Tag Archive | "Mike Wallace"

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Wallace passes conditioning test, Dixon out with knee injury

Posted on 29 July 2016 by Luke Jones

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — After missing the first practice of the summer on Thursday, Ravens wide receiver Mike Wallace has passed his conditioning test and participating in Friday’s workout.

The eighth-year wideout failed on his first try Wednesday and was officially placed on the non-football injury list. Though not a great impression to make at the start of training camp, a veteran or two failing the Ravens’ challenging conditioning test has been a common occurrence in the John Harbaugh era and is not a real concern in the big picture.

Also absent on Thursday after failing his conditioning test, cornerback Jerraud Powers was once again missing on Friday morning. Powers, 29, is considered the favorite to be Baltimore’s slot cornerback in the nickel and dime packages this season.

Rookie running back Kenneth Dixon was not practicing on Friday after suffering an MCL sprain to his left knee on the first day. Other players absent from the session included wide receivers Steve Smith (Achilles) and Breshad Perriman (knee), linebackers Terrell Suggs (Achilles) and Elvis Dumervil (foot), and running backs Trent Richardson (knee) and Lorenzo Taliaferro (foot).

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Flacco “comfortable” in first full practice since knee injury

Posted on 28 July 2016 by Luke Jones

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — In his first full practice since injuring his left knee last November, Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco threw a dart down the seam to Dennis Pitta for a big completion during an 11-on-11 drill.

The play conjured memories of their many connections during the run to Super Bowl XLVII and was the highlight of Thursday’s no-contact session. Less than eight months removed from surgery to repair the anterior cruciate and medial collateral ligaments in his left knee, Flacco also reminded us of his big-league arm by hurling a 50-plus-yard strike to hit rookie Chris Moore in stride during individual drills.

Flacco, 31, did show some rust as he was picked off by Sheldon Price and nearly threw another interception to Shareece Wright, but the number of errant throws was no greater than you’d typically see in the first practice of the summer.

Regardless of how he might have practiced, the mere sight of the franchise quarterback healthy and back on the field was more than enough for the Ravens on the first day of training camp.

“It felt really good to be out there,” said Flacco, who wore a red non-contact jersey and a black brace on his left knee. “I wasn’t as efficient as I’d like to be, but I felt comfortable. I just need to throw it a little better and complete some more passes.”

Flacco moved well in the pocket and did not appear to be limited in his practice reps, only abstaining from a drill in which the other quarterbacks practiced falling on fumbles.

With other key players such as wide receivers Steve Smith and Breshad Perriman and linebackers Terrell Suggs and Elvis Dumervil beginning the summer on the physically unable to perform list, questions will remain about the Ravens’ play-making ability at key positions, but the healthy return of Flacco alone is enough to provide hope that 2016 will bring better fortune than last year.

“He looked good. He seemed confident and wasn’t back there hobbling around or stumbling or footwork was off,” said safety Eric Weddle, who was excited to be able to practice against Flacco after playing against him several times with San Diego over the years. “You couldn’t tell he just had surgery in the offseason. It’s definitely a positive sign.

“He’s got the ‘it’ factor, and it brings everyone else’s level up.”

Nine players absent on first day

Running back Lorenzo Taliaferro (foot) was added to the active physically unable to perform list, joining wide receivers Steve Smith (Achilles tendon) and Breshad Perriman (left knee), linebackers Terrell Suggs (Achilles tendon) and Elvis Dumervil (foot), and running back Trent Richardson (knee). Those six players may begin practicing at any point, but the Ravens are proceeding cautiously with the aforementioned veterans coming back from injury.

Cornerback Jerraud Powers and wide receiver Dobson Collins joined receiver Mike Wallace on the non-football injury list as the three had yet to pass the conditioning test. Harbaugh wouldn’t comment when asked whether Wallace was any closer to passing the test after failing on Wednesday.

“It doesn’t matter,” Harbaugh said. “You pass it or you don’t. You make it or you don’t.”

Dixon injures knee

After finishing the 2015 season with 20 players on injured reserve, the Ravens couldn’t escape an injury in their first practice of the summer as rookie running back Kenneth Dixon suffered a knee injury diagnosed as a Grade 1 MCL sprain.

The fourth-round pick is considered day-to-day and left Baltimore with just three healthy running backs at the end of Thursday’s session: Justin Forsett, Buck Allen, and Terrance West.

