Tag Archive | "NFL"

Ravens agree to one-year deal with former Rams safety Stewart

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Ravens agree to one-year deal with former Rams safety Stewart

Posted on 21 March 2014 by Luke Jones

Concluding a quiet week after their last free-agent signing of veteran wide receiver Steve Smith, the Ravens added another piece to their 2014 plans by agreeing to a one-year deal with strong safety Darian Stewart on Friday.

The former St. Louis Rams defensive back is familiar with Baltimore secondary coach Steve Spagnuolo, who was Stewart’s head coach in the first two years of his NFL career. Stewart started six games and played in 13 overall for the Rams last season, making 36 tackles and breaking up five passes.

Stewart is scheduled to arrive in Baltimore to take a physical before signing his contract.

It’s likely that Stewart’s signing is more of a depth move as the Ravens aren’t expected to retain starting strong safety James Ihedigbo, who is reportedly mulling over offers from a few NFC teams. With 2013 first-round pick Matt Elam expected to shift to strong safety, general manager Ozzie Newsome said at the beginning of the offseason that upgrading the free safety spot would be his top defensive priority.

“I talked about a free safety [and] maybe getting a free safety that can be a playmaker,” said Newsome when asked in early January what improvements needed to be made to the defense. “When tipped balls are in the air, guys that can come away with that.”

Stewart received the most extensive playing time of his career during the 2011 season, Spagnuolo’s last year as head coach of the Rams. The University of South Carolina product started 13 games and collected 84 tackles, three sacks, 11 pass breakups, and one interception.

For his career, the 5-foot-11, 214-pound safety has amassed 147 tackles, four sacks, and one interception.

The free safety market has few remaining options as veterans Chris Clemons and Thomas DeCoud could be viewed as reasonable choices but neither profiles as the playmaking safety Newsome covets. Former Bills free safety Jairus Byrd was the best free safety to hit the market earlier this month, but he was quickly signed to a lucrative $56 million contract with the New Orleans Saints on the first day of free agency.

The Ravens may have no choice but to look toward the draft for their answer at free safety with the likes of Alabama’s Ha Ha Clinton-Dix and Louisville’s Calvin Pryor potentially available in the first round and others such as Ed Reynolds of Stanford or Florida State’s Terrence Brooks serving as Day 2 possibilities. Should the Ravens not acquire a free safety, they would likely be forced to move Elam back to free safety and look at the possibility of Stewart at the starting strong safety spot.

An undrafted free agent in 2010, Stewart reportedly visited the Carolina Panthers earlier this week.

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Steelers won’t be docked draft pick for Tomlin sideline incident

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Steelers won’t be docked draft pick for Tomlin sideline incident

Posted on 20 March 2014 by Luke Jones

Nearly four months after Mike Tomlin’s controversial sideline incident in a game against the Ravens, the Pittsburgh Steelers learned Thursday that they will not be docked a draft pick by the NFL.

The head coach was fined $100,000 but not penalized for stepping onto the field of play and interfering as Jacoby Jones appeared on his way to a touchdown on a second-half kickoff return. Tomlin’s presence on the field caused Jones to cut inside where he was eventually caught from behind, but the Ravens still won 22-20 over their AFC North rivals on Thanksgiving night.

“I take full responsibility for my actions, and I apologize for causing negative attention to the Pittsburgh Steelers organization,” Tomlin said in a statement after the fine was announced in early December. “I accept the penalty that I received.”

In the days following the incident, the league left open the possibility of the Steelers’ 2014 draft compensation being impacted due to Tomlin’s behavior, especially if the four extra points the Ravens may have scored — they only converted a field goal on the drive — would have impacted tiebreaker scenarios for the playoff race.

Of course, the Steelers missed the playoffs after receiving no favors at the end of the Week 17 game between San Diego and Kansas City in which a penalty call was missed that would have given Chiefs kicker Ryan Succop another try at a game-winning field goal that would have knocked out the Chargers and landed 8-8 Pittsburgh in the AFC playoffs as the No. 6 seed. Instead, Pittsburgh joined Baltimore in missing the postseason in what many Ravens fans viewed as poetic justice from what had happened a month earlier.

