Tag Archive | "Sergio Kindle"

Suggs placed on 53-man roster after Ravens cut Kindle

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Suggs placed on 53-man roster after Ravens cut Kindle

Posted on 20 October 2012 by Luke Jones

Needing to make a decision by 4 p.m. Saturday, the Ravens have placed linebacker Terrell Suggs on the 53-man roster, meaning he becomes eligible to play against the Houston Texans on Sunday.

The 30-year-old linebacker began practicing Wednesday after spending the first six weeks of the regular season on the physically unable to perform list. Baltimore made room on the roster by waiving former second-round pick Sergio Kindle, who was inactive in five of six games this season.

Reports are saying Suggs will play some role on Sunday as ESPN’s Adam Schefter suggested earlier in the week, but the roster move doesn’t guarantee the 2011 Defensive Player of the Year will be among the 46 active players against Houston. The Ravens could still elect to hold Suggs out of this game in what amounted to a show of gamesmanship against the Texans, but moving him to the 53-man roster now clearly signals he will be making his return to game action much sooner than nearly anyone thought.

The 43rd overall pick in the 2010 draft, Kindle was never able to make much of an impression as either a defensive reserve or special teams player after suffering a fall down two flights of steps that left him with a fractured skull just days before the start of his first training camp in 2010. He missed his entire rookie season and was active in only two games last season and one this year, making a tackle against the Philadelphia Eagles in a Week 2 loss.

After suffering a partially-torn Achilles tendon in late April, Suggs declared at the time he would return by the middle of the season despite the odds squarely against it. Even if the five-time Pro Bowl linebacker doesn’t play against the Texans on Sunday, it appears he’s fulfilled that initial promise and will be ready to go after the Ravens’ bye in Week 8.

The Ravens defense has struggled to generate a consistent pass rush in Suggs’ absence, generating only 10 sacks (tied for 24th in the NFL) in the first six games of the season. Baltimore is also reeling from the losses of top cornerback Lardarius Webb and emotional leader and inside linebacker Ray Lewis to season-ending injuries last Sunday.

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Four Questions for the Ravens Season

Posted on 04 September 2012 by jeffreygilley

Personally, I have high hopes and expectations for the Ravens this season.  But then again, when are expectations not high in Baltimore?  The success the Ravens have had in their short existence is truly unbelievable.  As I said, this season is no different and the Ravens are hoping to make the Super Bowl after reaching the AFC Championship in two of the last four years.  But, no team enters a season without question marks.

Can the Ravens young linebackers replace the production of Suggs?  

As we all know, Terrell Suggs tore his ACL in the off-season.  Because of his injury, linebackers Paul Kruger, Courtney UpShaw, Sergio Kindle, and Albert McClellan must step up.  Kruger had a nice season in 2011 but that was when he had Terrell Suggs on the field commanding double teams.  Kruger is not alone though.  He has the help of some young players but young is the key word.  Kindle, UpShaw, and McClellan are all young and unexperienced.

If the Ravens can not produce any pressure, the team will struggle.  Pernell McPhee is a defensive lineman to keep an eye on.  He was most effective last season when he lined up against guards.  Pernell McPhee and Haloti Ngata will be a deadly combination this season and can occupy blockers which will help the Ravens young linebackers.

Can Torrey Smith have a break out season? 

Another way the Ravens can make up for the loss of Terrell Suggs is for the offense to be more productive and the pre-season has looked promising for the offense.  Joe Flacco looks much different.  He seems more composed and is scanning the field more effectively.  His favorite target seems to be Torrey Smith.  Smith also looks better.  His route running is more polished and he is now more than a down field threat.

If Torrey Smith had an 800-yard season in 2011 by being a down field threat only, immagine what he can do now that he is more polished?

How will the Ravens use Bobby Rainey and Deonte Thompson?

Bobby Rainey and Deonte Thompson were both stars of the pre-season.  They were brought into Ravens camp with little expectations but once they got to camp, they did nothing but perform at a high level.  Rainey, a running back out of Western Kentucky has shown a vast skill set throughout the preseason.  Rainey can run the ball effectively, catch the ball out of the backfield, he can block, and he can even return punts and kicks.  I think Rainey will play a role very similar to how Darren Sproles is used in New Orleans.  He is a play maker and the Ravens need as many of them as possible.

