Tag Archive | "Ravens"

Steve Smith making great impression after signing with Ravens

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Steve Smith making great impression after signing with Ravens

Posted on 22 March 2014 by Luke Jones

It remains to be seen how much a 35-year-old Steve Smith will bring to the field this September with the Ravens, but it’s difficult to dispute the great number of fans he’s already made in his first week with his new team.

Despite his reputation as an intense competitor who’s occasionally gone too far, Smith has shown his softer side over the past week in saying goodbye to the Charlotte community he’s called home for the last 13 years. The longtime Carolina Panther has already said he plans to continue living in the Queen City but went out of his way to cheer up a seven-year-old Panthers fan who reacted sadly to the news of Smith’s release in a video that went viral.

Smith used his official Twitter account to get in touch with the boy’s father and surprised him on ABC’s “Good Morning America” with an invitation to his camp and the gift of a new Ravens jersey:

In addition to his television appearance, Smith took out an ad in Saturday’s edition of The Charlotte Observer (below) to express his thanks to Panthers fans and to share his desire of one day retiring with the organization that gave him his start in 2001.

It’s clear that Smith isn’t feeling warm and fuzzy about Carolina general manager Dave Gettleman and his decision to part ways with the veteran receiver at the start of free agency, but his affection for Charlotte and the Panthers is reminiscent of the many Ravens players who’ve expressed great thanks when leaving Baltimore. And it makes him easy to root for as he brings his talent and experience to the Ravens.

Even if his new city will only be viewed as a temporary home.

To hear Steve Smith’s interview earlier this week with Drew Forrester on The D&L Window Tinting Morning Reaction, click HERE.

Letter

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Ravens agree to one-year deal with former Rams safety Stewart

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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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Steelers won’t be docked draft pick for Tomlin sideline incident

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Steelers won’t be docked draft pick for Tomlin sideline incident

Posted on 20 March 2014 by Luke Jones

Nearly four months after Mike Tomlin’s controversial sideline incident in a game against the Ravens, the Pittsburgh Steelers learned Thursday that they will not be docked a draft pick by the NFL.

The head coach was fined $100,000 but not penalized for stepping onto the field of play and interfering as Jacoby Jones appeared on his way to a touchdown on a second-half kickoff return. Tomlin’s presence on the field caused Jones to cut inside where he was eventually caught from behind, but the Ravens still won 22-20 over their AFC North rivals on Thanksgiving night.

“I take full responsibility for my actions, and I apologize for causing negative attention to the Pittsburgh Steelers organization,” Tomlin said in a statement after the fine was announced in early December. “I accept the penalty that I received.”

In the days following the incident, the league left open the possibility of the Steelers’ 2014 draft compensation being impacted due to Tomlin’s behavior, especially if the four extra points the Ravens may have scored — they only converted a field goal on the drive — would have impacted tiebreaker scenarios for the playoff race.

Of course, the Steelers missed the playoffs after receiving no favors at the end of the Week 17 game between San Diego and Kansas City in which a penalty call was missed that would have given Chiefs kicker Ryan Succop another try at a game-winning field goal that would have knocked out the Chargers and landed 8-8 Pittsburgh in the AFC playoffs as the No. 6 seed. Instead, Pittsburgh joined Baltimore in missing the postseason in what many Ravens fans viewed as poetic justice from what had happened a month earlier.

At the very least, the incident provided the latest chapter in what’s been regarded by many as the best rivalry in the NFL over the last decade.

“It’s not my job to figure out intent. I’m glad we won the game,” said Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti about the incident at the end of the season. “My feelings for that move might have been a lot different [had we lost]. But, [it was] bizarre, weird, strange, unexplainable, and I think Mike was embarrassed about it. And I like Mike a lot. He’s a really good guy. His intent — that is completely in his court. He got fined for it, and again, he’s embarrassed as a competitor.”