At the very least, the incident provided the latest chapter in what’s been regarded by many as the best rivalry in the NFL over the last decade.

“It’s not my job to figure out intent. I’m glad we won the game,” said Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti about the incident at the end of the season. “My feelings for that move might have been a lot different [had we lost]. But, [it was] bizarre, weird, strange, unexplainable, and I think Mike was embarrassed about it. And I like Mike a lot. He’s a really good guy. His intent — that is completely in his court. He got fined for it, and again, he’s embarrassed as a competitor.”

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Ravens officially receive seventh-round pick from McKinnie trade

Posted on 20 March 2014 by Luke Jones

The Ravens have officially received a seventh-round pick from the Miami Dolphins as compensation for last season’s trade of left tackle Bryant McKinnie.

After acquiring current left tackle Eugene Monroe from Jacksonville in exchange for their 2014 fourth- and fifth-round picks last October, the Ravens sent McKinnie to Miami for a conditional seventh-round pick based on playing time. Considering the veteran immediately stepped into the starting lineup at left tackle for the Dolphins, the Ravens had expected to receive the seventh-round selection all along.

Thursday’s news gives the Ravens five selections in May’s draft as they hold picks in the first (17th overall), second (48th overall), third (79th overall), sixth, and seventh rounds. However, Baltimore is expected to be awarded four compensatory picks at next week’s owners meetings in Orlando.

The Ravens traded their original seventh-round pick from this year’s draft to the Indianapolis Colts last offseason in exchange for offensive lineman A.Q. Shipley, who started nine games in place of left guard Kelechi Osemele as he underwent season-ending back surgery.

The NFL draft begins on May 10 with the first round and runs through May 12.

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Extra point, kickoff adjustments among NFL’s proposed rules changes

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Extra point, kickoff adjustments among NFL’s proposed rules changes

Posted on 19 March 2014 by Luke Jones

The NFL will discuss a collection of proposed rules changes at next week’s league meetings in Orlando, Fla. with alterations to both extra points and kickoffs likely to garner the most attention.

As has been speculated and debated for the last couple months, a proposal to move the extra point from the 2 to the 25-yard line is on the table for owners to potentially approve, which would dramatically change how the game is played. The change was proposed by New England and is intended to make the try kick “a more competitive play” but will also likely lead to more two-point conversions attempts, which would still take place from the 2-yard line.

The competition committee has also proposed a vote on whether to move kickoffs up to the 40-yard line just three years after they were moved from the 30 to the 35. Of course, this change is suggested to improve player safety but will lead to even fewer kickoff returns. This idea was submitted by Washington and would be viewed as another step toward devaluing special teams.

Of course, it’s important to remember none of the proposed changes are official and must receive approval from at least 24 of the 32 owners, who will vote on the potential rules changes next week.

After much discussion, the competition committee determined that the power to penalize players for using racial or homophobic slurs is already with the officials through use of the unsportsmanlike conduct penalty. This is expected to be a major point of emphasis next season that will be reiterated with players when NFL officials meet with them during training camp as they do every year.

The owners are also expected to continue discussing the possibility of expanding the playoff field for the 2015 season and could even vote next week, but there was no formal proposal submitted by the competition committee. This expansion would include one extra playoff team in each conference, which would eliminate a bye in each conference and create a total of six wild-card games over the first weekend of the postseason.

If a 14-team playoff format had been implemented over the last five years, three 10-6 teams, four 9-7 teams, and three 8-8 teams would have been the additional qualifiers for postseason play.

In all, there are 13 proposed rules changes, seven potential alterations to league by-laws, and one proposed resolution up for vote.

Here is a brief rundown of the other proposed changes on the table for next week:

- Subject personal foul penalties to instant replay review

- Eliminate overtime periods in preseason games

- Extend the uprights of the goalposts an additional five feet above the crossbar

- Place fixed cameras on all boundary lines to supplement television cameras for the instant replay system

- Allow coaches to use replay challenges on a bigger array of plays.

- Alter rules to include penalties for blockers who roll up on the side of defensive players’ legs.

- Permit the referee to consult with members of the league officiating department during replay reviews.

- Expand reviewable plays to include the recovery of a loose ball in the field of play.

