Tag Archive | "Terrence Cody"

Harbaugh disappointed with Ravens’ involvement in party bus incident

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Harbaugh disappointed with Ravens’ involvement in party bus incident

Posted on 23 September 2013 by Luke Jones

(This blog brought to you by Atlantic Remodeling. Visit www.atlanticremodeling.com to learn about their Red Cent Guarantee!)

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Ravens coach John Harbaugh confirmed that wide receiver Jacoby Jones did not sustain any serious injury in an altercation involving a party bus early Monday morning, but that doesn’t mean the coach was happy either.

After reportedly being struck in the head with a bottle when a fight broke out during left tackle Bryant McKinnie’s birthday celebration in Washington, D.C., Jones was back at the team’s Owings Mills facility as he continues to rehab the MCL sprain he suffered in the season opener on Sept. 5.

“As far as him, he’s fine,” Harbaugh said. “He went through everything today that he was supposed to go through. He didn’t miss anything.”

The Ravens coach, however, expressed disappointment over the incident as several other players are believed to have attended the birthday celebration. Harbaugh was unaware of any further investigation being done on the incident after no arrests were made early Monday morning, but he wasn’t pleased to see the organization painted in a negative light upon learning of the incident that morning.

Harbaugh said he spoke to the individual players involved as well as the entire team about the altercation.

“I’m not very impressed, personally, with the report,” Harbaugh said. “It’s not something we want to be known for. I’d like to think it’s not something those guys would want to be known for. It’s nothing to be proud of, so it’s kind of disappointing in that sense.”

For the time being, it appears that no disciplinary action will be taken against Jones, McKinnie, or any other players involved in the incident, but Harbaugh used the altercation as a teachable moment in reminding players about the potential dangers of being in a public setting late at night.

Harbaugh mentioned the familiar advice given to many young people by their parents.

“Of course we’re going to have conversations and we’ve had conversations about that and other things,” said Harbaugh, referencing the motto of nothing good ever happening after midnight. “We’ll probably keep that between us and address that with the team. What do you want to be known for? Do you want to be known as a football player or do you want to be known for that? I don’t think that’s anything to be proud of.”

 Rice, Canty “in the ballpark” to return this week

Harbaugh expressed optimism that running back Ray Rice and defensive end Chris Canty could return for Sunday’s game in Buffalo after both were sidelined for Week 3.

Rice continues to work his way back to full strength after suffering a left hip flexor strain while Canty is dealing with a groin injury. The Ravens will see how each progresses over the course of the week, but Harbaugh wouldn’t describe how much of a chance each would have to play against the Bills.

“I don’t know about the ‘good’ or ‘great’ or whatever, but [Rice] was close this week to a degree,” Harbaugh said. “So was Chris. With those muscle [strains], you never know for sure, but they were in the ballpark this week and we think that will really put them in the ballpark coming up.”

Meanwhile, reserve nose tackle Terrence Cody is likely out for Week 4 after suffering a left knee sprain in the first quarter of Sunday’s win over the Houston Texans.

The good news is the Ravens could get rookie defensive tackle Brandon Williams back this week after he practiced on a limited basis for the first time since suffering a toe injury in the preseason finale on Aug. 29.

“I think it’d be a stretch to expect [Cody] back this week,” Harbaugh said. “We’re going to try, but more likely it will be after this week coming up.”

Standing pat at running back for now

With Rice sidelined and third-string running back Shaun Draughn suffering a high ankle sprain in Sunday’s win, the Ravens could be in the market for another running back depending on how the week goes.

Rookie Jonas Gray is currently on the practice squad and the Ravens could always bring back third-year veteran Anthony Allen, who was with the team this preseason and is very familiar with the offensive system after two seasons with the organization.

“I think right now we’re in a wait-and-see mode,” Harbaugh said. “There’s no imminent move as far as a running back goes because we feel those guys’ injuries are something we can deal with. We’re always looking for a good player, too.”

 

Comments (0)

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Ravens take another injury hit to defensive line

Posted on 22 September 2013 by Luke Jones

(This blog brought to you by Atlantic Remodeling. Visit www.atlanticremodeling.com to learn about their Red Cent Guarantee!)

BALTIMORE — The Ravens sustained another blow to their defensive line in Sunday’s win over Houston as backup nose tackle Terrence Cody left the game with a knee injury in the first half and didn’t return.

