Tag Archive | "Ravens"

Ravens looking to extend contract of Pro Bowl kicker Tucker

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Ravens looking to extend contract of Pro Bowl kicker Tucker

Posted on 27 June 2014 by Luke Jones

The Ravens have made no secrets about their desire to sign the likes of Haloti Ngata, Torrey Smith, and Jimmy Smith to long-term contracts, but Pro Bowl kicker Justin Tucker has been added to that list.

In an interview with the team’s official website, general manager Ozzie Newsome said the Ravens would like to sign the third-year kicker to a new deal as he enters the final year of his rookie contract. An undrafted free agent from the University of Texas, Tucker signed a three-year, $1.44 million contract in 2012 and is scheduled to become a restricted free agent after the season.

Tucker was named to his first Pro Bowl in 2013 after going 30-for-33 on field goal attempts, including a 6-for-6 effort and a franchise record 61-yard field goal to win the Week 15 game against the Detroit Lions. He also made 33 consecutive field goals at one point during the season, the fourth-longest streak in NFL history.

Newsome confirmed the Ravens are also trying to extend two fourth-year players, cornerback Jimmy Smith and wide receiver Torrey Smith, who have both expressed a desire to remain with the team that drafted them in 2011.

“We’re trying to get these done,” Newsome said, “but we haven’t yet.”

Newsome also reiterated a desire to sign Ngata to an extension as he is signed through the 2015 season but carries a $16 million salary cap figure in each of the final two years of his deal, leaving many to ponder his future beyond this year.

The Ravens were able to sign fellow veteran Terrell Suggs earlier in the offseason to a four-year extension that runs through the 2018 season, lowering his 2014 cap number from $12.4 million to $7.8 million in the process.

“We wanted two things from these contracts,” Newsome told the team’s official website. “The first is to create some cap room and the other is to try and make sure these two players remained Ravens forever. We got ‘Sizzle’ done, and we’re still hopeful with Haloti.”

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This #WNSTSweet16 is “streaking” toward the heat of summer

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This #WNSTSweet16 is “streaking” toward the heat of summer

Posted on 24 June 2014 by Luke Jones

This week’s #WNSTSweet16 deals with the all-time greatest streaks in local sports history, ranging from personal accomplishments to team-wide feats at the professional and amateur levels.

More than a few readers and listeners suggested the Orioles’ astonishing 21-game losing streak to begin the 1988 season and the Washington Capitals’ NHL record 17 straight losses in their inaugural season of 1974-75, but this list will focus on the positive — even if both of the aforementioned losing slides are quite historic. Some streaks included in the list played out over only a couple days while others lasted decades, providing plenty of room for discussion and heated debate.

Some streaks are better known than others among the 16 anointed spots, but a greater emphasis was generally placed on individual accomplishments, which explains why the top six streaks come from a single athlete rather than team accolades.

Continue to next page for No. 16

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Ravens officially sign cornerbacks Ross, Franks, three others

Posted on 20 June 2014 by Luke Jones

A day after head coach John Harbaugh suggested additions would be made to the offseason roster, the Ravens officially signed cornerbacks Aaron Ross and Dominique Franks along with three others on Friday.

Baltimore also signed linebackers Austin Spitler and Nick DiMarco and wide receiver Mike Willie. Three rookie free agents were waived to make room on the 90-man roster as linebacker Xavius Boyd and defensive backs Dexter Moody and Avery Patterson will not be going to training camp as of now.

Ross and Franks made a favorable impression with Harbaugh while trying out during the Ravens’ mandatory minicamp over the last three days and will compete with Chykie Brown and Asa Jackson for the third and fourth cornerback jobs behind starters Jimmy Smith and Asa Jackson.

Spitler is entering his fifth NFL season after spending his first four years with the Miami Dolphins. Primarily a special-teams contributor, the Ohio State product has appeared in 55 career games and recorded 28 special-teams tackles.

Also participating on a tryout basis this week, Willie spent most of the 2012 season on the practice squad of the San Diego Chargers. The Arizona State product did not play in the NFL last season and recorded 72 receptions for 897 yards and nine touchdowns in two seasons with the Sun Devils.

DiMarco originally signed with the New York Jets as a rookie free agent following the draft and played his collegiate football at William Penn and earned first-team Midwest Collegiate Conference honors as a defensive end.