- Allow the game clock to continue running after a quarterback sack as it currently does inside two minutes remaining in either half.

- Make the pass interference line at the line of scrimmage instead of one yards beyond the line of scrimmage to cut down on rubs and pick plays by the offense.

- Change the spot where defensive fouls behind the line of scrimmage are enforced.

- Increase the game-day roster from 46 to 49 players for any games not played on Sundays or Mondays other than the opening weekend of the season.

- Raise the practice squad limit from eight to 10 players.

- Allow clubs to trade players beginning 14 days before the start of the new league year.

- Eliminate the initial preseason cut from 90 to 75 players and simply require teams to trim their preseason roster from 90 to 53 at the conclusion of the preseason.

- Permit more than one player to be placed on injured reserve with the designation to return.

- Allow additional testing of eligible players leading up to the draft.

- Move final roster cuts for the regular season from 6 p.m. to 4 p.m. on the final Saturday of the preseason when no games take place on that Friday.

- Allow teams to open or close a retractable roof at halftime of a contest.

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Ravens to hold draft party at M&T Bank Stadium

Posted on 19 March 2014 by Luke Jones

The Ravens will hold a draft party at M&T Bank Stadium on Thursday, May 8 that will feature player appearances and the opportunity to watch the first round of the 2014 NFL draft.

The event will run from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. while the draft itself begins at 8 p.m. with the Ravens holding the 17th pick of the first round. Draft coverage will be shown on the giant video boards and televisions around the stadium.

In addition to current players, former first-round picks from the Ravens will be present to greet fans and sign autographs. Official NFL combine drills, locker room tours, and photograph opportunities will also be on the night’s agenda of activities.

Tickets are $15 for children (ages 3-12) and $20 for adults, but the event will be capped at 6,000 tickets due to current stadium renovations. Parking will be free in stadium lots A, B, C, G, and H with those lots opening at 5 p.m. that evening.

More information is available at the team’s official website and tickets are available at ticketmaster.com.

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Ravens appoint Hewitt to be assistant secondary coach, hire DeLorbe

Posted on 19 March 2014 by WNST Staff


The Baltimore Ravens have appointed Chris Hewitt to be their assistant secondary coach and have hired Billy DeLorbe as their cross-training specialist, head coach John Harbaugh announced Wednesday.

A three-year NFL coaching veteran, Hewitt was originally hired as the Ravens’ assistant special teams coach in 2012. Prior to his Baltimore arrival, Hewitt served in various coaching capacities for Rutgers University, most recently as running backs coach (2010-11). Hewitt also spent time as the Scarlet Knights’ cornerbacks coach (2008-09), director of speed and skill development (2005-07) and as a graduate assistant (2004). He began his coaching career as a strength and conditioning assistant for Notre Dame (2003).

In addition to his 11 years of coaching, Hewitt brings to the Ravens’ defensive staff three years of NFL playing experience as a defensive back with the New Orleans Saints (1997-99). Hewitt signed with the Saints as a rookie free agent in 1997 and played in 39 games (four starts) both at defensive back and on special teams. He totaled 29 tackles (22 solo) from scrimmage, three sacks, one pass defensed, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery. Prior to signing with New Orleans, Hewitt was a four-year letterman at Cincinnati and a two-time All-Conference USA selection (1995-96) as a defensive back.

DeLorbe, who enters his first season in the NFL, spent the past 10 years (2004-13) as a master personal trainer at the Maryland Athletic Club. In that role, he led structured group training exercises while also providing private, high-intensity workout sessions for several athletes. DeLorbe brings an added dimension to the Ravens’ fitness staff, which consists of head strength and conditioning coach Bob Rogucki and assistant strength and conditioning coach Juney Barnett. As cross-training specialist, DeLorbe will focus on boosting players’ flexibility and mobility with an emphasis on core strengthening and improved balance.

After earning his bachelor’s degree in mathematics from St. Mary’s College of Maryland in 2002, DeLorbe began his fitness career as a trainer while earning his master’s degree in applied industrial mathematics from Towson University. DeLorbe was born in San Francisco and currently lives in Lutherville with his wife, Megan, and their son, Will.

