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Perriman eager to prove he’s “worth the wait” for Ravens

Posted on 23 August 2016 by Luke Jones

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Upon seeing Breshad Perriman take part in his first full-squad practice in over a year, Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs couldn’t resist teasing the second-year wide receiver.

“Who’s the new guy?” the boisterous veteran asked during the early portion of Tuesday’s workout. “Can he play?”

The second question is the one everyone — the Ravens and their fans — would like to finally explore as health has been the lone focus since Perriman injured his right knee on the first full day of training camp last year and missed his entire rookie season. A partially-torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee in June was initially feared to be another season-ending blow, but Perriman has returned less than 2 1/2 months after the injury. Taking part in only the individual portion of Tuesday’s practice, he moved well while running routes and catching passes, even snagging a couple with one hand.

The 6-foot-2, 215-pound Central Florida product can’t wait until he no longer has to answer the questions about his knees and can instead prove to the Ravens that they were wise to take him with the 26th overall selection of the 2015 draft. In his very limited practice time over the last two years, you can see exactly why the organization was so excited to take the speedy Perriman, but he has much to prove beyond the prerequisite of finally staying on the field.

“I am very eager. I feel like it is coming real soon,” Perriman said. “I know that it will be worth the wait.”

Unlike last year when general manager Ozzie Newsome viewed the rookie as the immediate replacement for free-agent departure Torrey Smith and had no contingency plans in the event of an injury, the Ravens secured other deep-ball options this offseason by signing veteran Mike Wallace and drafting University of Cincinnati product Chris Moore in the fourth round. Baltimore is hardly doomed if Perriman doesn’t make an impact in 2016, but he brings the kind of upside a team desires when trying to rebound from a down season.

Throughout the summer, head coach John Harbaugh has spoken about the need to find play-makers on both sides of the ball to make the difference in close games. Perriman’s rare combination of size and speed fits that description perfectly — at least on paper.

The clock is ticking for Perriman to both get back into football shape — he hasn’t played in a real game since Dec. 26, 2014 — and get on the same page with quarterback Joe Flacco for the start of the regular season, but he fully expects to be on the field when the Ravens welcome Buffalo to town on Sept. 11.

“Most definitely. I don’t have any doubt in my mind that I [will] be ready,” Perriman said. “I’m attacking it right now like I will be ready, and I think I will.”

Even more than the typical first-round pick, Perriman will be under the microscope.

The cruelest critics have already declared the 22-year-old a bust, waiting for his next injury and spewing venom on social media as though he wanted to be hurt. Perriman says he tries to ignore most of the negativity, but it’s also fueled him to work harder to get back on the field.

“It is just about blocking that out and focusing on yourself and getting healthy,” said wide receiver Michael Campanaro, who has dealt with much criticism regarding his own health over the last couple years. “We all know what Breshad is capable of. He has the right mindset. He works hard, and sometimes injuries come with the game. It hasn’t killed his confidence or anything. He is going to be ready to go.”

A healthy Perriman hopes to finally answer that next question of whether he can play.

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Harbaugh frustrated by Pitta’s extended absence with broken finger

Posted on 22 August 2016 by Luke Jones

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Three weeks have passed since Ravens tight end Dennis Pitta suffered what was originally deemed a minor finger sprain from a scuffle with rookie linebacker Kamalei Correa.

In fact, the injury was treated with humor by both Pitta and close friend and quarterback Joe Flacco.

It turned out to be much more serious, however, which explains the lengthy absence. Head coach John Harbaugh said Monday that a magnetic resonance imaging exam revealed that Pitta suffered a break in the finger, and he is still unable to catch passes or take part in practices. The training staff fears that another hit to the finger might require doctors to insert a screw in it, keeping him sidelined even longer.

The ninth-year coach said it was “absurd” that the Aug. 1 injury occurred in the first place.

“We want to get him out here running and in the [walk-throughs],” Harbaugh said. “I want to get him timed up with Joe, but he really can’t catch right now and he definitely can’t get his finger banged up. It’s ridiculous, it’s sad, and I’m disappointed about it.”

Harbaugh tried to find a positive by noting that the broken finger may have kept Pitta out of harm’s way from a more serious injury during training camp. The 31-year-old is trying to come back from two catastrophic injuries to his right hip and has appeared in just seven games since Super Bowl XLVII.

