Tag Archive | "oakland"

Ravens, veteran safety Huff come to three-year agreement

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Ravens, veteran safety Huff come to three-year agreement

Posted on 27 March 2013 by Luke Jones

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — The Ravens took a step toward replacing the giant shoes left behind by future Hall of Fame safety Ed Reed by agreeing to a three-year deal with veteran safety Michael Huff on Thursday.

The agreement was announced by general manager Ozzie Newsome and is pending a physical. The deal is worth a total of $6 million, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

The 30-year-old Huff had spent his entire career with the Oakland Raiders after being selected as the seventh overall pick of the 2006 draft. He was released by Oakland prior to the start of free agency on March 12 after reportedly balking at the idea of a pay cut and had visited the Dallas Cowboys earlier this week.

Having missed only four games in his seven-year career, Huff is expected to play free safety in the Baltimore secondary but is also capable of playing cornerback, a position he played last season as the Raiders dealt with a slew of injuries. In 16 starts in 2012 — 14 coming at cornerback — Huff collected 71 tackles, two interceptions, and 15 pass breakups.

The 6-foot, 211-pound defensive back has 11 interceptions, 453 tackles, and 57 pass breakups in his NFL career. Though he is not known for being particularly strong against the run, Huff will likely  be an upgrade in that department as Reed struggled more and more against the run in recent seasons due to a nerve impingement in his neck and shoulder. Huff isn’t considered a playmaker in the way Reed was viewed for so many years, but he is widely regarded as more than solid in pass coverage.

The Ravens made it a priority to add a veteran free safety as the only other options on the roster at that position included 2012 fourth-round pick Christian Thompson, former practice squad members Omar Brown and Anthony Levine, and Emanuel Cook, who missed the entire 2012 season with a broken leg. Veteran James Ihedigbo is expected to have the inside track for the strong safety job after he filled in admirably for an injured Bernard Pollard in making three starts last season.

Tracked carefully by the Ravens as they prepared for the 2006 draft before selecting defensive tackle Haloti Ngata in the first round, Huff starred at the University of Texas and became the first player in school history to win the Jim Thorpe Award, an honor bestowed upon the nation’s top defensive back.

Despite much hype after helping lead the Longhorns to the national championship, Huff never realized the potential many saw in him to become a star at the next level but has been a quality starter at the free safety position for most of his career.

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Ravens reportedly make offer to pass rusher Dumervil

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Ravens reportedly make offer to pass rusher Dumervil

Posted on 22 March 2013 by Luke Jones

Looking to boost their pass rush following the free-agent departure of linebacker Paul Kruger, the Ravens have reportedly turned up the heat in their pursuit of free-agent defensive end Elvis Dumervil.

The Denver Post reported Thursday evening that the Ravens have made an offer to the former Broncos pass rusher, but the money being offered by Denver is more front-loaded. Broncos vice president of football operations John Elway has stated his team wants Dumervil back after a fax machine fiasco forced Denver to release the 29-year-old because their restructured deal would not have been completed before a 4 p.m. deadline last Friday.

Dumervil was reportedly underwhelmed by the Broncos’ latest contract offer, and Denver has hosted visits with free-agent pass rushers Dwight Freeney and John Abraham this week. The Broncos are in a tight spot because Dumervil’s release forced them to carry just under $5 million in dead mney on their 2013 salary cap.

After firing agent Marty Magid last weekend, Dumervil hired Tom Condon and Ben Dogra of CAA to represent him as the pair will likely be looking to recover the $8 million base salary — in some shape or form — Dumervil had agreed to play for in Denver before the snafu that led to his release.

Though he was a defensive end in Denver’s 4-3 scheme last season, Dumervil would shift to outside linebacker in defensive coordinator Dean Pees’ scheme. The veteran also has ties to Baltimore through Ravens inside linebackers coach Don “Wink” Martindale, who served as Denver’s defensive coordinator in 2010 and as linebackers coach prior to that when Dumervil collected a career-high 17 sacks in 2009.

Next up at safety?

Following the departures of safeties Ed Reed and Bernard Pollard, the Ravens are clearly looking to address the position and reportedly have interest in former Raiders safety Michael Huff.

Several outlets report Huff will be visiting the Ravens at some point over the next few days. Green Bay, Dallas, and Tennessee have also shown interest in the veteran safety.