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Ravens officially receive seventh-round pick from McKinnie trade

Posted on 20 March 2014 by Luke Jones

The Ravens have officially received a seventh-round pick from the Miami Dolphins as compensation for last season’s trade of left tackle Bryant McKinnie.

After acquiring current left tackle Eugene Monroe from Jacksonville in exchange for their 2014 fourth- and fifth-round picks last October, the Ravens sent McKinnie to Miami for a conditional seventh-round pick based on playing time. Considering the veteran immediately stepped into the starting lineup at left tackle for the Dolphins, the Ravens had expected to receive the seventh-round selection all along.

Thursday’s news gives the Ravens five selections in May’s draft as they hold picks in the first (17th overall), second (48th overall), third (79th overall), sixth, and seventh rounds. However, Baltimore is expected to be awarded four compensatory picks at next week’s owners meetings in Orlando.

The Ravens traded their original seventh-round pick from this year’s draft to the Indianapolis Colts last offseason in exchange for offensive lineman A.Q. Shipley, who started nine games in place of left guard Kelechi Osemele as he underwent season-ending back surgery.

The NFL draft begins on May 10 with the first round and runs through May 12.

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Extra point, kickoff adjustments among NFL’s proposed rules changes

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Extra point, kickoff adjustments among NFL’s proposed rules changes

Posted on 19 March 2014 by Luke Jones

The NFL will discuss a collection of proposed rules changes at next week’s league meetings in Orlando, Fla. with alterations to both extra points and kickoffs likely to garner the most attention.

As has been speculated and debated for the last couple months, a proposal to move the extra point from the 2 to the 25-yard line is on the table for owners to potentially approve, which would dramatically change how the game is played. The change was proposed by New England and is intended to make the try kick “a more competitive play” but will also likely lead to more two-point conversions attempts, which would still take place from the 2-yard line.

The competition committee has also proposed a vote on whether to move kickoffs up to the 40-yard line just three years after they were moved from the 30 to the 35. Of course, this change is suggested to improve player safety but will lead to even fewer kickoff returns. This idea was submitted by Washington and would be viewed as another step toward devaluing special teams.

Of course, it’s important to remember none of the proposed changes are official and must receive approval from at least 24 of the 32 owners, who will vote on the potential rules changes next week.

After much discussion, the competition committee determined that the power to penalize players for using racial or homophobic slurs is already with the officials through use of the unsportsmanlike conduct penalty. This is expected to be a major point of emphasis next season that will be reiterated with players when NFL officials meet with them during training camp as they do every year.

The owners are also expected to continue discussing the possibility of expanding the playoff field for the 2015 season and could even vote next week, but there was no formal proposal submitted by the competition committee. This expansion would include one extra playoff team in each conference, which would eliminate a bye in each conference and create a total of six wild-card games over the first weekend of the postseason.

If a 14-team playoff format had been implemented over the last five years, three 10-6 teams, four 9-7 teams, and three 8-8 teams would have been the additional qualifiers for postseason play.

In all, there are 13 proposed rules changes, seven potential alterations to league by-laws, and one proposed resolution up for vote.

Here is a brief rundown of the other proposed changes on the table for next week:

- Subject personal foul penalties to instant replay review

- Eliminate overtime periods in preseason games

- Extend the uprights of the goalposts an additional five feet above the crossbar

- Place fixed cameras on all boundary lines to supplement television cameras for the instant replay system

- Allow coaches to use replay challenges on a bigger array of plays.

- Alter rules to include penalties for blockers who roll up on the side of defensive players’ legs.

- Permit the referee to consult with members of the league officiating department during replay reviews.

- Expand reviewable plays to include the recovery of a loose ball in the field of play.

- Allow the game clock to continue running after a quarterback sack as it currently does inside two minutes remaining in either half.

- Make the pass interference line at the line of scrimmage instead of one yards beyond the line of scrimmage to cut down on rubs and pick plays by the offense.