Already with a deep collection of tight ends on the roster, the Ravens need to see what Pitta can offer at this stage of his career after not playing in a game in 23 months. He appeared to be moving well in spring workouts and over the first few days of the summer, telling reporters that his surgically-repaired hip felt great.

“We have to get him and Joe timed up. That was really coming early on,” Harbaugh said. “It was really exciting to see, so we need to get him back as soon as we can. It’s not going to be this week. A bone has to heal before they can put him out there.”

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Ravens safety Elam out “some number of weeks” with knee injury

Posted on 22 August 2016 by Luke Jones

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Not a sure bet to make the 53-man roster in his fourth season, Ravens safety Matt Elam will miss “a number of weeks” with a knee injury sustained in Saturday’s preseason win over Indianapolis.

Head coach John Harbaugh announced that the 2013 first-round pick would undergo surgery after he collected two tackles in 29 defensive snaps against the Colts.

“Matt Elam fell on his knee during the game,” Harbaugh said. “We didn’t find this out until yesterday. He has to go in and do an arthroscopic surgery to clean it out. He had a chip come loose in there. It won’t be a season-ending injury by any stretch. They say it’s about some number of weeks into the early part of the season.”

What this means for Elam’s future with the organization remains to be seen as he was already fighting for a reserve spot on the 53-man roster with veterans Eric Weddle and Lardarius Webb entrenched as the starting safeties. Elam hasn’t lived up to expectations as the first draft selection made by Baltimore after Super Bowl XLVII, but he reported to training camp in good shape and had shown improvement this summer after missing the entire 2015 season with a torn biceps.

The 24-year-old is not be eligible for the reserve physically unable to perform list, meaning general manager Ozzie Newsome would be forced to either carry him on the 53-man roster to begin the season or place him on injured reserve with the possibility of bringing him back later in the season. Teams are no longer required to designate an IR player to return ahead of time, but they are still only allowed to pull back one player per season.

Elam was competing with the likes of Terrence Brooks and Kendrick Lewis for reserve safety roles in the secondary.

“We’ll just see how that goes,” said Harbaugh in returns to the timetable for Elam’s return. “It’s unfortunate for him, but Ozzie [Newsome] will deal with it roster-wise however he decides to deal with it.”

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Perriman, Dumervil come off Ravens’ PUP list

Posted on 22 August 2016 by Luke Jones

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — After Ravens outside linebacker Elvis Dumervil returned to the practice field on Monday morning, head coach John Harbaugh announced a teammate would be joining him in coming off the physically unable to perform list.

Sidelined since suffering a partially-torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee during organized team activities in June, wide receiver Breshad Perriman was set to take part in the afternoon walk-through. Harbaugh says he’s excited to see Perriman practice, but he acknowledged that the 2015 first-round pick would be brought back to practices slowly as he works his way into football shape.

The 6-foot-2, 215-pound Central Florida product missed his entire rookie season with a partially-torn posterior cruciate ligament in his right knee sustained on the first day of training camp.

“I’m sure we’ll all be holding our breath a little bit. It’s just natural,” Harbaugh said. “But he’s in great spirits — I can tell you that. He’s worked extremely hard. I think he’s really grown through all of this, and he’s learned how to really work at the rehab. You know he’s been forced to do that, so I’m looking forward to seeing how he looks when he comes back.”

With Perriman not having practiced to this point, many had begun speculating that he would begin the regular season on the reserve PUP list, which would have sidelined him for at least the first six games. However, Monday’s activation makes it clear that the Ravens are confident that he is healthy enough to return to live-game action sooner rather than later.

Meanwhile, Dumervil was taking part in his first practice since undergoing offseason foot surgery. Entering his 11th NFL season and fourth with the Ravens, the five-time Pro Bowl linebacker made it clear his primary concern is being ready for Buffalo on Sept. 11.

It remains to be seen whether he or Perriman will play in the preseason.

“That’s a day-by-day situation. We’ll see how that works out,” Dumervil said. “The goal is for the opener for sure. If I can try to get a preseason [game] in, that would be awesome. If not, then I’m looking forward to the opener.”

Also returning to the practice field on Monday was wide receiver Chris Matthews, who had missed two weeks with a soft-tissue injury.

Other absences included tight ends Dennis Pitta (finger) and Maxx Williams, guard John Urschel (contusion), defensive backs Kyle Arrington (head) and Kendrick Lewis. New players missing from practice after Saturday’s preseason win were safety Matt Elam (knee), cornerbacks Jerraud Powers and Maurice Canady (hamstring), and nose tackle Brandon Williams.

