Tag Archive | "Ravens"


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Ravens rule out Gillmore, three others for Thursday night

Posted on 30 September 2015 by Luke Jones

(Updated: 2:30 p.m.)

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Desperate for their first win of the 2015 season as they face a daunting trip to Pittsburgh on Thursday night, the Ravens will be be without their No. 2 option in the passing game.

Second-year tight end Crockett Gillmore (calf), left tackle Eugene Monroe (concussion), defensive end Chris Canty (calf), and wide receiver Breshad Perriman all were officially ruled out on Wednesday afternoon. Even before the official designation, the Ravens weren’t exactly giving a strong impression that Gillmore would be ready to return against the Steelers.

“With Crockett being out, we have some young tight ends that we really love to coach,” offensive coordinator Marc Trestman said on Tuesday. “We love the development that they’re going through right now. We expect them to step up and play well for us.”

After registering three catches for 40 yards in the first two quarters of Sunday’s loss to Cincinnati, Gillmore did not play an offensive snap after halftime as the combination of Maxx Williams and Nick Boyle took his place. The rookies combined to register five receptions for 63 yards on nine targets in the 28-24 loss to the Bengals.

A passing game struggling to find reliable answers beyond No. 1 wideout Steve Smith can hardly afford to be without Gillmore, but head coach John Harbaugh expressed much confidence in Williams and Boyle to be able to pick up the slack.

“I thought they both played really well. I thought they both did a really good job,” Harbaugh said. “These two guys are not two guys that it’s too big for [them]. They love being out there, and they just want to make plays. They’re tough, competitive. They’re physical. They kind of remind me of Crockett a year ago.”

After being listed as a limited participant in light practices on Monday and Tuesday, Monroe was listed as a non-participant on Wednesday as he continues to go through the league’s concussion protocol. James Hurst is expected to make his third straight start.

The second-year lineman has struggled mightily this season, ranking as the worst offensive tackle in the NFL in Pro Football Focus’ grading system.

“Eugene’s been a starter for us, but James has played a lot of football as well,” Trestman said. “Right now — today — it’s James and we’ll see. Certainly, we need everybody. You always need everybody. Eugene is a big part of what we do here, so we’re looking forward to getting him back as well when that time comes.”

Pittsburgh officially ruled out starting inside linebacker Ryan Shazier after he missed practices all week with a shoulder injury. Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (knee) already had been declared out on Monday as veteran backup Michael Vick will make the start for Pittsburgh.

Steelers center Cody Wallace was listed as probable for Thursday’s game after missing practice on Wednesday due to an illness. Already replacing Pro Bowl center Maurkice Pouncey, Wallace will have his hands full with Ravens nose tackle Brandon Williams, and lingering effects from an illness certainly wouldn’t help in that task.

The referee for Thursday night’s game will be Clete Blakeman.

The Thursday night forecast in Pittsburgh calls for mostly cloudy skies and temperatures in the high 50s with a very small chance for precipitation and winds up to 10 miles per hour, according to Weather.com.

Below is the final injury report for Thursday:

OUT: DE Chris Canty (calf), TE Crockett Gillmore (calf), OT Eugene Monroe (concussion), WR Breshad Perriman (knee)

OUT: DT Daniel McCullers (knee), QB Ben Roethlisberger (knee), LB Ryan Shazier (shoulder), TE Matt Spaeth (hand)
QUESTIONABLE: CB Cortez Allen (knee)
PROBABLE: LB James Harrison (thumb), C Cody Wallace (illness)

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Jeff Diamond talks all things Purple and Black

Posted on 30 September 2015 by WNST Staff







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Harbaugh says he has “no idea” about any Perriman setback

Posted on 29 September 2015 by Luke Jones

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — The Breshad Perriman saga continues for the Ravens.

After returning to practice on a limited basis last week, the 2015 first-round receiver appeared to tweak his right knee during a pre-game workout at M&T Bank Stadium on Sunday and hasn’t practiced since then. Taking into account the walk-through nature of this week’s practices in preparation for Thursday’s game in Pittsburgh, Perriman’s absence makes it fair to conclude the speedy receiver experienced some type of a setback.

