Tag Archive | "Ray Rice"

Ravens must rebuild reputation in wake of Rice’s departure

Tags: , , , , , ,

Ravens must rebuild reputation in wake of Rice’s departure

Posted on 09 September 2014 by Luke Jones

There was no other choice for the Ravens but to sever ties with running back Ray Rice on Monday afternoon.

The release of the second elevator video by TMZ depicted the worst-case scenario of what Rice had done to then-fiancée Janay Palmer and removed any lingering benefit of the doubt one could reasonably have in defending or understanding the 27-year-old’s actions on that February night in an Atlantic City casino. And it brought the Ravens’ embarrassing missteps to the forefront as the organization was forced to terminate the contract of the man they’d spent the better part of seven months defending and building up amidst intense criticism from the rest of the world.

Whether they were simply misled by Rice, the New Jersey legal system, and the NFL or callously turned a blind eye to what really happened is open for debate as this saga isn’t over — even if the three-time Pro Bowl running back’s career in Baltimore is. The truth is the Ravens will now face the challenge of rebuilding their own image and trust with the general public as their reputation for being one of the finest organizations in the NFL took a massive blow in their handling of the Rice incident.

From the emphatic insistence that his job status was not in jeopardy and strong praise for Rice’s character to the embarrassing initial press conference and the examples of profound support published on the team’s official website, owner Steve Bisciotti, team president Dick Cass, general manager Ozzie Newsome, and head coach John Harbaugh must all take responsibility for what was an error in judgment and a lack of sensitivity to what was a startling case of domestic violence. It was unfair for the organization to leave Harbaugh alone to field questions Monday evening as the masses — including Ravens fans and the local community — deserved to hear from the team owner and high-ranking officials following the decision to terminate the employment of one of the Ravens’ biggest stars since 2008.

Harbaugh told the media that Monday was the first time anyone in the organization had viewed the second video published for the world to see that morning. When pressed if he felt misled by his former running back and asked what about the video had changed the team’s reaction so drastically, Harbaugh didn’t “want to get into all that,” which isn’t a good enough answer from an organization that was labeled tone-deaf by many for their unwavering support of Rice throughout the entire ordeal.

It’s human nature to want to think the best of someone you admire no matter what the circumstance, and the Ravens certainly cared — and still care — about Rice as a person. But the organization allowed the goodwill Rice had built over his first six years in Baltimore to cloud its preparedness for — and sensitivity to — the worst-case scenario that proved to be the truth with the released video of Rice viciously striking his future wife and knocking her unconscious in that casino elevator.

Throughout the process, the Ravens gravitated toward what they wanted to believe — and perhaps how Rice and the New Jersey legal system had portrayed the incident — with little regard for the possibility that this incident of domestic violence was as bad as some had reported and many had feared. Yes, the Ravens knew Rice had done wrong, but their actions and words over the last seven months didn’t demonstrate an appropriate grasp of just how violently he had potentially acted.

The Ravens showed more than enough support for Rice by simply not cutting him from the start and instead allowed the legal process to play out, even if many believed they shouldn’t have even wasted that much time. However, the organization went out of its way to continuously remind everyone about how great of a guy Rice was, which — unintentionally or not — portrayed him as more of a victim than a perpetrator and showed a lack of sensitivity and compassion toward victims of domestic violence.

The recent partnership formed with the House of Ruth to help combat domestic violence was a good start, but much more will need to be done to put the memory of the last seven months behind them.

As an emotional Chris Canty stated, Monday was a sad day for the Baltimore Ravens as they severed ties with one of their biggest stars. Make no mistake, it was a sickening act committed by Rice alone that led to his deserved termination, but the Ravens only hurt themselves in the way they handled the matter along the way.

And it will take much longer to fix that tarnished reputation than it did to clean out Rice’s locker on Monday.