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Twelve Ravens thoughts on preseason win over Indianapolis

Posted on 21 August 2016 by Luke Jones

With the Ravens continuing the preseason with a 19-18 win over Indianapolis, I’ve offered a dozen thoughts, each in 50 words or less:

1. The Ravens didn’t give up any first-half touchdowns, but the starting defense struggling again against the opposing first unit was disappointing as Andrew Luck completed all eight of his passes. The group tightened up in the red zone, but surrendered three long drives and missed too many tackles.

2. The second of those long drives was halted thanks to a forced fumble by Albert McClellan, who continues to make a good case to be Baltimore’s strong-side outside linebacker in early-down situations. He set the edge well and finished with three tackles.

3. John Harbaugh was displeased with 11 penalties for 91 yards, including three defensive pre-snap penalties in the first half that resulted in first downs. When you have a shortage of play-makers, it’s even more critical to play smart and disciplined football, something the Ravens failed to do last year.

4. After a terrible first quarter, the offense came alive with Kamar Aiken drawing a 41-yard pass interference flag and catching a 14-yard touchdown on a beautiful crossing route. I’m interested to see what Aiken’s role looks like with Steve Smith’s return, but he deserves his share of targets.

5. The Ravens re-signed Shareece Wright this offseason to be a starting cornerback and he was solid down the stretch of a lost 2015 season, but he remains shaky in coverage — even against the Colts’ second offense — and is the logical target for opponents to test in this secondary.

6. He has plenty of stickers on his suitcase as a journeyman, but Josh Johnson has performed better than anyone expected and has outplayed Ryan Mallett for much of the summer. Harbaugh acknowledged it now being a competition for the backup job, but I’d still be surprised if Mallett is unseated.

7. It was interesting to see Will Davis play quite a bit at slot cornerback in the nickel, especially after Jerraud Powers struggled for the second straight week. Normally an outside corner, Davis made some plays inside and finished the game with five tackles and a sack.

8. Despite being a versatile backup, center Ryan Jensen had arguably the most embarrassing play of the evening when he was completely pancaked back into running back Kenneth Dixon on a third-and-goal play from the 1-yard line early in the fourth quarter. Not a good look.

9. Rookie edge rusher Matt Judon impressed for the second straight week, collecting another sack and showing a promising combination of strength and quickness. The Grand Valley State product is still raw, but you can see why the Ravens were so happy to land him in the fifth round.

10. Known for his deep-threat ability at Cincinnati, Chris Moore ran crisp routes and showed strong hands in catching three passes for 20 yards after missing the preseason opener with a foot injury. With Breshad Perriman’s Week 1 status remaining in doubt, Moore becomes more interesting in this offense.

11. Credit the NFL last year for adopting the college rule allowing the defense to run back a conversion try for two as Anthony Levine did to win the game. It’s a rare play that might occur only once or twice a year around the league, but what excitement it brings.

12. Sitting Joe Flacco again was probably the right move, but the third preseason game now carries more importance than normal for the Ravens. With so many starters playing so little this summer, it’s hard to get a feel for just how good this team will be in 2016.

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Ravens-Colts preseason primer: Five players to watch

Posted on 19 August 2016 by Luke Jones

The Ravens are moving closer to looking like a complete team.

Saturday’s preseason game against the Indianapolis Colts probably won’t reflect that, but both Terrell Suggs and Steve Smith returned to the practice field this week and are on track to be ready for the season opener against Buffalo on Sept. 11.

After resting a number of healthy veterans against Carolina, head coach John Harbaugh isn’t sharing his plans for playing time on Saturday night. In the past, Harbaugh had played most of his starters into the second quarter of the second preseason game, but the Ravens are merely following a league-wide trend of trying to keep veteran players out of harm’s way as much as possible while maximizing the opportunity to evaluate unknown commodities.

“You want to see the young guys play in game situations when the tackling is live,” said Harbaugh, who acknowledged the artificial surface at Lucas Oil Stadium being one of many factors to consider in determining which veterans will play. “There’s not quite as much practice as there was before — certainly not even close to as much as it was way before. We practice really well, and we see a lot from our guys in practice. The game is a confirmation. Or, sometimes, guys that don’t practice as well play well in games. Sometimes guys practice great and don’t show up in games. That’s something you really need to know.”