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Live from Owings Mills: Five Ravens miss final day of mandatory minicamp

Posted on 19 June 2014 by Glenn Clark

OWINGS MILLS — The Baltimore Ravens held their final practice of mandatory minicamp and the final organized team activity before August’s Training Camp Thursday.

Five Ravens were again missing during practice.

OL Jah Reid was again missing from practice due a strained calf that is not believed to be a long-term issue. DL Terrence Cody remained out after having offseason hip surgery-it is hopeful he will be able to return in time for Training Camp.

DL Kapron Lewis-Moore missed Thursday’s session due to a hamstring injury he suffered earlier in the week. WR Kamar Aiken remained out with a leg injury and OL Parker Graham missed practice again an injury that has not been disclosed.

With the team cutting WR Aaron Mellette and LB Adrian Hamilton due to failed physicals, the roster shapes up to be in reasonable health heading into Training Camp.

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Suggs applying tough lessons from last season to bounce back in 2014

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Suggs applying tough lessons from last season to bounce back in 2014

Posted on 18 June 2014 by Luke Jones

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs spent a decade chasing the elusive Super Bowl glory he finally tasted at the end of the 2012 season.

But he couldn’t have imagined how difficult it was going to be defending that championship following the retirement of Ray Lewis and the free-agent departure of Ed Reed, leaving the Ravens without two Hall of Fame players and leaders who were the heart and soul of the organization. Of course, a myriad of reasons explained an 8-8 season in which the Ravens missed the playoffs, ranging from a porous offensive line and nonexistent running game to an otherwise-solid defense that struggled to create turnovers and get off the field in the fourth quarter.

Suggs and his veteran teammates said all the right things last season when asked how they’d possibly replace the leadership void created by the departures of Lewis, Reed, and other veterans, claiming there were more than enough voices ready to handle the changes. But the 31-year-old linebacker acknowledged Wednesday it was not only “very agonizing” to miss the postseason for the first time since 2007 but also draining going through his first season without two men who’d been older brothers to him for the first 10 years of his career.

“I had those older guys around to build, and it was a period of adjustment,” Suggs said. “It was weird, and it transpired onto the field — not having those guys there. But, the most [important] thing we can learn from last year about those guys not being there is those were once-in-a-lifetime guys — Ed Reed and Ray Lewis — and all we can be is ourselves. They’re not going to come walking through the door to help us win another championship. All you can be is yourself, and that should be enough.”

Even though Suggs posted double-digit sacks for the fifth time in his career in 2013, his play down the stretch didn’t help the Ravens’ push for a sixth straight trip to the postseason as he collected only one sack in the final eight games, leading many to speculate he was playing hurt. His 10 sacks were enough to earn him his sixth invitation to the Pro Bowl, but his play against both the run and pass deteriorated at an alarming rate with four games in which he posted one or no tackles.

With the Ravens needing a win over the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 17 to sneak into the playoffs, Suggs and fellow pass-rusher Elvis Dumervil combined for one tackle and zero sacks in a 34-17 loss that resulted in the Ravens staying home in January. Asked to reflect on his up-and-down season at this week’s mandatory minicamp, Suggs didn’t hide behind what could have been the convenient excuse of saying he was hurt.

“One of the things was you get a little cold and you gain a little weight,” said Suggs about the second half of the season. “I probably put on a little too much weight down the stretch there. But that was one of my big focuses going into this year. Definitely, if I keep my weight down, I can have a strong finish. I think I was pretty much healthy.”

Head coach John Harbaugh went out of his way to praise Suggs for his conditioning level upon reporting to Owings Mills earlier this week. The veteran linebacker likes the changes made to both sides of the ball, citing the positive vibe created by the hiring of new offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak.

The linebacker also complimented the free-agent signing of veteran wide receiver Steve Smith, who isn’t afraid to ruffle some feathers like he did during Wednesday’s practice when he got into a scuffle with cornerback Lardarius Webb. It’s the kind of attitude that was lacking on the offensive side of the ball last season following the trade of wide receiver Anquan Boldin.

“It’s good to have that. We had it a few years ago in 81,” Suggs said. “And it’s good to have that fire back on that side of the ball, [to] have somebody who will go out there and jab back with us and compete.”

In addition to acquiring Smith and a few other veterans such as center Jeremy Zuttah and tight end Owen Daniels, the Ravens spent a large portion of their offseason re-signing their own players, including a four-year contract extension for Suggs. The deal did provide short-term relief in lowering his 2014 salary cap figure from $12.4 million to $7.8 million, but general manager Ozzie Newsome made a $16 million gamble in guaranteed money that Suggs’ second half last season was more of an aberration than a preview of what’s to come for a linebacker entering his 12th season.

