Posted on 13 October 2015 by WNST Staff
Posted on 13 October 2015 by Luke Jones
OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Already 1-4 and dealing with an extensive injury report, Ravens coach John Harbaugh hopes to have at least two of his banged-up stars available against the San Francisco 49ers in Week 6.
After injuring his ankle late in the fourth quarter of Sunday’s defeat to Cleveland, running back Justin Forsett did not return in overtime as the Browns won in Baltimore for the first time since 2007. The 2014 Pro Bowl selection had rushed for 121 yards on 21 carries and scored his first touchdown of the 2015 season.
Forsett was able to walk without any noticeable limp in the locker room after the game.
“It’s not a high ankle [sprain], I can tell you that,” Harbaugh said. “That’s a good sign, and it gives him a chance, certainly, for this week.”
Backup running back Lorenzo Taliaferro was already dealing with a foot injury that kept him out of Sunday’s game, leaving the Ravens just one healthy running back (rookie Buck Allen) by the end of the contest. Rookie Terrence Magee remains on the practice squad should the Ravens need another healthy back.
Harbaugh remains cautiously optimistic about the status of No. 1 receiver Steve Smith, who missed his first game since the 2013 season and only his second game in the last five seasons. Smith suffered microfractures in his back in the Week 4 win at Pittsburgh and was listed as doubtful on the final Week 5 injury report last week before being deactivated on Sunday morning.
Smith’s absence has left a major void at wide receiver that’s currently being filled by former undrafted free agents, late-round picks, practice-squad members, and castoffs. Kamar Aiken led all Ravens wide receivers with four catches for 78 yards against the Browns, but Joe Flacco completed only one pass to a wideout in the second half, a fourth-quarter connection to Marlon Brown for no gain.
Getting Smith back would be a major shot in the arm for the struggling Ravens.
“We’ll see. I don’t know,” Harbaugh said. “He was in here training hard [on Monday], so that’s a good sign. I’m hopeful.”
The Ravens also remain hopeful that starting tight end Crockett Gillmore can return this week after missing the last two games with a calf injury. He moved around well during a pre-game workout on Sunday morning.
Linebacker Elvis Dumervil (groin), cornerback Lardarius Webb (hamstring), and wide receiver Darren Waller (concussion) are also dealing with injuries that forced them out of Sunday’s game. Cornerback Will Davis suffered a torn ACL against the Browns, prompting the Ravens to add veteran cornerback Shareece Wright on Monday.
Posted on 13 October 2015 by Luke Jones
Wasting no time trying to fill the void left by the injured Will Davis, the Ravens agreed to a deal with veteran cornerback Shareece Wright on Monday night.
Baltimore will fill Davis’ spot on the 53-man roster with the 28-year-old Wright, who was released by the San Francisco 49ers at his request on Saturday after being inactive for the first four games of the 2015 season. Signed to a one-year, $3 million contract in March, Wright spent the first four years of his NFL career with the San Diego Chargers.
A 2011 third-round pick from USC, Wright started 27 games over his four seasons in San Diego, collecting 137 tackles, one interception, and 20 pass breakups. Primarily an outside cornerback, Wright will be a candidate to serve as the No. 3 corner, which would allow Lardarius Webb to play inside in the nickel package like the Ravens prefer.
The 5-foot-11, 182-pound Wright struggled in coverage last season and drew the most pass interference penalties in the league with eight a year ago, but Baltimore is desperate to turn around a defense that gave up 33 points and more than 500 yards of offense in an overtime loss to Cleveland on Sunday.
Posted on 25 September 2015 by Luke Jones
OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Several days after acknowledging the Ravens were reconsidering a second extended stay on the West Coast, head coach John Harbaugh said Friday that those plans have been scrapped.
Citing a longer week between their Oct. 18 contest in San Francisco and the Oct. 26 Monday night game against Arizona as the primary reason, Harbaugh said the Ravens will use a more conventional travel schedule for both games. The Ravens would have left for San Francisco two days early and would have spent a total of 11 days away from home had they elected to stay out west.
“That was a big part of it,” Harbaugh said. “That was the main part of it. It’s just a long week.”
