday and began their work with multiple cuts including the departures of running back Anthony Allen and rookie cornerback Marc Anthony on Friday.

The team also waived quarterbacks Caleb Hanie and Dayne Crist, running back Delone Carter, tight end Alex Silvestro, linebackers Nigel Carr and Brandon Copeland, offensive tackles Jordan Devey and Rogers Gaines, center Reggie Stephens. As expected, linebacker D.J. Bryant (knee) was placed on season-ending injured reserve after suffering a serious injury in the preseason finale against St. Louis.

These moves brought the roster down to 63 players with more moves coming by Saturday’s 6 p.m. deadline. The Ravens currently have two IR candidates on their active roster in tight end Dennis Pitta and offensive lineman Ryan Jensen while defensive backs Asa Jackson and Christian Thompson will each be placed on the reserve-suspended list, meaning they won’t count against the 53-man roster. However, the Ravens are likely to give Pitta the designation to return, meaning he would need to be on the active roster until Tuesday while the Ravens carry only 52 healthy players in the meantime.

“We want to make [this team] as good as we possibly can in every way we can,” Harbaugh said. “It’s a long season, so the improvements that will be made between Week 1 and Week 16 will be dramatic, we hope.”

Allen was a standout special-teams player for last season’s Super Bowl XLVII team. He was initially let go on the final day of cuts last season before being re-signed in time for the season opener and served an important role on special teams, specifically as a lead blocker for Pro Bowl return specialist Jacoby Jones on the kickoff return team.

He was originally a seventh-round selection in the 2011 draft.

The decision to part ways with both Allen and Carter, who was acquired from Indianapolis in the David Reed trade last week, likely paves the way for preseason standout Bobby Rainey to make the roster as the No. 3 running back. He scored two touchdowns in Thursday’s 24-21 loss to the Rams.

With much attention being paid to the wide receiver and tight end positions, the Ravens did not cut any of the eight receivers on their 75-man roster Friday while Silvestro was the only tight end to be let go. Harbaugh was complimentary of rookie wideouts Marlon Brown and Aaron Mellette — indicating each “looks good” in terms of their 53-man roster standing — and didn’t dismiss the possibility of even keeping all eight.

“You look at that position and people considered it a weakness of ours. There is a lot of depth there,” Harbaugh said. “Who becomes the stars that everybody talks about in terms of being a strong wide receiver group remains to be seen. But all of those guys are going to be really good players in the National Football League, and just because they aren’t household names now doesn’t mean they won’t be soon.”

The Ravens also surprisingly parted ways with one of their 2013 draft picks by waiving the seventh-round choice Anthony, the rookie confirmed in a text message. This decision leaves the projected roster with only four cornerbacks when remembering that Asa Jackson will be suspended for the first eight games of the regular season.

Anthony was the team’s first draft pick to be let go in the year he was selected since fifth-round tight end Davon Drew and sixth-round running back Cedric Peerman were waived at the end of the 2009 preseason.

It would appear the Ravens will at least explore the possibility of adding another cornerback once final cuts are made around the league, and they’ve remained in contact with veteran cornerback Chris Johnson releasing him earlier this month.

“It’s always possible,” said Harbaugh, who acknowledged that free safety Michael Huff could play cornerback in a game-day pinch. “I don’t know if a corner of that caliber is going to come available. It’s pretty hard to say that that’s going to happen, but we’ve got some flexibility.”

Though not unexpected, the departures of Hanie and Crist mean the Ravens are in line to carry just two quarterbacks on their regular-season roster for the fourth straight year. As he’s done in the past, general manager Ozzie Newsome will likely sign a third quarterback to the practice squad.

Follow WNST on Twitter throughout the day for updates and analysis and be sure to subscribe to the WNST.net Text Service to stay in the loop all weekend.

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Ravens taking their time with Yanda’s return to practice field

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Ravens taking their time with Yanda’s return to practice field

Posted on 31 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. — Though linebacker Jameel McClain’s status remains in serious doubt, the Ravens once again expressed optimism Wednesday over the recovery of Pro Bowl right guard Marshal Yanda.

Yanda has yet to take part in practice this summer after undergoing shoulder surgery earlier in the offseason. Coach John Harbaugh revealed the news of Yanda’s surgery during the team’s mandatory minicamp in mid-June and suggested at the time that the offensive lineman could be limited at the start of training camp.

Despite passing his physical late last week, Yanda remains on the active physically unable to perform list along with McClain, who still hasn’t been cleared for contact after suffering a spinal cord contusion last December. Yanda has increased his activity level, but Harbaugh wasn’t ready to pinpoint when we’ll see the seventh-year lineman take part in afternoon practices.