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NFL Network’s Davis can justify Ravens taking safety Clinton-Dix in the first round of draft

Posted on 19 March 2014 by WNST Audio

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Rotoworld’s Norris would not be surprised if only one QB goes in top 10 of NFL Draft

Posted on 19 March 2014 by WNST Audio

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Bovada improves Ravens’ Super Bowl odds after Smith acquisition

Posted on 18 March 2014 by WNST Staff

Courtesy of Bovada, (www.Bovada.lv, Twitter: @BovadaLV).


“Unless a quarterback or star running back moves teams, it is pretty rare that one player in the NFL will have a big impact on Super Bowl odds, but we have seen some slight movement since free agency began. The Green Bay Packers have seen some money over the last week, getting Peppers no doubt contributed to that, and have gone from 16-1 to 10-1. Meanwhile the Denver Broncos who have bolstered up their defense a touch have also dropped from 8-1 to 7-1, but are not seeing any backing by our bettors. The Eagles would be the other team that has moved from 25-1 to 18-1 as a result of them being pretty active in the market through keeping their own free agents, trades, and free agent signings.”

Kevin Bradley, Sports Book Manager, Bovada.lv


Odds to win the 2015 Super Bowl XLIX (Teams in blue have shorter odds, teams in red have longer odds, and teams in black stayed the same)

                                                            Odds on 2/3/14             Current Odds (3/18/14)   

Seattle Seahawks                                  9/2                                6/1

Denver Broncos                                    8/1                                7/1

San Francisco 49ers                              15/2                              15/2

New England Patriots                            14/1                              9/1

Green Bay Packers                                16/1                              10/1

Philadelphia Eagles                               25/1                              18/1

Indianapolis Colts                                  28/1                              20/1

New Orleans Saints                               18/1                              22/1

Carolina Panthers                                  25/1                              25/1

Chicago Bears                                      25/1                              28/1

Arizona Cardinals                                  33/1                              33/1

Atlanta Falcons                                     25/1                              33/1

Baltimore Ravens                                  40/1                              33/1

Cincinnati Bengals                                 25/1                              33/1

Houston Texans                                    40/1                              33/1

Kansas City Chiefs                                28/1                              33/1

Pittsburgh Steelers                                33/1                              33/1

San Diego Chargers                              33/1                              33/1

Dallas Cowboys                                    33/1                              40/1

Detroit Lions                                         33/1                              40/1

New York Giants                                   33/1                              40/1

St. Louis Rams                                     40/1                              40/1

Cleveland Browns                                  66/1                              50/1

Miami Dolphins                                     50/1                              50/1

Tampa Bay Buccaneers                         50/1                              50/1

Washington Redskins                            40/1                              50/1

Minnesota Vikings                                 75/1                              66/1

New York Jets                                       50/1                              66/1

Buffalo Bills                                          75/1                              75/1

Tennessee Titans                                   50/1                              75/1

Oakland Raiders                                    75/1                              100/1

Jacksonville Jaguars                             100/1                            150/1

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B&B Rapid Fire: Schoop, Santana, McClain & More

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B&B Rapid Fire: Schoop, Santana, McClain & More

Posted on 18 March 2014 by Brett Dickinson

Each week on the Brett & Barry Show (Saturdays 9am-12pm), we gather each others’ analysis on the biggest local and national stories and headlines of the week for a couple of minutes a piece in a segment we call Rapid Fire.  We post our responses in blog form every week to a visual version, with links to our segment in the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault.



Barry 1: As the Baltimore Orioles continue with spring training games in Florida, the Opening Day roster has started to take shape. South Korean P Suk-Min Yoon will start the year in Norfolk, and 3B Manny Machado appears headed for the DL to begin the season. The one major unknown for the Orioles is what they will do with prospect Jonathan Schoop, who has had a fantastic spring (.423 BA, .692 SLG, 6 RBIs). What are the chances that Schoop, the Orioles top position prospect, is on the Opening Day roster?


BD: Though I think he may be the best option by the time the Spring Training is complete, I think the Orioles will exercise patience with their best positional prospect at this point.  They do not want to hurt his confidence, as well as affect his service time clock.  They may be more inclined to follow the Manny Machado path with Schoop, bringing him up around the All-Star break.  Now with the injury concerns at third base, anything is possible, though I think they exhaust all other options before possibly using Schoop.