So, who is the real Suggs at this stage of his career? The man who looked like a Defensive Player of the Year candidate while accumulating nine sacks in the first eight games last year or the worn-down player who failed to set the edge against the run and provided little pressure on the quarterback down the stretch?

The truth is likely somewhere in the middle, but Suggs appears determined to prove he’s closer to the player he was in the first half of the 2013 season based on what kind of shape he was in upon arriving at the team facility this week. And he made it clear he’s recommitted to just being himself after struggling to adjust to life without Lewis or Reed for the first time in his NFL career.

“You’re going to always have something to prove when you’re playing this game,” Suggs said. “You never want to hit your cruising altitude; you always want to be ascending with your game. You can always get better.”

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Lewis-Moore only new absence during Wednesday’s minicamp practice

Posted on 18 June 2014 by Luke Jones

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — The Ravens continued to have excellent attendance at their second day of mandatory minicamp as only five players were missing from the field on Wednesday.

Defensive end Kapron Lewis-Moore was not present after leaving practice the day before with what appeared to be a left hamstring injury. He joined defensive tackle Terrence Cody (hip surgery), offensive linemen Jah Reid (calf) and Parker Graham (undisclosed), and wide receiver Kamar Aiken (lower leg) as non-participants on Wednesday.

Coach John Harbaugh said Tuesday that Reid’s calf strain continues to improve and that the fourth-year lineman will be ready for the start of training camp. Cody isn’t expected to return until camp.

Running back Bernard Pierce (shoulder surgery) once again took part in individual drills and is on track to be cleared fully by the start of camp in late July.

Asked if he was pleased with the conditioning level of veterans such as Haloti Ngata and Terrell Suggs who were not present for the previous three weeks of voluntary organized team activities, Harbaugh did not express any specific concerns in getting his first look at them this week.

“It’s hard to evaluate all that, but I’m certainly not disappointed in anybody,” Harbaugh said. “They all look good. If I was going to single a guy out, it would probably be Terrell Suggs. He can give you the numbers, but I’ll tell you this — the numbers were very good. You can tell he’s been working really hard.”

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Ngata not dwelling on uncertain future with Ravens

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Ngata not dwelling on uncertain future with Ravens

Posted on 17 June 2014 by Luke Jones

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Defensive tackle Haloti Ngata made it clear Tuesday he hopes to finish his career right where it started with the Ravens.

Whether that happens or not will largely hinge on how well the 30-year-old performs in his ninth season in Baltimore.

Under contract through the 2015 season, Ngata carries the second-highest cap figure of any defensive tackle in the league at $16 million this year. His cap figure remains the same next season, but the Ravens would stand to save $8.5 million in space should they elect to part ways with him after the 2014 season, making it highly unlikely they’ll simply allow the defensive lineman to play out the final year of his deal.

General manager Ozzie Newsome explored a contract extension this offseason to lower Ngata’s cap figure and afford him the opportunity to finish his career in Baltimore, but the sides didn’t get far when discussing how much additional money would be included in a new deal. It’s a strategy the organization executed with linebacker Terrell Suggs, who signed a four-year extension earlier this offseason to lower his 2014 cap number in the process.

“I would love to be a Raven for life,” Ngata said. “If we can get something done, that’d be great. We’ll just let my agent and Ozzie take care of that business off the field.”

Trying to determine Ngata’s value is a tricky proposition despite the 2006 first-round pick coming off his fifth straight invitation to the Pro Bowl. Nagging injuries over the last three seasons have limited his offseason preparation and in-season production, leading many to believe Ngata isn’t the same player who continues to receive the accolades. He has typically started each of the last few seasons well before fading down the stretch when physical ailments begin hindering him.

In 15 games last season, Ngata collected 52 tackles and 1 1/2 sacks, his lowest sack total since the 2009 season after three straight campaigns in which he collected five or more. According to Pro Football Focus, Ngata ranked 18th among all defensive tackles in the NFL last season as he received his fifth consecutive trip to the Pro Bowl.

Telling reporters and coach John Harbaugh this is the healthiest he’s been in several offseasons, Ngata envisions himself providing a greater presence as a pass rusher than he did a year ago. Listed at 6-foot-4 and 340 pounds, Ngata looks much like he did last year for the Ravens’ mandatory minicamp and did not attend the last three weeks of voluntary organized team activities.