The fourth-year defensive lineman injured his left knee in the first quarter before being taken to the locker room. His absence left the Ravens with only one healthy reserve defensive lineman — second-year end DeAngelo Tyson — since veteran Marcus Spears was already filling in for the injured Chris Canty and rookie Brandon Williams was also inactive.

Coach John Harbaugh acknowledged that Cody could be sidelined for a while, but he appeared to avoid a long-term injury. Outside linebackers Pernell McPhee and Courtney Upshaw saw time along the defensive line with the Ravens shorthanded for much of the game.

“It does not look to be a long-term sprain,” Harbaugh said. “We’ll know more [Monday]. It could be a week, but more likely, it will be a couple weeks. We’ll see.”

Backup running back Shaun Draughn suffered a high ankle sprain and reserve linebacker and special-teams contributor Albert McClellan sustained a minor hip injury, according to Harbaugh.

The Ravens are already dealing with a plethora of injuries as all seven players — including Pro Bowl running back Ray Rice — were deactivated for Sunday’s game due to health reasons.

Comments (1)

Ravens-Falcons preseason primer: Five players to watch

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

Ravens-Falcons preseason primer: Five players to watch

Posted on 14 August 2013 by Luke Jones

(This blog brought to you by Atlantic Remodeling. Visit www.atlanticremodeling.com to learn about their Red Cent Guarantee!)

Looking to build on an uneven performance from their starting units in the preseason opener, the Ravens return to M&T Bank Stadium for their first live-game action at home since last season in hosting the Atlanta Falcons on Thursday night.

Though starters won’t see their most extensive action until next week against Carolina, the first-team units will likely play deep into the second quarter before giving way to backups.

“It will be somewhere in that neighborhood,” coach John Harbaugh said. “Usually the second preseason game is a half, but again, like we say every time we play a preseason game, it will depend on different guys. Different guys will be on different plans, so it’s hard to say exactly.”

The second preseason game is often the best opportunity for younger players to make their biggest impression with the coaching staff since starters often play into the third quarter in the third preseason game. As a result, many rookies and backups won’t receive as many live-game reps again until the fourth preseason game after most 53-man roster decisions have already been made internally.

With veteran additions being made at wide receiver and tight end over the last week, fringe players at those positions find themselves in a precarious position trying to stand out despite the reality of there now being one or two fewer roster spots available to win.

“If you play well enough, you’re going to make it,” Harbaugh said. “And if you play well enough and you don’t make it here, you’ll make it somewhere else. It’s really more of a competition against yourself and how well you can play and how good you can get and then see what happens. That other stuff is pretty much out of their control, and I think they understand that.”

The Ravens and Falcons will meet in the preseason for the 10th time as Baltimore holds a 6-3 record. The two teams are tied 2-2 in the all-time regular-season series as Atlanta won the most recent meeting in 2010.

After last week’s 44-16 win over the Buccaneers, the Ravens are now 41-27 all-time in the preseason and 14-7 in the Harbaugh era. Baltimore has now won 13 of its last 17 preseason games and has produced seven wins in the last eight preseason contests played at M&T Bank Stadium.

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. Cornerback Lardarius Webb is not expected to play as he continues to increase his level of activity in 11-on-11 sessions during practices. Pro Bowl guard Marshal Yanda just returned to the practice field on Monday on a limited basis but could take part in the third preseason game of the summer.

Newly-signed tight end Dallas Clark is not expected to play against the Falcons while veteran wide receiver Brandon Stokley could see some very limited action as each player tries to learn offensive coordinator Jim Caldwell’s system. Both are good bets to receive extensive action in next week’s nationally-televised game against the Panthers.

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

OUT: TE Ed Dickson (hamstring), WR Deonte Thompson (foot), G Marshal Yanda (shoulder), LB Jameel McClain (neck), OL Ryan Jensen (foot), DE Kapron Lewis-Moore (knee), TE Dennis Pitta (hip)
DOUBTFUL: DT Marcus Spears (hamstring), CB Lardarius Webb (knee), CB Chris Johnson (undisclosed)
QUESTIONABLE: OL Ramon Harewood (knee), LB Bryan Hall (hamstring), WR Marlon Brown (undisclosed)
PROBABLE: WR David Reed (groin), S James Ihedigbo (neck), CB Chykie Brown (undisclosed)

Five players to watch Thursday night

1. WR Tandon Doss

With Stokley still in the process of picking up the offensive system, Doss must show the coaching staff that he can be a viable option working out of the slot after a disappointing performance in the preseason opener. It’s largely been a quiet summer for the third-year receiver who has a reputation for good hands and running crisp routes in practice.