“He’s going to be OK. He’s got just a little slight thing with the knee,” head coach John Harbaugh said. “He should be fine. Maybe tomorrow, we’ll see.”

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Wallace fails conditioning test, Long’s deal on hold for now

Posted on 27 July 2016 by Luke Jones

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Two veteran newcomers could be missing from the field as the Ravens conduct their first full-squad workout of the summer on Thursday.

According to head coach John Harbaugh, wide receiver Mike Wallace did not pass the team’s rigorous conditioning test and will be placed on the non-football injury list to begin training camp. Though it’s not the ideal way to begin his first camp with the Ravens, it’s not uncommon to see a veteran or two — especially those new to the organization — fail the conditioning test at the start of camp and Wallace is expected to pass and be on the practice field within the next couple days.

Wallace could retake the test as early as Thursday morning and would be allowed to participate in the Ravens’ 9 a.m. practice should he pass.

The Ravens’ one-year agreement with veteran offensive tackle Jake Long is on hold as some concern arose about his right knee during his physical. The 31-year-old sustained separate anterior cruciate ligament tears to the same knee in 2013 and 2014 and appeared in only four games for the Atlanta Falcons last season.

Long is visiting Dr. James Andrews for an examination, but optimism still remains that a deal that makes sense for both sides can be finalized.

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Perriman receives good news regarding 2016 status

Posted on 14 June 2016 by Luke Jones

It appears Ravens wide receiver Breshad Perriman’s 2016 season hasn’t come to an end, after all.

Tuesday’s arthroscopic surgery performed by Dr. James Andrews revealed that the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee is stable, meaning Perriman won’t need season-ending reconstruction surgery. The 22-year-old received a stem-cell injection to speed up the healing process, and the Ravens expect Perriman to be able to play this season.

The 2015 first-round pick hurt his left knee on the final day of organized team activities last week and was initially diagnosed with a partially-torn ACL, leaving his season in jeopardy before receiving the second opinion.

“I would just say that it’s not a tear that needs to be repaired,” head coach John Harbaugh. “I don’t know if it’s a tear or it it’s a partial tear or what exactly. I wasn’t there. Maybe Breshad can comment on that from what the doctors told him when he comes back. It just needs treatment, and he should be back at some point in time during training camp [and] will certainly be ready for the regular reason.

“But, again, that’s always unpredictable. I think we’ve been down this road before. We’ll continue to just work hard and do that. It was really good news today.”

As Harbaugh alluded to, skepticism will remain about how quickly Perriman can return to the field after he missed his entire rookie season with a partially-torn posterior cruciate ligament in his right knee that was originally considered minor. However, this appears to be good news for the 2015 first-round pick and the Ravens compared to the alternative of season-ending ACL reconstruction.

With Thursday’s news, the Ravens still envision Perriman and veteran newcomer Mike Wallace becoming a dangerous downfield duo for quarterback Joe Flacco this season.

“You just feel for him and especially feel for him to not even be able to get his feet wet yet,” said Wallace about the second-year receiver. “He was just telling me last week how excited he was for this upcoming season. And we’re still hopeful that he’ll be back soon. We’re going to stay prayed up and keep hope alive for him, and I think hopefully he’ll be back at some point this season to help us.”

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Ravens lose needed upside with Perriman’s latest injury

Posted on 13 June 2016 by Luke Jones

The Ravens are better equipped to handle Breshad Perriman’s absence than they were a year ago when he was their only hope in replacing Torrey Smith.

But that doesn’t make his latest knee injury any less disappointing for both him and the Ravens as they try to bounce back from a 5-11 season. We’re still waiting to see how Perriman’s skills translate to the NFL, of course, but that kind of upside is what Baltimore was counting on to help return to the playoff picture in the AFC after a one-year absence.

Perriman’s injury hardly ruins their season, but the Ravens have now lost a potential solution to a problem that plagued them a year ago. Even before the many injuries that sent the 2015 season spiraling out of control, John Harbaugh’s team lacked game-changing talent on either side of the ball, too often leaving the Ravens on the losing end of close games.

Offensive coordinator Marc Trestman and quarterback Joe Flacco will now lean more heavily on veteran newcomer Mike Wallace, a former 1,200-yard receiver coming off the worst season of his career. To be fair, the 29-year-old wasn’t a good fit in Minnesota with Teddy Bridgewater’s limited throwing arm, but Wallace’s career hasn’t exactly been trending in the right direction since leaving Pittsburgh a few years ago.

