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Ravens-Buccaneers: Inactives and pre-game notes

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Ravens-Buccaneers: Inactives and pre-game notes

Posted on 12 October 2014 by Luke Jones

The Ravens will attempt to improve to 4-2 on Sunday afternoon against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but they’ll need to do it without the starting left side of the offensive line.

Left guard Kelechi Osemele (knee) was ruled inactive after going through a pre-game workout at Raymond James Stadium a couple hours before kickoff. The third-year lineman missed practice all week and joins starting left tackle Eugene Monroe (arthroscopic knee surgery) on the sideline for Week 6 after he hyperextended his right knee in the loss to Indianapolis last Sunday.

Gino Gradkowski is expected to start in place of Osemele and rookie free agent James Hurst will make his third straight start at left tackle in place of the injured Monroe, which will make for an uncertain blind side for quarterback Joe Flacco.

Baltimore will also be without defensive end Chris Canty (wrist surgery), defensive tackle Timmy Jernigan (meniscus), and wide receiver Marlon Brown (pelvis). Canty and Jernigan were officially ruled out on Friday while Brown had been listed as doubtful after only working on a limited basis in the final practice of the week.

With so many players inactive due to injury, rookie wide receiver Michael Campanaro and rookie guard John Urschel are active for the first time in their NFL careers. Linebacker Arthur Brown is the only player on the 53-man roster to be inactive in each of the first six weeks of the season.

Meanwhile, the Buccaneers received good news with wide receivers Vincent Jackson and Mike Evans both being active after being listed as questionable on the final injury report. The 6-foot-5 receivers will pose a significant challenge to a Ravens secondary that lost Asa Jackson to a long-term toe injury last week in Indianapolis. Cornerback Lardarius Webb is expected to make his first start of the season after receiving his most extensive playing time of the year against the Colts in Week 5.

Tampa Bay will be without starting free safety Dashon Goldson (ankle) and starting cornerback Johnthan Banks (neck), which could spell trouble for the league’s 30th-ranked pass defense.

Jerome Boger will be the referee for Sunday’s game between the Ravens and Tampa Bay.

The Ravens will be wearing purple jerseys and white pants in Tampa where temperatures are expected to be around 90 degrees.

Sunday marks the fifth regular-season meeting between Baltimore and Tampa Bay with the teams tied 2-2. The Ravens have won each of the last two meetings with the Buccaneers and are 1-1 in Tampa.

Here are Sunday’s inactives:

BALTIMORE
LG Kelechi Osemele
LT Eugene Monroe
WR Marlon Brown
DE Chris Canty
DT Timmy Jernigan
LB Arthur Brown
TE Ryan Taylor

TAMPA BAY
QB Josh McCown
CB Johnthan Banks
S Dashon Goldson
LB Jonathan Casillas
DE Larry English
T Kevin Pamphile
G Kadeem Edwards

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Osemele questionable, M. Brown doubtful to play against Tampa Bay

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Osemele questionable, M. Brown doubtful to play against Tampa Bay

Posted on 10 October 2014 by Luke Jones

The Ravens are facing the prospects of playing without the entire starting left side of their offensive line against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday.

It was no surprise that left tackle Eugene Monroe was ruled out while he continues to recover from arthroscopic knee surgery, but left guard Kelechi Osemele was listed as questionable for Sunday’s game after not practicing all week. The third-year lineman hyperextended his knee in last Sunday’s loss to Indianapolis, but he was able to return to action and downplayed the injury after the game.

Given his experience, Osemele would still have a chance of playing against Tampa Bay despite missing three straight days of practice. Gino Gradkowski is listed as Osemele’s backup on the depth chart released by the Ravens’ public relations staff.

“[Osemele] can play on Sunday not having practiced all week,” head coach John Harbaugh said. “He has a chance to play on Sunday.”

In addition to Monroe, defensive end Chris Canty (wrist surgery) and defensive tackle Timmy Jernigan (meniscus injury) were declared out for Sunday’s game. Wide receiver Marlon Brown (pelvis) practiced on a limited basis Friday before being designated as doubtful to play.

Safety Matt Elam (shoulder), linebacker Daryl Smith (knee), and center Jeremy Zuttah (ankle) were all upgraded to full participation in Friday’s practice and listed as probable to play against the Buccaneers.

