Tag Archive | "st louis"


Tags: , , , , , ,

Tucker not escaping Ravens’ list of struggles in 2015

Posted on 24 November 2015 by Luke Jones

All three of the Ravens’ victories in 2015 have come on a Justin Tucker field goal on the final play of the game, but the fourth-year kicker wasn’t all that happy after Sunday’s 16-13 win over St. Louis.

Despite making the game-winning 47-yarder as time expired, Tucker missed two kicks from 51 yards earlier in the day with the second coming with just 1:13 remaining in the fourth quarter. The misses continued a concerning trend for the 2013 Pro Bowl kicker on attempts from 50 or more yards where he has gone just 2-for-7 this season.

“I don’t think I’ve ever been this upset or mad after hitting a game-winner,” Tucker said on Sunday, “but this is kind of uncharted territory for me — and Morgan [Cox] and Sam [Koch] — all of us together. To be able to bounce back like that though, it’s definitely satisfying.”

To be clear, Tucker’s struggles are relative to the many kicking issues we’ve witnessed around the NFL. The 26-year-old has failed only once inside 50 yards all year, which was a 45-yard miss when he stepped into a large divot with his plant foot at Levi’s Stadium against San Francisco in Week 6.

Simply put, Tucker is still one of only a few kickers around the NFL who you want lining up for a huge kick late in a close game. However, his six misses in 10 games — he’s 22-for-28 in 2015 — have already surpassed his total in any of his first three full seasons in Baltimore.

Many have pointed to a declining success rate from 50 yards and beyond since his rookie season when he was a perfect 4-for-4. There was no significant drop-off during his Pro Bowl campaign in 2013 when he was 6-for-7 from 50-plus, including a game-winning 61-yarder at Detroit on Monday Night Football.

In 2014, Tucker was just 4-for-9 from 50 yards or longer, but all five of those misses came from 54 or longer, a reflection of the Ravens’ confidence in allowing him to try kicks from greater distances. The University of Texas product still went 3-for-3 on kicks from 50-53 yards, making those overall numbers less concerning.

Entering a contract year in 2015, Tucker has misfired on five tries from 50 or greater. But unlike last season, he hasn’t attempted most of those from exaggerated distances and is just 2-for-6 on tries from 50-53 yards.

How does head coach John Harbaugh — a longtime special teams coordinator in Philadelphia — explain Tucker’s two misses from 51 yards against the Rams in Week 11?

“There’s the hold, there’s the snap, the whole thing goes together,” said Harbaugh, who has shared his thoughts with Tucker. “There’s the wind. There’s the footing. All those things are a factor, no question, but the swing mechanics are the main thing. It’s not hard to see when the swing mechanics aren’t what we would be looking for or what he would be looking for. To my eye, that’s what happened in the game [Sunday].”

After Sunday’s game, Tucker acknowledged the challenges of kicking at M&T Bank Stadium where the open corners of the upper deck can lead to swirling winds. The kicker said he didn’t hit the first attempt well, but the second miss from 51 was struck “right on the screws” before it “just leaked” due to the wind.

Scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent after the season, Tucker is expected to seek a contract that would make him one of the highest-paid kickers — if not the highest paid — in the NFL. If the sides cannot agree to a deal in a timely fashion, the Ravens could use the franchise tag as the franchise tender at the kicker position was a reasonable $4.126 million in 2015 and wouldn’t increase dramatically next year.

Even if he’s been more erratic from beyond 50 yards since his remarkable Pro Bowl season, Tucker remains one of the best kickers in the NFL, making it unlikely that the Ravens would allow him to depart after the season. But it’s clear he has a high standard for himself that he hasn’t quite reached in 2015.

“I’ve been doing this long enough now to know at our stadium, I’ve just got to hit [what] we like to call a ‘Dawg Pound’ ball like we’re kicking into the ‘Dawg Pound’ in Cleveland,” said Tucker, alluding to the difficult conditions in FirstEnergy Stadium late in the season. “It’s a slightly different ball that you’ve got to hit. You just get it up over the line and make sure it goes straight. That’s basically what I’ve got to do moving forward, regardless of the distance of the kick.”