Of course, the results of their first extended stay on the West Coast likely made the decision easier as the Ravens lost games to Denver and Oakland to begin a season 0-2 for the first time since 2005. The team stayed in San Jose last week ahead of the surprising 37-33 loss to the Raiders.
With Harbaugh acknowledging Monday that the Ravens were reconsidering their travel plans and coordinator Dean Pees expressing displeasure with how his defense practiced before the Oakland game, it appeared all but guaranteed that a second extended trip would not happen. Earlier in the week, Harbaugh thanked owner Steve Bisciotti and the entire organization for putting in the work to make the first long-term trip possible.
“I would have loved to reap the benefits of that and been able to stand up here and talk about what a plus that was in winning two football games,” Harbaugh said. “But we’re not able to do that because we didn’t get the job done. But from the effort — the work effort — we can stand on that foundation going forward.”
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Posted on 21 September 2015 by Luke Jones
OWINGS MILLS, Md. — John Harbaugh didn’t mince words in assessing a defense that allowed 37 points in Sunday’s disappointing loss to the Oakland Raiders to drop the Ravens’ record to 0-2.
The performance was out of character for a franchise known for its defensive tradition over 20 seasons in Baltimore. The eighth-year head coach put his players and coaches on notice that the defense needs to be fixed quickly as the Ravens now try to become the 25th 0-2 team to bounce back to make the playoffs since 1990.
“If we’re going to have a chance to be a successful football team, our defense has to step up and play like the Ravens play,” Harbaugh said. “That’s the expectation. That’s where the bar is set, and we’re going to have the guys out there that do that. And it’s on us as coaches to put the right guys out there, teach them to do the right things, and have the right schemes in place.”
Not only were the Ravens playing an Oakland offense that was shut out by Cincinnati through three quarters the previous week, but they was feeling confident about a defense that didn’t allow an offensive touchdown against future Hall of Famer Peyton Manning and a talented Denver offense in the season opener.
Against the Raiders offense, however, everything went wrong as second-year quarterback Derek Carr threw three touchdown passes and Oakland accumulated 448 yards of offense. The Ravens collected just one sack and Pro Football Focus credited them with 11 missed tackles, their highest total since last year’s Week 9 blowout loss in Pittsburgh.
“We had missed tackles. We had missed assignments. We had breakdowns in coverage. We had missed alignments,” Harbaugh said. “We played about as unsound as you can play in a lot of different ways. We had effort for the most part, but I’ll even say we didn’t have the kind of effort we need to have on defense — the kind of all-out, flying-around effort that we expect from a Ravens’ defense.”
Playing without the injured Terrell Suggs, the Ravens struggled to create any semblance of consistent pressure on Carr as Elvis Dumervil played his highest number of snaps (62) since his days with the Denver Broncos and Courtney Upshaw didn’t capitalize on more opportunities to rush. As a result, Carr had a career day through the air with his 351 yards.
Harbaugh was quick to point out that Oakland designed plenty of short passes to neutralize the rush, but he did not forgive the inability of linebackers and defensive backs to neutralize those throws.
“When a team is determined to get the ball out fast, then you’re not going to get a lot of quarterback hits and you’re not going to get a lot of sacks,” Harbaugh said. “What you have to do is defend those quick throws, and we didn’t defend the quick throws as well as we need to because of the missed tackles and some of the missed alignments.
“If you force those throws to be no-gains, one gain, minus-2, 3-yard gains, when the ball is coming out fast, then you force them to hold the ball a little bit longer and to gain some yards and you get to the quarterback. That’s the No. 1 issue there.”
Though there’s truth to Harbaugh’s point, the Ravens didn’t get to Carr when he took deeper drops either, further making the decision to deactivate veteran newcomer Jason Babin puzzling after he was signed to provide more depth behind Dumervil, Upshaw, and rookie Za’Darius Smith.
Against an underwhelming offense, the Ravens showed no sign of being close to figuring out their pass-rush equation without Suggs.
“I think he had way too much time on the [bootlegs],” Harbaugh said. “He was able to stand back there on the keepers and boots almost forever and throw the ball. We have to figure out how to get that changed. But from a pass-rush standpoint, those are the two situations — the quick throws and the boots.”