Deonte Thompson has also been very impressive in the preseason.  Like Raney, Thompson has been effective in multiple areas.  He has been explosive at wide receiver and as a kick returner.  Thompson has an opportunity to climb the depth chart even more.  Players like LaQuan Williams and Tandon Doss are ahead of him but Thompson has been more impressive in the preseason.  I expect Thompson to be used in multiple situations this season.

Will the special teams improve? 

The Ravens are stacked with options to return punts and kicks.  Jacoby Jones, Asa Jackson, Deonte Thompson, and Bobby Rainey have all shown flashes of brilliance in the return game but returning punts and kicks is not the problem.  The coverage was dreadful last season.  To improve the kickoff and punt coverage, the Ravens made several moves in the offseason.  Cory Graham, a special teams ace from the Bears is expected to play a big role on special teams this year and possibly on defense.  Sean Considine was also signed and is expected to contribute in a big way on special teams.

The special teams coverage did not look good in the preseason but it’s only the preseason.  I expect the special teams to be greatly improved from last season.

 

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Ravens-Rams preseason primer: Five bubble players to watch

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Ravens-Rams preseason primer: Five bubble players to watch

Posted on 30 August 2012 by Luke Jones

Trying to conjure up excitement for the preseason finale is an effort in vain, but don’t tell Ravens coach John Harbaugh that the game holds no importance.

While most starters aren’t expected to play against the St. Louis Rams Thursday night, the Ravens will provide a final opportunity to rookies and fringe veterans to stake their claim for a spot on the 53-man roster. For these players, this game will be as important as any they’ve ever played.

“We’re going to try to get as many reps as we can for the guys that we’re trying to determine their future,” Harbaugh said. “These guys work too hard out here to not give them every opportunity out there in a game situation to prove what they can do.”

Thursday marks the third preseason meeting between the Ravens and the Rams, with St. Louis holding a 2-0 edge. Baltimore leads the all-time regular-season series with a 3-2 advantage after winning 37-7 at the Edward Jones Dome last Sept. 25.

As is the case with every preseason game, the final score will be irrelevant, but Harbaugh and his coaching staff hope to take away enough information to make any final decisions that linger regarding who they’ll select to join the 2012 Ravens.

Those not making the cut will hope to land on the practice squad or with any of the other 31 NFL teams after Friday’s 9 p.m. deadline. For many, the vision of playing in the NFL will come to an end in less than 48 hours.

“This is their dream,” Harbaugh said. “There are a lot of guys that have an opportunity right now that are on the bubble to make this team. So, we’ve got decisions to make here and for other teams to take a look at. So, they’ve earned that, they deserve that, and that’s what we’ll do.”

Five bubble players to watch

1. CB Chykie Brown

Assumed to be the odd man out in a deep group of cornerbacks entering training camp, the second-year defensive back has shown improvement in coverage as well as special-teams ability as a gunner and on kick coverage to improve his standing for a roster spot. Brown has three tackles — and another on special teams — and a pass breakup in three preseason games.

Danny Gorrer and rookie Asa Jackson hold the advantage in the pecking order, but the Ravens like the potential of the 2011 fifth-round pick and would be hesitant to let him go because of his contributions on special teams. While keeping seven cornerbacks would appear to be excessive for most teams, the thin depth at safety will likely lead to veteran Corey Graham working more at free safety, thus improving Brown’s chances for a roster spot.

2. LB Sergio Kindle

After Kindle’s strong start in training camp, many began daydreaming that the 2010 second-round pick would finally begin realizing his potential after a fractured skull derailed his rookie season and left him virtually deaf in one ear. However, the big linebacker hasn’t shown much since then and suffered a shoulder stinger that kept him sidelined for the Ravens’ third preseason game against the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Kindle still doesn’t show great awareness and struggles to shed blocks when he’s stymied on his initial rush at the line of scrimmage, but coaches have complimented his work ethic and maintain that he’s come a long way. The lack of depth at outside linebacker will likely lead to the Texas product finding his way onto the 53-man roster, but Kindle will need to improve as a special teams player and show more at linebacker to remain in Baltimore long-term. A strong performance against the Rams would definitely allow Kindle to sleep better before final cuts are made Friday.

