Tag Archive | "rams"

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Dumervil, Osmele, Boyle absent from Wednesday’s practice

Posted on 18 November 2015 by Luke Jones

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Making preparations for Sunday’s meeting with the St. Louis Rams, the Ravens were without a starter on each side of the ball during Wednesday’s practice.

Outside linebacker Elvis Dumervil and left guard Kelechi Osemele were both absent from the workout with respective knee ailments. Neither player appeared to be limited in the Week 10 loss to Jacksonville as Dumervil played 58 of 74 defensive snaps while Osemele did not miss a single offensive snap.

Speaking to reporters after Wednesday’s practice, Dumervil downplayed the significance of his absence.

Rookie tight end Nick Boyle’s absence from Wednesday’s practice appeared more serious as he was wearing a walking boot on his left foot in the locker room. The Ravens signed tight end Chase Ford to the 53-man roster on Tuesday, perhaps an indication that Boyle is in danger of missing some action.

As expected, John Urschel worked as the starting center during the portion of practice open to media after veteran Jeremy Zuttah was placed on injured reserve earlier in the day. The second-year lineman expressed confidence in his shotgun snaps after he had difficulty when filling in for Zuttah against San Diego in Week 8.

Urschel says he’s received pointers from long snapper Morgan Cox in addition to spending extra time working with offensive line coach Juan Castillo.

“It’s something I work on every day, shotgun snapping,” Urschel said. “I work to get better at it. I am improving. We’ve changed my mechanics some. I’ve gotten some help from Morgan; he’s been helping me with that. That is what he does, so he’s a good person to talk to.”

The Rams were without starting right tackle Rob Havenstein (calf) and starting defensive end Robert Quinn (hip) during Wednesday’s practice.

Below is the first full injury report of the week:

BALTIMORE
DID NOT PARTICIPATE: TE Nick Boyle (foot), LB Elvis Dumervil (knee), G Kelechi Osemele (knee)

ST. LOUIS
DID NOT PARTICIPATE: OT Rob Havenstein (calf), DE Robert Quinn (hip)
LIMITED PARTICIPATION: C Tim Barnes (concussion)
FULL PARTICIPATION: DE Chris Long (knee)

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Maurice Drummond talks all things St. Louis Rams

Posted on 18 November 2015 by WNST Staff

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Harbaugh critical of Ross, Jackson for mistakes in Sunday’s loss

Posted on 16 November 2015 by Luke Jones

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — On Monday, Ravens coach John Harbaugh dissected plenty that went wrong in the 22-20 loss to Jacksonville, but the criticism was particularly strong for special-teams players Jeremy Ross and Asa Jackson.

Ross’ fumbled punt early in the fourth quarter led to a go-ahead touchdown for Jacksonville and was the return specialist’s second lost fumble in the last three games. It was Baltimore’s fourth turnover of the second half after quarterback Joe Flacco threw two interceptions and fumbled in the third quarter.

“The muffed punt killed us. It was one of the four turnovers that shouldn’t happen,” said Harbaugh, who acknowledged that the Ravens will need to decide whether to replace Ross at punt returner. “It wasn’t an easy catch. The ball was moving from left to right and behind him, but it’s still a catch that you have to make in that situation for sure.”

Harbaugh’s words were even more critical for Jackson, who cost the Ravens a combined 30 yards in penalties on a low block in the first quarter and an unnecessary roughness foul in the third period. Jackson committed another unnecessary roughness penalty against Arizona in Week 7.

It’s clear the lack of discipline is wearing thin on the Baltimore coach after Jackson was already waived once at the end of the preseason for ball security issues in the return game.

“There’s no place for that,” Harbaugh said. “There’s absolutely no reason to leave your feet [on the first penalty]. I don’t care if you are slipping or not. You might be slipping, but if you are out of position to make the block, you don’t make that block, and you certainly don’t throw yourself back into a guy’s legs on a kickoff return. That’s blatantly illegal. And then blocking a guy after the ball is down and dead — that’s just foolish. That’s what we call a foolish penalty.

“For one guy to have three personal foul penalties in a season — in a career, let alone a season — let alone two in a game, is unacceptable.”

Webb at safety

Defensive coordinator Dean Pees revealed several new wrinkles after the bye week with the most interesting being cornerback Lardarius Webb lining up at safety for a number of plays in the nickel package.