Apparently that is news to John Harbaugh, however, who said he was unaware of anything happening to Perriman on Sunday.

“I have no idea what you’re talking about,” said Harbaugh, who then asked reporters for clarification on when it had allegedly taken place. “No idea what you’re talking about.”

The head coach offered no explanation as to why the rookie hasn’t practiced this week.

Even if Perriman never stood a good chance to play against the Steelers, the Ravens likely would have wanted him to practice on a limited basis to merely give Pittsburgh coach Mike Tomlin and his team the impression that he might play. There’s no other logical explanation for Perriman not practicing again other than the Ravens’ training staff electing to slow his activity level after he pulled up lame on Sunday.

The 26th overall pick of April’s draft sprained his knee on the first day of training camp on July 30.

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Rob King previews Ravens-Steelers on TNF

Posted on 29 September 2015 by WNST Staff








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Jimmy Smith trying to shake off disappointing start to 2015

Posted on 29 September 2015 by Luke Jones

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Asked how he shakes off one of the most difficult games of his NFL career, Ravens cornerback Jimmy Smith demonstrated by literally shaking his arms and shoulders while smiling.

Even when dealing with an 0-3 start, it’s important to have a sense of humor — and a short memory — when competing in an NFL secondary. That’s not to say that Smith didn’t take his poor performance hard on Sunday, declining to speak to the media after giving up the game-winning touchdown pass to four-time Pro Bowl receiver A.J. Green in the 28-24 loss to Cincinnati.

“I took the loss as a loss,” said Smith, who apologized Monday for being “too emotional” to talk after the defeat. “It wasn’t so much that I was just so down on myself, it was just a loss. I didn’t play as well as I wanted to, so all of that affected it.”

Signed in the offseason to a four-year, $41 million contract extension through 2019, Smith appeared ready to pick up where he left off last season, returning a Peyton Manning interception for the Ravens’ only touchdown in a 19-13 season-opening loss to Denver. However, the 27-year-old cornerback has struggled since then, allowing a long touchdown to Amari Cooper in the Week 2 loss at Oakland before being torched by Green in Week 3.

In three games, Smith has been thrown at 28 times and has allowed 18 receptions for 275 yards, two touchdowns, and two interceptions, according to Pro Football Focus. It’s a stark contrast from a year ago when the 2011 first-round pick was targeted just 39 times in eight games and allowed 20 receptions for 163 yards, no touchdowns, and an interception. A Lisfranc injury that required season-ending surgery last November short-circuited a Pro Bowl-caliber campaign and forced Smith to spend much of the offseason rehabbing, but he was mostly a full participant in training camp and played in two preseason games.

The early-season woes have led many to wonder if his left foot is still an issue 11 months after the injury. A problem to the foot area can be debilitating at a position requiring backpedaling and such frequent changes in direction, but Smith wouldn’t comment on the possibility of any lingering effects.

“People come back from injuries; they play,” said Smith, who’s missed 17 games due to injuries in his young career. “Until this season is over, I’ll never talk about my foot.”

Identified as one of the leaders of a defense trying to fill the void of the injured Terrell Suggs, Smith said he isn’t lacking confidence despite allowing Green to make seven catches for 126 yards and a touchdown when they were matched on Sunday. He cited his preparation and film study as the biggest reasons why his recent play won’t shake his confidence moving forward.

Of course, the proof lies on the field where he’s appeared hesitant to engage in press coverage such as when he was beaten badly by Cooper on the 2015 first-round pick’s touchdown in Week 2. His early third-quarter interception of Andy Dalton on Sunday was a flash of what he’s capable of doing, but Smith hasn’t carried the same swagger on the field that he did a year ago when he had appeared to finally arrive as one of the best cornerbacks in the AFC.