Penalties on final drive
Two critical penalties hurt the Ravens on Oakland’s game-winning touchdown drive as defensive tackle Timmy Jernigan committed a senseless roughing-the-passer foul that marched the Raiders into field-goal range and safety Will Hill was flagged for holding before he made what looked to be the game-clinching interception with under a minute remaining.
Harbaugh offered a strong opinion on each one, with one player being chastised and the other forgiven.
“The Timmy Jernigan one was a foolish penalty — really inexcusable,” Harbaugh said. “There was no reason for that whatsoever at any time during the game, but especially in two-minute. But that was just a way late hit, and I don’t understand that one. It hurt us.
“The other one, I’m still looking for it. I don’t see it on tape, so I’m not sure what to tell Will on that. It looked like a good play to me.”
Second long trip out west being reconsidered
After previously saying they planned to stay out west for the week between their Oct. 18 game at San Francisco and Oct. 26 contest at Arizona, the Ravens are now reconsidering those plans.
Harbaugh said it would be a “no-brainer” to stay in Phoenix if the week were shorter between games — the second game takes place on a Monday night — but critics will understandably wonder how much the results of their first extended trip between the Denver and Oakland games will factor into a decision expected to be made in the next few days.
“If we stay [out there], it’ll be because we and the players feel like it would be the best thing,” Harbaugh said. “And if we don’t, it would be because we’d rather get back here and be in our home confines. [We’ll decide] which is best, especially in a long week.”
No word on Perriman
Injured rookie wide receiver Breshad Perriman (knee) was seen doing some light running during his pre-game workout on Sunday, an increased level of activity shown from previous weeks when he was restricted to making catches from a stationary position.
The Ravens coach added no clarity when asked whether that was a sign of the first-round pick being close to finally returning after he sprained his knee on July 30.
“Not that I’ve been told,” Harbaugh said. “I have no update on it.”
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Posted on 09 September 2015 by Nestor Aparicio
San Francisco – I’ve seen a number of games at AT&T (and a few when it was still dubbed Pac Bell) and I’m always struck by how close that right field wall looks. It’s a wonderful setting and I think it’s impossible to complain it in any way about watching a game in San Francisco. Especially now that Candlestick is long gone. The smell of garlic and pizza is everywhere. Plenty of great concessions. The fans are all jacked up with World Championship swag. And the building is gorgeous. Bring a jacket. As you can see from many of my pictures, you can get football weather in July in San Francisco. And there’s even some charm to that, especially in the middle of my mid-summer heated sojourn during the middle of the season. The ballpark itself is shoe-horned into the waterline and the trail of traffic and folks in orange and black is its own scene. The McCovey Cove scene is also tremendous. A must see…
Posted on 22 June 2015 by Luke Jones
At a time of year when most free agents have at least found a home for training camp, veteran cornerback Tarell Brown says the Ravens are one of several teams showing interest in his services.
A former starter with the San Francisco 49ers and the Oakland Raiders, the 30-year-old told Sirius XM NFL Radio over the weekend that Baltimore was one of four teams who have expressed interest in signing him on the open market. He started 14 games last year in his only season with the Raiders, making 55 tackles and four pass breakups.
Brown spent the previous seven seasons with the 49ers, starting 47 games and collecting 11 interceptions. He was a starting cornerback against the Ravens in Super Bowl XLVII, making three tackles and forcing a fumble.
Already anticipating the healthy returns of starters Jimmy Smith and Lardarius Webb, general manager Ozzie Newsome boosted the Ravens’ veteran depth at cornerback this offseason by signing former New England Patriots slot cornerback Kyle Arrington and former Indianapolis Colt Cassius Vaughn to compete with the likes of Rashaan Melvin, Asa Jackson, and Tramain Jacobs. Newsome hasn’t shied away from adding veteran cornerbacks over the summer in recent years as he signed Aaron Ross and Dominique Franks following last June’s minicamp.
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Posted on 18 June 2015 by Luke Jones
OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Faced with two sets of back-to-back games out west during the 2015 regular season, the Ravens have decided to cut down on substantial travel time by remaining out west for both trips.