Next week, you would expect the Ravens to take long looks at both Stokley and Clark working the middle of the field in the passing game, meaning Doss has a critical opportunity against the Falcons to show he can be more than just an afterthought offensively. It’s time for Doss to show why the Ravens thought highly enough of him to draft him in the fourth round of the 2011 draft.

2. DT Terrence Cody

The fourth-year defensive lineman has been maligned for much of his run in Baltimore, but Cody has received positive reviews from the coaching staff this summer as he’s finally healthy after offseason hip and elbow surgeries. His roster standing appears to be safer now than it was at the start of camp, but he’s fighting for playing time in what’s shaping up to be a crowded defensive line rotation.

Cody may never live up to his original second-round billing, but the Ravens need a strong option to back up Haloti Ngata at nose tackle, which will allow defensive coordinator Dean Pees to be more creative in moving the Pro Bowl defensive tackle around when warranted. There’s no reason why Cody can’t feast against the Falcons’ second-team offense and further impress the coaching staff as he enters the final year of his rookie contract.

3. LB Courtney Upshaw

Many have been surprised to see Upshaw work so extensively with the starting defense — and ahead of pass-rush standout Elvis Dumervil — but all you have to do is focus on his ability against the run to see why the Ravens are high on him. He has shed the excess weight he was carrying in the spring and looks to be carving out his spot as the starting strongside outside linebacker who will play against offensively-balanced teams in early-down situations.

Upshaw’s ability against the run allows Pees to be more judicious in how he uses both Dumervil and starting rush linebacker Terrell Suggs, which will hopefully keep both veterans fresher over the course of games and the entire season. He doesn’t offer much as a pass rusher, but Upshaw will factor heavily in what the Ravens expect to be a stout run defense.

4. LB Arthur Brown

Brown’s athleticism and ability in pass coverage have been impressive, but he just doesn’t look the part of a three-down linebacker right now with his 235-pound frame, which is probably a generous listing. That said, Brown will serve an important role as a nickel linebacker spelling Josh Bynes in passing situations.

The second-round pick may not become a full-time starter until he can benefit from a full offseason to put on 10 pounds of muscle, but the Ravens struggled to cover tight ends over the short-to-intermediate middle portion of the field over the last few years and Brown can be a major boost in that department. Brown has a bright future, but he has a lot of work to do in order to close the gap between him and Bynes for the starting weakside inside linebacker spot next to veteran Daryl Smith.

5. TE Matt Furstenburg

Furstenburg is just one of several young players who are feeling the effects of the recent veteran signings as he now trails Ed Dickson, Visanthe Shiancoe, and Clark and is battling veteran Billy Bajema for the fourth spot on the depth chart. The Maryland product’s most realistic destination is the practice squad at this rate, but he will have an opportunity to distinguish himself Thursday like Doss and the other young wide receivers fighting for playing time and roster spots.

A factor that many will overlook in the tight end battle is blocking and neither Shiancoe nor Clark are particularly strong in that department. Of course, much will depend on the status of Dickson’s injured hamstring in a couple weeks, but there could be a potential spot available to Bajema or Furstenburg if their blocking ability proves to be a necessary asset.

Comments (0)

Tags: , , , , ,

Rice, D. Smith, Cody return to practice on Tuesday

Posted on 06 August 2013 by Luke Jones

(This blog brought to you by Atlantic Remodeling. Visit www.atlanticremodeling.com to learn about their Red Cent Guarantee!)

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — The Ravens conducted their final open practice Tuesday before their preseason opener against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and saw three players return to the practice field.

Pro Bowl running back Ray Rice was present and working after leaving the field for the final 20 minutes of Monday’s practice with what was described as a turned ankle by coach John Harbaugh. Inside linebacker Daryl Smith and defensive tackle Terrence Cody were both practicing after receiving a day off on Monday from the Baltimore coach.

Players absent from the field Tuesday included tight ends Ed Dickson (hamstring) and Dennis Pitta (hip), wide receiver David Reed (groin), guard Marshal Yanda (shoulder), offensive lineman Ryan Jensen (foot), defensive end Kapron Lewis-Moore (knee), linebacker Jameel McClain (neck), and defensive backs Chris Johnson and Omar Brown.