“I don’t want to put an exact date on it, but it will be in training camp pretty good,” Harbaugh said. “We aren’t in a rush with him. [He is] very much on schedule. He’s doing certain things. He does things in the morning. He goes through the morning workout. He goes through some individual stuff, so he’s practicing. He’s just not going through the contact stuff, but he’s doing very, very well.”

The expectation remains that Yanda will be ready long before the season opener against Denver on Sept. 5.

Offensive lineman Ramon Harewood remained sidelined on Wednesday after seeing a doctor because of continued swelling in his knee. According to Harbaugh, he will receive an injection to relieve some of the friction in hopes of getting him back on the practice field sooner rather than later.

Rookie cornerback Marc Anthony left the field with a left shoulder strain during practice that isn’t considered serious.

Other players not participating in Wednesday’s practice included offensive lineman Ryan Jensen (broken foot) and tight end Dennis Pitta (hip) as well as defensive end Kapron Lewis-Moore (knee), who remains on the non-football injury list.

Returning to the practice field were wide receivers LaQuan Williams (arm), Tommy Streeter (heat-related sickness), and Marlon Brown (knee).

The returning Vonta Leach participated in his first workout of training camp after signing a two-year deal on Monday and walked onto the practice field with backfield partner Ray Rice.

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Ravens assigning numbers, handing out contracts to rookies

Posted on 02 May 2013 by Luke Jones

With the Ravens welcoming their new batch of rookies to Owings Mills for their mandatory minicamp this weekend, they got down to business with signing some of their 10 draft picks from the Class of 2013.

The drama of rookie contracts has largely been eliminated since the introduction of a new system with the collective bargaining agreement signed in 2011, so signings have become mere formalities with holdouts and delayed negotiating now things of the past. The contracts of drafted rookie players are set at four years — first-round contracts contain an option for a fifth season — with rookie free agents receiving three-year contracts. While contract figures aren’t slotted with a fixed amount, each team is given a rookie cap figure by which to abide.

According to The Sun, the Ravens have reached four-year agreements with fourth-round fullback Kyle Juszczyk, fifth-round offensive lineman Ricky Wagner, sixth-round defensive end Kapron Lewis-Moore, sixth-round center Ryan Jensen, seventh-round wide receiver Aaron Mellette, and seventh-round cornerback Marc Anthony.

In addition to handing out contracts to six of their 10 draft choices, the Ravens officially assigned jersey numbers to each player and can be seen below:

S Matt Elam – No. 31
LB Arthur Brown – No. 59
NT Brandon Williams – No. 98
LB John Simon – No. 47
FB Kyle Juszczyk – No. 40
OL Ricky Wagner – No. 71
DE Kapron Lewis-Moore – No. 67
C Ryan Jensen – No. 77
WR Aaron Mellette – No. 80
CB Marc Anthony – No. 36

The Ravens have also issued No. 51 to troubled linebacker Rolando McClain, which will lead many to wonder whether we’ll actually see the 23-year-old linebacker suit up in Baltimore. The second-round selection of Brown certainly clouded McClain’s future even more than it already was following an arrest two weekends ago.

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Ten thoughts on Ravens’ 2013 draft picks

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Ten thoughts on Ravens’ 2013 draft picks

Posted on 28 April 2013 by Luke Jones

Because I refuse to put a grade on a draft that needs a couple years in order to truly be evaluated, I instead offer a thought on each of the 10 selections the Ravens made in the 2013 NFL Draft this weekend.

Some are serious, others are not, and you can guarantee you won’t find a silly letter grade attached to any of them.

1. Round 1 – S Matt Elam, Florida
Thought: The Ravens are over the moon for Elam, but you do wonder if his propensity for the big hit will draw untimely penalties in the same way Bernard Pollard would.

2. Round 2 – LB Arthur Brown, Kansas State
Thought: No one will ever be Ray Lewis, but Brown’s skill set provides the Ravens with a complete linebacker who’s strong in pass coverage, something they were severely lacking.

3. Round 3 – DT Brandon Williams, Missouri Southern State
Thought: It’s great that the 335-pounder can walk on his hands, but that act of athleticism is too reminiscent of Kyle Boller being able to throw a football through the uprights while on a knee at the 50 for me to really care.

4. Round 4 – DE John Simon, Ohio State
Thought: The Jarret Johnson comparisons have already been made, but did Buckeyes head coach Urban Meyer mean “John” or “Simon” when he said he’d name his son after the new Ravens outside linebacker?

5. Round 4 – FB Kyle Juszczyk, Harvard
Thought: General manager Ozzie Newsome didn’t dismiss the idea that the Ravens could keep both Pro Bowl fullback Vonta Leach and Juszczyk on the 53-man roster this year, but it wasn’t a ringing endorsement of the idea either.