Webb and starting free safety Kendrick Lewis swapped positions several times, often waiting until right before the snap in an effort to confuse Jacksonville quarterback Blake Bortles. The seventh-year defensive back also secured Baltimore’s first takeaway since Week 3 with a second-quarter interception while playing cornerback.

“We felt like he could be a factor in the back end, as far as chasing balls and being a ball hawk, and he may be kind of a natural that way,” Harbaugh said. “We tried him there on Tuesday and Wednesday of the bye week; he looked good.

“We built a couple packages for him, and we were able to play him at three different spots at least throughout the course of the game. They had a tougher time knowing where he was going to be, and I really think that’s something we can build on going forward.”

Arthur Brown sighting

All but forgotten as the Ravens’ 2013 second-round pick, inside linebacker Arthur Brown saw his first defensive snaps since the end of his rookie season on Sunday.

Brown was part of the nickel package for eight plays, but he did not register a defensive statistic. The Kansas State product was active for each of the first eight games of 2015 while only seeing action on special teams.

“He played fast and was excited to be out there,” Harbaugh said. “He ran to the ball, made a couple plays — nothing spectacular, but nothing that made you concerned, either. He had done a really good job in practice, and Arthur deserved a little more playing time. He did well with it.”

Urban could return this week

Starting his second week of practice, second-year defensive end Brent Urban is moving closer to making his NFL debut and could be activated in time to play St. Louis on Sunday.

“There’s a chance,” Harbaugh said. “It’s not something we’ve talked about yet, but I think physically — based on what I’ve seen physically — he’s ready to go. But again, we’ll talk about this week as we go.”

Urban was placed on injured reserve with the designation to return at the start of the season after suffering a torn biceps in early August.

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Givens aiming to be “explosive” catching passes from Flacco

Posted on 07 October 2015 by Luke Jones

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Buried on the St. Louis depth chart at the start of his fourth NFL season, Chris Givens became suspicious when he heard from an old college teammate a couple weeks ago.

Ravens wide receiver and fellow Wake Forest product Michael Campanaro had reached out to the speedy wideout to tell him that the Baltimore coaching staff had been asking about him, a sure sign that general manager Ozzie Newsome was interested in acquiring the Rams’ 2012 fourth-round pick. With rookie Breshad Perriman sidelined since the start of training camp with a knee injury, the Ravens were in need of a vertical threat in their passing game.

“I just thought it was talk,” said Givens, who was acquired from the Rams in exchange for a 2016 seventh-round pick on Saturday. “But once things started getting weird around Rams Park, I knew something was up. I basically just didn’t practice [last] Tuesday through Friday, so I knew something was up.”

When an NFL player is acquired in the middle of a season, there’s generally an acclimation period of a week or two to learn a new system before being thrown into the fire of competition. But the Ravens don’t have that luxury with both No. 1 receiver Steve Smith (back) and Perriman expected to miss Sunday’s game against Cleveland.

Baltimore hopes Givens can provide the ability to stretch the field in the passing game while potentially providing another option to replace the injured Campanaro at kick returner. Barring other roster moves, the Ravens will need him to serve as no worse than the No. 4 receiver against the Browns with quarterback Joe Flacco missing so many other pass-catching targets.

Averaging 16.3 yards per catch in his career, Givens expressed confidence in his ability to learn a new offense, saying the biggest challenge was adjusting to new terminology after picking up the passing concepts of offensive coordinator Marc Tresetman.

“He’s going to be out there on Sunday,” head coach John Harbaugh said. “How much he plays depends on how well he does. I’m really hopeful that he plays a lot. It’ll be up to him and how well he can learn what we’re doing.”

The 6-foot wideout only had one reception in the Rams’ first three games this season, but his 1,433 career receiving yards are more than Baltimore’s other healthy receivers — Kamar Aiken, Marlon Brown, and Darren Waller — have combined (1,303). Givens, a 2012 fourth-round pick out of Wake Forest, enjoyed his best season as a rookie when he caught 42 passes for 698 yards and three touchdowns.

However, the 25-year-old’s numbers had declined every year since as he struggled to catch the football consistently and other St. Louis receivers leapfrogged him on the depth chart. Givens quipped that he now has a “potato” — not a chip — on his shoulder coming to Baltimore.