Comments (0)


Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Ravens lose starting running back Forsett to broken arm

Posted on 22 November 2015 by Luke Jones

BALTIMORE — An injury-plagued 2015 season got even worse for the Ravens in the first quarter of Sunday’s 16-13 win over the St. Louis Rams.

Starting running back and 2014 Pro Bowl selection Justin Forsett was lost for the rest of the season after suffering a broken right forearm in the first quarter. The veteran back was slammed to the turf by Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald, and television replays showed his arm bending in a grotesque manner.

Forsett’s right forearm was immediately placed in an air cast before he was helped to the locker room.

“I kind of looked over his body and just saw his forearm and said, ‘OK. I’m not looking at that anymore.'” said quarterback Joe Flacco, who also suffered a season-ending knee injury in the fourth quarter. “I didn’t see much, but I knew it wasn’t good. It’s a shame, but we gutted it out and got a win.”

The Ravens immediately announced the severity of the injury as their starting offense has now lost its starting quarterback (Flacco), top two receivers (Steve Smith and Breshad Perriman), top two running backs (Forsett and Lorenzo Taliaferro), and starting center (Jeremy Zuttah) to season-ending injuries in 2015. With the Ravens having deactivated Terrance West prior to Sunday’s game, they were down to just two healthy running backs — rookies Buck Allen and Raheem Mostert — for the remainder of the game.

In Forsett’s absence, Allen accumulated 115 total yards despite only averaging 3.0 yards per carry against a stingy St. Louis defense. The 2015 fourth-round pick is expected to be the starter for the remainder of the season.

“He played like a pro. He played like a top-caliber NFL running back,” head coach John Harbaugh said. “You saw it out there. He made guys miss. He made plays in the passing game, plays in the run game. I thought our offensive line did a great job.”

Entering Sunday’s game, Forsett was averaging 4.2 yards per carry and had rushed for 26 yards on four carries against the Rams. The 30-year-old signed a three-year, $9 million in the offseason after rushing for a career-high 1,266 yards last season.

Comments (0)


Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Ravens-Rams: Inactives and pre-game notes

Posted on 22 November 2015 by Luke Jones

BALTIMORE — The Ravens conclude a three-game homestand with major concerns along their offensive line when they host the St. Louis Rams on Sunday afternoon.

Having already lost starting center Jeremy Zuttah for the season due to a pectoral tear, the Ravens officially deactivated left guard Kelechi Osemele after he missed two practices with a knee injury this week. Osemele had returned to practice as a full participant on Thursday, but the fourth-year lineman was again absent for the final workout of the week, leading to him being listed as questionable on the final injury report of the week.

While second-year lineman John Urschel already set to make his first NFL start as a center, the Ravens are expected to use 2013 sixth-round pick Ryan Jensen at left guard. Of course, this development is concerning with the Rams possessing one of the most talented defensive lines in the NFL.

Second-year safety Terrence Brooks is active for the first time since suffering a thumb injury in Week 5, but recently-promoted running back Terrance West was deactivated for his first game as a member of the 53-man roster. Newly-signed receiver and punt returner Kaelin Clay is active and could see opportunities in the return game after return specialist Jeremy Ross was cut this past week.

As expected, rookie tight end Nick Boyle (foot) is inactive, but the Ravens will only go with two healthy tight ends in Week 11 after also deactivating tight end Chase Ford, who was signed earlier this week.

After officially ruling out Pro Bowl defensive end Robert Quinn (hip/back) on Saturday, the Rams will welcome back defensive end Chris Long, who had been sidelined for more than a month with a knee injury.

Tony Corrente will be the referee for Sunday’s game.

The Ravens will be wearing purple jerseys and black pants while St. Louis dons its white tops with white pants.

The Sunday afternoon forecast calls for a mix of sun and clouds with temperatures in the upper 40s and winds that could reach 15 miles per hour, according to Weather.com.

Sunday brings the sixth all-time meeting between the Ravens and the Rams with Baltimore owning the 3-2 advantage. St. Louis is seeking its first victory in Baltimore after losing road games in 1996 and 2007.