Meanwhile, Tampa Bay ruled out starting safety Dashon Goldson (ankle) while designating starting wide receivers Vincent Jackson (rib) and Mike Evans (groin) as questionable for Sunday’s game.

Below is the final injury report of the week:

BALTIMORE
OUT: DE Chris Canty (wrist), DT Timmy Jernigan (knee), T Eugene Monroe (knee)
DOUBTFUL: WR Marlon Brown (pelvis)
QUESTIONABLE: G Kelechi Osemele (knee)
PROBABLE: S Matt Elam (shoulder), LB Daryl Smith (knee), C Jeremy Zuttah (ankle)

TAMPA BAY
OUT: LB Jonathan Casillas (hamstring), S Dashon Goldson (ankle)
DOUBTFUL: QB Josh McCown (right thumb)
QUESTIONABLE: CB Johnthan Banks (neck), C Evan Dietrich-Smith (illness), DE Larry English (hamstring), WR Mike Evans (groin), WR Vincent Jackson (rib)
PROBABLE: LB Mason Foster (shoulder)

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D. Smith, Elam, Zuttah return to practice on Thursday

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D. Smith, Elam, Zuttah return to practice on Thursday

Posted on 09 October 2014 by Luke Jones

The Ravens produced a more encouraging injury report on Thursday with the return of three starters to the practice field as they continued preparations for a Week 6 matchup against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Safety Matt Elam (shoulder contusion), linebacker Daryl Smith (knee), and center Jeremy Zuttah (ankle) all practiced on a limited basis a day after sitting out with their respective ailments. Baltimore was without eight players from their 53-man roster during Wednesday’s workout.

The Ravens are expected to be without defensive end Chris Canty (wrist surgery), offense tackle Eugene Monroe (knee surgery), and defensive tackle Timmy Jernigan (meniscus) on Sunday as all three are dealing with longer-term injuries.

There were no changes to Tampa Bay’s injury report on Thursday as wide receiver Vincent Jackson (rib) and safety Dashon Goldson (ankle) remained sidelined.

Here is Thursday’s full injury report:

BALTIMORE
LIMITED PARTICIPATION: S Matt Elam (shoulder), LB Daryl Smith (knee), C Jeremy Zuttah (ankle)
DID NOT PARTICIPATE: WR Marlon Brown (pelvis), DE Chris Canty (wrist), DT Timmy Jernigan (knee), T Eugene Monroe (knee), G Kelechi Osemele (knee)

TAMPA BAY
DID NOT PARTICIPATE: CB Johnthan Banks (neck), LB Jonathan Casillas (hamstring), S Dashon Goldson (ankle), WR Vincent Jackson (rib), QB Josh McCown (right thumb)
LIMITED PARTICIPATION: DE Larry English (hamstring), WR Mike Evans (groin)
FULL PARTICIPATION: LB Mason Foster (shoulder)

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Eight Ravens players missing from Wednesday’s practice

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Eight Ravens players missing from Wednesday’s practice

Posted on 08 October 2014 by Luke Jones

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — The Ravens were without eight players as they returned to the practice field Wednesday ahead of their Week 6 meeting with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Safety Matt Elam (shoulder), left guard Kelechi Osemele (knee), center Jeremy Zuttah (ankle), inside linebacker Daryl Smith (knee), wide receiver Marlon Brown (pelvis), defensive tackle Timmy Jernigan (meniscus), left tackle Eugene Monroe (knee surgery), and defensive end Chris Canty (wrist surgery) were all absent during the portion of practice open to media. Head coach John Harbaugh provided an encouraging prognosis on Elam and Osemele during his Monday press conference, which quells concerns about their absence for the first full practice of the week.

“‘K.O.’ is OK. He had a bruise,” Harbaugh said. “It turned out to be a bruise from hyperextension a little bit, but he played the rest of the game. He’s sore, but he looks OK. And Matt Elam had a contusion on his shoulder. He’s a tough guy that played the rest of the way. He should be OK.”