Released earlier this month, the 30-year-old was the seventh overall pick of the 2006 draft and has the ability to play both cornerback and safety. He accumulated 56 tackles, 2 interceptions, and 13 pass breakups during the 2012 season.

Huff would be the likely replacement for Reed at free safety while James Ihedigbo — re-signed to a one-year deal last week — would be the logical in-house candidate to take Pollard’s place at strong safety. However, the Ravens are likely to look toward April’s draft for more safety help.

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Orioles reportedly interested in veteran Jonny Gomes

Posted on 15 November 2012 by WNST Staff

As the offseason continues to heat up, the Orioles reportedly have interest in free-agent outfielder Jonny Gomes.

The 31-year-old veteran played in Oakland this past season, but the Athletics’ acquisition of Chris Young has left Gomes looking for a new home and multiple reports have linked him to Baltimore.

The Orioles would likely be seeking a one-year contract and a part-time role for Gomes, who hit .262 with 18 home runs and 47 runs batted in in 279 at-bats last season. The ideal fit for Gomes would be a platoon role as a designated hitter, with his ability to feast on left-handed pitching.

In 196 plate appearances against southpaws in 2012, Gomes posted a .974 OPS and hit 11 home runs. In contrast, Gomes only hit .209 and had a .715 OPS against right-handers.

If the Orioles are content with Wilson Betemit sharing designated hitter duties, Gomes would be an ideal complement for a platoon. Betemit hit .302 and posted an .859 OPS in 280 plate appearances against right-handed pitching, but the switch-hitter batted .140 and had an anemic .405 OPS against left-handers in 96 plate appearances.

However, it remains to be seen whether Gomes would accept a one-year deal or a part-time role in Baltimore.

 

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The Five Plays That Determined The Game – Ravens/Raiders

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The Five Plays That Determined The Game – Ravens/Raiders

Posted on 13 November 2012 by Glenn Clark

Following every Baltimore Ravens game this season, Ryan Chell and I will take to the airwaves Tuesdays on “The Reality Check” on AM1570 WNST.net with a segment known as “The Five Plays That Determined The Game.”

It’s a simple concept. We’ll select five plays from each game that determined the outcome. These five plays will best represent why the Ravens won or lost each game.

This will be our final analysis of the previous game before switching gears towards the next game on the schedule.

Here are the five plays that determined the Ravens’ 55-20 win over the Oakland Raiders Sunday at M&T Bank Stadium…

(Note: not all pictures are always of actual play)

Glenn Clark’s Plays…

5. Carson Palmer “sacked” by Paul Kruger for 4 yard loss on 4th & 1 (1st quarter)

4. Jacoby Jones 47 yard catch from Joe Flacco (2nd quarter)

3. Paul Kruger tips, intercepts pass intended for Derek Hagan (2nd quarter)

2. Ed Dickson 40 yard catch from Joe Flacco on 3rd & 10 (1st quarter)

1. Ray Rice 7 yard touchdown run (2nd quarter)

(Ryan’s plays on Page 2…)

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Morning Reaction Tuesday Top 7 Ravens for Week 10

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Morning Reaction Tuesday Top 7 Ravens for Week 10

Posted on 13 November 2012 by Luke Jones

Below are our Tuesday Top 7 Ravens players in the 55-20 win over the Oakland Raiders in Week 10. We’ll track our rankings throughout the 2012 season using the following point system:

No. 1 – 7 points
No. 2 – 6 points
No. 3 – 5 points
No. 4 – 4 points
No. 5 – 3 points
No. 6 – 2 points
No. 7 – 1 point

To hear the full explanation for the respective lists, click HERE.

Luke Jones’ Top 7 …

7) Jacoby Jones
Jones

6) Bernard Pollard
Pollard

5) Cary Williams
Williams

4) Paul Kruger
Kruger

3) Dennis Pitta
Pitta

2) Torrey Smith
Smith

1) Joe Flacco
Flacco

Drew Forrester’s Top 7 …

CONTINUE ON NEXT PAGE >>>

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Harbaugh feels “most comfortable” matching up against Steelers

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Harbaugh feels “most comfortable” matching up against Steelers

Posted on 12 November 2012 by Luke Jones

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Most weeks, Monday Night Football is little more than background noise for John Harbaugh, but the Ravens coach said he’d be watching closely with the Pittsburgh Steelers on the national stage.