Below are Sunday’s inactives:

WR Joe Morgan
DE Kapron Lewis-Moore
RB Terrance West
CB Cassius Vaughn
TE Chase Ford
G Kelechi Osemele
TE Nick Boyle

QB Sean Mannion
RB Tre Mason
S Christian Bryant
TE Justice Cunningham
OT Isaiah Battle
OT Rob Havenstein
DE Robert Quinn

Comments (0)


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

Ravens-Rams: Five predictions for Sunday

Posted on 21 November 2015 by Luke Jones

Nothing is a given for the disappointing Ravens.

The fact that all nine of their games have been decided by one possession leads you to believe that the 2-7 Ravens are likely to win at least a couple more games in 2015, but last Sunday’s home loss to Jacksonville further changed their perception after the bye week. Baltimore may be able to compete — even win — any of its seven remaining game, but none can be pointed to as a predicted win with any level of confidence, either.

That principle certainly applies against a St. Louis team that sports the NFL’s 31st-ranked offense but also the sixth-ranked defense int he league. However, the Rams will be missing Pro Bowl defensive end Robert Quinn, which will hurt one of the best pass rushes in the league.

It’s time to go on the record as the Ravens and St. Louis meet for the sixth time in their regular-season history and for the first time at M&T Bank Stadium since 2007. Baltimore holds a 3-2 advantage in the all-time series as the Rams are seeking their first road win in three tries against the Ravens.

Here’s what to expect as Baltimore tries to win just its second home game this season …

1. Lardarius Webb will see more snaps as a safety and secure another interception. The veteran cornerback saw a handful of opportunities at the new position against Jacksonville, and head coach John Harbaugh and defensive coordinator Dean Pees like his range and ball skills in that spot. It would be even more interesting to see the Ravens work Terrence Brooks into the mix and use him and Webb interchangeably between safety and the nickel spot in passing situations. The new look will result in Webb picking off a pass for the second straight week against the worst passing game in the league.

2. Todd Gurley will remind us why he’s the next big thing at the running back position. With Case Keenum taking over for the benched Nick Foles at quarterback and winds that could approach 20 miles per hour on Sunday, the Rams figure to ride their rookie running back, who is averaging 5.5 yards per carry. He’ll approach his career high of 30 carries and eclipse the century mark with a touchdown on the ground against a good Baltimore run defense that has given up just 3.8 yards per attempt. Gurley once lived in Baltimore and rooted for the Ravens, so it will be a nice homecoming.

3. John Urschel will hold up respectably in his first NFL start at center. With left guard Kelechi Osemele likely departing via free agency this offseason, Urschel figures to step into a permanent starting role next season, but he’ll be filling in for the injured Jeremy Zuttah for the rest of 2015. It won’t be an easy task blocking 2014 Defensive Rookie of the Year Aaron Donald, but Urschel proved his worth as a blocker filling in late last season. He won’t shut Donald down completely, but there won’t be much drop-off from Zuttah and he’ll quell concerns about his shaky shotgun snaps from Week 8.

4. Keenum will make some plays as a passer while still looking like a backup. Yes, the 27-year-old quarterback played against the Ravens last year in an embarrassing defeat at Houston, but Keenum only completed 47.6 percent of his passes in that game. With Kenny Britt and Tavon Austin as pass-catching weapons, Keenum will be able to make some throws, but this is a very poor passing game that hasn’t been able to sustain drives all season. Rams offensive coordinator Frank Cignetti will rely on the running game, but Keenum will commit two turnovers to go along with his 160 passing yards.

5. The Ravens defense will be the difference in a 17-16 win for Baltimore. The long touchdown to Malcom Floyd in Week 8 and a heartbreaking ending last week have masked the fact that Pees’ unit has played better in recent weeks, and that improvement will continue against a bad offense now turning to its backup quarterback. Joe Flacco and the Ravens offense won’t be able to consistently march up and down the field against a talented Rams front seven, but they’ll do enough to narrowly pull out a victory in what looks like another coin-flip game between two disappointing teams.

Comments (0)


Tags: , , , , , ,

St. Louis defensive end Quinn out for Sunday’s game

Posted on 21 November 2015 by Luke Jones

Dealing with health concerns on their offensive line, the Ravens learned that they won’t be facing one of the best defensive ends in the NFL on Sunday as Robert Quinn was downgraded to out.