3. OT Ramon Harewood

After landing on injured reserve in each of his first two years with the Ravens, Harewood has remained relatively healthy this summer and has shown improvement after struggles during organized team activities and the early portion of camp. A 2010 sixth-round pick from tiny Morehouse College, the Barbados native is still relatively new to the game of football, but his 6-foot-6, 334-pound frame and athleticism were attractive features the Ravens waited patiently to develop.

Harewood still doesn’t play with as much strength as his size suggests he should, but the uncertainty with reserve tackle Jah Reid’s injured calf may lead the Ravens to keep him on the roster for now. Rookie Kelechi Osemele has worked more extensively at left guard while competing with veteran Bobbie Williams in recent weeks, so the coaching staff may elect to take a ninth offensive lineman, which would open the door for Harewood.

4. DE DeAngelo Tyson

The seventh-round pick of April’s draft got off to a slow start this summer, but Tyson has shown glimpses of impressive athleticism and has collected four tackles and a sack this preseason. Coaches have noted his improvement, and the Georgia product has ideal size (6-foot-2 and 310 pounds) for the defensive end spot in a 3-4 alignment.

Tyson’s chances for a roster spot improved when veteran Ryan McBean suffered a season-ending ankle injury, but he would likely be the seventh defensive lineman the Ravens would keep if he lands on the favorable side of the bubble. A strong performance in St. Louis would narrow the gap with 2011 practice squad member Bryan Hall, who has shown the ability to pressure the quarterback from the interior. The organization never likes giving up on its draft picks this soon, but waiving a seventh-rounder would be far from uncommon.

5. S Omar Brown

Nothing about Brown’s measurables are impressive, but the rookie free agent from Marshall has shown an uncanny nose for the football in recovering three fumbles and grabbing an interception in the first three preseason games. At 5-foot-11 and 195 pounds, Brown doesn’t have great size as a safety and lacks speed — running the 40-yard dash in only 4.7 seconds — but secondary coach Teryl Austin and defensive coordinator Dean Pees have complimented his instincts in the defensive backfield.

The season-ending injury to Emanuel Cook and concussion concerns with veteran Sean Considine have left the Ravens vulnerable at the safety position with only the raw fourth-round selection Christian Thompson behind starters Ed Reed and Bernard Pollard. This has allowed Brown to earn more consideration for a roster spot when he was likely regarded as little more than a long shot a couple weeks ago. However, the veteran cornerback Graham’s ability to slide over to safety makes it more difficult for Brown, meaning the practice squad might be a realistic destination for him. It also wouldn’t be surprising to see the Ravens pursue another veteran option if Considine’s recovery from a concussion drags out much longer.

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Reserve safety Cook lost for season due to broken leg

Posted on 24 August 2012 by Luke Jones

BALTIMORE — Have already lost defensive lineman Ryan McBean to a season-ending injury in the preseason opener, the Ravens can add Emanuel Cook to the list as the reserve safety suffered a broken right leg in Thursday’s 48-17 victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars.

The injury occurred early in the second half when Cook collided with teammate Anthony Allen on kickoff coverage. Cook’s lower right leg was immobilized before he was carted off the M&T Bank Stadium field. The 24-year-old posted on his Twitter account that he was undergoing surgery late Thursday night.

“One of my favorite guys broke his leg,” coach John Harbaugh said following the game. “He’s had a really good camp. He’s one of our most valuable special teams guys from last year. That was tough.”

Cook was the primary backup to free safety Ed Reed, and his loss likely increases the chances of both fourth-round pick Christian Thompson and rookie free agent Omar Brown making the 53-man roster.

The Ravens suffered another hit at safety as veteran Sean Considine suffered a concussion for the second week in a row. After last week was labeled as Considine being “dinged” in Harbaugh’s words, the one sustained against Jacksonville is a bigger concern.