Ervin SantanaBrett 1: After many reports had the Baltimore Orioles as the favorites to win the Ervin Santana sweepstakes, he landed with the Atlanta Braves. Key injuries to the rotation forced them to get serious about adding a pitcher, signing the free agent to a one year $14.1 Million deal.  With thoughts being the Orioles were only willing to give Santana $13 Million deal, did they drop the ball on adding another quality starting arm?


BK: I am slightly disappointed that the Orioles did not go harder for Santana, but the fact that Santana signed with the Braves lessens the blow. Initial reports had the Santana sweepstakes limited to the Blue Jays and the Orioles, but the recent injuries to Atlanta’s rotation made sense for both sides. Had the Orioles lost out to their AL East foes, different story. Santana will have a better chance of extending his career and commanding a long-term deal by playing in the NL East, where a percentage of his starts will come against the Marlins, Mets, and Phillies.


Rolando McClain ArrestBarry 2: On Twitter, former Alabama and Oakland Raider LB Rolando McClain has hinted at a return to the NFL. Last season, the Baltimore Ravens signed McClain, only to have him retire following an arrest that happened just two weeks after becoming a Raven. McClain is only 24, and appears to be in a much better mental state than he ever was as an NFL player. With the Ravens having the rights to Rolando McClain, can he be a contributor to the Ravens defense?


BD: The key to your question was ‘CAN’ he contribute.  He may come back to the NFL with a new found enthusiasm towards the game; a willingness to put the game first in his life.  He is certainly young enough and I feel the same way about him, as I did last year.  It is worth a shot; give him a Training Camp invite and see what he has left.  But I would not bank on him making the roster, though if he does, he would have earned his spot.


Rodger SaffoldBrett 2: St. Louis Rams free agent offensive tackle, Rodger Saffold, initially agreed to a five year $42 Million deal with the Oakland Raiders.  Only to have that mega-deal voided after he reported failed a physical.  Since then he resigned with the Rams for much less money (five years $37 Million).  Did the Raiders void Saffold’s deal just to get out of a bad contract considering the market value for other players that signed this off season?


BK: This story is way more bizarre than anything that the Orioles’ doctors did this offseason. The Raiders were concerned with a shoulder injury that Saffold had, while the Rams found no such injury. For the Raiders, the failed physical leaves the team out of a thin left tackle market, with all of the marquee free agents off of the market. Saffold’s return to the Rams also has a major impact on the NFL Draft. The Raiders will be in the market for either LT Greg Robinson or Jake Matthews, while the Rams can turn their attention to WR Sammy Watkins or DE Jadaveon Clowney.


Richard Sherman DeAngelo HallBarry 3: Amidst all of the NFL free agent signings, two of the more brash players in the NFL were making headlines for a different reason. Seattle CB Richard Sherman and Washington CB DeAngelo Hall got into a war of words on Twitter (you can read the whole conversation HERE), with Hall questioning Sherman’s skills. What do you make of the Twitter beef between these two divas?


BD: I saw these reports and then followed the actual conversation.  I instantly thought I was wasting my time, as these players are just going to talk.  I do think Richard Sherman has the right to call himself the best cornerback in football, because he has proved so on the field.  For DeAngelo Hall to try to argue that fact is simply nonsense, as a player that has been terrible for several years now.  Though it was entertaining for about 30 seconds, it means nothing, as Sherman has a Super Bowl ring and DeAngelo Hall is still stealing money from the Redskins.


Steve Nash LakersBrett 3: Steve Nash has officially been shut down for the season by the Los Angeles Lakers, as he played in only 10 games due to back/neck injuries.  With still almost $10 Million dollars due to him next season, Nash says he will not retire because he wants the money. Do you think this is the right move for the former MVP?

BK: Steve Nash’s time with the Lakers has been extremely disappointing, and it is a shame that his body has failed him over the past few seasons. It makes sense for Nash to stick around for as long as he can. The Lakers are in the process of rebuilding, so there is a good chance that Nash will play elsewhere. Could Nash be the missing piece off of the bench for a contender, similar to Derek Fisher? We shall wait and see.

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