Comments (4)

Tags: , , , , ,

Ravens claim defensive tackle Christo Bulukidi off waivers

Posted on 08 September 2014 by Luke Jones

On the same day the Ravens terminated the contract of Pro Bowl running back Ray Rice, they continued to adjust their roster by claiming defensive tackle Christo Bilukidi off waivers and cutting rookie running back Fitz Toussaint on Monday.

Bilukidi was waived by the Cincinnati Bengals on Saturday and will add depth to the defensive line as the Ravens were carrying only five players in that positional group. A sixth-round pick of the Oakland Raiders in 2012, the Georgia State product has appeared in 20 career games split between Oakland and Cincinnati and has collected 13 tackles and one sack.

Toussaint was promoted from the practice squad after the Ravens cut veteran cornerback Derek Cox on Saturday, but the rookie free agent was inactive for Sunday’s season-opening loss against the Bengals. Baltimore will likely hope that Toussaint clears waivers, so he can be re-signed to the practice squad.

The Ravens currently have three tailbacks on their 53-man roster with Bernard Pierce, Justin Forsett, and rookie Lorenzo Taliaferro.

Comments (0)

Why People Need To Keep Quiet About Ray Rice

Tags: , , ,

Why People Need To Keep Quiet About Ray Rice

Posted on 08 September 2014 by Brandon Sacks

At this point, almost everyone has seen the video of Ray Rice knocking out his then-fiancée Janay Palmer.  Yes, it is absolutely disgusting that this would happen and that he would even swing at her.  There is no acceptable time for a man to ever place his hands on a woman.  As someone who has been a player of upstanding character until this incident broke, it came as surprising to see someone who’s cause is anti-bullying to do something like this.  That being said, there is a bigger problem here that needs to be addressed.  It is something that, quite frankly, is ridiculous, and people need to reevaluate themselves before uttering one more word about Ray Rice.

Where were you when other players did the exact same thing?

Ray Rice is not the only person that has been charged with domestic abuse since the end of the 2013 NFL season.  Why is no one saying anything about Ray McDonald being allowed to play even though he was charged with domestic assault? The same thing goes for Greg Hardy, who was convicted of assaulting his ex-girlfriend and threatening to kill her.  Ray Rice’s situation is completely the same aside from one small detail; Rice hit his fiancée, and it was caught on video.  However, that doesn’t make him any worse of a person because he was caught.  Hardy was convicted in a court of law, which means there was enough proof to warrant his peers believing he actually did assault his ex.  Hardy wasn’t cut by his team or suspended indefinitely.  Why was Rice?

What about other players that were charged with crimes but were never punished like this?  Staying within the organization, Ray Lewis was charged with murder and never ended up being suspended indefinitely by the league.  Donté Stallworth was charged with DUI manslaughter, and he was only suspended for a year from the NFL.  Ben Roethlisberger was accused of rape and he saw a suspension that lasted him a few games, and continues to play on the same team as before the accusations.  Michael Vick was convicted of running a dog fighting ring and was able to return to the field after serving his time in jail.  Chad Ochocinco was charged with domestic battery after headbutting his wife and was cut that same day by the Dolphins, but never received an NFL suspension for it.  Ahman Green, the Packers all-time leading rusher, was arrested for a domestic incident, but nothing ever came of this.

Why are any of these players any different than Ray Rice?  Of all of the players who laid their hands on women, why is it that Rice is the one that gets singled out?  What he did is not worse than anything those other “men” did, so it should not be treated as such.

In the age of social media where every single person thinks his/her opinion is the only correct one, people need to consider the bigger problem here.  The mob mentality that occurs with these kind of things is outrageous and needs to end.  Simply put by the NFL’s new domestic abuse policy, Rice should have been suspended for 6 games and not one more.  The Ravens still had the right to cut him, but Roger Goodell had no right to indefinitely suspend him.

All of the other previously mentioned players received second chances after resolving their off the field issues.  While Rice will not get one in Baltimore, he deserves one somewhere else.