Joe Flacco continues to practice every day while only experiencing mild soreness in his surgically-repaired left knee, but Harbaugh may rest his franchise quarterback for a second straight game and wait until next week’s “dress rehearsal” for his first preseason action. Such a timetable would be concerning if not for the fact that Flacco has yet to miss a single rep during training camp.

The 31-year-old hasn’t been in a live pocket since last November, but he sees no need to play extensively in the preseason ahead of his ninth NFL season.

“I’m not worried about it; I’ve played plenty of games,” Flacco said. “I think the biggest reason to get back out there is to get back in live action and see what it feels like again. But it doesn’t really take too long to do that, so whatever we do is going to be for a reason. Whatever happens, happens, and I’m going to be comfortable either way.”

Thursday marks the first time these AFC teams have met in the preseason, but Indianapolis holds an 8-3 edge in regular-season matchups and a 2-1 lead in the postseason. Baltimore has compiled a 21-12 record in preseason games under Harbaugh.

Unofficial (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 on what the injury report would look like if one were to be released ahead of Saturday night’s game against Indianapolis.

Most of the players ruled to be out will come as no surprise, but the status of a few will remain in question. Of course, this list does not consider any veteran players — like Flacco — who could be held out of the preseason opener due to the coaching staff’s preference.

Again, this is not an official injury report released by the Ravens:

OUT: WR Steve Smith (Achilles), LB Elvis Dumervil (foot), WR Breshad Perriman (knee), RB Lorenzo Taliaferro (foot), DE Bronson Kaufusi (ankle)
DOUBTFUL: LB Terrell Suggs (Achilles), TE Dennis Pitta (finger/hip), WR Chris Matthews (soft tissue injury), CB Kyle Arrington (head), S Kendrick Lewis (undisclosed), TE Maxx Williams (undisclosed)
QUESTIONABLE: G John Urschel (contusion), WR Chris Moore (foot), CB Tavon Young (hamstring), TE Crockett Gillmore (hamstring), WR Michael Campanaro (unspecified strains), CB Maurice Canady (undisclosed), TE Daniel Brown (undisclosed), CB Sheldon Price (undisclosed)
PROBABLE: QB Joe Flacco (knee)

Five players to watch Thursday night

RB Justin Forsett

The performance of Terrance West, Buck Allen, and Kenneth Dixon this summer certainly should have the attention of Forsett, who didn’t play in the preseason opener. I’m not buying any sentiment that the 30-year-old is in danger of being pushed off the roster, but he’ll certainly want to present himself well in what game action he sees between now and the start of the season. He’s still the best pass-blocking tailback on the roster and breaks more tackles than you’d expect with a 5-foot-8, 195-pound frame. The young backs might be closing the gap, but Forsett’s experience is still invaluable to the backfield.

CB Jimmy Smith

It was clear that the No. 1 cornerback wasn’t 100 percent last year coming off foot surgery, but the Ravens need much more from the man in which they invested a huge contract. Smith got off to a quiet start in camp after having the surgical screws removed from his right foot this spring, but he’s looked much better in recent practices. If the Baltimore defense is to return to a high level, the 28-year-old needs to be a Pro Bowl-caliber kind of cornerback as he looked to be before suffering the Lisfranc injury. Seeing him stack some quality live-game reps would be encouraging going into the regular season.

OT Ronnie Stanley

The rookie left tackle played 22 snaps and graded out well against Carolina despite having suffered a minor injury less than a week earlier. The Ravens just want to see him continue that in more extensive action against the Indianapolis front. The best compliment you can pay an offensive lineman is that you don’t notice him that much, a description that fits the first-round pick in his first training camp. The Ravens were impressed with his pedigree coming out of Notre Dame, and he’s done everything so far to make you think he can handle a very demanding position in his first NFL season.

LB Albert McClellan

Not many would have predicted McClellan to be atop the depth chart at the strong-side outside linebacker position, but the Ravens need a replacement for Courtney Upshaw and McClellan is more consistent setting the edge on run plays than second-year linebacker Za’Darius Smith at this point. It’s critical that someone — McClellan, Smith, or even rookie Kamalei Correa — emerges to handle the “Sam” spot in order to allow Elvis Dumervil to return to more of a situational role in 2016. A special-teams standout for a number of years, McClellan has more trust with the coaching staff than many would think.