“This year, I just tried to lose more body fat and just stay around the same weight,” said Ngata, who spent much of last offseason rehabbing the medial collateral ligament sprain that sidelined him in the second half of Super Bowl XLVII. “Towards the end of the season, I lost some strength, but [I'm] just trying to lose body fat and lean up a little bit more.”

A simple look at the last couple drafts indicate the Ravens are in the midst of rebuilding their defensive line. After selecting defensive tackle Brandon Williams in the third round of last year’s draft, Newsome took Florida State standout Timmy Jernigan in the second round this year as the pair will battle for the starting job vacated by free-agent departure Arthur Jones.

The Ravens envision Williams as a nose tackle, which would prompt defensive coordinator Dean Pees to slide Ngata back to the 3-technique tackle spot. However, Jernigan has a similar profile to Jones, which could keep Ngata at the nose position where he primarily played last season. Strong seasons from both Williams and Jernigan would enable the Ravens to take a strong stance as it relates to Ngata’s contract demands and future beyond 2014.

Jernigan is just one defensive lineman eager to soak up as much information as he can from the perennial All-Pro talent.

“It’s a blessing to play with another great defensive tackle,” Jernigan said. “It’s a defensive lineman’s dream to be able to play with a great player beside him. It definitely will take a whole bunch of pressure off me, and he’ll definitely be a great person to learn from.”

In the same way that Ngata learned from veterans such as Kelly Gregg and Trevor Pryce when arriving on the scene in 2006, the Ravens hope Ngata can help the likes of Jernigan, Williams, DeAngelo Tyson, Brent Urban, and Kapron Lewis-Moore take their play to the next level. Never one to be outspoken, the veteran acknowledged he might need to step outside his comfort zone to help lead such a young unit along with fellow veteran Chris Canty.

In reality, Ngata could find himself mentoring his imminent replacement with his future so cloudy beyond this season.

“Haloti is not going to change his personality,” Harbaugh said. “I have always felt like he was a great leader according to his personality. He works hard and he talks to the guys. He’ll continue to do what he’s always done. If he feels like he needs to talk a little more, it would be great.”

The biggest statement Ngata will need to make this season is with his play if he hopes to remain in Baltimore or at least put himself in optimum position for another payday on the open market if the Ravens deem his contract demands too expensive next winter.

No matter how much longer he remains with the Ravens, the league’s 12th-ranked defense from a year ago needs him to be a force in the trenches to take a significant step forward and get back to the postseason. And they’ll hope he recaptures his once-dominating form — and sustains it — with the benefit of a healthy offseason.

“I want to get better and better and try to at least get to double-digit sacks,” Ngata said. “That’s something I’ve never done. Hopefully, I can continue to get better and get to my goals.”

 

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Ravens waive 2013 draft pick Mellette, Hamilton at start of minicamp

Posted on 17 June 2014 by Luke Jones

On the same day they started their three-day mandatory minicamp, the Ravens announced they’ve waived wide receiver Aaron Mellette and linebacker Adrian Hamilton.

Both players failed their physicals prior to the start of camp.

“We’ll continue to monitor those guys in the next six weeks,” coach John Harbaugh said after Tuesday’s practice, “and see where they’re at.”

Mellette was a seventh-round in last year’s draft and initially made the 53-man roster at the end of the 2013 preseason before eventually being placed on injured reserve with a knee injury. Head coach John Harbaugh acknowledged earlier this spring that the Elon product was still dealing with soreness that had limited him at different times during the offseason work out program.

The Ravens signed Hamilton to their practice squad in 2012 after he collected an incredible 22 sacks for Prairie View A&M in his senior season. He was promoted to the active roster and appeared in two games at the end of that regular season, but a wrist injury landed Hamilton on IR late in the 2013 preseason.

Neither Mellette nor Hamilton was considered a future star by any means, but the Ravens had spoken highly of each player’s upside at various points over the last couple years, making their departure at this stage of the summer at least mildly surprising.

With the Ravens trying out veteran cornerbacks Drayton Florence, Aaron Ross, Marquice Cole, and Dominique Franks during this week’s minicamp, they now have two open spots on their 90-man roster to add a veteran or two to the mix.