Cornerback Dominique Franks and tight end Ryan Taylor were both present a day after being added to the 53-man roster. The Ravens officially placed cornerback Asa Jackson on injured reserve-designated to return Wednesday to make room for Franks and waived tight end Phillip Supernaw to clear a roster spot for Taylor, who was claimed off waivers from the Green Bay Packers.

Jackson will not eligible to return until the Ravens’ Week 14 meeting against the Miami Dolphins, meaning the Ravens will depend on Lardarius Webb to return to his starting role after dealing with a back injury for more than two months. Franks and fourth-year cornerback Chykie Brown will compete for playing time at the No. 3 cornerback spot, but Elam has also played extensively at the nickel spot this season.

“Dominique is going to do a good job for us,” Harbaugh said. “He was here in training camp and did well. He’s a good football player. We liked him then, and we’re fortunate that he’s still available.”

Meanwhile, Tampa Bay was without starting free safety Dashon Goldson (ankle) and wide receiver Vincent Jackson (rib) during Wednesday’s practice. The good news for the Buccaneers was the limited participation of rookie wideout Mike Evans, who’s been limited with a groin injury for the last two weeks.

Here is Wednesday’s full injury report:

BALTIMORE
DID NOT PARTICIPATE: WR Marlon Brown (pelvis), DE Chris Canty (wrist), S Matt Elam (shoulder), DT Timmy Jernigan (knee), T Eugene Monroe (knee), G Kelechi Osemele (knee), LB Daryl Smith (knee), C Jeremy Zuttah (ankle)

TAMPA BAY
DID NOT PARTICIPATE: CB Johnthan Banks (neck), LB Jonathan Casillas (hamstring), S Dashon Goldson (ankle), WR Vincent Jackson (rib), QB Josh McCown (right thumb)
LIMITED PARTICIPATION: DE Larry English (hamstring), WR Mike Evans (groin)
FULL PARTICIPATION: LB Mason Foster (shoulder)

 

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Ravens support Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Posted on 08 October 2014 by WNST Staff

PRESS RELEASE

This October, the Baltimore Ravens will support Breast Cancer Awareness Month through a variety of initiatives, and the efforts will be highlighted when the Ravens take on the Falcons (Oct. 19, 1 p.m.) at M&T Bank Stadium. These initiatives include:

Sunday, Oct. 12

The Ravens have partnered with the American Cancer Society (ACS) through support of the nonprofit’s Making Strides Against Breast Cancer event on Sunday, Oct. 12. Ravens fans are encouraged to join Team Purple and will receive a commemorative t-shirt as a thank you gift.

Fans can visit: http://main.acsevents.org/goto/RavensTeamPurple

Monday, Oct. 13

· Breast Cancer Awareness Month efforts will continue on Monday, Oct. 13 when Ravens players visit with breast cancer patients who are currently undergoing treatment at The Hoffberger Breast Center at Mercy Medical Center. (Details to follow on Thursday this week.)

Sunday, Oct. 19 vs. Falcons

· Ravens staff, family members and volunteers will distribute over 50,000 pink ribbons to fans as they enter M&T Bank stadium gates on Sunday before the Ravens’ designated Breast Cancer Awareness game. In collaboration with ACS, the initiative, called A Crucial Catch: Annual Screening Saves Lives, reminds women 40 and older about the importance of having an annual mammogram.

· Prior to the game’s kickoff, approximately 20 women – a combination of breast cancer survivors and those currently undergoing treatment – will be honored during an on-field ceremonial tribute.

· The Ravens will also incorporate many pink elements into the Oct. 19 game. Ravens players and coaches will wear pink items throughout the game, including cleats, gloves, hats, wristbands, Gatorade towels and more. Ravens cheerleaders will sport pink pom-poms, team mascot Poe will wear a pink New Era cap, and members of Baltimore’s Marching Ravens will wear pink plumes. In addition, M&T Bank Stadium will feature on-field and in-stadium branding, and the Ravens Gameday magazine will feature a pink hue.

· Game-worn pink merchandise, along with special game balls and pink coins, will be auctioned off at www.nflauction.nfl.com, with proceeds benefiting the ACS’s Community Health Advocates implementing Nationwide Grants for Empowerment and Equity (CHANGE) program. To date, the NFL’s program has raised approximately $7 million for breast cancer awareness, prevention and research efforts as a result of the A Crucial Catch campaign, with the majority of the funding coming from the sale of pink NFL Auction items.

