Tag Archive | "oakland"

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Ravens-Raiders: Five predictions for Sunday

Posted on 19 September 2015 by Luke Jones

Ted Marchibroda was their head coach, Eric Zeier their quarterback, and Bill Clinton was the president of the United States the last time the Ravens played a game without any of Ray Lewis, Ed Reed, or Terrell Suggs on the field.

Sunday will mark the first game since Oct. 11, 1998 that the Ravens will compete without any of the three greatest defensive players in franchise history, signaling a new era for a Baltimore defense that still possesses much talent. More importantly, Baltimore is trying to avoid its first 0-2 start since 2005 after a disappointing showing in Denver last week. Since 1990, only 24 of 205 teams to begin a season 0-2 have made the playoffs.

It’s time to go on the record as the Ravens play Oakland for the eighth time in the all-time regular-season series as they own a 6-1 record. Baltimore carries a 1-1 regular-season record in Oakland, but the Ravens won their only playoff game at O.co Coliseum in topping the Raiders in the 2000 AFC championship game. The Ravens have won four straight over the Raiders with their only loss coming in 2003.

Here’s what to expect as the Ravens try to improve to 29-10 in games immediately following a loss under John Harbaugh, the second best mark in the NFL since 2008 …

1. Steve Smith and Crockett Gillmore will catch touchdown passes against a banged-up Oakland secondary that won’t be up to the task. The Raiders pass defense isn’t very good anyway, but the unit will be without safety Nate Allen and fellow safety Charles Woodson’s status is in question with a shoulder injury. Oakland cornerbacks won’t be able to hang with Smith, who will use a double move to catch a long touchdown. Gillmore will split the safeties down the seam to catch a touchdown on the same route we saw in the third preseason game before the score was negated by a penalty. It won’t be a record-setting day for the passing game, but Joe Flacco and his pass-catchers will make progress.

2. The Baltimore offensive line will provide more room in the running game, but pass protection will remain a concern. This unit can’t be any worse than it was last week, and they’ll pave the way for 100-plus rushing yards. But the absence of left tackle Eugene Monroe will still present a problem as James Hurst will be overmatched against the likes of Justin Tuck, Khalil Mack, and Aldon Smith coming off the edge. Unlike last week, Marc Trestman will use more max protect to help Hurst — or right tackle Rick Wagner — and to avoid Flacco being pressured on every two of three snaps like last week. However, the Raiders will still harass Flacco too often and will sack him three times.

3. Jason Babin will collect a sack in his debut with the Ravens. It will be fascinating to see how Dean Pees goes about replacing Suggs’ snaps and production, but the 35-year-old Babin is in good shape and will get on the board early with a quarterback takedown in the first half. The biggest overall concern will be how an increased workload impacts Elvis Dumervil, who has been terrific as a situational player but isn’t as effective against the run as Suggs. The front seven is too good against the run to allow the Raiders to exploit the transition on Sunday, but creativity will be a must to maintain an effective pass rush and to set the edge, the latter being an underrated part of Suggs’ weekly contributions.

4. Derek Carr will find Michael Crabtree for a touchdown pass, but the Raiders quarterback will struggle to consistently move the ball. The Baltimore secondary was quite impressive a week ago, but I’m not convinced that their problems from 2014 are long gone either and Oakland will find some gaps in the pass defense from time to time despite little room to run. Rookie Amari Cooper has all the tools to be an impact receiver, but Crabtree also has something to prove this year after lukewarm interest from teams in free agency. He’ll slip by veteran cornerback Lardarius Webb in the red zone for Oakland’s only touchdown of the afternoon.

5. The Ravens will make more plays to maintain control in a 24-16 win over the Raiders. Oakland has more talent at the top end of its roster than it’s had in quite a while, but Baltimore is a much better football team. That being said, the Ravens rarely dominate on the road and own a total of three wins by more than one possession away from M&T Bank Stadium over the previous three seasons. The Ravens offense will be better, but they have a lot of work to do to become the kind of unit that can dominate a team on the road. The Ravens will lead the entire way, but the offense will lack the consistency to pull away as some fans will grumble about an underwhelming win.

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Monroe, Perriman ruled out for Sunday’s game in Oakland

Posted on 18 September 2015 by Luke Jones

Still sidelined after sustaining a concussion on the first series of the season opener last week, Ravens left tackle Eugene Monroe was ruled out for Sunday’s game against the Oakland Raiders.