“It was very frustrating,” said Givens about his last couple seasons with the Rams. “I knew I was a guy that could complement the team and play well. I don’t know if it wasn’t the right fit or they liked other guys or whatever the case may be, because after the first year, my opportunities just went down.”

The Ravens certainly hope he can recapture the success he found early in his career with St. Louis.

Not lacking confidence, Givens will be given every opportunity to carve out a meaningful role with the banged-up Ravens as he praised the talents of Flacco. The pair will be challenged to build a rapport in a short period of time, but Flacco said the receiver’s speed jumped out immediately in their first couple practices together.

“It can be explosive,” said Givens of the chance to catch deep passes from Flacco. “It’s one of those things that you’ve just got to take advantage of the talents and opportunities. I’m just looking forward to doing that.”

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The Peter Principles (Ch. 3): How close did Angelos come to owning Baltimore’s NFL team?

Posted on 14 July 2014 by Nestor Aparicio

(Author note: This is Chapter 3 of future book “The Peter Principles” that I was working to finish in March 2014 when my wife was diagnosed with leukemia. I have released the first three chapters of the book, which chronicles the history of Peter G. Angelos and his ownership of the Baltimore Orioles. I think you’ll find much of this already-reported information to be illuminating.)

Chapter 1 is available here.

Chapter 2 is available here.

Chapter 12 is available here.

 

3. Giving Peter The Ball & Scabs

 

“I think they are concerned about litigation, but they feel as we do, that no one wants to litigate but one has to sometimes and the chances for success are excellent. I’m confident that Baltimore is the best applicant for an NFL franchise both from a financial and a fan standpoint.”

– Peter Angelos, May 18, 1994 to The Sun regarding Washington Redskins owner Jack Kent Cooke blocking his rights to buying an NFL franchise

 

 

TO UNDERSTAND BALTIMORE’S INNATE YEARNING for a National Football League team is to understand what the Baltimore Ravens have meant to the town, its sports psyche and the league since returning in 1996. After winning Super Bowls in 2001 and 2013, it’s very hard to fathom that time and space between March 28, 1984 and Nov. 6, 1995 ­– when the town that participated in what became known as The Greatest Game Ever Played in 1958, the place that the Colts of Johnny Unitas, Lenny Moore, Art Donovan, Raymond Berry and Jim Parker roamed on 33rd Street in what was affectionately known as the World’s Largest Outdoor Insane Asylum – was without the NFL.

The Orioles were the toast of Baltimore for sure in the early 1990s but there was always something missing in the Charm City when there weren’t NFL games on those 12 seasons of Sundays in the fall. After a decade of high-speed pursuits by the state of Maryland, Mayor of Baltimore and then Governor William Donald Schaefer, the Maryland Stadium Authority and several bidders in 1993, the city was repeatedly turned down in the expansion process. By the time Angelos had purchased the Orioles, the NFL had found itself in a precarious situation with Baltimore sitting empty and several suitors working every angle possible to steal an existing team and essentially steal another city’s team the way the Colts were stolen off in the middle of the night in 1984 by owner Robert Irsay. And Washington Redskins owner Jack Kent Cooke had tried every possible way to keep Baltimore from ever having a team again and once attempted to get a stadium built in Laurel to ensure it. Schaefer blocked Cooke and then rallied support for civic monies to be held to fund a Baltimore football stadium at Camden Yards if the NFL granted the city a franchise.

Despite all of the efforts of Schaefer and his steward Herb Belgrad, it didn’t work. In early 1995, the city of Baltimore was considered to be further away than ever in a search for a return to the NFL now that a pair of expansion teams had gone to Jacksonville and Charlotte and it was clear St. Louis was in the final stages of swiping the Rams from Los Angeles.

It was a dirty business, this franchise ownership, league gamesmanship, civic hostage taking of teams and the politics of modern sports. But Baltimore and Maryland were a unique player in the revolving door of NFL cities vying for the theft of teams from other markets where old stadia were failing to lure more revenue or ownerships were dissatisfied and looking for a bigger, better deal – led of course by Irsay’s decision to leave the land of pleasant living a decade earlier and the machinations of Al Davis in California with the Raiders.