- Change the spot where defensive fouls behind the line of scrimmage are enforced.

- Increase the game-day roster from 46 to 49 players for any games not played on Sundays or Mondays other than the opening weekend of the season.

- Raise the practice squad limit from eight to 10 players.

- Allow clubs to trade players beginning 14 days before the start of the new league year.

- Eliminate the initial preseason cut from 90 to 75 players and simply require teams to trim their preseason roster from 90 to 53 at the conclusion of the preseason.

- Permit more than one player to be placed on injured reserve with the designation to return.

- Allow additional testing of eligible players leading up to the draft.

- Move final roster cuts for the regular season from 6 p.m. to 4 p.m. on the final Saturday of the preseason when no games take place on that Friday.

- Allow teams to open or close a retractable roof at halftime of a contest.

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The Peter Principles (Ch. 1): So, just how did Angelos become ‘King’ of Baltimore baseball?

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The Peter Principles (Ch. 1): So, just how did Angelos become ‘King’ of Baltimore baseball?

Posted on 19 March 2014 by Nestor Aparicio

IT WAS HOT AS HADES in that lower Manhattan federal courtroom. Jam-packed with bidders, curiosity seekers and baseball fans, the Baltimore Orioles franchise was up for grabs on August 2, 1993, and the bidding was as steamy as the air in the room once the price began to rapidly accelerate into the stratosphere.

The fact that there was any bidding at all was somewhat surprising to Peter G. Angelos, a Baltimore attorney who had begun a power play five months earlier to purchase the Major League Baseball franchise that was being sold off via an auction nearly 200 miles away from its home on the Chesapeake Bay. In the hours leading up to the auction, Angelos managed to turn his sole competitor from a previous suspended bid for the team during June into a partner. William DeWitt Jr., a Cincinnati native whose father once owned the St. Louis Browns in the 1940s and a minority investor in the Texas Rangers, joined Angelos’ celebrity-led local group from Maryland just hours before the bidding was to begin in the sweltering Custom House. DeWitt was promised a role in the operations and management of the club.

It was an amazing coup for Angelos to pull DeWitt from being a worthy, legitimate competitor into a teammate that morning, after convincing him that he’d be involved and an influential part of the eventual winning group. It was shocking that DeWitt had pulled out because several times over the previous eight months, he was convinced that he was already the winning bidder and new owner of the Orioles.

In February 1993, after six months of lengthy, arduous negotiations on a fair price, DeWitt had entered into a deal with Orioles majority owner Eli Jacobs to buy the team for $141.3 million. Jacobs, who was in his final days of semi-liquidity and quietly on the verge of bankruptcy, didn’t have the legal authority to close the deal with DeWitt once the banks seized his assets in March. Instead, the Orioles wound up at auction five months later and suddenly Angelos – with DeWitt now shockingly a member of his ownership team – believed he would emerge victorious without breaking a sweat in the summer heat of The Big Apple.

But that afternoon, after entering the courtroom in what he believed would be a rubber-stamped win, instead he found himself embroiled in a bidding war with a stranger he never strongly considered to being a worthy foil in the fray.

Jeffrey Loria, a New York art dealer and Triple-A baseball team owner, wanted badly to be a Major League Baseball owner. Baltimore native and former NFL player Jean Fugett represented a group led by TLC Beatrice, which featured a rare minority bid for an MLB franchise on that day in New York. One bidder, Doug Jemal of Nobody Beats The Wiz electronics stores, had early interest but bowed out before the steamy auction.

That August day, the bidding began at $151.25 million, which included a “stalking fee” of $1.7 million which was originally awarded to DeWitt’s team because of his vast due diligence and legal work done months earlier when he thought he had won a deal to secure the Orioles in the spring.