Comments (5)

Ravens terminate contract of running back Ray Rice

Tags: , , ,

Ravens terminate contract of running back Ray Rice

Posted on 08 September 2014 by Luke Jones

After months of standing by the troubled Ray Rice, the Baltimore Ravens made a loud statement by terminating the running back’s contract on Monday afternoon.

In a simple statement released to media shortly before 2:30 p.m., the organization announced it was severing ties with the 27-year-old following TMZ’s Monday morning release of a second video clearly showing Rice punching his then-fiancee and knocking her unconscious in a Revel Casino elevator in Atlantic City in mid-February. Rice was in the midst of serving a two-game suspension handed down by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell that had garnered harsh criticism for its perceived leniency.

Shortly after the Ravens revealed they were terminating Rice’s contract, the NFL announced they were suspending Rice indefinitely based on the new video evidence obtained Monday. The league said in a statement earlier in the day that they had not been privy to the second video obtained by TMZ when deciding on Rice’s initial punishment.

Responding to backlash from his original decision on Rice, Goodell acknowledged that he “didn’t get it right” while announcing a harsher penalty for domestic violence last month that included six games for a first offense and a potential lifetime ban for a second offense.

The Ravens had consistently stood by Rice since the incident had taken place, drawing plenty of negative reaction from those accusing the organization of taking a soft stance on domestic violence. However, the disturbing violence clearly depicted in the second video made it impossible for the organization not to act, even if that action came far too late in the eyes of many.

Rice and Janay Palmer were initially arrested and charged with simple assault-domestic violence in Atlantic City on Feb. 15 with the police report saying each had struck the other and Rice had rendered Palmer unconscious. The grand jury later charged Rice with third-degree aggravated assault — and dismissed the original charge against his wife — before he was accepted into a pretrial intervention program in May. This program allowed Rice to avoid prosecution and potential prison time.

As for the ramifications on the salary cap by cutting Rice, the Ravens will immediately save the $3.529 million he was owed in base salary for the 2014 season. However, they will now take a $9.5 million hit in dead money for the 2015 salary cap.

The three-time Pro Bowl running back rushed for 6,180 yards and 37 touchdowns in his six seasons in Baltimore. He was the Ravens’ second-round pick of the 2008 draft and is second on the franchise’s all-time rushing list behind Jamal Lewis.

Head coach John Harbaugh was scheduled to meet with the media at 8 p.m. Monday night as the Ravens have already begun preparations for Thursday night’s Week 2 meeting with the Pittsburgh Steelers.

 

Comments (3)

New video released of Ray Rice elevator incident in Atlantic City

Tags: , , ,

New video released of Ray Rice elevator incident in Atlantic City

Posted on 08 September 2014 by WNST Staff

As many Ravens fans were expecting to wake up to the aftermath of a season-opening loss to Cincinnati, Monday morning brought a more serious development as the remainder of the video showing Ray Rice punching his then-fiancee in an Atlantic Casino casino elevator was released.

After unveiling a video months ago showing Rice dragging an unconscious Janay Palmer from an elevator, TMZ released video of the entire incident early Monday morning that only creates new and louder questions as well as more disgust for New Jersey law enforcement and prosecution, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, and the Ravens. The video also eliminates virtually any remaining benefit of the doubt that some still held for Rice in maintaining they didn’t truly know what happened inside the Revel Casino elevator.

Reaction was already harsh on social media Monday morning as we await response from the Ravens.

NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy released the following statement Monday morning:

“We requested from law enforcement any and all information about the incident, including the video from inside the elevator. That video was not made available to us and no one in our office has seen it until today.”

This contradicts an August report from Sports Illustrated’s Peter King that stated the NFL and some Ravens officials had viewed the video of what happened in the elevator between Rice and his then-fiancee.

It remained unclear as of Monday morning whether the NFL, commissioner Roger Goodell, or the Ravens would attempt to revisit the two-game suspension given to Rice that received intense criticism from many for its perceived leniency long before the release of the second video.