Because of what the Orioles meant to the area and the success of the downtown revitalization spurred by the facility, Baltimore, Maryland had real money in the state coffers to fund a new stadium in the parking lot adjacent to the baseball stadium at Camden Yards. The area had always been earmarked as the site of a potential NFL team but the only problem was finding one of the existing 30 teams to find the deal too $weet to pass up. There was a lot of money to be made on an NFL franchise in Baltimore and the thought was that with many municipalities hard-lining NFL owners on the stadium issue on behalf of local taxpayers, it was only a matter of time before someone moved a team to the former home of the Colts. The insiders knew just how much money and how rich the Baltimore deal was for an owner who wanted to flee but the media and local fans were very skeptical after a decade of operating in the fog of having lost the Colts.

Once again, Angelos went into his office in Baltimore and tried to don the cape as a civic hero, flying in to save the day and bring the NFL back to his hometown.

But there were several other suitors pushing to be the winner in this grab for a football team in 1994.

Leonard “Boogie” Weinglass left Angelos’ partnership before it ever really began in September 1993 – he never invested in the team after being the original local person who was interested in the club when Eli Jacobs put it up for sale. At the time he said it was in an effort to pursue an NFL team that he hoped to call the Bombers, paying homage to the World War II planes that were built in Eastern Baltimore County at Martin Marietta.

Malcolm Glazer and his sons Bryan and Joel had been one of the three failed efforts by Baltimore to win the 1993 NFL expansion process. Now, they had set their sights on buying the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in their home state of Florida, where they lived in Palm Beach.

Baltimore beer distributors Bob Footlick and Bob Pinkner had also partnered with Robert Schulman in an effort to pursue an NFL team.

And, of course, with his August 1993 victory in the New York auction house and his leading man status as the owner of the Orioles, Angelos was funded and motivated to join Miami’s Wayne Huizenga as the second man to own an NFL and MLB franchise simultaneously. There had previously been language to disallow such a local

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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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Towson faces Fordham Saturday in second round of FCS playoffs

Posted on 06 December 2013 by WNST Staff

TIGERS HOST FORDHAM IN NCAA FCS PLAYOFF GAME

Seventh-Seeded Tigers Seeking 11th Win of the Season

TOWSON, Md. –  Looking to advance to the quarter-finals of the NCAA FCS Championship, Coach Rob Ambrose and the Towson University football team will host Fordham University in a second-round FCS playoff game on Saturday, December 7 at Johnny Unitas® Stadium at 1:00 p.m.

The Tigers were one of eight seeded teams that received first-round byes. Fordham improved its record to 12-1 with a 37-27 victory over Sacred Heart in a first round game last week.

Saturday’s game will be broadcast on ESPN3 with Ryan Rose and former Delaware Coach K.C. Keeler calling the action.

While the two coaches in the game, Ambrose and Joe Moorhead, have many things in common, Towson and Fordham play two drastically different styles of football. While the Tigers rank among the national leaders by averaging 235.2 rushing yards per game, Fordham passes for 358.3 yards per game.

In 12 games, Towson has scored 61 touchdowns, 40 of which have come on running plays. Fordham has 63 touchdowns, 34 touchdowns on pass plays.

Both coaches are the head coaches at their alma mater. Ambrose graduated from Towson in 1993, and Moorhead is a member of Fordham’s Class of 1996. When Ambrose left the University of Connecticut to become the head coach at Towson, Moorhead succeeded him as the Huskies’ offensive coordinator.

Both Ambrose and Moorhead have orchestrated amazing turnarounds at their schools. In Ambrose’s first two seasons at Towson, the Tigers had a 3-19 record. In the last three years, Towson has a 26-9 mark. In 2011, Fordham was 1-10. In his second season as the Rams’ head coach, Moorhead has led Fordham to a 12-1 record.

In addition, both coaches recorded wins over NCAA FBS programs this season. In August, Ambrose coached the Tigers to a 33-18 victory over Connecticut. A few weeks later, Moorhead guided the Rams to a 30-29 win over Temple.

The Tigers, who are making their second NCAA FCS playoff appearance in the last three years, have won 14 of their last 16 games dating back to the 2012 season.