“This one we’ll have to look at really hard,” Harbaugh said.

Linebacker Sergio Kindle did not play in Thursday’s game despite not being listed among the inactives prior to kickoff.

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What to Look for on Thursday Night

Posted on 22 August 2012 by jeffreygilley

Come thursday night, the Ravens will be looking to exercise some demons against the Jacksonville Jaguars.  In week seven of last season, the Ravens suffered an embarrassing loss to the Jaguars on national television.  Joe Flacco and the offense could not move the ball as the Ravens fell 12-7.

Even though this is the preseason, the Ravens still want to win the game.  More importantly, the first team offense and defense must show improvement.

In the preseason, the offensive and defensive schemes are very vanilla.  Defenses dont give away their exotic blitzes for other teams to study.  Because of this, there is usually a three to four man rush which means a lot of one on one match-ups on the offensive and defensive line.  That said, the Ravens defensive line has not generated any pressure this entire preseason.

The loss of Terrell Suggs might prove to be more of a predicament than first expected.  Courtney UpShaw had a disappointing performance in his debut against the Lions but I think he will get his act together and perform well throughout the season.  UpShaw wont be handed the job but he will be expected to play a lot and make a sizable impact.

In addition to UpShaw, the Ravens have many other young and unproven linebackers.  Albert McClellan, Paul Kruger, and Sergio Kindle will be asked to take the place of Suggs.  I am not so optimistic that they can do that.  Kruger had a good year in 2011 but Suggs was a big part of his performance.  Suggs was able to command double teams which would in turn, leave Kruger one-on-one with an offensive lineman.  Even with Suggs’s help, Kruger only amassed 5.5 sacks.

Hopefully, I am wrong and Kruger can play well this season but I just dont see it.  If the front seven cant put pressure on the quarterback, expect the Ravens secondary to struggle.

Joe Flacco needs to have a good game this thursday.  He has looked solid but not great this preseason.  Torrey Smith should be back which will help Flacco tremendously.  The Jaguars will be a good test for Flacco seeing as the Jaguars had a top ten defense last season.  But, I think Flacco will have a very good game against the Jaguars.  He seems to be more confident and decisive after the AFC Championship game where he outperformed Tom Brady.

Jim Caldwell has also had an impact on the growth of Joe Flacco.  In the first two games, Flacco seems to be surveying the field more rather than just checking the ball down to Ray Rice.  He has also gotten better at looking off safeties to make plays.

Also keep an eye on rookies Omar Brown, Bobby Rainey, Deonte Thompson, and Asa Jackson.  All four of these players have performed very well and if the preseason ended today, I think they would be on the team.  Thompson, Rainey, and Jackson have all showed their potential on special teams as return men and on coverage.  Jackson and Thompson have performed extremely well returning kicks and both had long returns against the Lions which were both called back on penalties.

Omar Brown on the other hand, is making play after play.  Brown is a turnover machine and seems to have a future on the team if he continues to perform at a high level.

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Kindle’s shoulder stinger headlines mild list of new injuries for Ravens

Posted on 18 August 2012 by Luke Jones

Unlike the preseason opener in which they suffered a season-ending injury and another multi-week one, Friday’s preseason game left the Ravens without any apparent long-term health concerns.

Linebacker Sergio Kindle suffered a shoulder stinger in the second half of the 27-12 loss to the Detroit Lions and didn’t return to action. However, the 2010 second-round pick did not believe the injury to be serious following the game.

In addition to Kindle’s injury, coach John Harbaugh reported after the game that fullback Vonta Leach and wide receiver LaQuan Williams suffered mild ankle sprains while reserve linebacker Ricky Brown had a hip contusion. None of those injuries are believed to be legitimate concerns moving forward.

Players with preexisting injury concerns such as cornerback Jimmy Smith, linebacker Courtney Upshaw, and running back Bernard Pierce played without any concerns moving forward, according to the head coach.

“The guys that had the issues injury-wise [who played in the game] got through well,” Harbaugh said. “So, that’s good news, and we’ll just move on from there.”