The combination of Perriman and Wallace made you salivate about the deep-ball potential with Flacco’s strong arm, but the Ravens will likely now take a longer look at fourth-round rookie Chris Moore, another vertical threat out of Cincinnati. Perhaps Moore is a diamond in the rough who can pair nicely with Wallace, but neither possesses the same apparent ceiling as the speedy Perriman.

When you’re coming off a 5-11 season, you need game-changing talent. The Ravens have enough solid-to-good players on this roster, but first-round picks are supposed to have the potential to become great ones, which is what general manager Ozzie Newsome envisioned when he took Perriman last year to compete in a division that has such game-changing receivers as Antonio Brown and A.J. Green.

That’s why the 22-year-old’s latest setback stings for a roster with aging players at a number of key positions. Perriman was himself still an unknown, but the Ravens hoped he would be a major answer at wide receiver, a position where there are other options but plenty of questions.

Will Steve Smith still look like the same player at age 37 and coming off an Achilles tendon injury?

Can Kamar Aiken prove last year’s production wasn’t merely the result of Ravens quarterbacks having no one else to throw to in the second half of the season?

Does Wallace still have the ability to hurt opposing defenses in the vertical passing game?

Will anyone from the group of Moore, Michael Campanaro, Jeremy Butler, Keenan Reynolds, and Chris Matthews emerge to be a bigger force than expected?

If the Ravens were coming off their typical season under Harbaugh in which they made the playoffs and were firmly in the AFC title hunt, Perriman’s injury would be a bummer but calmly received with the “next man up” mantra. But a lot of ground needs to be made up when you’re coming off the type of season Baltimore had in 2015.

The Ravens need high-impact talent to emerge and the ball to bounce their way in 2016 after a season in which seemingly everything went wrong.

Perhaps they will still find their answers elsewhere, but it hurts to again lose a talent envisioned as such a difference-maker.

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Offensive position battles aplenty for Ravens at start of OTAs

Posted on 24 May 2016 by Luke Jones

The Ravens are holding their first organized team activities this week and with them come plenty of questions as on-field preparations begin for the 2016 season.

Few conclusions can be drawn from the voluntary workouts that will be conducted without a number of veterans, but the practices will provide an early look at some players returning from injuries as well as rookies competing with established NFL talent for the first time. Thursday’s workout will be open to media to conclude the first week.

Coming off their worst season in nearly a decade, the Ravens have plenty of jobs up for grabs on both sides of the ball.

Here is a look at the top offensive competitions:

1. Left tackle

The candidates: Eugene Monroe, Ronnie Stanley

The reality: With Monroe continuing his crusade for medical marijuana in Las Vegas this week, the rookie first-round pick Stanley should receive extensive opportunities at left tackle. If he proves to be more than ready to handle the job, general manager Ozzie Newsome and head coach John Harbaugh can feel better about the possibility of letting the oft-injured Monroe go and saving $6.5 million in salary.

2. Left guard

The candidates: Ronnie Stanley, John Urschel, Ryan Jensen, Vlad Ducasse Alex Lewis

The reality: This spot is directly tied to left tackle as Stanley would appear to be the slam-dunk choice to start should the Ravens keep Monroe for 2016. If Stanley plays tackle, the other four will compete for Kelechi Osemele’s old spot with Ducasse holding the experience edge with 22 career NFL starts, but both Urschel and Jensen have fared well at guard when given the chance to play there in the past.

3. Running back

The candidates: Justin Forsett, Buck Allen, Kenneth Dixon, Terrance West, Lorenzo Taliaferro, Trent Richardson

The reality: The veteran Forsett is the early favorite to start, but the size of this list reflects how wide open this competition could be. There is plenty of depth, but the question will be whether there is enough high-impact talent to make the running game thrive and not just a collection of No. 2 and No. 3 backs. At the very least, Allen and Dixon give Joe Flacco two attractive options as receivers out of the backfield.

4. Tight end

The candidates: Benjamin Watson, Crockett Gillmore, Maxx Williams, Dennis Pitta

The reality: All eyes will be on Pitta — with fingers crossed — as he is serious about returning to action, but it’s impossible to know what kind of player he can be after two serious hip injuries. Is the veteran newcomer Watson the favorite to start after a career year in New Orleans or will Gillmore build on his encouraging 2015? The 2015 second-rounder Williams could also be ready to take a big step forward.