Comments (3)

Jimmy Smith still sidelined after suffering bruised lungs against Cowboys

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Jimmy Smith still sidelined after suffering bruised lungs against Cowboys

Posted on 18 August 2014 by Luke Jones

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — The Ravens returned to the practice field on Monday without top cornerback Jimmy Smith, but the prognosis appears encouraging after he suffered a scary chest injury in Saturday’s preseason win over the Dallas Cowboys.

Head coach John Harbaugh said a magnetic resonance imaging exam revealed the 2011 first-round pick suffered bruising and bleeding from the lungs when he slammed his back on the turf while defending a sideline pass intended for Pro Bowl wide receiver Dez Bryant early in the first quarter. Smith was coughing up blood even after the game and was initially diagnosed with a chest contusion, according to the Ravens.

“They said it’s not a serious thing and just needs a couple days to heal up,” Harbaugh said. “We do anticipate him to play against the Redskins unless something changes that I’m not aware of.”

Running back Ray Rice practiced on Monday after leaving Saturday’s game with a shoulder injury. X-rays were negative for Rice after he was limited to just 21 yards on two carries. With Rice facing a two-game suspension to begin the regular season, Harbaugh had planned to focus on getting work for primary backup Bernard Pierce as well as veteran Justin Forsett and rookie Lorenzo Taliaferro, but he may elect to give Rice a few more reps since he saw little action against the Cowboys.

Harbaugh elected to award Saturday’s start to Pierce to give him an extra opportunity to begin a game with the starting offense before he begins the season as the starter in Week 1.

“It could impact us [to] maybe get Ray a few more reps going forward,” said Harbaugh about Saturday’s distribution of playing time. “But the main focus is going to be Bernard, Justin, and Lorenzo and getting those guys ready. You know Ray’s had a good camp.”

Veteran tight end Owen Daniels was absent from the field during the portion of practice open for media viewing and hasn’t been on the field since last Monday. The Ravens have insisted Daniels is being rested and is not dealing with an injury concern, but the 31-year-old has now missed three straight practices and did not play in Saturday’s game.

The former Texan was limited to just five games due to a broken leg last season.

“There’s no pull, there’s no strain of any kind,” Harbaugh said. “[His legs are] a little fatigued. You get a little swelling in there. You’ve got to take some time to get the legs back, and we really felt like he needed to get his legs back, especially as an older guy. We wanted to give him this time to do that. I’m counting on him being there this week. That’s what I’ve been told is there’s no kind of injury in there. It’s just a fatigue factor, and he needs time.”

Others missing from Monday’s practice included cornerbacks Lardarius Webb (back) and Asa Jackson (ankle), offensive linemen Will Rackley (head) and Brett Van Sloten (knee), and defensive tackle Terrence Cody (physically unable to perform list – hip).

Harbaugh said that Webb would not play in the preseason after initially hoping the starting cornerback would be able to play in the third game of the summer. The sixth-year cornerback has been sidelined with a back injury since July 25.

Nursing an ankle injury since Aug. 10, Jackson has a chance to return to action this week, according to Harbaugh.

“Asa’s got a chance,” Harbaugh said. “‘Touch and go’ is probably a good way to say it, but I’ve been told he has a chance to get back for this game. It’d be great if he could.”

The Ravens were practicing in helmets, shells, and shorts after receiving Sunday off.

Comments (0)

Tags: , , , , , , ,

J. Smith, Rice leave with injuries in win over Cowboys

Posted on 16 August 2014 by Luke Jones

The Ravens appeared to avoid a couple bullets in Saturday’s 37-30 win over the Dallas Cowboys after two key starters left the game with injuries in the first half.

Top cornerback Jimmy Smith created plenty of concern as he slammed his back hard on the turf while covering Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant on the opening drive of the game, but X-rays were negative for what’s being described as a bruised chest. The fourth-year defensive back watched the remainder of the game in street clothes after he was seen spitting up blood as he was helped to the sideline.