WR Chris Moore

With Breshad Perriman’s status for the start of the regular season looking in doubt, more attention will fall on the rookie fourth-round pick to be a decent complement to veteran Mike Wallace in the vertical passing game. Moore was arguably the biggest star over the first couple days of camp before a foot injury sidelined him until this week. The Ravens have had other receivers in and out of practice, but Moore has received plenty of second-team reps as well as some work with the first team. It’s not a guarantee that Moore will play so soon after a two-week absence, but his explosiveness is worth watching.

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It’s unwise to count out and easy to root for Steve Smith

Posted on 18 August 2016 by Luke Jones

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Steve Smith did it all in his first day back at practice for the Ravens.

On the field, he made a touchdown catch and spun the football in the end zone, adding his trademark flavor to what was an otherwise bland walk-through session. Displaying his veteran leadership and his willingness to learn despite being in his 16th NFL season, Smith talked at length with rookie — and roster long shot — Darius White and said he even picked up a new route-release technique from former CFL wideout Dobson Collins, another player unlikely to make the 53-man roster.

Speaking to local reporters for the first time since mid-June, he got choked up explaining why he had decided to return, chastised media “jackasses” for doubting his 2016 prospects, and warned defensive backs that their vacation was over with the “bully” back on the field. Smith wouldn’t say directly whether this will be his final season, only acknowledging it was his last year “contractually” and that he’s only focused on playing this season.

The veteran then spent time posing for pictures and signing autographs with young Ravens fans and military personnel attending practice. He did make a point to say he’s going to smile more and have fun in what most assume to be his final season.

We know that conventional thinking says a 37-year-old can’t and won’t be the same player after a ruptured Achilles tendon, but what has ever been that conventional about Steve Smith?

A wide receiver standing 5-foot-9 and hailing from the University of Utah isn’t supposed to rank 15th on the NFL’s career receptions list, but he is one of the all-time greats when it comes to surprising people. Guys in their mid-30s aren’t supposed to play like a top 10 receiver, but that’s exactly what he was doing last year before the injury, catching 46 passes for 670 yards and three touchdowns in only seven games.

Of course, these feats aren’t surprising to Smith, who thrives on — arguably even obsesses over — proving his critics wrong. He was asked Thursday about the possibility of having more left in the tank than even he can imagine right now.

“Than I imagine?” Smith replied. “I’ve been rehabbing for nine months. I know exactly what’s left.”

It’s never been easier to doubt Smith than it is right now, but doing so feels no less unwise if you’ve paid attention to his career. General manager Ozzie Newsome and the Ravens made contingency plans by signing veteran Mike Wallace and drafting Chris Moore in the fourth round to fortify their wide receiver group that also includes Kamar Aiken and 2015 first-round pick Breshad Perriman, but they’re not viewing Smith’s return solely through the lens of nostalgia, either.

The Ravens demanding him to be an 1,000-yard receiver this season would be unfair, but no one should be shocked if he turns out to be. It would be just like Smith to spike the ball and laugh in the face of Father Time once more before finally calling it a career.

Such a competitor is easy to root for and impossible not to respect.

“All I’m going to do is play ball,” Smith said. “You all worry about all of the wrong things, and all the good things that happen, you glance over. We’re going to have a good time. We’re going to have some fun, and we’re going to make some plays.

“Oh yeah, and I happen to be 37 years old while I’m doing it.”

It was anything but an easy rehabilitation process for Smith, who acknowledged there were a few different points along the way when he thought he might be done. We don’t have a clear picture of what he will do against younger opponents — some of whom were in kindergarten when he was a rookie with Carolina in 2001 — but Smith made it clear that this isn’t just a feel-good farewell tour.

As he so eloquently worded it, he still plans to rip his opponents to shreds.

Who are we to say he won’t?

If nothing else, it will be a blast watching him try to prove us “jackasses” wrong again.

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Ravens receiver Steve Smith makes return to practice field

Posted on 18 August 2016 by Luke Jones

(Updated: Thursday 9:30 a.m.)

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Just a few days after linebacker Terrell Suggs returned to the practice field, Ravens wide receiver Steve Smith has joined his veteran teammate.

The 37-year-old passed his physical and was on the field for Thursday’s walk-through practice. Smith hadn’t played or practiced since tearing his right Achilles tendon on Nov. 1, 2015, a nightmarish development that prompted him to reconsider his retirement plans and return for a 16th NFL season.