The struggles have been across the board in the secondary as the Ravens currently rank 29th in pass defense. Miscommunication, technique flaws, and poor tackling have plagued Baltimore in each of the last two weeks, but Smith views these issues as correctable with better preparation as well as “effort and will” to bring down ball-carriers.

“There are times when we’re playing at a high level; it’s just we’ve got to be way more consistent,” Smith said. “Even though they’re huge plays, it’s a minor technique that we’re missing or that we’re not completing. So, it’s not even the calls; it’s things we have to fix and clean up, and we’ll get that done.”

Trying to rebound from the first 0-3 start in team history to save their season, the Ravens need Smith playing at his highest level in order to do so. Other than the passing combination of quarterback Joe Flacco and wide receiver Steve Smith, there may not be a more important player to the Ravens’ success than Smith when he’s playing at his best.

For what it’s worth, teammates and coaches haven’t lost faith in him despite the last two weeks.

“Jimmy is one of our best corners,” linebacker Elvis Dumervil said. “He’s one of the good players on our team — great guy, great teammate. Some days you give up plays; some days you make plays. That’s just the National Football League, and I wouldn’t want to take any other corner but him.”

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Gillmore, Perriman sit out light practice on Monday

Posted on 29 September 2015 by Luke Jones

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Needing to regroup quickly after a third straight loss to begin the 2015 season, the Ravens returned to practice with a trip to Pittsburgh rapidly approaching on Thursday night.

Conducting little more than a walk-through practice on Monday evening, Baltimore was without tight end Crockett Gillmore (calf), wide receiver Breshad Perriman (knee), and defensive end Chris Canty (calf). After making three catches for 40 yards in the first two quarters of Sunday’s 28-24 loss to Cincinnati, Gillmore did not play an offensive snap in the second half, leaving rookies Maxx Williams and Nick Boyle to pick up the slack at the tight end position.

It remains unclear whether Gillmore will be able to play on Thursday, but his absence would spell trouble for a passing game struggling to find any consistent production beyond the 36-year-old Steve Smith. Williams and Boyle combined to make five catches for 63 yards against the Bengals.

“The biggest thing those guys have to do is just go in and play within themselves,” quarterback Joe Flacco said. “They can’t try to do too much. They just have to catch the ball, run block — do the simple things. When you’re a young player — even when you’re a veteran player — it’s all about doing the fundamental, simple things right. If they can concentrate on those little things, then they’ll do just fine.”

Perriman’s lack of participation on Monday indicated he was still feeling the effects of tweaking his knee during a pre-game workout on Sunday, the latest frustration in a long recovery from a sprained knee suffered on the first day of training camp in late July. The 2015 first-round pick had practiced on a limited basis late last week, but his status against the Steelers was still up in the air before he pulled up on his knee Sunday morning.

Now it appears all but certain that Perriman won’t play against Pittsburgh. Even before the setback, the rookie wideout didn’t do any real work with his starting quarterback during his limited time on the practice field last Thursday and Friday.

“I honestly didn’t get to do too much with him last week,” Flacco said. “I know he was out here going through a little bit of stuff, but I have no idea how he feels and what’s actually going on. I didn’t get to throw to him. It’s not something that I’m going to worry about until I know for sure that he’s coming back.

“Just tell me when he’s coming back. Other than that, don’t really bother me with it, because it’s not something we can worry about at this point.”

In positive news, left tackle Eugene Monroe took part in his first practice since suffering a concussion on the opening drive of the 2015 season opener in Denver. Listed as a limited participant in the light practice, Monroe has been in the league-mandated concussion protocol, but it remains unclear whether he’s been cleared to return to live action.

Meanwhile, the Steelers officially ruled out Ben Roethlisberger for Thursday’s game after he suffered a sprained medial collateral ligament and bone bruise in his left knee in Week 3. The Pittsburgh quarterback is expected to miss at least four weeks while veteran Michael Vick takes the reins of one of the best offenses in the NFL.

Steelers linebackers James Harrison (thumb) and Ryan Shazier (shoulder) also sat out the first practice of the abbreviated week.