Saturday, Oct. 25

· The NFL’s A Crucial Catch campaign has provided another year of funding to support increased access to breast cancer education and screening resources in underserved communities through the ACS. The ACS has awarded a $50,000 Community Health Advocates implementing National Grants for Empowerment CHANGE grant to the Family Health Centers of Baltimore in Cherry Hill, continuing efforts to increase breast cancer screenings in the community. As part of the grant, the Ravens will participate in A Crucial Catch Day on Saturday, Oct. 25, a nationwide event held in cities across the country to help women receive breast cancer education and screenings. Pre-registered women will learn ways to reduce the risk of breast cancer and the importance of early detection at the Family Health Centers of Baltimore in Cherry Hill.

For more information, please visit www.BaltimoreRavens.com/community.

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Ravens officially place cornerback Jackson on IR-designated to return

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Ravens officially place cornerback Jackson on IR-designated to return

Posted on 08 October 2014 by Luke Jones

After suffering a severe toe injury in last Sunday’s loss to the Indianapolis Colts, Ravens cornerback Asa Jackson was officially placed on injured reserve with the designation to return on Wednesday.

The third-year cornerback is currently in a walking boot and will now be sidelined a minimum of six weeks before he can begin practicing again. Jackson can return to game action after a minimum of eight weeks under the rules of the IR-designated to return exemption that was introduced at the start of the 2012 season. The earliest game in which Jackson could return would be the Ravens’ Week 14 meeting with the Miami Dolphins.

The timing of the injury comes as veteran cornerback Lardarius Webb saw his most extensive action of the season by playing 44 of 82 defensive snaps against the Colts. Jackson started four of the Ravens’ first five games, making 19 tackles and a pass breakup.

The Ravens also announced Wednesday morning that they had officially re-signed veteran cornerback Dominique Franks, who was with the team during the preseason and is familiar with defensive coordinator Dean Pees’ system. He is expected to compete for the No. 3 cornerback spot with Chykie Brown, but the Ravens have also used strong safety Matt Elam extensively at the nickel position this year.

Baltimore has now used the IR-designated to return tag in three straight seasons as it was given to inside linebacker Ray Lewis after a torn triceps in 2012 and to tight end Dennis Pitta after he sustained a dislocated and fractured hip in the first week of training camp last season. Both players were able to return later in those season.

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Ravens claim former Packers tight end Taylor, try out veteran corner Bailey

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Ravens claim former Packers tight end Taylor, try out veteran corner Bailey

Posted on 07 October 2014 by Luke Jones

The Ravens were awarded former Green Bay Packers tight end Ryan Taylor off waivers and cut tight end Phillip Supernaw on Tuesday.

However, it was their interest in another player that drew more attention as Baltimore worked out veteran cornerback Champ Bailey, according to an ESPN report. The future Hall of Fame defensive back spent the preseason with the New Orleans Saints, but no team has bit on the 36-year-old since he was cut at the end of the summer.

The Ravens lost cornerback Asa Jackson due to a severe toe injury that will keep him out for an extended period of time and veteran defensive back Lardarius Webb has been dealing with a nagging back injury for over two months, which explains why Baltimore reportedly intended to re-sign Dominique Franks on Tuesday.

It remained unclear as of Tuesday evening whether the Ravens would sign Bailey to a contract.

Taylor, 26, was drafted by the Packers in the seventh round of the 2011 draft. Playing in 50 games with Green Bay over the last four seasons, the University of North Carolina product has caught eight passes for 45 yards and a touchdown in his career.

With Dennis Pitta out for the season, Taylor provides more experience as a No. 3 option behind veteran Owen Daniels and rookie Crockett Gillmore. Supernaw missed Sunday’s game after suffering a thigh injury last week.

The Ravens also signed former Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive end Steven Means to their practice squad to take the place of linebacker John Simon after he was signed by the Houston Texans earlier in the day. Means was a fifth-round pick in last year’s draft and appeared in 10 games for Tampa Bay as a rookie and one game this year before he was waived on Sept. 9.

Simon was a 2013 fourth-round selection from Ohio State, but the outside linebacker was cut at the end of the preseason before being signed to the practice squad.