5. Wide receiver

The candidates: Steve Smith, Mike Wallace, Kamar Aiken, Breshad Perriman

The reality: We don’t figure to get a look at Smith until training camp, but Perriman will be intriguing to watch after missing his rookie season with a knee injury. Perriman and Wallace are better speed complements to Smith’s skill set, but it would be unwise to overlook Aiken after his 2015 campaign. The next tier of receivers that includes rookies Chris Moore and Keenan Reynolds, Michael Campanaro, Jeremy Butler, Chris Matthews, and Daniel Brown will be competing for the last couple roster spots.

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Ravens’ free-agent newcomers assigned jersey numbers

Posted on 26 April 2016 by Luke Jones

With organized team activities set to begin next month, the Ravens officially announced jersey numbers for one of their more decorated groups of free-agent newcomers in recent years.

As he did for nine seasons in San Diego, veteran safety Eric Weddle will wear No. 32 as he leads the Baltimore secondary this fall. The Ravens hope the three-time Pro Bowl selection will finally bring stability to a position lacking in that department since the departure of Ed Reed after the 2012 season.

Speedy wide receiver Mike Wallace will wear No. 12 as second-year receiver and tight end Darren Waller has switched to No. 84. Tight end Benjamin Watson will wear No. 82, the same number with New Orleans over the last three seasons.

Attempting a comeback after sitting out the 2015 season, 2012 first-round running back Trent Richardson will wear No. 33, which was last worn by former Ravens safety Will Hill.

Below are other Ravens players who have changed their jersey numbers from last season:

WR Chris Matthews — No. 13 (previously 84)
WR Kaelin Clay — No. 16 (previously 81)
CB Sheldon Price — No. 27 (previously 32)
RB Terrance West — No. 28 (previously 27)
TE Konrad Reuland — No. 85 (previously 86)
TE Nick Boyle — No. 86 (previously 82)

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Ravens add much-needed diversity to passing game

Posted on 15 March 2016 by Luke Jones

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Asked in early January whether the Ravens needed more speed in the passing game, Joe Flacco answered carefully while making his stance clear.

“I don’t know if it’s something that it needs, but you see what speed does,” the veteran quarterback said. “It does a lot for football teams. You see what the Steelers are doing with the speed that they’ve added over the last couple years. It definitely makes a difference out there.”

The Ravens took a step to copy Pittsburgh’s formula on Tuesday by signing former Steelers receiver Mike Wallace to a two-year deal worth a reported $11.5 million.

Not only does the union provide the Ravens another vertical threat to pair with 2015 first-round pick Breshad Perriman, but it provides Wallace the chance to get his career back on track after setting new lows in receiving yards (473) and touchdowns (two) last year. Playing the last three seasons with quarterbacks in Miami’s Ryan Tannehill and Minnesota’s Teddy Bridgewater who aren’t known for their arm strength, the 29-year-old sees the strong-armed Flacco as the perfect passer for his skill set.

“I always loved his deep ball ever since I was in Pittsburgh watching Torrey [Smith] catch them,” Wallace said. “I was like, ‘Man, this guy gets like eight of them in a row!’ I need me some of that.”

After Perriman missed his entire rookie season due to a right knee injury suffered on the first day of training camp, the Ravens can hardly afford a repeat of 2015 when they lacked a speed receiver to stretch the field and create more space for Steve Smith and Kamar Aiken on short-to-intermediate routes. Baltimore finished eighth in passing offense, but the unit ranked 30th in yards per attempt (6.6), reflecting its inability to push the ball down the field.

Now, the Ravens hope the addition of Wallace and Perriman’s healthy return will bring more diversity to the passing game and better utilize Flacco’s strengths.

Head coach John Harbaugh is excited about the potential of his top four receivers and how it might impact opponents’ preparation for his offense.

“It’s going to cause people some problems,” Harbaugh said. “You have some considerations back there on defense. If you’re going to put your defense over one guy or another guy and leave some pretty talented guys open on the other side, that’s going to create some problems for defenses.”