“Jimmy had kind of a chest contusion,” head coach John Harbaugh said. “He landed on his back and got a bruise in there, so he should be fine.”

Despite what sounds like a minor injury, The Sun reported Smith was still coughing up blood in the locker room and couldn’t recall anything after the first series of the game.

Running back Ray Rice also left the game with an injured shoulder, but X-rays were negative as Rice told the Ravens’ broadcast team he was fine when he was initially taken into the locker room. He finished the game with 21 yards on two carries, which included a good burst on an 18-yard gain.

With Rice facing a two-game suspension to begin the regular season, top backup Bernard Pierce started the game and finished with 55 yards on seven carries.

“That’s a shoulder bruise,” said Harbaugh about Rice’s condition following the game. “It shouldn’t be anything too serious.”

Harbaugh reiterated to reporters that he didn’t expect either player to miss too much time.

Tight end Owen Daniels sat out Saturday night’s game after missing practices on Wednesday and Thursday, but the Ravens have maintained that the veteran is simply being rested and is not dealing with an injury.

 

Comments (0)

Tags: , , , , , ,

Bovada gives Flacco, Rice long odds to lead league in yards

Posted on 12 August 2014 by WNST Staff

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

 

Stats Leaders

Who will lead the League in Passing Yards in the 2014 Regular Season?  

Drew Brees                               11/4

Peyton Manning                        11/4

Aaron Rodgers                          7/1

Matthew Stafford                      15/2

Tom Brady                                12/1

Matt Ryan                                 16/1

Andrew Luck                             18/1

Jay Cutler                                 20/1

Tony Romo                               20/1

Philip Rivers                              22/1

Nick Foles                                25/1

Eli Manning                               33/1

Carson Palmer                          66/1

Ben Roethlisberger                    66/1

Robert Griffin III                         75/1

Sam Bradford                           100/1

Andy Dalton                              100/1

Joe Flacco                                100/1

Josh McCown                           100/1

Matt Schaub                             100/1

Ryan Tannehill                           100/1

Russell Wilson                          100/1

Colin Kaepernick                       150/1

Johnny Manziel                         150/1

Cam Newton                             150/1

Alex Smith                                250/1

 

Who will lead the League in Rushing Yards in the 2014 Regular Season? 

Adrian Peterson                        4/1

LeSean McCoy                          9/2

Jamaal Charles                          7/1

Marshawn Lynch                        12/1

Arian Foster                              16/1

Alfred Morris                             16/1

Matt Forte                                 18/1

Eddie Lacy                               18/1

Doug Martin                              20/1

Zac Stacy                                 20/1

Montee Ball                               25/1

DeMarco Murray                        25/1

Giovani Bernard                        33/1

Chris Johnson                           33/1

C.J. Spiller                                33/1

Ryan Mathews                           40/1

Le’Veon Bell                              50/1

Andre Ellington                         50/1

Toby Gerhart                             50/1

Stevan Ridley                            50/1

Trent Richardson                       66/1

Bishop Sankey                          66/1

Ben Tate                                   66/1

Frank Gore                                75/1

Rashad Jennings                       75/1

Joique Bell                                100/1

Reggie Bush                             100/1

Steven Jackson                        100/1

Maurice Jones-Drew                  100/1

Ray Rice                                   100/1

 

Who will lead the League in Receiving Yards in the 2014 Regular Season?              