Using a coaching eye, Harbaugh received a live look at the Ravens’ arch nemesis before preparations continued for the first of two meetings with the AFC North adversary in a matchup many believe to be the NFL’s best rivalry.

“It’s the best week of the year, because it’s where we feel our most comfortable, probably,” Harbaugh said. “It’s where I feel the most comfortable and I think our players and coaches feel the same way, because it’s a defining type of a rivalry. It means so much to both teams. We like being in this week, we love playing these guys, we love the preparation for these guys. I’d say it’s the best week of the year — both [games].”

As is the case most seasons, the fate of the AFC North will likely come down to the two head-to-head meetings as the Ravens entered Week 10 with a one-game advantage over Pittsburgh in the division. The names have changed over the years, but the games remain a marquee attraction as Pittsburgh and Baltimore meet in a nationally televised prime-time game for the sixth straight year.

This season brings an interesting wrinkle as the Ravens and Steelers meet twice over the next three weeks, a decision that’s brought much criticism from each fan base who’d prefer to have more time between the games due to the physical toll they take on each team. Harbaugh admitted the timing of his team’s two meetings with the Steelers did grab his attention when the schedule was released in late April, but he appeared more than willing to embrace the challenge during his Monday press conference in Owings Mills.

“Really, there are always quirks in the schedule,” Harbaugh said. “Every team’s got them. That’s kind of a quirk for us. We play them and then sandwiched around a trip to San Diego. That will be a big challenge for us, but everybody’s got those challenges this year. That’s ours. We just have to deal with it and make it good.”

The Ravens have won two straight regular-season meetings at Heinz Field but suffered a playoff loss in Pittsburgh to end the 2010 season. With Baltimore experiencing struggles on the road this season, Sunday night’s performance will be very telling in explaining how serious a Super Bowl contender the Ravens really are at this point.

Counting two postseason games, the Ravens are 4-6 against Pittsburgh in the Harbaugh era. The 50-year-old coach hopes to continue his team’s recent success playing on the road in the bitter rivalry.

“If you love football, there’s no greater place to be,” Harbaugh said. “Playing there in that great stadium against that great organization, those games have always been great games. We’ve always felt like it’s a rivalry. We’ll continue to consider it to be a great rivalry.”

Changing of the (left) guard?

In preparing for Sunday’s showdown with the Steelers, the Ravens will be faced with a decision at the left guard position where second-year offensive lineman Jah Reid played well in place of veteran Bobbie Williams.

Taking Williams’ place on the third offensive series of the game, Reid played in 50 of the team’s 64 offensive snaps and received positive reviews after the 55-20 win over the Oakland Raiders. When asked whether Reid had supplanted Williams, who was limited in practice last week with a sore ankle, Harbaugh would not name a starter against the Steelers.

“I don’t know who will get the bulk of it, but we anticipate both of those guys playing in there,” Harbaugh said. “Jah’s got some versatility at some other positions, too. Of course, Bobbie can play the right guard as well, so it’s good to have some flexibility there.”

Reid excelled in run blocking, getting to the second level to spring running backs Ray Rice and Bernard Pierce on several positive runs. Drafted as an offensive tackle in the third round of last year’s draft, Reid has made the transition inside despite dealing with a calf injury for the better part of several months.

“A lot of good things and some other things that he can get better at,” Harbaugh said. “He’s a very physical player, he’s really athletic, he can bend, he can get his pads down. And that’s not easy to do for a guy his size. He played well. There were some pass protection technique issues that he had with pass-set things he’s got to continue to work on that he knows about. All in all, he played pretty well.”

Go, Jacoby, go

CONTINUE >>>

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Ngata, J. Smith sit as Ravens cruise to convincing win over Oakland

Posted on 11 November 2012 by Luke Jones

Even though there was no need to look for a silver lining in the 55-20 victory over the Oakland Raiders, the Ravens were afforded the opportunity to rest injured defensive starters Haloti Ngata and Jimmy Smith a week ahead of their showdown with Pittsburgh next Sunday.

Both players were listed as active but did not play as they sat with nagging injuries. However, the circumstances for each player were different as the Ravens made a concerted effort to sit the Pro Bowl defensive tackle but had to make an adjustment on the fly as Smith’s sore groin would not loosen up during pre-game warmups.