Last season, Towson posted a final record of 7-4 and finished the regular season with a four-game winning streak that included road wins against three nationally ranked teams. However, the Tigers did not receive a post-season bid to the NCAA FCS playoffs. That led to the motto for this year’s team, “Leave No Doubt.”

“Everybody had a bad taste in their mouths after last season,” recalls Coach Ambrose. “We were disappointed that we didn’t take care of business when we had the opportunity to do so. We won our last four games and beat some very good teams, but we left our fate in the hands of a committee. We didn’t want that to happen again.”

With their regular season mark of 10-2 and a top five national ranking in the final two polls, the Tigers left no doubt and earned a number seven seed.

The Tiger offense has been led by junior running back Terrance West (Northwestern H.S./Baltimore, Md.) and senior quarterback Peter Athens (Huntingtown H.S./Huntingtown, Md.). Towson ranks among the NCAA FCS leaders, averaging 459.9 yards of total offense per game and 37.2 points per conest.

One of three finalists for the Walter Payton Award, West leads NCAA FCS with 155.4 rushing yards per game. He has rushed for 1,865 yards on 301 attempts, an average of 6.2 yards per carry. He needs 135 rushing yards to become the 12th player in FCS history to run for 2,000 yards in a season. The Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) Offensive Player of the Year, West has rushed for more than 100 yards in 10 of 12 games.

With a total of 31 touchdowns, West leads all of college football in touchdowns scored. In his career, he has scored 75 touchdowns in 33 games.

Athens is averaging 232.2 yards of total offense per game. He has completed 199 of 316 passes for 2,634 yards and 14 touchdowns. He has only been sacked nine times.

Senior linebacker Telvion Clark (Granby H.S./Norfolk, Va.) leads the Tiger defense. A first team All-CAA selection, he was named as the CAA Defensive Player of the Week twice. Honored as the FCS National Defensive Player of the Week by “The Sports Network” after the Tigers’ win at Richmond, Clark has made 107 tackles in 12 games. In addition, he leads the CAA with five forced fumbles and has recovered three fumbles, tied for first in the CAA.

The defense will be facing one of the top passing offenses in the nation when the Tigers host Fordham. The Rams average 38.3 points per game, 12th in the nation.

The Tigers will counter with a secondary that includes three All-CAA performers, senior cornerback Jordan Love(Deep Run H.S./Washington, D.C.), junior cornerback Tye Smith (Wakefield H.S./Raleigh, N.C.) and sophomore safety Christian Carpenter (Aberdeen H.S./Aberdeen, Md.).

A first team All-CAA selection, Love has made 43 tackles with nine pass breakups. Smith is third on the team with 85 tackles and has broken up 10 passes. He has also intercepted two passes and forced two fumbles. Carpenter was also a first team All-CAA honoree after making 65 tackles. He has also intercepted three passes and made two fumble recoveries.

The winner of the Towson-Fordham game will face the winner of the Eastern Illinois-Tennessee State game onDec. 13 or Dec. 14.

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Predicting the 2013 Ravens roster after the final preseason game

Posted on 29 August 2013 by Luke Jones

(This blog brought to you by Atlantic Remodeling. Visit www.atlanticremodeling.com to learn about their Red Cent Guarantee!)

The Ravens concluded their preseason with a 24-21 loss to the St. Louis Rams in a game that featured none of the team’s starters and extensive work for a number of bubble players fighting for spots on the 53-man roster.

With third-string quarterback Caleb Hanie playing the entire game, it’s difficult to conclude that anything changed dramatically in the competition at wide receiver and tight end where a few spots were still up for grabs. However, the battles for the potential No. 3 running back job and the fourth safety spot featured plenty of action for players projected to be on the bubble.

The Ravens appeared to suffer only one significant injury in Thursday’s game as linebacker D.J. Bryant suffered a significant knee injury at the end of the first half that will likely sideline him for the rest of the season. Though the Randallstown High alum was a long shot to make the 53-man roster, he appeared to be a solid candidate for the practice squad after joining the Ravens in that capacity last year.

My final look at the roster suggests 44 healthy players are locks as the Ravens make final decisions by Saturday. My assessment of the 75 players on the roster lists 16 players on the bubble with at least some chance of making the final roster. Not all bubble players are on equal footing, with certain positions lacking quality depth and others enjoying an abundance of talent.