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Top 10 Baseball Distractions

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Top 10 Baseball Distractions

Posted on 17 June 2014 by Glenn Clark

Honorable Mention: WNBA-Washington Mystics @ Atlanta Dream (Wednesday 12pm from Atlanta live on NBA TV), Washington Mystics @ Seattle Storm (Sunday 9pm from Seattle live on NBA TV); Boxing: Robert Guerrero vs. Yoshihiro Kamegai (Saturday 10pm from Carson, CA live on Showtime)

10. Chesapeake Crab & Beer Festival (Saturday Inner Harbor); Mike Epps (Friday 8pm Baltimore Arena); Bob Saget (Friday 8pm Warner Theatre); Hal Sparks (Thursday-Saturday Magooby’s Joke House); Mick Foley (Tuesday & Thursday DC Improv), Steve Rannazzisi (Friday & Saturday DC Improv); Jersey Boys” and “Think Like A Man Too” out in theaters (Friday); The Lego Movie” and “The Grand Budapest Hotel” available on Blu-Ray/DVD (Tuesday)

Yes. You DO know Steve Rannazzisi.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tLUaszCUPFo

Think Like A Man Too does not look like a film I’d enjoy viewing. This picture however does. Isn’t that odd?

9. Foreigner/Styx (Friday 7pm Jiffy Lube Live), Zac Brown Band (Sunday 7pm Jiffy Lube Live); John Butler Trio (Wednesday 7:30pm Wolf Trap), Daryl Hall & John Oates (Thursday 8pm Wolf Trap); Matisyahu (Friday 8pm Power Plant Live); Devo (Wednesday 8pm Rams Head Live), Hank 3 (Friday 9pm Rams Head Live); Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe (Saturday 9pm Baltimore Soundstage); Cara Kelly and the Tall Tale/The Herd of Main Street (Saturday 8pm 8×10 Club); Johnnyswim (Thursday 8pm Rams Head on Stage), Marc Broussard (Sunday 8pm Rams Head on Stage), Big Bad Voodoo Daddy (Monday 8pm Rams Head on Stage); Scott Stapp (Tuesday 8pm Howard Theatre); Kaiser Chiefs (Wednesday 7pm 9:30 Club); Bacon Brothers (Saturday-Monday 7:30pm Birchmere); Playing For Change (Tuesday 7:30pm The Hamilton); Robert Randolph & The Family Band (Saturday 5:45pm National Capital BBQ Battle); Steve Aoki (Saturday 9pm Echostage); Willie Nelson “Band of Brothers”, Linkin Park “The Hunting Party”, Sam Smith “In The Lonely Hour” and David Gray “Mutineers” available (Tuesday)

I enjoy the work of the Zac Brown Band.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y5ISTO6GiLk

The Herd of Main Street is a talented band from this area that you should REALLY BE LISTENING TO RIGHT NOW.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VjqQ__Sb3uA

Hey look! It’s both Johnnyswim AND Daryl Hall!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fuq8A883nFQ

Marc Broussard is deliciously Broussardian.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4c5y_OTU78Q

(Continued on Page 2…)

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Ravens showing interest in veteran cornerback options

Posted on 16 June 2014 by Luke Jones

Hoping to boost their cornerback depth before the start of the 2014 season, the Ravens are reportedly taking a looking at a couple veteran options this week.

Former New York Giants cornerback Aaron Ross posted on his official Twitter account that he would be coming to Baltimore where he will receive a tryout. The 31-year-old played in just four games due to a back injury last year and has 11 interceptions in his seven-year career, which includes 52 starts.

Ravens secondary coach Steve Spagnuolo coached Ross in his first two NFL seasons in New York and is obviously familiar with his skills despite his increasing age.

According to The Sun, the Ravens will also try out former Carolina Panthers cornerback Drayton Florence, who is entering his 12th NFL season and has spent time with five teams in his career. The 33-year-old played in 14 games for Carolina’s sixth-ranked pass defense last year.

Veteran cornerbacks Marquice Cole and Dominique Franks will also reportedly try out at this week’s minicamp.

Following the free-agent departure of Corey Graham, the Ravens have expressed confidence in Chykie Brown and Asa Jackson, but the addition of a veteran would figure to benefit the battle for the No. 3 corner spot behind starters Jimmy Smith and Lardarius Webb.

The Ravens are also reportedly interested in former Kansas City Chiefs cornerback Brandon Flowers, but a number of teams have shown interest, according to The Sun.

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