“We decided to dress Haloti,” coach John Harbaugh said. “We are trying to get Haloti healthy. He didn’t practice this week much, but we felt like it would be smart to dress him because he is a difference-maker for us. We started the game out, and we were hoping that we wouldn’t have to play him, and it turned out that we didn’t have to.”

Ngata had seen limited action from his normal workload in each of the Ravens’ last two games and admitted earlier in the week that lingering knee and shoulder injuries are limiting his effectiveness. The seventh-year defensive tackle missed practices on Wednesday and Thursday before participating on a very limited basis during Friday’s workout.

The Ravens can only hope the extra week of rest makes a difference as they’ll need Ngata against a physical Pittsburgh offensive line next week. Following their trip to Pittsburgh, the Ravens then travel to San Diego before welcoming the Steelers to Baltimore on Dec. 2.

Rookie DeAngelo Tyson started at defensive tackle in Ngata’s place, knocking down two passes and registering a quarterback hit in the 35-point victory.

“It really helps to get him some rest,” linebacker Jameel McClain said. “We all know that he’s a force in this league, and he’ll be back at 100 percent. Our young guys stepping it up without Haloti is pretty impressive.”

There is growing concern over Smith’s groin injury, an ailment he’s dealt with for several weeks. The second-year cornerback attempted to ride the stationary bike to get loose and attempted to warm up again at halftime but was unable to go.

With temperatures in the low 60s, the weather was perfect for a mid-November game, making Smith’s inability to get warm something to monitor this week.

“We’re going to have to take a hard look at that Monday and just see where he’s at,” Harbaugh said. “This is the first time it has gotten to the point where he just couldn’t get loose enough to play.”

Regular nickel back Corey Graham started in Smith’s cornerback spot while young special-teams standout Chykie Brown entered the game to play cornerback in the nickel package as Graham slid to his normal inside spot.

The Ravens also made an in-game change along the offensive line as Jah Reid replaced veteran Bobbie Williams at left guard on the third series of the game and played the rest of the way. The 36-year-old Williams confirmed after the game he was healthy enough to continue playing, but the lineman has been dealing with an ankle injury sustained in last week’s win at Cleveland.

Baltimore viewed it as an opportunity to rest Williams as well as evaluate Reid, who temporarily replaced an injured Marshal Yanda for a handful of plays last week and has also served as an extra blocking tight end.

“Jah Reid has really been coming on and practicing well,” Harbaugh said. “What Jah needs is playing time. He needs experience, he needs snaps on the field, so it was our plan to start him out there in the third series no matter what and then play him as much as we could.”

Safety Ed Reed suffered a minor stinger in his right shoulder late in the second quarter when he missed the tackle on Darrius Heyward-Bey’s 55-yard touchdown catch, but the veteran returned to action in the second half.

Linebacker Courtney Upshaw also tweaked his shoulder but was not concerned about the injury after the game.

The Ravens officially reported no new injuries following the win.

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Ravens’ record day latest example why they need to play in Baltimore come January

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Ravens’ record day latest example why they need to play in Baltimore come January

Posted on 11 November 2012 by Luke Jones

BALTIMORE — Running back Ray Rice said it best in describing the Ravens’ mindset in their 55-20 demolition of the Oakland Raiders at M&T Bank Stadium on Sunday.

With a divisional showdown looming in Pittsburgh next week, the Ravens easily could have been looking past a struggling opponent coming into their home stadium where Baltimore had won 14 straight regular-season games. Instead, they scored a franchise-record 55 points — more than any other NFL team in a game this season — and posted their largest margin of victory since 2009.

So much for a trap game, or even a lackadaisical start for that matter.

“Nobody comes into our house and stomps on our grass,” Rice said. “We knew we had to protect our home. We have a great streak going, and we had to protect it. You don’t let anybody come in your yard. We like to keep our clean-cut grass and keep our front yard, and we did that. Nobody had to call the landlord.”

Joe Flacco threw for 341 yards and three touchdowns, continuing his trend of looking like one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL at home despite his well-documented road struggles.

The offense is now averaging 36.8 points per game in Baltimore as opposed to only 17.5 on the road.

Even a struggling defense put forth a respectable effort against the pass-happy Raiders, holding Oakland to 20 points despite allowing 422 total yards.