Though general manager Ozzie Newsome, Harbaugh, and the remainder of the coaching staff and front office are cognizant of the number of players at each position, trying to pinpoint a specific number of wide receivers or linebackers isn’t the most accurate way of projecting the roster. The Ravens will always look carefully at players’ special-teams abilities in addition to what they bring to their specific positional group.

The Ravens must trim the roster to the regular-season number of 53 by 6 p.m. on Saturday, and Harbaugh told reporters following Thursday’s game that some cuts would be made early while others likely wouldn’t come until Saturday.

The numbers in parentheses indicate the total number of players projected to be on the 53-man roster at that given position. Players listed as injured or suspended do not count against the 53-man roster when final cuts are made. Players deemed to be on the bubble are marked with an asterisk.

QUARTERBACKS (2)
IN: Joe Flacco, Tyrod Taylor
OUT: Caleb Hanie, Dayne Crist
Skinny: The Ravens were wise in keeping Taylor out of harm’s way and allowing Hanie to go the distance. All signs point to Baltimore carrying just two quarterbacks on the 53-man roster for the fourth straight season.

RUNNING BACKS & FULLBACKS (6)
IN: Ray Rice, Bernard Pierce, Vonta Leach, Kyle Juszczyk, *Anthony Allen, *Bobby Rainey
OUT: *Delone Carter
Skinny: Some flexibility — or lack of depth — at other positions might allow the Ravens to carry both Allen and Rainey on the roster for the time being. Allen is a standout special-teams player with limited ability at running back while Rainey shows offensive upside but offers little to the special teams other than as a backup returner.

WIDE RECEIVERS (7)
IN: Torrey Smith, Jacoby Jones, Brandon Stokley, Marlon Brown, *Tandon Doss, *Deonte Thompson, *Aaron Mellette
OUT: *LaQuan Williams
Skinny: Williams saw no time at wide receiver on Thursday night, making it difficult to read where he stands at this point. Brown turned himself into a lock — he won’t make it through waivers to the practice squad — after a strong performance for the second straight game while Doss and Mellette also played well in the preseason finale.

TIGHT ENDS (3)
IN: Ed Dickson, *Dallas Clark, *Billy Bajema
OUT: *Matt Furstenburg, Alex Silvestro
INJURED RESERVE: Dennis Pitta (will be placed on injured reserve with a chance of receiving the designation to return)
Skinny: Clark was unimpressive again, but he’s worked with the first-team offense extensively in practices since signing with the Ravens a couple weeks ago. Bajema and Furstenburg did nothing to distinguish themselves, making you think Furstenburg has a better chance of finding his way to the practice squad.

OFFENSIVE LINEMEN (8)
IN: Marshal Yanda, Michael Oher, Bryant McKinnie, Kelechi Osemele, Gino Gradkowski, A.Q. Shipley, Jah Reid, Rick Wagner
OUT: *Jordan Devey, Antoine McClain, Rogers Gaines, J.J. Unga, Reggie Stephens
INJURED: Ryan Jensen (will likely be placed on injured reserve after suffering a broken foot in the first week of camp)
Skinny: Devey has had a solid preseason, but it wouldn’t be surprising to see the Ravens add another veteran to bolster their depth with only eight linemen projected to be on the roster at this point. The fact that Gradkowski didn’t play in the preseason finale tells you he has won the starting center job to begin the season with Shipley backing him up.

DEFENSIVE LINEMEN (6)

CONTINUE ON NEXT PAGE >>>>>

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Ravens-Rams pre-game notes

Posted on 29 August 2013 by Luke Jones

(This blog brought to you by Atlantic Remodeling. Visit www.atlanticremodeling.com to learn about their Red Cent Guarantee!)

Thursday night marked the final chance for a handful of bubble players to secure one of the remaining spots on the 53-man roster as the Ravens take on the St. Louis Rams in the preseason finale.

After announcing earlier in the week that starting quarterback Joe Flacco wouldn’t play in the fourth preseason game — marking the fifth straight year he’s sat out the final preseason contest — coach John Harbaugh was expected to rest most of his starters with the regular-season opener against the Denver Broncos only a week away. Backup quarterback Tyrod Taylor went through pre-game warmups at the Edward Jones Dome, which was a strong indication that he’s been cleared from the concussion suffered last week against the Carolina Panthers, but it remained unclear whether he’d play against the Rams.