The St. Louis Rams originally designated Quinn as questionable after he returned to practice on a limited basis on Friday. The two-time Pro Bowl selection was limited to just 14 snaps due to hip and back issues against Chicago last week.

Since the start of the 2012 season, Quinn has collected 45 sacks to become one of the best edge rushers in the NFL. In eight games this season, the 6-foot-4, 264-pound defensive end has five sacks and three forced fumbles.

Making matters worse for the Rams is the uncertain status of defensive end Chris Long, who is questionable after only returning to practice this week from a broken bone in his knee. Long hasn’t played since Oct. 11, meaning St. Louis could be without both starting defensive ends if he isn’t quite ready to return to live-game action.

Having already lost starting center Jeremy Zuttah for the season earlier this week, the Ravens listed starting left guard Kelechi Osemele as questionable for Sunday’s game. He missed practices on Wednesday and Friday due to a knee issue.

As head coach John Harbaugh indicated on Friday, the Ravens will wait another week to activate defensive end Brent Urban from injured reserve with the designation to return as Saturday’s 4 p.m. deadline passed without the 2014 fourth-round pick being elevated to the 53-man roster.

Comments (0)

Screen Shot 2015-11-20 at 3.49.50 PM

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Osemele listed as questionable with knee injury

Posted on 20 November 2015 by Luke Jones

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Facing one of the most talented defensive fronts in the NFL, the Ravens officially listed starting left guard Kelechi Osemele as questionable to play against St. Louis on Sunday.

Battling through a knee injury that kept him out of Wednesday’s practice, Osemele was a full participant on Thursday — leading most to believe his game status was not in jeopardy — before once again failing to participate in the final workout of the week. The fourth-year guard played every offensive snap of the Week 10 loss to Jacksonville, but he would likely be replaced by 2013 sixth-round pick Ryan Jensen if he would not be able to go against the Rams.

Rookie tight end Nick Boyle was listed as doubtful as he continues to wear a walking boot on his left foot. The recently-signed Chase Ford could serve as the Ravens’ third tight end on game day behind starter Crockett Gillmore and rookie Maxx Williams.

Linebacker Elvis Dumervil (knee) is probable to play after practicing fully on Thursday and Friday.

Second-year defensive end Brent Urban completed his second full week of practice, but head coach John Harbaugh did not make it clear whether he was a candidate to be activated from injured reserve with the designation to return ahead of Sunday’s game with the Rams. Urban began a 21-day practice window on Nov. 9 and would need to be moved to the 53-man roster by 4 p.m. on Saturday in order to play in Week 11.

“He has practiced well. We haven’t seen any ill effects from the biceps [injury] at all,” Harbaugh said. “We’ll see where that goes next week. I think next week is when we have to determine it, but I’m pretty optimistic that he can help us right now. Ozzie [Newsome] and I haven’t talked about it in any kind of detail yet, but I feel very positive about Brent’s progress.”

Meanwhile, St. Louis listed starting right tackle and Linganore High product Rob Haventstein as doubtful to play with a calf injury. Standout defensive ends Chris Long (knee) and Robert Quinn (hip) were designated as questionable.

Baltimore made two practice squad additions on Friday, signing cornerback Jumal Rolle and offensive lineman Blaine Clausell and cutting safety Nick Perry and offensive lineman Marcel Jones. Harbaugh said the Ravens still “have plans” for Perry in the future.

Second-year offensive lineman John Urschel is set to make his first career start at center on Sunday after Jeremy Zuttah (pectoral) was placed on IR earlier this week. The former fifth-round pick will face a challenging interior front that includes 2014 Defensive Rookie of the Year Aaron Donald.

“John looked fine,” Harbaugh said. “He has been practicing there from Day 1, so it’s not new for us to have him in there. It’ll be fun to watch him play and see how he does. We believe he’s ready. He has a good task in there against the two good defensive tackles that they play with, and we’re expecting him to play well.”

The referee for Sunday’s game will be Tony Corrente.

According to Weather.com, the forecast for Sunday’s game calls for partly cloudy skies and temperatures only reaching the high 40s. Wind could also be a factor with potential gusts exceeding 20 miles per hour, which could presumably pose a challenge to an opponent accustomed to playing in a dome.