George Stamas, who represented Angelos’ group during the bidding process, opened the bidding at $153 million, which was seen as a good faith gesture from the combined bid with DeWitt, which could’ve been perceived as artificially deflating the sale price by judge Cornelius Blackshear. Loria, who was a stranger to the Angelos group, immediately raised it by $100,000. Stamas barked out, “One million more – $154.1!”

And for the next 30 minutes, the bids drew north from the $150 millions into the $160s. With every bid, Loria would raise by $100,000. Stamas, on behalf of Angelos, raised it by $1 million at a time. After 13 rounds of back and forth money, Angelos had the leading bid $170 million. Fugett, who had been completely silent during the auction, asked the judge for a recess.

The request was granted and the judge headed to his chambers.

And, suddenly, it got even hotter in a blazing courtroom on a sweltering day in The Big

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Ravens to hold draft party at M&T Bank Stadium

Posted on 19 March 2014 by Luke Jones

The Ravens will hold a draft party at M&T Bank Stadium on Thursday, May 8 that will feature player appearances and the opportunity to watch the first round of the 2014 NFL draft.

The event will run from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. while the draft itself begins at 8 p.m. with the Ravens holding the 17th pick of the first round. Draft coverage will be shown on the giant video boards and televisions around the stadium.

In addition to current players, former first-round picks from the Ravens will be present to greet fans and sign autographs. Official NFL combine drills, locker room tours, and photograph opportunities will also be on the night’s agenda of activities.

Tickets are $15 for children (ages 3-12) and $20 for adults, but the event will be capped at 6,000 tickets due to current stadium renovations. Parking will be free in stadium lots A, B, C, G, and H with those lots opening at 5 p.m. that evening.

More information is available at the team’s official website and tickets are available at ticketmaster.com.

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Ravens appoint Hewitt to be assistant secondary coach, hire DeLorbe

Posted on 19 March 2014 by WNST Staff

TEAM RELEASE

The Baltimore Ravens have appointed Chris Hewitt to be their assistant secondary coach and have hired Billy DeLorbe as their cross-training specialist, head coach John Harbaugh announced Wednesday.

A three-year NFL coaching veteran, Hewitt was originally hired as the Ravens’ assistant special teams coach in 2012. Prior to his Baltimore arrival, Hewitt served in various coaching capacities for Rutgers University, most recently as running backs coach (2010-11). Hewitt also spent time as the Scarlet Knights’ cornerbacks coach (2008-09), director of speed and skill development (2005-07) and as a graduate assistant (2004). He began his coaching career as a strength and conditioning assistant for Notre Dame (2003).

In addition to his 11 years of coaching, Hewitt brings to the Ravens’ defensive staff three years of NFL playing experience as a defensive back with the New Orleans Saints (1997-99). Hewitt signed with the Saints as a rookie free agent in 1997 and played in 39 games (four starts) both at defensive back and on special teams. He totaled 29 tackles (22 solo) from scrimmage, three sacks, one pass defensed, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery. Prior to signing with New Orleans, Hewitt was a four-year letterman at Cincinnati and a two-time All-Conference USA selection (1995-96) as a defensive back.

DeLorbe, who enters his first season in the NFL, spent the past 10 years (2004-13) as a master personal trainer at the Maryland Athletic Club. In that role, he led structured group training exercises while also providing private, high-intensity workout sessions for several athletes. DeLorbe brings an added dimension to the Ravens’ fitness staff, which consists of head strength and conditioning coach Bob Rogucki and assistant strength and conditioning coach Juney Barnett. As cross-training specialist, DeLorbe will focus on boosting players’ flexibility and mobility with an emphasis on core strengthening and improved balance.

After earning his bachelor’s degree in mathematics from St. Mary’s College of Maryland in 2002, DeLorbe began his fitness career as a trainer while earning his master’s degree in applied industrial mathematics from Towson University. DeLorbe was born in San Francisco and currently lives in Lutherville with his wife, Megan, and their son, Will.