Calvin Johnson                         13/5

Dez Bryant                                15/2

Julio Jones                               8/1

Demaryius Thomas                    8/1

Antonio Brown                          16/1

A.J. Green                                16/1

Brandon Marshall                      16/1

Alshon Jeffery                          20/1

Andre Johnson                          25/1

Jordy Nelson                            28/1

Victor Cruz                                40/1

Larry Fitzgerald                         40/1

Pierre Garcon                            40/1

Jimmy Graham                          40/1

T.Y. Hilton                                 40/1

Vincent Jackson                        40/1

Keenan Allen                             50/1

Randall Cobb                            50/1

Julian Edelman                          50/1

DeSean Jackson                       50/1

Jeremy Maclin                           50/1

Cordarrelle Patterson                 50/1

Emmanuel Sanders                   50/1

Torrey Smith                             50/1

Roddy White                             50/1

Michael Floyd                           66/1

Mike Wallace                             66/1

Wes Welker                               66/1

Marques Colston                       75/1

Michael Crabtree                       75/1

Percy Harvin                             75/1

Dwayne Bowe                           100/1

Eric Decker                               100/1

Mike Evans                               100/1

Rob Gronkowski                       100/1

Hakeem Nicks                           100/1

Golden Tate                              100/1

Sammy Watkins                        100/1

Reggie Wayne                           100/1

Kendall Wright                           100/1

 

Miscellaneous Props

Odds to Win 2014 NFL Comeback Player of the Year        

Robert Griffin III                         5/1

Aaron Rodgers                          6/1

Julio Jones                               6/1

Rob Gronkowski                       7/1

Eli Manning                               10/1

Percy Harvin                             15/1

Arian Foster                              25/1

Chris Johnson                           25/1

Clay Matthews                           25/1

Demarcus Ware                         25/1

Doug Martin                              25/1

Von Miller                                 25/1

Matt Schaub                             25/1

Michael Crabtree                       25/1

Trent Richardson                       25/1

C.J. Spiller                                33/1

Hakeem Nicks                           33/1

Jeremy Maclin                           33/1

Maurice Jones-Drew                  33/1

Michael Vick                             33/1

Ray Rice                                   33/1

Reggie Wayne                           33/1

Darren McFadden                      75/1

 

Who will be the 1st coach fired?               

Jason Garrett                            2/1

Dennis Allen                              4/1

Joe Philbin                                7/1

Doug Marrone                           8/1

Rex Ryan                                  10/1

Gus Bradley                              12/1

Mike Smith                                12/1

Marvin Lewis                             20/1

Ron Rivera                                20/1

Tom Coughlin                            25/1

Jeff Fisher                                25/1

Marc Trestman                          33/1

Mike Tomlin                              33/1

 

Will any Quarterback break the single season Passing yards record in the 2014 Regular Season?  (Note: The record is 5,477 by Peyton Manning in 2013)

Yes                  3/1

No                    1/4

 

Will any Player record 2000 or more Receiving yards in the 2014 Regular Season?              

Yes                  5/1

No                    1/8

 

Will any Player record 2000 or more Rushing yards in the 2014 Regular Season? 

Yes                  6/1

No                    1/10

 

Will any Team go 16-0 in the 2014 Regular Season?          

Yes                  33/1

 

Will any Team go 0-16 in the 2014 Regular Season?          

Yes                  33/1

 

Will a team win the Super Bowl going 19-0?        

Yes                  125/1

 

Will any player break the single season sack record in the 2014 Regular Season?

Yes                   15/1

No                    1/30

 

SPECIALS – Will Peyton Manning lead the league in Passing Yards, win MVP and Broncos win the Super Bowl?    

Yes                  40/1

 

SPECIALS – Will Johnny Manziel win rookie of the Year and the Browns make the playoffs?          

Yes                  25/1

 

SPECIALS – Will Calvin Johnson lead the league in Receiving Yards and the Lions win the NFC North?        

Yes                  15/1

 

SPECIALS – Will both the Jaguars and Raiders make the playoffs?              

Yes                  66/1

 

SPECIALS – Will both the Broncos and Seahawks miss the playoffs?          

Yes                  14/1

Comments (0)

Ravens-49ers preseason primer: Five players to watch

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Ravens-49ers preseason primer: Five players to watch

Posted on 06 August 2014 by Luke Jones

A brotherly reunion and Super Bowl XLVII rematch adds a little more spice to the preseason opener as the Ravens welcome the San Francisco 49ers to Baltimore on Thursday night.