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Ravens stock watch entering Week 6

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Ravens stock watch entering Week 6

Posted on 07 October 2014 by Luke Jones

Every week, we’ll take a look at which Ravens players’ stock is rising and falling …

STOCK RISING

C.J. Mosley
Skinny: The rookie inside linebacker was the best player on the field for the Ravens in Sunday’s loss to Indianapolis as he finished with 14 tackles, a quarterback hit, a pass breakup, and an interception. Baltimore has used plenty of high draft picks on defensive players in recent years with mixed results, so it’s encouraging to see Mosley emerging as a game-changer on that side of the ball with so many aging players around him. Veteran Daryl Smith’s strong play last year was a pleasant surprise the year after Ray Lewis’ retirement, but Mosley has been the better player of the two in 2014.

Marshal Yanda
Skinny: Coming back from offseason shoulder surgery a year ago, the Pro Bowl right guard wasn’t his usual self in 2013, but Yanda has again been one of the best players in the NFL at his position so far in 2014. According to Pro Football Focus, the eighth-year guard is the Ravens’ highest-graded offensive player this season and the running game has been particularly potent with him and second-year tackle Rick Wagner opening running lanes on the right side. The offensive line struggled against Indianapolis, but Yanda had another strong day despite the loss.

Pernell McPhee
Skinny: The Ravens have had difficulty sustaining a pass rush, but the reserve specialist has arguably been their best weapon in that department, whether lining up at end or sliding inside in passing situations. McPhee may have only picked up his first sack of the season against the Colts, but the 2011 fifth-round pick leads the Ravens in Pro Football Focus’ quarterback hurries category despite playing less than Terrell Suggs and Elvis Dumervil. The Ravens try to limit McPhee’s snaps to keep him healthy after dealing with nagging knee issues in past years, but he’s been one of their best defensive players this season.

STOCK FALLING

James Hurst
Skinny: The undrafted rookie free agent was a pleasant surprise in his first career start against the Carolina Panthers, but his second game as the starting left tackle was disastrous as Indianapolis beat him repeatedly in the process of harassing quarterback Joe Flacco. The Ravens didn’t provide Hurst with enough help on the left side, so they’ll need to adjust as they play another road game against Tampa Bay in Week 6. Veteran Eugene Monroe was noncommittal last week when asked when he anticipated returning, so the Ravens can only hope that Hurst bounces back to play like he did against Carolina.

Terrell Suggs
Skinny: The veteran linebacker hasn’t played as poorly as some have suggested while focusing on the fact that he only has 1/2 sack so far this year, but it’s apparent the nagging groin injury he’s been dealing with is taking its toll as he was a non-factor against Indianapolis. Suggs is eighth on the team in tackles and has looked more like the player he was in the second half of 2013 than the linebacker who collected nine sacks in the first eight games of last season. The soon-to-be 32-year-old is still solid against the run, but you have to wonder if his days as a consistent high-impact player are coming to an end.

Torrey Smith
Skinny: Dropping the fourth-down pass from Flacco on the Ravens’ final offensive play of the game Sunday was just the latest example of concern as Smith has just 11 catches for 176 yards and a touchdown through five games. Gary Kubiak’s West Coast offense depends on short-to-intermediate routes that Smith often struggles in running, leaving the fourth-year wideout uncomfortable and on a different page than Flacco for much of the season. Smith has been able to draw a number of pass interference penalties on deep balls, but you wonder how much his struggles are wearing on him in a contract year.

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Ravens re-sign veteran Franks to boost cornerback depth

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Ravens re-sign veteran Franks to boost cornerback depth

Posted on 07 October 2014 by Luke Jones

Following the long-term toe injury suffered by Asa Jackson, the Ravens are bringing back a familiar face to boost depth at the cornerback position.

According to a Yahoo Sports report, the Ravens will re-sign veteran cornerback Dominique Franks with Jackson expected to be placed on injured reserve with the designation to return. The 27-year-old Franks was signed by the Ravens after their mandatory minicamp in June and spent the entire preseason with Baltimore before being let go during final cuts.