Monroe missed practice all week and has yet to be cleared from the NFL’s concussion protocol, meaning second-year lineman James Hurst will likely start in Monroe’s place. Wide receiver Breshad Perriman was also ruled out for Week 2 as he has yet to practice since spraining his knee on the first day of training camp.

The good news for Baltimore was the expected availability of defensive tackle Timmy Jernigan and running back Lorenzo Taliaferro after each suffered knee injuries in the preseason. Both were listed as probable to play after practicing fully all week. Running back Justin Forsett (shoulder) was also designated as probable after being limited during Wednesday’s practice but being a full participant the rest of the week.

Cornerback Rashaan Melvin (thigh) and rookie wide receiver Darren Waller (ankle) were listed as questionable to play against Oakland. Melvin has dealt with a hamstring issue since last month and was only a limited participant in practices this week while Waller was a new addition to Friday’s injury report, leading you to believe he may have injured his ankle during the final practice of the week.

Head coach John Harbaugh confirmed Friday that veteran newcomer Jason Babin will play on Sunday after being signed to replace the injured Terrell Suggs on the roster earlier this week.

With Monroe sidelined and two wide receivers on the injury report, the Ravens could choose to add one of their two practice-squad offensive tackles — rookie De’Ondre Wesley or veteran Tony Hills — or a receiver — Jeremy Ross and Jeremy Butler are on the practice squad — to the 53-man roster. Rookie running back Terrence Magee’s spot is likely vulnerable with Baltimore now having four healthy backs on the active roster.

Meanwhile, the Raiders expect to have their starting quarterback under center on Sunday after Derek Carr practiced fully all week and was listed as probable on their final injury report.

Despite suffering a dislocated shoulder in Oakland’s season-opening loss to Cincinnati, veteran safety Charles Woodson practiced on a limited basis on Thursday and Friday and is officially questionable for Sunday’s game.

The referee for Sunday’s game is Pete Morelli.

The game-day forecast in Oakland calls for mostly sunny skies and temperatures around 90 degrees with winds 10 to 15 miles per hour, according to Weather.com.

Below is the final injury report of the week:

BALTIMORE
OUT: OT Eugene Monroe (concussion) WR Breshad Perriman (knee)
QUESTIONABLE: CB Rashaan Melvin (thigh), WR Darren Waller (ankle)
PROBABLE: DE Chris Canty (non-injury), RB Justin Forsett (shoulder), DT Timmy Jernigan (knee), LB Daryl Smith (non-injury), RB Lorenzo Taliaferro (knee)

OAKLAND
OUT: DT Justin Ellis (ankle), DE Benson Mayowa (knee), RB Jamize Olawale (ankle)
QUESTIONABLE: S Charles Woodson (shoulder)
PROBABLE: QB Derek Carr (right hand)

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Vic Tafur on woeful start to Raiders season

Posted on 18 September 2015 by WNST Staff

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Garrett Downing looks ahead to Ravens bout with Oakland

Posted on 18 September 2015 by WNST Staff

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Jernigan, Taliaferro practice fully for second straight day

Posted on 18 September 2015 by Luke Jones

Moving closer toward their Week 2 meeting with the Oakland Raiders, the Ravens are likely to regain a key starter on their defensive line with Timmy Jernigan practicing fully for a second straight day.

The second-year defensive tackle and backup running back Lorenzo Taliaferro were full participants on Thursday and appear set to make their respective returns after suffering knee injuries during the preseason. Starting running back Justin Forsett (shoulder) also practiced fully on Thursday after being a limited participant a day earlier.

Left tackle Eugene Monroe (concussion) and wide receiver Breshad Perriman (knee) missed practice again on Thursday while inside linebacker Daryl Smith and defensive end Chris Canty received the day off.

The Raiders received good news on Thursday with veteran safety Charles Woodson (shoulder) returning to practice on a limited basis. Starting quarterback Derek Carr (hand) was a full participant for a second consecutive practice.