Reports from St. Louis also indicated tight end Ed Dickson was going through pre-game warmups, but many others weren’t suited up to play, including running back Ray Rice, linebacker Terrell Suggs, defensive tackle Haloti Ngata, cornerback Lardarius Webb, right guard Marshal Yanda, and left tackle Bryant McKinnie. The Ravens hadn’t released a conclusive list of inactive players 30 minutes prior to the 8:00 p.m. kickoff.

The Ravens will be meeting the Rams for the fourth time ever in the preseason as St. Louis enters the game with a 3-0 all-time mark in the exhibition contests. Baltimore leads the all-time regular-season series by a 3-2 margin and won a 37-7 blowout in St. Louis in the teams’ last meeting in 2011.

Harbaugh is now 15-8 in preseason games with the Ravens holding a 42-28 overall mark in the preseason. Baltimore has won 14 of its last 19 preseason games.

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Ravens-Rams preseason primer: Five players to watch

Posted on 28 August 2013 by Luke Jones

(This blog brought to you by Atlantic Remodeling. Visit www.atlanticremodeling.com to learn about their Red Cent Guarantee!)

The Ravens have reached the light at the end of the preseason tunnel as they’ll conclude the summer against the St. Louis Rams on Thursday night.

From an entertainment standpoint, the preseason finale has rarely been one in which you can cut the electricity with a knife as Joe Flacco has already been confirmed by head coach John Harbaugh to be a spectator on Thursday. The starting quarterback won’t be alone as many starters will not take the field at all at the Edward Jones Dome in a game that means nothing for players who have already sewn up spots on the 53-man roster.

Of course, Harbaugh and the coaching staff will be expecting a strong performance from the players who will see action, many of whom are fighting for no more than a few jobs.

“We’re getting ready to go play St. Louis,” Harbaugh said. “We’re going to do our best to go out there and try to win that game within the parameters of what helps our football team going forward into the regular season.”

In all reality, most roster decisions have already been made with the preseason finale not doing much to change the dynamics of the 53-man squad that must be finalized by Saturday at 6 p.m. Players with no realistic shot of making the team are hoping to put forth a good performance that might garner attention from other teams looking to fill out their rosters and practice squads in the coming days.

Potential competitions remain for the third running job, the No. 3 tight end, and the fourth safety job if the Ravens elect to keep each of those positions. And, of course, much attention will be paid to the wide receivers currently on the bubble, but you have to wonder how many conclusions the coaching staff can draw from the wideouts playing with reserve quarterback Caleb Hanie and potentially the newly-signed Dayne Crist.

Harbaugh was asked Tuesday how many times he could recall roster spots being decided by just a play or two made in the preseason finale.

“Probably not often, in all reality,” Harbaugh said. “But I would say in this game, there are a couple of those. There are a couple guys that, perhaps if they really, really play well, they could really play themselves on [to the 53-man roster]. Or, guys could play themselves off. It’s possible.”

The Ravens will be meeting the Rams for the fourth time ever in the preseason as St. Louis enters the game with a 3-0 all-time mark in the exhibition contests. Baltimore leads the all-time regular-season series by a 3-2 margin and won a 37-7 blowout in St. Louis in the teams’ last meeting in 2011.

Harbaugh is now 15-8 in preseason games with the Ravens holding a 42-28 overall mark in the preseason. Baltimore has won 14 of its last 19 preseason games.

Unofficial (and largely speculative) injury report

The Ravens are not required to produce an injury report like they do for regular-season games, but I’ve offered my best guess on what the injury report would look like if one were to be released.

Of course, the final preseason game will include many players sitting out due to Harbaugh’s preference with the regular-season opener against the Denver Broncos just a week from Thursday night. This estimated report does not reflect any of the veterans who will watch from the sidelines and is only an indication of the team’s current health.

Inside linebacker Jameel McClain (neck), defensive end Kapron Lewis-Moore (knee), and outside linebacker Adrian Hamilton (wrist) are no longer on the active roster and are no longer included in the injury report.