Wide receiver Torrey Smith was listed as active but did not suit up to play as he continues to recover from a sprained ankle suffered in the preseason opener in Atlanta. The Maryland product practiced on very limited basis on Sunday and Monday before sitting out the final two practices of the week leading up to the game with the Lions.

Labeled as just a “nick” last weekend, Smith’s ankle was only the third-most serious injury sustained against Atlanta as defensive lineman Ryan McBean suffered a season-ending ankle fracture while tight end Ed Dickson sprained his shoulder, which will likely keep him sidelined for the rest of the preseason.

Offensive lineman Jah Reid was listed as inactive as the second-year tackle reportedly suffered another setback with the calf injury that’s hampered him since the final day of mandatory minicamp in June. He was removed from the physically unable to perform list this week after returning to the practice field.

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Our Ravens-Lions “Slaps to the Head”

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Our Ravens-Lions “Slaps to the Head”

Posted on 18 August 2012 by Glenn Clark

After Baltimore Ravens victories, Ryan Chell and I award players who made positive contributions with “Pats on the Ass” during the “Nasty Purple Postgame Show” on AM1570 WNST.net.

The Ravens fell to the Lions 27-12 in their second preseason game Friday night at M&T Bank Stadium, meaning there were no Pats to be awarded.

So instead of offering “Pats on the Ass”, Ryan and I again offered “Slaps to the Head” postgame. A slap on the side of the head from a coach tends to come along with them saying something along the lines of “you’ve gotta do better than that.”

Same rules as there were with Pats. Two offensive players, two defensive players, and a Wild Card (Special Teams player, coach, or another Offensive or Defensive player). One player gets “two slaps” (or a slap on both sides of the head), it’s the opposite of a “Player of the Game” honor.” Ryan and I select five different players after each game.

Here are our five Ravens that have “gotta do better than that.”

Glenn Clark’s Slaps…

5. Tyrod Taylor

4. Billy Bajema

3. Jacoby Jones

2. Jimmy Smith

1. Nigel Carr (Two slaps)

(Ryan’s slaps on Page 2…) 

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Ugly first half brings Ravens’ offseason concerns to light

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Ugly first half brings Ravens’ offseason concerns to light

Posted on 09 August 2012 by Luke Jones

The look on coach John Harbaugh’s face through most of the first half said it all in regards to the Ravens’ performance in what turned out to be a 31-17 win over the Atlanta Falcons after a strong second-half performance by the second and third-teamers on Thursday night.

You never want to take too much away from the first preseason game, but there was no sugarcoating how ugly the performance was over the first 30 minutes of action.

The Baltimore offense was held to just nine total yards on nine plays as it failed to collect a first down in the first quarter. Playing without linebacker Ray Lewis and rookie linebacker Courtney Upshaw, the defense was carved up by Matt Ryan and the Falcons offense for 191 yards in the first 15 minutes and allowed 17 points in the first half.

The effort was sluggish, but the major story was the Ravens’ biggest offseason concerns coming to fruition in the first snapshot of a live-game situation this summer. To panic would be much too premature, but to ignore the lack of a pass rush and concerns along the offensive line means you haven’t been paying attention to the events of the last seven months.

The Ravens received their first dose of reality without linebacker Terrell Suggs as they were unable to generate any pressure on Ryan, who picked on cornerback Cary Williams and the rest of the secondary as wide receiver Julio Jones caught six passes for 109 yards and a touchdown in the first quarter. Matching up against Jones and fellow wideout Roddy White is challenging enough, but the Ravens’ front seven were barely able to breathe on Ryan, let alone bring him to the turf.

Upshaw’s absence certainly didn’t help, but outside linebackers Paul Kruger and Sergio Kindle made little impact and Albert McClellan didn’t find success until Atlanta’s reserves began entering the game in the second quarter. As we’ve said all along, the Ravens will need a collective effort from multiple players to make up for the absence of Suggs, but what they showed against the Atlanta offense simply won’t get it done.

Defensive coordinator Dean Pees still has plenty of time to continue to find ways to generate consistent pressure, but he won’t see very much to like when he looks at the tape of the first half against the Falcons. In addition to the struggles with the pass rush, the Ravens displayed poor tackling and appeared to lack energy on the defensive side of the ball in the first half.