The Ravens may lack a true No. 1 option with Steve Smith turning 37 and coming back from a torn Achilles tendon, but Wallace doesn’t need to be a 1,200-yard receiver for the Baltimore passing game to thrive in 2016. The key is having wideouts who bring different skills to the table, whether you’re factoring in Steve Smith’s toughness and experience, Aiken’s reliable hands, or the high-end speed of Wallace and Perriman.

On paper, it could be the most talented group of pass-catchers the Ravens have had since the 2012 season that culminated with a win in Super Bowl XLVII, and it should fulfill Flacco’s desire to have more speed on the outside.

Both Baltimore and Wallace hope their partnership will be the right fit. The Ravens need to replace the big-play ability they were missing after Torrey Smith’s free-agent departure, and last year showed that they couldn’t count solely on the unproven Perriman to do it when he has yet to complete as much as a full-contact practice in the NFL. Wallace is out to prove he’s still capable of being the playmaker he was with Ben Roethlisberger in Pittsburgh and isn’t just the guy who signed a mega contract with the Dolphins three offseasons ago and was all but forgotten in the Vikings offense last year.

“I’ll show everybody. I’ve been taking a lot of heat for about three years in a row,” Wallace said. “We’ll see about that though. I promise I’ll get the last laugh. Hopefully we can get where we want to get, and that’s to the championship.”

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Free-agent receiver Wallace reportedly set to visit Ravens

Posted on 12 March 2016 by Luke Jones

Looking to add more speed to their passing game, the Ravens continue to look at free-agent wide receiver Mike Wallace.

According to Sports Illustrated, the 29-year-old will visit the Ravens on Monday and remains an option at the right price. Wallace was cut by the Minnesota Vikings last week after the worst season of his seven-year career in which he caught just 39 passes for 473 yards and two touchdowns.

Since leaving the Pittsburgh Steelers after the 2012 season, Wallace hasn’t been the same receiver who posted back-to-back 1,100-yard seasons in 2010 and 2011, but he’s also played with quarterbacks in Miami’s Ryan Tannehill and Minnesota’s Teddy Bridgewater who lacked the arm strength to take full advantage of his speed. That wouldn’t figure to be an issue playing with the strong-armed Joe Flacco, who acknowledged at the end of last season that he wouldn’t mind seeing the Ravens copy Pittsburgh’s approach of having multiple vertical threats.

The Ravens would like to add another speed receiver to go along with 2015 first-round pick Breshad Perriman, who missed his entire rookie season with a partially-torn posterior cruicate ligament in his right knee. Perriman had yet to be fully cleared as of last month, and the Ravens cannot afford to put all hope for their vertical passing game in a receiver who has yet to complete a full-contact practice at the NFL level.

According to CBS Sports, Baltimore is also interested in three-time Pro Bowl safety Eric Weddle, who had spent his entire career with the San Diego Chargers before becoming an unrestricted free agent last week.

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Ravens clear more cap space as free-agent rumors fly

Posted on 09 March 2016 by Luke Jones

After all but officially securing their first free-agent acquisition in veteran tight end Benjamin Watson on Tuesday, the Ravens were working on clearing additional salary cap space to add others on Wednesday.

Veteran cornerback Kyle Arrington accepted a pay cut to stay with the Ravens, a source confirmed. The 29-year-old is a Maryland native and Gwynn Park grad and wanted to remain close to home after previously being scheduled to make a $2.1 million base salary and carry a $2.766 million cap figure in 2016.

According to multiple outlets, the Ravens also converted $5.3 million of Marshal Yanda’s 2016 base salary into a bonus, a simple restructure that creates just under $4 million in additional cap space for 2016.

That maneuvering came as the Ravens were expressing interest in former Minnesota Vikings receiver Mike Wallace, according to NFL Network. The speedy 29-year-old was released on Tuesday and is coming off the worst season of his seven-year career in 2015, catching just 39 passes for 473 yards.

The same outlet also reported that Baltimore was looking into Pittsburgh left tackle Kelvin Beachum, who had his 2015 season cut short due to a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee. The 2012 seventh-round pick has made 39 career starts for the Steelers over the last four seasons and is an unrestricted free agent.

According to Bleacher Report, the Ravens were also interested in free agent Rodney McLeod, but the former St. Louis safety agreed to a five-year, $37 million deal with Philadelphia on Wednesday afternoon.

Despite a number of free-agent deals around the league already being reported over the last couple days, the official signing period was set to begin at 4 p.m. on Wednesday.

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