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

OUT: WR Deonte Thompson (foot), LB Pernell McPhee (knee), OL Ryan Jensen (foot), TE Dennis Pitta (hip)
DOUBTFUL: TE Ed Dickson (hamstring)
QUESTIONABLE: DE Arthur Jones (personal health issue), QB Tyrod Taylor (head)
PROBABLE: G Marshal Yanda (shoulder), CB Lardarius Webb (knee)

Five players to watch Thursday night

1. RB Delone Carter

While few fans are enthused to watch the fourth and final preseason game consisting of few starters, the contest will offer the first glance of Carter, who was acquired from Indianapolis in the David Reed trade. At 5-foot-9 and 232 pounds, Carter is a low-to-the-ground power runner with the reputation of being effective at the goal line and in short-yardage situations, two areas in which the Ravens struggled at times last season.

The real question may be how much of an impact Carter can bring to special teams as the potential No. 3 running back with third-year veteran Anthony Allen strong in that regard and Bobby Rainey having intriguing potential as a backup return specialist. Much discussion of last impressions being made in the preseason finale is overblown, but Carter has only had a couple practices to show off his ability, meaning Thursday will be critical for his potential future in Baltimore.

2. WR LaQuan Williams

It’s difficult to predict whether the performance of any of the bubble receivers on Thursday night will carry much stock in final roster decisions if the likes of Hanie and Crist are under center, but Williams hasn’t followed up his strong performance in the preseason opener in the way he would have liked. Always a good special-teams player, Williams has lacked consistency as a wideout this summer and saw rookies Marlon Brown and Aaron Mellette receive opportunities with the first-team offense in recent weeks while he only received a few token reps here and there.

A standout play or two on special teams would likely put an exclamation point on his case for a spot on the 53-man roster for the third straight season, but Williams would like to leave a lasting impression as a wide receiver as well. The coaching staff has always been complimentary of his work ethic, but Williams doesn’t have the impressive height or blazing speed of other receivers with which he’s competing and his value on special teams can only go so far with so much uncertainty at the wide receiver position as a whole.

3. DE DeAngelo Tyson

It’s remarkable to think how far the defensive line has come since last season when Tyson was seeing critical snaps in the second half of Super Bowl XLVII after Haloti Ngata went down with a knee injury. The 2012 seventh-round pick hasn’t necessarily had a poor summer, but he is clearly seventh in the pecking order of a deep group of options with various skills against the run and pass.

Tyson’s fate will come down to the simple numbers as the coaching staff decides whether players at other positions would be better fits for roster spots than keeping Tyson as a seventh defensive lineman. Statistics usually aren’t a great indication of how well a defensive lineman has fared, but Tyson’s two tackles reflect the quiet preseason we’ve observed from the Georgia product.

4. TE Billy Bajema

Following the Ravens’ decision to terminate the contract of veteran Visanthe Shiancoe last weekend, many assumed this opened the door for rookie Matt Furstenburg to be the No. 3 tight end, but veteran Billy Bajema is a reliable blocking tight end with some ability as a pass catcher when given opportunities. He saw a great deal of action late last season when Ed Dickson was sidelined with a knee injury and held up well as the blocking tight end behind Dennis Pitta.

In most cases, teams will go with the younger, cheaper option when rookies and veterans are evenly matched in a competition for a roster spot, but the Ravens were using Bajema over Furstenburg with the starting offense prior to the free-agent signing of Dallas Clark a couple weeks ago. Bajema is also a positive special-teams contributor, which is something that shouldn’t be overlooked when the Ravens make their final decision on a potential third tight end.

5. S Anthony Levine

Fellow safety Omar Brown might be more of a household name after a strong 2012 preseason, but Levine has appeared to receive more opportunities with the starting special-teams units during the preseason, which could be an indication of which way the Ravens are leaning for the fourth safety spot — if they decide to keep one. Levine is bigger than Brown and was signed to the 53-man roster from the practice squad last November before eventually going on injured reserve, which paved the way for Brown to be promoted in December.

This might be a rare roster battle that comes down to a matter of who can make a play or two in the preseason finale to sell the coaches on a potential decision. Levine has eight tackles this summer while Brown has five; however, Levine has made one special-teams tackle but appeared to be one of the guilty parties to misplay his lane assignment in the Ted Ginn Jr. 74-yard punt return for a touchdown last week in Baltimore.

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