As is always the case with the first preseason game, the contest will offer little more than a cameo appearance for veteran starters expected to make the biggest impact this season, but it does provide welcome change for a group of players tired of working against one another after two weeks of practices in Owings Mills. While most veteran starters figure to see little more than a series or two, younger starters figure to see more extensive action in the first half if history holds to form.

“We’re kind of on a standard plan right now, as far as that [goes],” coach John Harbaugh said. “I don’t know exactly the number of plays yet, but it won’t be anything we haven’t done in the past.”

Of course, the first preseason game won’t be the standard road trip for the 49ers as they’ll then join the Ravens at their training facility in Owings Mills for three days of practices, providing extra competition as well as opportunities to evaluate just how much improvement has been made to a team that failed to make the playoffs last season for the first time since 2007. Much will hinge on the offense under new coordinator Gary Kubiak, who is bringing his version of the West Coast attack to reinvigorate a group that finished 29th in the NFL last year.

Entering his seventh season at the helm of the Ravens offense, Joe Flacco has been all business this summer as Kubiak and quarterbacks coach Rick Dennison have focused on the veteran quarterback getting rid of the ball quickly while improving his footwork. Flacco isn’t the only one who will be under the microscope with the new offensive attack, but even he acknowledges the preseason opener carrying more significance than in past years because of the dramatic changes made this offseason.

Of course, the outcome of the opener won’t provide any definitive answers for questions facing the Ravens on both sides of the football, but the game will sharpen points of emphasis for both coaches and players after facing another team.

“Anytime you’re running a new offense and you think you’re doing it pretty well, it’s always nice to get out there and have a real test,” Flacco said. “Have people hitting you and flying around and going full speed under the lights. It’s probably a little more important.”

Thursday will mark the first ever preseason meeting between the Ravens and the 49ers, but Baltimore owns the 3-1 edge in the regular season and a 1-0 advantage in the postseason after their 34-31 win in Super Bowl XLVII in New Orleans. The Ravens are 42-29 all-time in the preseason and have a 15-9 preseason mark in the Harbaugh era.

Unofficial (and largely speculative) injury report

The Ravens are not required to release 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.

Most of the players ruled to be out will come as no surprise, but the status of a few will be in question. This list, of course, will not include any veterans who may be held out of the preseason opener due to the coaching staff’s preference. Cornerback Lardarius Webb is not expected to play in either of the first two preseason games as he’s been sidelined with a lower back injury since July 25.

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

OUT: CB Lardarius Webb (back), G Will Rackley (head), DT Terrence Cody (hip), DE Brent Urban (knee)
DOUBTFUL: LB Daryl Smith (groin)
QUESTIONABLE: WR Michael Campanaro (ribs), CB Marrio Norman (unspecified)
PROBABLE: DT Timmy Jernigan (back), CB Jimmy Smith (back)

Five players to watch Thursday night

1. RB Ray Rice

With so much attention justifiably paid to his off-field transgressions, you almost forget the 27-year-old back is coming off the worst season of his career in which he averaged a meager 3.1 yards per carry. Rice was heavy, slow, and banged up during the 2013 season and must play well to not only hold off backup Bernard Pierce but give the Ravens confidence that they can move forward with the three-time Pro Bowl selection beyond the 2014 season. Rice will want to use the first couple preseason games to make a favorable impression on Kubiak with his two-game suspension looming at the start of the season.

“Ray has looked really good,” Harbaugh said. “Comparisons to years in the past, we’ll find all that out during the season. But he’s in tremendous shape. I’m seeing him make good lateral cuts. He has really good burst, acceleration is there, [and] vision is there. He’s been very patient with the zone runs, which is something that I believe to be an improvement over the past — even two years ago.”