After spending four years with the Atlanta Falcons as a special-teams contributor and reserve defensive back, Franks recorded seven tackles, two pass breakups, and an interception in four preseason games with the Ravens. With Lardarius Webb, Jimmy Smith, and Asa Jackson all dealing with injuries over the summer, Franks even started in two of the four preseason contests.

In 48 career games (including four starts) over his four-year career in Atlanta, Franks accumulated 30 tackles, nine pass breakups, and three interceptions.

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Mosley beginning to make game-changing impact for Ravens defense

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Mosley beginning to make game-changing impact for Ravens defense

Posted on 06 October 2014 by Luke Jones

The highlights were few and far between for the Ravens in Sunday’s 20-13 loss to the Indianapolis Colts, but rookie linebacker C.J. Mosley was seemingly all over the field.

Whether he was getting lower than lead blocker Jake Doyle to blow up a fourth-and-1 run by Colts running back Ahmad Bradshaw on the opening drive of the game or maneuvering through blockers to minimize the damage on several short passes, there was a certain familiarity in watching the 2014 first-round pick make plays everywhere at Lucas Oil Stadium. It was almost — almost –  reminiscent of a certain inside linebacker who famously did it better than anyone for the vaunted Baltimore defense.

Mosley has a long way to go to routinely even be mentioned in the same breath as future Hall of Fame linebacker Ray Lewis, but the sheer fact that many fans and media alike watching Sunday’s game made the comparisons spoke to how well he played in Sunday’s defeat. Finishing the game with 14 tackles, an interception, a quarterback hit, and a pass breakup, Mosley at least looked the part of the rookie version of Lewis in leading the defense in tackles and making several impressive plays throughout the afternoon.

“He had three screens out there where he made the tackles pretty much single-handedly,” head coach John Harbaugh said. “The posse was coming, but he was the guy there and weaved through blockers and made tackles. He tipped passes. He had [quarterback hits]. C.J. is playing really, really well.”

Mosley’s feel for the game has been praised from the moment the Ravens selected him with the 17th overall pick of May’s draft, but his game speed only gets better each week as he leads the team in tackles through the first five games of his NFL career. No, the University of Alabama product is not a finished product as he was beaten in coverage by tight end Dwayne Allen for a 6-yard touchdown in the third quarter, but Mosley has quickly justified why general manager Ozzie Newsome elected to draft another inside linebacker with an early-round pick after taking Arthur Brown in the second round a year ago.

For a defense in transition and in need of game-changing youth with five key members of the front seven over the age of 30, Mosley appeared to be playing at a faster speed that everyone else on the field attempting to slow the Indianapolis offense.

“It’s all about knowing what you have to do, doing your job, and watching film,” Mosley said. “When you know what you’re doing, you can play fast like that.”

The Baltimore defense is still finding its way this season, trying to get more from its aging pass rush while also dealing with health issues and deficiencies in the secondary. Investing a plethora of high draft picks on the defensive side of the ball in recent years, the Ravens have seen mixed results with only Jimmy Smith emerging as a consistent game-changing player to this point.

It appears that Mosley is on his way to joining the top cornerback in that category, which is good news with perennial Pro Bowl players Terrell Suggs and Haloti Ngata nearing the end of their run as standout players. Coaches and teammates view Mosley as the kind of player who will never be satisfied with reaching a certain level of play, always expecting more from himself.

It’s a mindset that sounds awfully familiar as well.

“He’s not a guy that’s going to sit there and say, ‘OK, I had a couple good games, and I’ve arrived,’” Harbaugh said. “He’s going to want to stack that success and build a body of work up behind him. And that’s probably why he’s as good as he is right now. That’s how he looks at it.”

Having already impressed veteran teammates by cracking the top of the depth chart next to fellow inside linebacker Daryl Smith early in training camp, Mosley has been everything the Ravens expected as a three-down player only getting better as he gains more experience.

The Ravens’ overall play in Indianapolis was forgettable as they dropped their first road game of the season, but it was a standout performance by the rookie that will be remembered. And his showing against the Colts had teammates feeling the urgency to step up their own game to match him.

“I think he played phenomenal. We’ve all got to catch up to him,” Suggs said after Sunday’s loss. “He was out there making a lot of plays. We knew the kid was special coming in, and that’s why we brought him in and Ozzie drafted him. He had a hell of a day [Sunday].”

 

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