Head coach John Harbaugh confirmed his team will travel to the Bay Area following the season opener against the Denver Broncos on Sept. 13 and will remain there for the week before a Sept. 20 meeting against Oakland Raiders. The Ravens will then repeat that practice after their Oct. 18 game at San Francisco by traveling to Phoenix for the week leading up to their Monday night contest against the Arizona Cardinals on Oct. 26.
“We spent a little bit of time with some of the science on it,” Harbaugh said. “But really, what it came down to was a gut decision and talking to the players.”
Before the 2015 schedule was released in late April, Harbaugh and the Ravens had lobbied the NFL to play the road games against the Raiders and the 49ers in consecutive weeks in hopes of staying in the Bay Area to eliminate a cross-country flight. That request wasn’t granted, but it appeared the NFL may have done the Ravens a favor by bunching their other long-distance road games together.
Quarterback Joe Flacco was pleased that players were asked for their opinions on the matter and feels the strategy will give the Ravens a better chance during a difficult stretch of five out of seven games on the road to begin the 2015 season.
“I feel good about it. Us, as players, we’re part of that communication,” Flacco said. “John asked us and looked for input, and I’m one of the guys that was directly involved in making that decision. I’m happy about it. I think it’s going to be a good thing for us.”
Asked how the lengthy road trips might impact his wife, Dana, and three young sons, Flacco acknowledged she might not love the decision as much as him.
“I’m thinking that’s going to be a week off from being ‘Dad,'” said Flacco as he laughed. “She probably is going to be in for it a little bit. That’s just part of being an NFL quarterback’s wife. That’s why you’ve got to get a strong one.”
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Posted on 08 March 2015 by Luke Jones
Saturday was a productive night for free-agent wide receiver Torrey Smith and brought the latest signal supporting his expected departure from the Ravens.
With the news of star wideout Randall Cobb agreeing to a four-year, $40 million contract to remain with the Green Bay Packers, Smith will only see the demand for his services rise around the league with a top free-agent receiver now off the board. The 26-year-old Smith and Philadelphia wide receiver Jeremy Maclin are considered the top talents who will officially hit the market on 4 p.m. Tuesday for the start of free agency.
With Baltimore currently holding just $4.639 million in salary cap space, Smith is expected to find a home elsewhere with the San Francisco 49ers reportedly leading the race for the speedy receiver’s services. According to CBS Sports, the 2011 first-round pick turned down a five-year, $35 million contract prior to the 2014 season, a move that now looks wise despite a disappointing campaign in which he caught just 49 passes for 767 yards.
Despite both sides repeatedly expressing hope that they’d continue their relationship, the Ravens’ brass seemed to go out of its way to prepare fans for Smith’s departure late last month with owner Steve Bisciotti even taking a shot at the lucrative $60 million contract the Miami Dolphins gave wide receiver Mike Wallace two offseasons ago.
“Let’s be frank: Do you hope that Torrey doesn’t break the bank out in the open market so that we can get him for our number? That’s a hard thing to say,” Bisciotti said. “I care about the kid. I want him to maximize his earnings. At the same time, the more successful he is at doing that, the less success we have in retaining him. I don’t like to stand up here and say I’m rooting against the guy, but we’ve got to find a number.”
And that number is expected to be too rich with Cobb now off the market and a number of teams looking for an impact wide receiver in free agency.
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Posted on 21 December 2014 by Luke Jones
Jim Harbaugh is likely on his way out as the head coach in San Francisco, and his team was unable to put his older brother and the Ravens in position to potentially clinch a playoff spot on Sunday afternoon.
With the 49ers’ overtime loss to the San Diego Chargers, the Ravens can only clinch an AFC wild-card berth with a win over the Houston Texans and losses by Pittsburgh to Kansas City and Cincinnati to Denver. Such a scenario would not only guarantee the Ravens no worse than a wild-card spot, but it would land Baltimore in first place in the AFC North entering Week 17.
The Ravens can win the division by running the table and Pittsburgh and Cincinnati each losing at least one more game. The Bengals host the Broncos on Monday night before traveling to Heinz Field to take on the Steelers in Week 17.
Of course, John Harbaugh and the Ravens are guaranteed a playoff berth if they win their final two games against Houston and Cleveland.