Below is Monday’s full injury report:

DID NOT PARTICIPATE: DE Chris Canty (calf), TE Crockett Gillmore (calf), WR Breshad Perriman (knee)
LIMITED PARTICIPATION: OT Eugene Monroe (concussion)

OUT: QB Ben Roethlisberger (knee)
DID NOT PARTICIPATE: CB Cortez Allen (knee), LB James Harrison (thumb), DT Daniel McCullers (knee), LB Ryan Shazier (shoulder), TE Matt Spaeth (hand)

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Ed Bouchette previews Ravens-Steelers on TNF

Posted on 28 September 2015 by WNST Staff
















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Brian Billick

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Brian Billick’s thoughts on Ravens tough 0-3 start

Posted on 28 September 2015 by WNST Staff

Brian Billick









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What brought the 2015 Ravens to this point?

Posted on 28 September 2015 by Luke Jones

An 0-3 record has brought many questions for the Baltimore Ravens.

Who’s to blame? Is it a lack of talent, poor execution, or the coaching?

A week after head coach John Harbaugh and defensive coordinator Dean Pees questioned the effort and energy of their defense, the Ravens were gashed to the tune of 28 points and 458 total yards by Cincinnati to fall to 0-3 for the first time in franchise history. Meanwhile, an offense too reliant on Steve Smith in the passing game has lost its way on the ground, ranking 28th in the NFL at just 3.3 yards per carry.

While fans and media try to hand out blame to coaches and players or point to a tough schedule for the poor start, below are seven realities that have contributed to the predicament of the Ravens being the only winless team in the AFC. Some were the result of bad decisions while others were out of their control.

These factors are in no particular order and some clearly hold more weight than others.

Dead cap money

Dead cap space is a reality for every NFL team from year to year, but the Ravens are carrying an incredible $17 million in dead money for two former Pro Bowl players no longer on the roster: Ray Rice and Haloti Ngata. With the cap set at $143.28 million for the 2015 season, general manager Ozzie Newsome was without nearly 12 percent of his cap because of those two alone. When you combine that with the rest of their dead money, the Ravens were unable to utilize more than $21 million (just under 15 percent) of the salary cap for 2015. Baltimore rarely spends big in free agency, but they might have been able to make an impact signing or two with those resources tied to star players who aren’t even on the roster anymore.

Recent draft history

To be clear, not even the great Newsome can be expected to bat 1.000 in the draft, but C.J. Mosley was the first Pro Bowl player the Ravens had drafted since Rice in 2008. The 2013 draft is particularly glaring with the top two draft picks — Matt Elam and Arthur Brown — being non-factors, but the later selections of Brandon Williams and Rick Wagner prevented that class from being a total disaster. Of course, the Ravens’ recent draft issues are only relative to their high standards, but they have selected just one player in the first or second round since 2009 — Jimmy Smith — whom they’ve signed to a second long-term contract at this point. They’ve still found talent, but Newsome must find new game-changers to be pillars of the roster moving forward. And when you miss badly on high picks like Elam and Brown, those positions have to be accounted for with additional resources that could have gone to other areas of need.

Departure of assistant coaches 

Not only did the Ravens begin 2015 with their fourth offensive coordinator in four years, but the absence of Gary Kubiak has been even more pronounced with the running game looking very 2013-esque so far. Of course, it remains to be seen whether Marc Trestman is a fit in Baltimore, but it’s difficult to continue enduring annual coaching changes without a few hiccups at some point. Another oft-overlooked coaching departure from two years ago was secondary coach and current Detroit defensive coordinator Teryl Austin. Highly respected by the likes of Ed Reed, Lardarius Webb, and Jimmy Smith, Austin was succeeded by Steve Spagnuolo for a year and the combination of Chris Hewitt and Matt Weiss are now coaching the secondary. It’s not an excuse for the poor performance, but that’s a lot of coaching turnover in what’s been the biggest weakness on the field for the Ravens dating back to last season.