2. FS Darian Stewart

Signed to a one-year, $1.3 million contract in the offseason, the former St. Louis Ram has yet to be seriously challenged at the free safety position with third-round pick Terrence Brooks struggling to grasp the playbook in his first season. Stewart isn’t spectacular, but he’s been complimented by Harbaugh and defensive coordinator Dean Pees for knowing his assignments and being in the right place, traits that shouldn’t be taken for granted considering the Baltimore defense gave up too many big plays a year ago. Stewart isn’t a long-term answer or dynamic player, but the Ravens hope he can be a value signing comparable to when they signed Corey Graham a couple years ago.

“I see a grown, mature, confident guy that I think fits really well in our room,” said secondary coach Steve Spagnuolo, who was Stewart’s head coach for two years in St. Louis. “He’s kind of slipped in there. I’ve noticed he’s taken a backseat, which you have to do when you change teams a little bit, and that was early on. Now, I see his personality coming out. I think that will happen more and more. I think he’s going to be a great leader for us. I really do.”

3. RT Rick Wagner

Perhaps the storyline received too much attention during spring workouts, but there’s been less buzz about the right tackle position than you’d expect with second-year lineman Rick Wagner continuing to be the favorite to start over fourth-year disappointment Jah Reid. The Ravens have been higher on Wagner than most of the outside world all along, but the Wisconsin product will need to prove capable against preseason opponents to put concerns to rest. Wagner doesn’t need to be a Pro Bowl tackle, but he needs to hold his own as the Ravens are too challenged offensively to be forced to constantly provide help in protection on the right side of the line.

“He is doing a lot better,” said linebacker Elvis Dumervil, who often matches up against Wagner during practice. “You’ve got to stay consistent with [offensive line coach] Juan Castillo’s scheme — his protection, his switching it up. But for the most part, he’s just doing a really good job.”

4. DT Brandon Williams

The 2013 third-round pick appeared to be emerging as a contributor in the defensive line rotation last year before wearing down and being inactive over five of the last six games, but the Ravens have shown plenty of confidence in Williams so far this summer by sliding Haloti Ngata back to the 3-technique defensive tackle position and lining up the Missouri Southern State product at the nose. His strength and athleticism have been mentioned frequently, but Williams will need to show those traits translate in taking on interior blockers and making plays in stopping the run. If Williams is not up to the challenge, the Ravens could elect to shift Ngata back to the nose and take longer looks at second-round rookie Timmy Jernigan and third-year lineman DeAngelo Tyson.

“Now, his strength is a lot more functional because he understands the technical part of the game a lot better,” defensive line coach Clarence Brooks said. “He understands how we play a lot better and how we want things done. He understands that, and he was able to take his natural strength and work it into what we want. So far, everything is on the upswing.”

5. CB Tramain Jacobs

Most eyes will inevitably fall on Chykie Brown and Asa Jackson as the Ravens try to figure out who will be lining up at the No. 3 cornerback spot in the regular-season opener, but Jacobs is on a short list of rookie free agents to watch this summer. Playing at Texas A&M, the 5-foot-11, 182-pound cornerback saw plenty of tough competition in college practices matching up against wideout Mike Evans with Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel throwing the football. Jacobs has shown good athleticism and a nose for the football to put him in the conversation for a spot on the 53-man roster. With so much concern over the lack of depth at the cornerback position, Jacobs will have opportunities to turn heads if his play carries over to preseason games.

“Everybody’s getting a good look. It’s a stiff competition right now,” said starter Jimmy Smith, who mentioned Jacobs as someone in contention for the No. 3 cornerback job. “Obviously, we don’t want Webb hurt, but that gives opportunity for [others]. It’s a stiff battle at the third cornerback position right now.”

Comments (0)

Tags: , , ,

NFL Network’s Breer Says Rice Video and Lack of Transparency has led to a Large PR Issue

Posted on 31 July 2014 by WNST Audio

Comments (0)