“They’re probably happy; they’re running the ball,” said Harbaugh, referring to the Rams’ fifth-ranked rush offense. “I don’t think it’s going to make a bit of difference — the weather — or anything like that.”

Below is the final injury report of the week:

DOUBTFUL: TE Nick Boyle (foot)
QUESTIONABLE: G Kelechi Osemele (knee)
PROBABLE: LB Elvis Dumervil (knee), DE Chris Canty (non-injury), LB Daryl Smith (non-injury)

DOUBTFUL: T Rob Havenstein (calf)
QUESTIONABLE: TE Justice Cunningham (finger), DE Chris Long (knee), DE Robert Quinn (hip)
PROBABLE: C Tim Barnes (concussion)

Comments (0)

Screen Shot 2015-11-19 at 8.38.16 PM

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Rookie tight end Boyle only real injury concern for Ravens

Posted on 19 November 2015 by Luke Jones

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Rookie tight end Nick Boyle was the only player missing from Thursday’s practice due to health reasons as the Ravens moved closer to their Week 11 meeting with St. Louis.

The fifth-round pick continues to wear a walking boot on his left foot after missing his second straight practice. Baltimore signed tight end Chase Ford off the Minnesota practice squad earlier this week, which would appear to indicate that Boyle is in danger of missing his first game of the season.

Baltimore welcomed left guard Kelechi Osemele and outside linebacker Elvis Dumervil back to practice after both sat out with knee ailments on Wednesday. Osemele and Dumervil were both listed as full participants, leaving little doubt about their availability for Sunday’s game.

Linebacker Daryl Smith and defensive end Chris Canty both received veteran days off as they regularly do on Thursdays.

For St. Louis, two-time Pro Bowl defensive end Robert Quinn was again listed as a non-participant with a hip issue while starting right tackle Rob Havenstein continues to deal with a calf injury. The Rams did not practice on Thursday, meaning their injury report was only an estimation if they had.

Below is Thursday’s full injury report:

DID NOT PARTICIPATE: TE Nick Boyle (foot), DE Chris Canty (non-injury), LB Elvis Dumervil (non-injury)
FULL PARTICIPATION: LB Elvis Dumervil (knee), G Kelechi Osemele (knee)

DID NOT PARTICIPATE: OT Rob Havenstein (calf), DE Robert Quinn (hip)
FULL PARTICIPATION: C Tim Barnes (concussion), DE Chris Long (knee)

Comments (0)


Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Dumervil, Osmele, Boyle absent from Wednesday’s practice

Posted on 18 November 2015 by Luke Jones

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Making preparations for Sunday’s meeting with the St. Louis Rams, the Ravens were without a starter on each side of the ball during Wednesday’s practice.

Outside linebacker Elvis Dumervil and left guard Kelechi Osemele were both absent from the workout with respective knee ailments. Neither player appeared to be limited in the Week 10 loss to Jacksonville as Dumervil played 58 of 74 defensive snaps while Osemele did not miss a single offensive snap.

Speaking to reporters after Wednesday’s practice, Dumervil downplayed the significance of his absence.

Rookie tight end Nick Boyle’s absence from Wednesday’s practice appeared more serious as he was wearing a walking boot on his left foot in the locker room. The Ravens signed tight end Chase Ford to the 53-man roster on Tuesday, perhaps an indication that Boyle is in danger of missing some action.

As expected, John Urschel worked as the starting center during the portion of practice open to media after veteran Jeremy Zuttah was placed on injured reserve earlier in the day. The second-year lineman expressed confidence in his shotgun snaps after he had difficulty when filling in for Zuttah against San Diego in Week 8.

Urschel says he’s received pointers from long snapper Morgan Cox in addition to spending extra time working with offensive line coach Juan Castillo.

“It’s something I work on every day, shotgun snapping,” Urschel said. “I work to get better at it. I am improving. We’ve changed my mechanics some. I’ve gotten some help from Morgan; he’s been helping me with that. That is what he does, so he’s a good person to talk to.”

The Rams were without starting right tackle Rob Havenstein (calf) and starting defensive end Robert Quinn (hip) during Wednesday’s practice.