Smith began the summer on the active physically unable to perform list as he continued to rehab a horrific injury that cost him the final eight games of the 2015 season. It remains unclear whether the five-time Pro Bowl receiver will attempt to play in the preseason, but he didn’t sound enthused about the prospects of doing so when asked about it in June.

“I’ve been very comfortable throughout my career not playing in the preseason, so I don’t have a problem with that,” Smith said. “Just four games that don’t count and [with] the liability of injury at the senior-citizen age that I am, I think probably staying out would be good.”

The 2001 third-round pick of the Carolina Panthers didn’t perform like a player on the verge of retirement last season, catching 46 passes for 670 yards and three touchdowns in only seven games. He is just 39 receptions shy of 1,000 for his career, a goal he mentioned when addressing the media during the team’s mandatory minicamp in June.

Smith is entering the final season of a three-year, $10.5 million contract that’s turned out to be a bargain for the Ravens. He spent the first 13 seasons of his career with the Panthers where he became one of the best receivers in the NFL.

“I may catch that in my uniform, get in my car and go home,” said Smith about the 1,000-catch benchmark earlier this summer. “Straight from there, drive all the way from M&T Bank [Stadium] straight to Charlotte in one shot.

“You want to challenge yourself. It’s the ultimate challenge. I think the last challenge that I really have is to be 37 years old, have an opportunity to play in the black and blue division [of the AFC North] — very tough, very physical — and I get an opportunity to experience it for hopefully more than 17 weeks.”

NOTES: The Ravens were without 12 players for Thursday’s walk-through practice, a group that included wide receivers Mike Wallace, Chris Mathews (soft tissue injury), and Breshad Perriman (knee), running back Lorenzo Taliaferro (foot), tight ends Benjamin Watson, Maxx Williams, and Dennis Pitta (finger), offensive lineman John Urschel (contusion), defensive backs Kendrick Lewis and Kyle Arrington (head), linebacker Elvis Dumervil (foot), and defensive end Bronson Kaufusi (broken ankle).

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Sizing up the 2016 Ravens roster before the second preseason game

Posted on 17 August 2016 by Luke Jones

With the preseason opener against Carolina now in the rear-view mirror, it’s time to project the Ravens’ 53-man roster for the first time since the end of mandatory minicamp in mid-June.

My current look at the roster suggests 45 players are locks if the deadline to trim the roster to 53 took place today. My rough assessment of the 90 players currently on the preseason roster lists 22 players on the bubble. Not all bubble players are on equal footing, with certain positions lacking depth and others enjoying extensive talent.

Though general manager Ozzie Newsome, coach John Harbaugh, and the remainder of the coaching staff and front office are cognizant of keeping a balanced number of players at each position, trying to boldly pinpoint a specific number of wide receivers or linebackers or safeties isn’t the most accurate way of projecting the roster. In filling out the back end of their roster, the Ravens will look carefully at players’ special-teams abilities in addition to what they bring to their respective offensive or defensive positions.

The Ravens must trim the roster from 90 players to 75 on Aug. 30 and will go down to the regular-season number of 53 on Sept. 3.

The numbers in parentheses indicate the total number of players currently on the roster at that given position. Bubble players’ names that are underlined are part of the projected 53-man roster as of Aug. 17.

LOCK: Joe Flacco, Ryan Mallett
LONG SHOT: Josh Johnson, Jerrod Johnson
Skinny: Mallett hasn’t had a sharp training camp, but he remains entrenched as the backup quarterback with a similar style of play to Flacco. Josh Johnson is having a decent summer, but Flacco not missing a single practice rep to this point speaks to how little the Ravens need a No. 3 quarterback.

LOCK: Justin Forsett, Kyle Juszczyk, Buck Allen, Kenneth Dixon, Terrance West
BUBBLE: Lorenzo Taliaferro
LONG SHOT: Stephen Houston
Skinny: No one has done more to solidify his roster standing this summer than West, who is making a strong push for an extensive role in the Baltimore rushing attack. Taliaferro’s best bet might be to start the year on the physically unable to perform list where the Ravens can reassess his status after Week 6.