6. Round 5 – OL Ricky Wagner, Wisconsin
Thought: The Ravens technically drafted a left tackle on Saturday, but Wagner’s feet aren’t quick enough for the position at the next level, meaning he’ll likely find a home at guard or right tackle with the Ravens.

7. Round 6 – DE Kapron Lewis-Moore, Notre Dame
Thought: Still recovering from a torn ACL suffered in the BCS title game, Lewis-Moore is one to watch for 2014 after being a co-captain and four-year starter for the Fighting Irish.

8. Round 6 – C Ryan Jensen, Colorado State-Pueblo
Thought: Raise your hand if you had never even heard of Colorado State-Pueblo — who brought back football in 2008 after a 24-year hiatus — let alone this offensive lineman prior to Saturday afternoon.

9. Round 7 – WR Aaron Mellette, Elon
Thought: You’ll continually be reminded he’s a seventh-round pick from an FCS school, but it’s difficult not to be intrigued with the 6-foot-2, 217-pound frame and eye-popping production (210 catches and 30 touchdowns in the last two seasons).

10. Round 7 – CB Marc Anthony, California
Thought: You have to feel good for Anthony making it to the NFL after putting up with years of jokes about Cleopatra, Jennifer Lopez, and being a Grammy award-winning singer.

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Taking a look at new Ravens from Draft Day 3

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Taking a look at new Ravens from Draft Day 3

Posted on 27 April 2013 by WNST Staff

The Baltimore Ravens added seven new players on the final day of the 2013 NFL Draft.

In the 4th round (129th overall pick), the Ravens selected Ohio State DL John Simon. Here’s a look at Simon from the Buckeyes’ 2012 win over Nebraska…

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UPAWU1Oc1iw

And a look at the OSU pass rusher from their 2012 win over Penn State…

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UpCJe4Djy_w

And here’s Simon campaigning to get on the cover of the EA Sports NCAA Football video game…

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q_jCllrixIk

We saw Brandon Williams’ arms Friday night, his new teammate’s are pretty impressive as well.

Simon received high praise from OSU coach Urban Meyer (courtesy of Eleven Warriors)…

Also in the 4th round (130th overall), the Ravens selected Harvard FB/TE Kyle Juszczyk. Here he is in action from Senior Bowl week…

And an overall career highlight package for the Crimson H-Back…

Juszczyk shared his excitement via Twitter…

Where he had previously shared his disbelief about how much someone was charging for his autograph…

In the 5th round (168th overall), the pick was Wisconsin OL Ricky Wagner. Here’s a look at Wagner from the Badgers’ 2011 loss to Ohio State…

In the 6th round (200th overall), the Ravens went with Notre Dame DL Kapron Lewis-Moore. Here’s Lewis-Moore’s performance in the Fighting Irish’s 2012 win over USC…

Based on this magazine cover, I think we can guess Lewis-Moore has a pretty good personality…

He also seemed quite upbeat despite ACL surgery after the Orange Bowl…

Lewis-Moore had a fun interaction with ESPN’s Rick Reilly…

In the 6th round (203rd overall), the Ravens brought Colorado State-Pueblo Center Ryan Jensen to the team. Here’s a highlight package from the 2011 season…

The CSU-Pueblo team did a “Harlem Shake” video last year…

Jensen Tweeted out a photo earlier this month of a quote that you might be familiar with as a Ravens fan. It’s one of John Harbaugh’s favorites…

In the 7th round (238th overall), the Ravens selected Elon WR Aaron Mellette. Here’s a career highlight package for Mellette…

And some highlights from the Phoenix’s 2012 loss to North Carolina…

Someone is going to have to let him know that his hat (and any friendship with Duke’s Ryan Kelly) is now completely unacceptable…

With their final 7th round pick (247th overall), the Ravens selected California CB Marc Anthony.  We were all thinking the same thing.

Turns out it was a different guy.

Here are some highlights from Cal’s 2012 loss to Stanford…

Hear from Simon, Juszczyk, Wagner, Lewis-Moore and Mallette in the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault at WNST.net.

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Cal cornerback Anthony taken with Ravens’ final pick

Posted on 27 April 2013 by Luke Jones

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — The Ravens concluded their 2013 draft by selecting California cornerback Marc Anthony in the seventh round with the 247th overall pick.

Anthony was a three-year starter for the Bears and posted 138 tackles, 13 tackles for a loss, 21 pass breakups, and five interceptions. At 5-foot-11 and 196 pounds, the 23-year-old projects to compete for a roster spot via special teams and depth in the secondary.

General manager Ozzie Newsome said prior to the draft that you can never have too many cornerbacks, so the Ravens’ decision to take one with their final pick is hardly surprising.

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