Below is the first full injury report of the week:

DID NOT PARTICIPATE: TE Nick Boyle (foot), LB Elvis Dumervil (knee), G Kelechi Osemele (knee)

DID NOT PARTICIPATE: OT Rob Havenstein (calf), DE Robert Quinn (hip)
LIMITED PARTICIPATION: C Tim Barnes (concussion)

Comments (0)


Tags: , , , ,

Maurice Drummond talks all things St. Louis Rams

Posted on 18 November 2015 by WNST Staff









Comments (0)


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

Harbaugh critical of Ross, Jackson for mistakes in Sunday’s loss

Posted on 16 November 2015 by Luke Jones

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — On Monday, Ravens coach John Harbaugh dissected plenty that went wrong in the 22-20 loss to Jacksonville, but the criticism was particularly strong for special-teams players Jeremy Ross and Asa Jackson.

Ross’ fumbled punt early in the fourth quarter led to a go-ahead touchdown for Jacksonville and was the return specialist’s second lost fumble in the last three games. It was Baltimore’s fourth turnover of the second half after quarterback Joe Flacco threw two interceptions and fumbled in the third quarter.

“The muffed punt killed us. It was one of the four turnovers that shouldn’t happen,” said Harbaugh, who acknowledged that the Ravens will need to decide whether to replace Ross at punt returner. “It wasn’t an easy catch. The ball was moving from left to right and behind him, but it’s still a catch that you have to make in that situation for sure.”

Harbaugh’s words were even more critical for Jackson, who cost the Ravens a combined 30 yards in penalties on a low block in the first quarter and an unnecessary roughness foul in the third period. Jackson committed another unnecessary roughness penalty against Arizona in Week 7.

It’s clear the lack of discipline is wearing thin on the Baltimore coach after Jackson was already waived once at the end of the preseason for ball security issues in the return game.

“There’s no place for that,” Harbaugh said. “There’s absolutely no reason to leave your feet [on the first penalty]. I don’t care if you are slipping or not. You might be slipping, but if you are out of position to make the block, you don’t make that block, and you certainly don’t throw yourself back into a guy’s legs on a kickoff return. That’s blatantly illegal. And then blocking a guy after the ball is down and dead — that’s just foolish. That’s what we call a foolish penalty.

“For one guy to have three personal foul penalties in a season — in a career, let alone a season — let alone two in a game, is unacceptable.”

Webb at safety

Defensive coordinator Dean Pees revealed several new wrinkles after the bye week with the most interesting being cornerback Lardarius Webb lining up at safety for a number of plays in the nickel package.

Webb and starting free safety Kendrick Lewis swapped positions several times, often waiting until right before the snap in an effort to confuse Jacksonville quarterback Blake Bortles. The seventh-year defensive back also secured Baltimore’s first takeaway since Week 3 with a second-quarter interception while playing cornerback.

“We felt like he could be a factor in the back end, as far as chasing balls and being a ball hawk, and he may be kind of a natural that way,” Harbaugh said. “We tried him there on Tuesday and Wednesday of the bye week; he looked good.

“We built a couple packages for him, and we were able to play him at three different spots at least throughout the course of the game. They had a tougher time knowing where he was going to be, and I really think that’s something we can build on going forward.”

Arthur Brown sighting

All but forgotten as the Ravens’ 2013 second-round pick, inside linebacker Arthur Brown saw his first defensive snaps since the end of his rookie season on Sunday.

Brown was part of the nickel package for eight plays, but he did not register a defensive statistic. The Kansas State product was active for each of the first eight games of 2015 while only seeing action on special teams.

“He played fast and was excited to be out there,” Harbaugh said. “He ran to the ball, made a couple plays — nothing spectacular, but nothing that made you concerned, either. He had done a really good job in practice, and Arthur deserved a little more playing time. He did well with it.”

Urban could return this week

Starting his second week of practice, second-year defensive end Brent Urban is moving closer to making his NFL debut and could be activated in time to play St. Louis on Sunday.

“There’s a chance,” Harbaugh said. “It’s not something we’ve talked about yet, but I think physically — based on what I’ve seen physically — he’s ready to go. But again, we’ll talk about this week as we go.”

Urban was placed on injured reserve with the designation to return at the start of the season after suffering a torn biceps in early August.

Comments (0)