Below is Thursday’s official injury report:

BALTIMORE
DID NOT PARTICIPATE: DE Chris Canty (non-injury), T Eugene Monroe (concussion), WR Breshad Perriman (knee), LB Daryl Smith (non-injury)
LIMITED PARTICIPATION: CB Rashaan Melvin (thigh)
FULL PARTICIPATION: RB Justin Forsett (shoulder), DT Timmy Jernigan (knee), RB Lorenzo Taliaferro (knee)

OAKLAND
DID NOT PARTICIPATE: DT Justin Ellis (ankle), DE Benson Mayowa (knee), RB Jamize Olawale (ankle)
LIMITED PARTICIPATION: S Charles Woodson (shoulder)
FULL PARTICIPATION: QB Derek Carr (right hand)

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Steve Corkran previews Ravens-Raiders matchup

Posted on 17 September 2015 by WNST Staff

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Paul Wexler on Oakland’s lack of talent

Posted on 17 September 2015 by WNST Staff

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Chances should be there for Ravens to throw downfield in Oakland

Posted on 17 September 2015 by Luke Jones

The failures of the Ravens’ passing game were a collaborative effort in Week 1, but the peripheral numbers will still make you shudder as the attention has shifted toward Sunday’s meeting with the Oakland Raiders.

In the first half in Denver, Joe Flacco threw exactly one pass more than eight yards beyond the line of scrimmage through the air. It came on a pass he threw away on the final play of the second quarter.

The eighth-year quarterback had just two throws of that variety through the first three quarters. Of Flacco’s 32 pass attempts in the 19-13 loss to the Broncos, just eight traveled more than 10 yards past the line of scrimmage through the air. Seven other passes were either at or behind the line of scrimmage.

Even with lousy pass protection and receivers lacking speed, the Ravens needed to pose some semblance of a threat to throw the ball down the field to keep the opposition honest. And that responsibility largely falls on the shoulders of new offensive coordinator Marc Trestman, a sentiment that Flacco gently alluded to when addressing reporters in California on Wednesday.

“We didn’t ever really attempt to do it and we’ve talked about that. We need to take our shots,” Flacco said. “If nothing else, at least let teams know that we’re going to do that and have the confidence in ourselves in doing that. As far as confidence goes, I think that also translates to us. If we’re going to call those things and get them going, I think it’ll give us the confidence to go out there and execute plays and have some explosiveness to us.

“It’s tough to maintain 15-play drives consistently and score points, so we’re going to have to have that as part of our game. To start off, I would say that and then we just have to make sure that we protect and I find the soft zone in the pocket and put the ball where it needs to be.”

In fairness, Trestman lacks the luxury of having ex-Raven Torrey Smith or even speedy rookie Breshad Perriman on the outside, but the Ravens must find a way to push the ball downfield in Week 2. It will begin with improved pass protection against an Oakland front seven that isn’t as imposing as Denver’s, but the Raiders’ pash-rushing trio of Justin Tuck, Khalil Mack, and Aldon Smith will try to tee off on Flacco in a similar fashion.

If the offensive line can bounce back in Week 2, opportunities should be there to take a few shots against an Oakland secondary that is likely to be without either of its starting safeties from Week 1. Nate Allen suffered a season-ending knee injury and Charles Woodson suffered a shoulder injury in the lost to Cincinnati.

Larry Asante and Taylor Mays could be their respective replacements with the latter having just been re-signed this week. They would join starting cornerbacks T.J. Carrie — a 2014 seventh-round pick — and 2013 first-round selection D.J. Hayden, who hasn’t shown much at the NFL level.

Those realities should spell trouble for a pass defense that finished 16th in the NFL a year ago and allowed Cincinnati’s Andy Dalton to throw for 269 yards last week.

Of course, speed will remain a weakness for the Ravens as Perriman isn’t expected to play in Week 2, but Flacco said that’s no excuse for a passing game that produced fewer yards than any in the league last week. Trestman must incorporate his young tight ends against suspect safeties while seizing a few opportunities to test them deep, even if it only leads to more breathing room underneath.

“It’s about exploiting weaknesses in defenses and just a combination of things and hitting them at the right time,” Flacco said. “It’s not about coming over there and running a 4.2 [40-yard dash] running by guys; you seldom see that. I don’t think we’re going to have that guy right now that’s going to run by guys five times a game, but we definitely have guys that can run crossing routes and be hit 30 yards downfield and can run double moves downfield — things like that.

“That’s what we’re going to have to do.”

If the Ravens offense is unable to do those things against a banged-up Oakland secondary, it could be time to panic.

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Guy Haberman weighs in on a disappointing start to the Raiders season

Posted on 16 September 2015 by WNST Staff

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Mike Wagaman previews the Ravens-Raiders Week 2 matchup

Posted on 16 September 2015 by WNST Staff

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