What had been an impressive trend is now bordering on the absurd as the Ravens’ last loss suffered at M&T Bank Stadium will be a few days shy of the two-year mark by the time they welcome the Pittsburgh Steelers to town for their next home game in three weeks. Baltimore has looked every bit the part of one of the league’s best teams when they wear their purple jerseys in front of 71,000 home fans.

More than anything, the blowout win on Sunday once again reminded us how critical the final seven games of the regular season will be to the Ravens’ Super Bowl aspirations. Even with their flaws and limitations that surface on the road, Baltimore simply looks unbeatable at home.

And it’s where they’ll need to play if the Ravens truly want to take the next step in a very successful five-year run under John Harbaugh.

“I don’t care how you feel like you’re doing in one place or another place,” Harbaugh said. “You always want to be at home in that situation, so that’s a long-term goal. But, the short-term goal is more immediate, and we have a big game on the road against our divisional rival and we’re looking forward to that.”

Yes, the Ravens have concluded the junior-varsity portion of their schedule as five of their final seven games come against 2011 playoff teams. They’ll play their other two opponents — San Diego and Washington — on the road.

It’s fine to talk about a preference for playing home playoff games, but you must win on the road in November and December to be hosting games in January. Even after another convincing performance at home on Sunday, it’s still difficult to project whether the Ravens will ever be able to turn on the same switch in away games.

“It just seems like all good teams, for whatever reason, tend to play very well at home and probably not play as well on the road,” Flacco said. “Or, maybe it’s because those teams that we’re playing on the road also play well at home. But I’ve got to tell you, we’ve played some big games on the road a couple years — every year we’ve been here — and we’ve won a lot of them.”

In a roundabout way, Flacco described the challenge perfectly. It’s tough to win on the road in the NFL. In fact, it’s damn tough to do against the best teams the league has to offer.

The Baltimore quarterback is right, as the Ravens have won two straight regular-season contests in Pittsburgh and won a tough battle in Cincinnati in the 2011 regular-season finale to clinch the AFC North title. But that same road moxie hasn’t really surfaced this season beyond a few quarters of play in Philadelphia and Cleveland.

The Ravens will need to find a way to do it just enough in their final four road games to put themselves in position to utilize the best home-field advantage in the National Football League. Baltimore entered the week just a game behind the Texans, who already own the head-to-head tiebreaker via their 43-13 win over the Ravens in Week 7, but Houston isn’t battle-tested in the same way that the Ravens are. If the Texans falter the slightest bit, the Ravens need to keep themselves in position to seize the opportunity.

It starts next week where the Ravens will have undoubtedly grabbed the Steelers’ full attention after posting 55 points against a Raiders team that bested the Steelers in Oakland earlier this season.

Despite all the criticism and doubts heard over the last few weeks, the Ravens’ performance on Sunday means no one will be taking them lightly. The immense success they found against the Raiders needs to translate to real improvement on the road.

“When you put that on the board and you put that on film, you put a target on your back,” safety Bernard Pollard said. “I just think for us, like I said, this is the closest to 60 minutes that we’ve played all year as a team, and we have to build from this.”

Their Super Bowl hopes depend on it.

 

 

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Our Ravens/Raiders “Pats on the Ass”

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Our Ravens/Raiders “Pats on the Ass”

Posted on 11 November 2012 by Glenn Clark

After every Baltimore Ravens victory, Ryan Chell and I take to the airwaves on “The Nasty Purple Postgame Show” on AM1570 WNST.net to offer “Pats on the Ass” to players who have done something to deserve the honor.

We give pats to two defensive players, two offensive players and one “Wild Card”-either another offensive or defensive player, a Special Teams player or a coach. We offer a “Pat on Both Cheeks” to someone who stands out, our version of a “Player of the Game.” Ryan and I select five different players/coaches each.

Here are our “Pats on the Ass” following the Ravens’ 55-20 win over the Oakland Raiders at M&T Bank Stadium…

Glenn Clark’s Pats…

5. Anquan Boldin

4. Dennis Pitta

3. Cary Williams

2. Bernard Pollard

1. Cam Cameron (Pat on Both Cheeks)

(Ryan’s Pats on Page 2…)

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Was Harbaugh running up score on fake FG for TD by Koch?

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Was Harbaugh running up score on fake FG for TD by Koch?

Posted on 11 November 2012 by WNSTV

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