Despite finally waking up to march down the field for an 11-play, 77-yard drive that finished with a Joe Flacco touchdown pass to tight end Ed Dickson in the second quarter, the offense was anemic as the middle of the offensive line struggled to open running lanes and protect the pocket. Rookie Gino Gradkowski started at center for the injured Matt Birk while Michael Oher started at left tackle and rookie tackle Kelechi Osemele played on the right side.

Most alarming about the offensive line was a renewed concern at the left guard position, which was a major topic of discussion all offseason after the free-agent departure of 2011 Pro Bowl selection Ben Grubbs in March. After a strong showing through the first two weeks of training camp that had quelled most concerns at the spot, veteran left guard Bobbie Williams struggled mightily as he was consistently pushed backwards in pass coverage and had a breakdown in communication with Gradkowski that led to another sack.

On a high note for the offensive line, tackle Bryant McKinnie held up well with the second unit as he took reps into the third quarter. Though matched up against lesser defenders, his pass blocking appeared strong and his conditioning didn’t appear to be an issue, making you wonder if he showed the coaching staff enough for him to be reinserted at the left tackle position with the starting offensive line this coming week.

Despite being under duress for most of the time he was in the game, Flacco was 9 for 12 for 88 yards and a touchdown pass while operation out of quick-tempo offense over his four series of work, but the offensive line allowed him to be hit hard a few times.

With a 36-year-old center and a 35-year-old left guard projected to start, the Ravens need as much time as possible to build continuity along the offensive line. Questions will remain about how well Williams and Birk will hold up, but the options are thin behind them as Gradkowski showed flashes but often appeared to be overpowered at the line of scrimmage.

The good news for the Ravens is they still have a month to address these issues in trying to inject life in their Suggs-less pass rush and gain stability along the offensive line. The first half of Thursday night’s game is nothing more than 30 minutes of meaningless football in the scope of the 2012 season.

But it was visual evidence that the prevailing concerns of the offseason are very real and still need to be addressed before the Ravens welcome the Cincinnati Bengals to town on Sept. 10.

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Friday notes from training camp

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Friday notes from training camp

Posted on 03 August 2012 by Luke Jones

Trying to figure out exactly how the Ravens plan to handle their starting outside linebacker positions has been challenging with conflicting information out there since the start of organized team activities.

While fourth-year linebacker Paul Kruger and rookie Courney Upshaw are still listed as the projected starters on the first depth chart released earlier this week, Kruger is listed as the strongside — or “Sam” — linebacker while Upshaw is at the rush linebacker spot, which contradicts what Kruger told reporters during OTAs. Further complicating the situation is the shoulder injury that’s sidelined Upshaw since Monday.

Kruger and the combination of Sergio Kindle and Albert McClellan — with Kindle getting first-team reps while McClellan worked with the second unit Friday — have manned the outside linebacker spots for the starting defense this week, but defensive coordinator Dean Pees is keeping everyone guessing as Kruger has lined up at the strongside position as well as the rush linebacker spot.

When the starting defense came out in its nickel alignment Friday, Kruger and Kindle lined up as defensive ends with Ryan McBean and Bryan Hall lining up at the tackle positions as Haloti Ngata and Pernell McPhee are still being brought back slowly after injuries.

Regardless of who ultimately lines up at each outside linebacker position at the start of the regular season, there are question marks over the ability of both Kruger and Upshaw to drop into pass coverage, making it understandable that the Ravens are playing around with as many looks as they can to see what will work best without the services of Pro Bowl linebacker Terrell Suggs.

Return game

Special teams coordinator Jerry Rosburg hasn’t offered much in revealing what the Ravens’ plans are in the return game, but veteran wide receiver Jacoby Jones has a strong hold on the punt return job and is listed in the No. 1 spot on the depth chart. Jones has taken the majority of reps as the punt returner even though former punt returner Lardarius Webb may occasionally find himself back deep.