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Bovada improves Ravens’ Super Bowl odds after Smith acquisition

Posted on 18 March 2014 by WNST Staff

Courtesy of Bovada, (www.Bovada.lv, Twitter: @BovadaLV).

 

“Unless a quarterback or star running back moves teams, it is pretty rare that one player in the NFL will have a big impact on Super Bowl odds, but we have seen some slight movement since free agency began. The Green Bay Packers have seen some money over the last week, getting Peppers no doubt contributed to that, and have gone from 16-1 to 10-1. Meanwhile the Denver Broncos who have bolstered up their defense a touch have also dropped from 8-1 to 7-1, but are not seeing any backing by our bettors. The Eagles would be the other team that has moved from 25-1 to 18-1 as a result of them being pretty active in the market through keeping their own free agents, trades, and free agent signings.”

Kevin Bradley, Sports Book Manager, Bovada.lv

 

Odds to win the 2015 Super Bowl XLIX (Teams in blue have shorter odds, teams in red have longer odds, and teams in black stayed the same)

                                                            Odds on 2/3/14             Current Odds (3/18/14)   

Seattle Seahawks                                  9/2                                6/1

Denver Broncos                                    8/1                                7/1

San Francisco 49ers                              15/2                              15/2

New England Patriots                            14/1                              9/1

Green Bay Packers                                16/1                              10/1

Philadelphia Eagles                               25/1                              18/1

Indianapolis Colts                                  28/1                              20/1

New Orleans Saints                               18/1                              22/1

Carolina Panthers                                  25/1                              25/1

Chicago Bears                                      25/1                              28/1

Arizona Cardinals                                  33/1                              33/1

Atlanta Falcons                                     25/1                              33/1

Baltimore Ravens                                  40/1                              33/1

Cincinnati Bengals                                 25/1                              33/1

Houston Texans                                    40/1                              33/1

Kansas City Chiefs                                28/1                              33/1

Pittsburgh Steelers                                33/1                              33/1

San Diego Chargers                              33/1                              33/1

Dallas Cowboys                                    33/1                              40/1

Detroit Lions                                         33/1                              40/1

New York Giants                                   33/1                              40/1

St. Louis Rams                                     40/1                              40/1

Cleveland Browns                                  66/1                              50/1

Miami Dolphins                                     50/1                              50/1

Tampa Bay Buccaneers                         50/1                              50/1

Washington Redskins                            40/1                              50/1

Minnesota Vikings                                 75/1                              66/1

New York Jets                                       50/1                              66/1

Buffalo Bills                                          75/1                              75/1

Tennessee Titans                                   50/1                              75/1

Oakland Raiders                                    75/1                              100/1

Jacksonville Jaguars                             100/1                            150/1

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Former fourth-round pick Doss signs deal with Jacksonville

Posted on 18 March 2014 by Luke Jones

Just over a week after the Ravens decided not to tender him a contract as a restricted free agent, wide receiver Tandon Doss has found a new home.

The 2011 fourth-round pick agreed to a deal with the Jacksonville Jaguars Tuesday morning, officially ending his disappointing three-year run in Baltimore. The Ravens had initially left the door open for Doss to return on a contract at a cheaper rate than the original-round tender of $1.43 million for a restricted free agent.

Originally cut at the end of the preseason last year, Doss was re-signed following the season-opening knee injury suffered by Jacoby Jones and enjoyed the best year of his career. He caught 19 passes for 305 yards and averaged 15.6 yards per punt return, returning one 82 yards for a touchdown against the Houston Texans in Week 3.

“It was a great learning experience,” Doss said to the Jaguars’ official website about his time with the Ravens. “You learn from the best, the guys who have done it. You take what they do and apply it to your game.”

A two-time, first-team All-Big Ten selection out of Indiana, Doss was originally viewed as the eventual successor to veteran Anquan Boldin at slot receiver, but underwhelming speed and inconsistent hands limited his opportunities in the Baltimore offense.

 

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