LOCK: Steve Smith, Kamar Aiken, Breshad Perriman, Mike Wallace, Chris Moore
BUBBLE: Michael Campanaro, Jeremy Butler, Keenan Reynolds, Chris Matthews
LONG SHOT: Chuck Jacobs, Dobson Collins, Darius White
Skinny: On ability alone, Campanaro would be a lock, but the Ravens would probably hate to lose a solid option like Butler while the former has shown little ability to stay on the field to this point in his career. With Perriman still not practicing, the reserve PUP list becomes a greater possibility.

LOCK: Benjamin Watson, Crockett Gillmore, Maxx Williams, Dennis Pitta
LONG SHOT: Daniel Brown
SUSPENDED: Nick Boyle, Darren Waller
Skinny: Pitta has missed over two weeks with a finger injury, but he showed in the spring and the early days of camp that he is still good enough to contribute if healthy. Waller has shown potential at his new position and would have made for a difficult decision if not for his pending four-game suspension.

LOCK: Marshal Yanda, Ronnie Stanley, Rick Wagner, Jeremy Zuttah, John Urschel, Alex Lewis
BUBBLE: Ryan Jensen, Vlad Ducasse, De’Ondre Wesley, James Hurst
LONG SHOT: Anthony Fabiano, Matt Skura, Jarell Broxton, Blaine Clausell, Stephane Nembot
Skinny: The Ravens probably wouldn’t mind adding a veteran tackle to back up Stanley and Wagner, but Lewis is considered a future starter and handled left tackle well in the first preseason game. Hurst appears to be the odd man out as he has flipped between tackle and guard all summer.

LOCK: Brandon Williams, Timmy Jernigan, Lawrence Guy, Carl Davis, Willie Henry, Brent Urban
BUBBLE: Kapron Lewis-Moore, Michael Pierce
LONG SHOT: Trevon Coley
INJURED RESERVE: Bronson Kaufusi
Skinny: The Ravens have enough depth to survive the season-ending loss of the third-round rookie Kaufusi, but Urban needs to show more as the primary backup to Guy. There might be one roster spot for Lewis-Moore or Pierce, and the latter is built similarly to Williams at the nose tackle spot.

LOCK: C.J. Mosley, Zachary Orr, Kamalei Correa
BUBBLE: Arthur Brown
LONG SHOT: Kavell Conner, Patrick Onwuasor
Skinny: Correa initially looked like he was the early favorite to start next to Mosley, but Orr has seized control of the job over the last week or so. The ability of other players on the roster such as Albert McClellan and Anthony Levine to shift to inside linebacker leaves Brown in serious trouble.

LOCK: Terrell Suggs, Elvis Dumervil, Za’Darius Smith, Albert McClellan, Matt Judon
BUBBLE: Chris Carter, Victor Ochi
LONG SHOT: Brennen Beyer, Mario Ojemudia
Skinny: Carter excelled against Carolina and can play outside and inside, making him an interesting bubble player. Meanwhile, Ochi, a rookie free agent from Stony Brook, has flashed potential in practices and appears to be a player the Ravens might try to hide and sneak onto the practice squad.

LOCK: Jimmy Smith, Shareece Wright, Jerraud Powers, Tavon Young
BUBBLE: Will Davis, Sheldon Price, Maurice Canady, Kyle Arrington
LONG SHOT: Julian Wilson, Carrington Byndom
Skinny: Davis has looked healthier and quicker over the last couple practices after a slow start to the summer, but depth is again a concern with even Wright and Powers struggling in the preseason opener. Price, Canady, and Arrington have dealt with recent injuries to further cloud the competition.

LOCK: Eric Weddle, Lardarius Webb
BUBBLE: Anthony Levine, Kendrick Lewis, Terrence Brooks, Matt Elam
Skinny: This might be the toughest position group to gauge as Lewis is a favorite of the coaches while Elam and Brooks have had solid camp performances. Levine is a very good special-teams player and has worked extensively as a hybrid linebacker this spring and summer.

LOCK: Sam Koch, Morgan Cox, Justin Tucker
Skinny: There’s still nothing to see here with Lutz merely easing the workload of Tucker and Koch.

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Mike Harmon dishes on NFL in LA

Posted on 17 August 2016 by WNST Staff

Mike Harmon of Fox Sports caught up with Nestor this week to discuss all things NFL, including the preseason debut of the Los Angeles Rams.

Who will start for the LA Rams? Which golden rule was broken by a Rams WR during the first Hard Knocks episode?

To hear Nestor’s full conversation with Mike Harmon, listen here:

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