Veteran exits

It’s been a testament to the Ravens to seemingly be able to replace departing veterans with cheaper, younger replacements every year, but the exit of Ngata, starting wide receiver Torrey Smith, rush specialist Pernell McPhee, and starting tight end Owen Daniels was a large group to replace in one offseason, especially when you factor in the dead cap space working against Newsome. At some point, you can only lose so many established players and not have the well run dry — at least temporarily — as young players are still maturing.

Excessive reliance on rookies and inexperienced players

This goes hand in hand with the veteran departures, but the Ravens are relying on more young players at key spots than they have in quite some time. Ideally, even your first-rounders can be worked in slowly like the Ravens did with the likes of Terrell Suggs (one start in 2003) and Todd Heap (six starts in 2001). The 2015 draft class looked great on paper in addressing so many positional needs, but that never meant those rookies would be ready to contribute immediately. So far, third-round defensive tackle Carl Davis is the only pick to make a significant contribution, but the Ravens will hope to see others come on sooner rather than later to prove they can be part of the future. The presence of so many inexperienced wideouts beyond Steve Smith has hindered the offense so far in 2015.

Injuries to Terrell Suggs and Breshad Perriman

All teams endure injuries, but these two have been difficult to overcome in the early stages of 2015 with Suggs being the emotional leader of the defense and an important part of the pass rush and Perriman representing offensive upside. When you consider the exits of Ray Lewis, Reed, and Ngata over the last few years, Suggs’ season-ending injury brought the end of the old guard of Baltimore defense. Meanwhile, it was no secret that Perriman would be the replacement for Torrey Smith as the vertical threat in the passing game. The Ravens hope their 2015 first-round pick will still contribute in his rookie season at some point, but the passing game has been too dependent on Steve Smith with only a collection of late-round picks and former rookie free agents behind him in the receiver pecking order.

Big contracts not paying off

No, Joe Flacco’s record-setting deal is not part of this discussion, regardless of arguments that some fans and media have tried to make over the last couple years. But the Ravens haven’t had an impressive run with other long-term deals over the last few years for various reasons, some out of their control. Starting in 2012, Newsome has rewarded the likes of Rice, cornerback Lardarius Webb, tight end Dennis Pitta, and left tackle Eugene Monroe with big contracts that have produced disappointing results. Other deals such as the ones given to Pro Bowl outside linebacker Elvis Dumervil and four-time Pro Bowl right guard Marshal Yanda have worked out, but the overall return hasn’t been what the organization anticipated with most of these big-money contracts. It’s too early to judge Jimmy Smith’s contract despite a rough 2015 start, but he’s certainly the next one under the microscope.

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So this is what 0 – 3 feels like

Posted on 28 September 2015 by Dennis Koulatsos





The Baltimore Ravens suffered another tough loss yesterday, this one at their 20th home opener and at the hands of the division leading Cincinnati Bengals.  They have now lost by 6, 4, and 6 points.  Lots of blame to go around, whether it’s coaching, penalties, miscommunication, dropped passes and interceptions, etc.  The optimists will say that this team could easily have been 3 – 0, but that’s not what the standings say this morning.  To paraphrase Bill Parcells, the Ravens are what their record says they are.

As my son and I left the stadium, as fans we felt the weight of a winless season thus far.  Of course we all know by now that in their 20 year history, this organization has never started a season 0 – 3.  It certainly is not a good feeling, but it is in times like these organizations find out what they really have when faced with adversity.  Just as a high tide raises all ships, a low tide lowers them.  A low tide exposes the most seaworthy vessels – and the best captains.

Coach John Harbaugh has experienced a ton of success during his tenure here in Baltimore, capped off with a Super Bowl victory in 2012.  Unless something dramatic happens, my best guess is that he is staring down a 6 – 10 season.  His mettle is being tested and will continue to be as the losses pile up.