However, the kick returner job appears to be more wide open with no definitive player emerging to receive more reps during practices. Jones is listed as the No. 1 kick returner on the depth chart, but backup running backs Anthony Allen and Damien Berry as well as rookie wide receiver Deonte Thompson received reps returning kickoffs on Friday.

Jones has the clear edge in experience, but you have to wonder if the Ravens will want him to handle return duties for both punts and kickoffs when he is expected to be the team’s No. 3 receiver this season.

We will begin to gain more clarity when the Ravens take on the Atlanta Falcons in the preseason opener on Thursday.

Highlights from practice

Tight end Ed Dickson continues to have an impressive camp as he caught a touchdown pass from quarterback Joe Flacco in an 11-on-11 portion of practice.

Matched up across from Kruger at the line of scrimmage, Dickson found a tiny window as Kruger dropped into zone coverage and Flacco threw a beautiful pass into the end zone for the score.

Though Flacco seemed to develop a better rapport with Dennis Pitta over the course of last season, he appears to be on the same page with Dickson during camp, which is good news after Pitta broke his hand earlier this week.

Flacco also delivered a bullet to wide receiver Torrey Smith on a slant pattern that beat cornerback Danny Gorrer and likely would have gone for a touchdown had the whistle not blown shortly after the reception. Smith has looked more comfortable with the entire passing tree through the early portion of camp and appears to be catching the ball more often with his hands instead of his body as he would tend to do last season.

After receiving Thursday off, rookie kicker Justin Tucker was 5-for-6 on field goal attempts as he connected on tries from 46 and 53 yards before coming up just short on a kick from 60 yards away.

Veteran kicker Billy Cundiff was given Friday off as Rosburg told media a day earlier that he would.

Roster move

With Bryant McKinnie returning to the practice field on Friday, the Ravens waived offensive lineman Paul Madsen after they had signed him in early June.

The rookie from Colorado State had previously been with the Buffalo Bills before being claimed off waivers by Baltimore.

He is the brother of former NBA player Mark Madsen.

 

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Ravens more interested to see banged-up Upshaw in game situations

Posted on 03 August 2012 by Luke Jones

The Ravens continued to be without rookie linebacker Courtney Upshaw Thursday as the top draft pick recovers from a shoulder injury.

The 35th overall pick has missed four straight practices after sustaining a shoulder injury in Saturday’s workout. Upshaw appeared to suffer a stinger in a collision with rookie running back Bernard Pierece, but the 272-pound linebacker finished practice.

Though the Ravens want to see Upshaw return to action as he’s expected to be the starting strongside linebacker, they aren’t concerned as long as the 22-year-old is ready to play in preseason games, starting with the opener in Atlanta next Thursday.

“I’ll start getting worried if it’s halfway through the preseason,” defensive coordinator Dean Pees said. “What we just need to do is get him out there, especially in some preseason games, and have him hit, get hit, and actually play. It’s one thing to go out and practice. There’s different situations here in practice that are just not the same as game-type tempo and game-type situations, and that’s why we need to get him out there. I’m not too concerned, yet, until if we get down the road and he’s not playing any games. Then I will be concerned.”

In Upshaw’s absence, Albert McClellan and Sergio Kindle have received more reps with the starting defense, and coach John Harbaugh said earlier this week that McClellan is competing for the starting job. Upshaw has an impressive pedigree after playing in the vaunted Alabama defense, but he failed his first attempt at the team’s conditioning test at the start of training camp and the team would like to see him slim down a bit as he’ll be expected to drop into pass coverage more than he did in college.

While the Ravens labeled it a shoulder bruise, it’s appearing more likely the injury is more severe than that. Upshaw has walked out to the practice field during the latter portion of a few practices this week after receiving treatment on the shoulder.

“Courtney Upshaw got a bruise on his shoulder, so he is out for now,” Harbaugh said Monday afternoon after Upshaw missed his first practice. “It’s a bruise, and he’ll just take the time that it takes to get healed up. Jimmy Smith bruised his shoulder [Saturday], too, and he was able to get back [Monday]. So, it kind of gives you an indication.”

Unlike Smith, however, Upshaw’s recovery time has taken much longer.

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