In the general media there’s been much talk about the injuries, play calling, discipline, penalties, etc. What’s been missed is that not only have the Ravens lost some great players in the last couple of years, but also some great coordinators and assistant coaches.  The two that immediately stand out are Gary Kubiak and Teryl Austin.

Kubiak’s effect on the running game and QB Joe Flacco were apparent throughout last year’s campaign.  His run first philosophy and effective game planning/calling contributed much to the Ravens’ success.  Plus by all accounts he had a terrific relationship with Joe Flacco.  Through the first 3 games, things have been dramatically different with Marc Trestman at the helm as offensive coordinator.

Austin – who is now currently the defensive coordinator with the Detroit Lions – was an outstanding defensive backs coach during his tenure here in Baltimore.  In fact, he did some of his best work in 2013 by holding together a patchwork secondary, on an injury depleted team that went 8-8 and came within one quarter and 4 Andy Dalton interceptions of going to the playoffs.  Austin has excellent communication skills, and is a very technically sound coach.

Head coaches always get too much credit when teams win and way too much blame when they lose. Make no mistake about it – they’re only as good as their coordinators and assistant coaches.  In the NFL, every team has a salary cap to deal with, unlike baseball where you can virtually buy a championship.  That’s where coaching in the NFL – more often than not – is the difference maker.

This will be a great learning experience for John Harbaugh.  I’m of the opinion that he is a good – not a great – coach.  However, he does have a chance to be great.  This will be a season where he can assess himself, his coordinators and his assistants.  He’s on his way to hearing the Ravens’ name called early in the 2016 NFL draft, and that’s a good thing in terms of the overall well being of the franchise, as they need to restock the cupboard with better talent.

The Ravens need some high draft picks and based on their start are on their way to getting some.  Prior to yesterday’s game I marveled at the talent that was on the Bengals’ roster.  That talent didn’t get there because the Bengals have been great over space and time.  They’ve been a mediocre team on a more often than not mediocre organization.  In fact, I can argue that – based on talent alone – the Bengals should have absolutely blown out the Ravens in yesterday’s game.  Marvin Lewis and staff did all they could to keep the Ravens in the game.

The Bengals have been able to accumulate a number of high draft picks through the years, and from top to bottom have a Super Bowl caliber roster.  Andy Dalton is not a prime time QB, and that is the primary reason that he – along with coach Marvin Lewis – is still looking for his first playoff win.  The Bengals should have been up 21-0 on the Ravens at the half yesterday, and should have never let them come within barking distance of beating them.

There’s no doubt in my mind that GM Ozzie Newsome will keep his usually keen eye on the roster this year, and make the necessary adjustments to improve the team in the off-season.  Until then, we’ll see how this team deals with adversity.  Can they overcome it? Will they get better as the season progresses? Will they fight ’til the end, or will they at some point “tap out.”

I don’t see the later happening, as I do expect coach Harbaugh to get this team – given it’s limitations – to overachieve.  They haven’t been blown out.  They’ve fought hard for 3 games.  Their games – although they haven’t had the outcome we’re all looking for – have been entertaining.

Bottom line is that we are not going to the playoffs every year.  For various reasons, there has to be an adjustment – historically speaking – in an organization’s timeline.  I’m an optimist by nature but I am also a realist.  I’d love to see this team fight, scrap and get into the playoffs, but history tells us that they have a less than a 3% chance of doing so.  The odds aren’t favorable.

But the odds are very much favorable that this is a temporary blimp in this great organization’s history, and it will not take them long – no longer than this season – to figure it out and bounce right back.  In Steve Bisciotti, Ozzie Newsome, and John Harbaugh ……. I trust.

I will end with my personal message to the Ravens.  A very wise man once told me that in life, there are are going to be peaks and valleys.  No one is immune to them; we all go through them, and so do organizations.  The key is that when you’re in a valley, fight like hell to get out of it.  Don’t get conditioned to it, and don’t accept it.  Minimize the time you spend in the valley.  And as the Ravens fight song bellows…..FIGHT FIGHT FIGHT!

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