Johnson was believed to be one of the veterans receiving a day off on Monday but wasn’t present for the special-teams portion of practice. Brown left the field early with an undisclosed injury on Monday and didn’t return. Harbaugh wouldn’t specify their injuries following Tuesday’s practice, only describing them as minor injuries that were day to day.

Dickson is out for at least a week after suffering a slight hamstring tear during Sunday’s practice in Annapolis, according to Harbaugh.

Yanda and McClain remain on the physically unable to perform list while Lewis-Moore is on the non-football injury list as he continues to rehab his surgically-repaired knee that was injured in the BCS title game when he was a member of Notre Dame’s starting defensive line.

Though he’s yet to be placed on season-ending injured reserve, Pitta has been sidelined since July 27 with a dislocated hip that required surgery and is expected to miss the entire season.

Comments (0)

Ravens tight end Dickson out “week or so” with slight hamstring tear

Tags: , , , , , ,

Ravens tight end Dickson out “week or so” with slight hamstring tear

Posted on 05 August 2013 by Luke Jones

(This blog brought to you by Atlantic Remodeling. Visit www.atlanticremodeling.com to learn about their Red Cent Guarantee!)

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Already reeling from the season-ending injury to starting tight end Dennis Pitta less than two weeks ago, the Ravens received additional concerning news at the position on Monday.

After leaving Sunday’s practice with a hamstring strain in Annapolis on Sunday, tight end Ed Dickson underwent an MRI and will be sidelined for at least Thursday’s preseason opener against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and potentially longer. However, coach John Harbaugh expressed confidence that Dickson will be ready to return to the practice field well before the regular-season opener against the Denver Broncos on Sept. 5.

“There’s a little tear in there, so we’re going to hold him back for a week or so and we’ll see where we’re at,” Harbaugh said. “We’re going to try to get him healthy. It’s going to be a matter of time, but it’s not going to be a long time.”

Dickson was sidelined for most of last year’s preseason after suffering a shoulder injury in the first preseason game. That slow start was followed by a disappointing season in which Dickson made only 21 catches for 225 yards and no touchdowns in the regular season. Since Pitta is expected to be sidelined for the entire year with a dislocated and fractured hip that required surgery, the Ravens are expected to feature Dickson prominently in their passing offense.

The fourth-year tight end had turned in a tremendous training camp, showing consistent hands and sometimes lining up in the slot before injuring the hamstring at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium during the first open practice of the summer. As much as the Ravens would like to have him available, they will surely exercise caution to prevent a potential setback for the 2010 third-round pick.

Dickson’s absence has led to newly-signed veteran Visanthe Shiancoe to take most of the reps with the first-team offense with veteran Billy Bajema, rookie Matt Furstenburg, and 2012 practice-squad member Alex Silvestro working behind him. Rookie fullback Kyle Juszczyk is also being considered for more action at the tight end position.

The Ravens do not plan to make any additions at the tight end spot in the immediate future, but that could change depending how the current healthy tight ends on the preseason roster perform on Thursday. The 33-year-old Shiancoe is expected to start, but the veteran is just now getting up to speed with offensive coordinator Jim Caldwell’s system.

“We have enough tight ends for Thursday for sure,” Harbaugh said. “We’ll be fine. We [might] have to address it there, depending on how we get out of that game.”

Linebacker Daryl Smith, defensive tackle Terrence Cody, and cornerback Chris Johnson joined Dickson as new absentees from practice, but they were just receiving a day off from practice, according to Harbaugh. Both Smith and Cody were available for post-practice interviews on Sunday and weren’t dealing with any apparent injuries.

Safety James Ihedigbo returned to the practice field after coach John Harbaugh gave the veteran a day off to rest a neck issue he’s dealt with during training camp. His absence was considered precautionary as he continues to battle rookie Matt Elam for the starting strong safety job.

Others not participating on Monday included guard Marshal Yanda (shoulder), wide receiver David Reed (groin), linebacker Jameel McClain (neck), offensive lineman Ryan Jensen (foot), defensive end Kapron Lewis-Moore (knee), and tight end Dennis Pitta (hip).

Running back Ray Rice left practice roughly 20 minutes early after turning his ankle, but the injury isn’t considered a concern, according to Harbaugh. The sixth-year back appeared to be receiving a light day in terms of reps throughout the course of the workout.

Offensive lineman Ramon Harewood was practicing for the second straight day after missing a week due to swelling in his knee that required an injection.

Camp highlights from Monday

The Ravens appeared out of sync early during the afternoon practice, committing several penalties and even having issues with some players lining up incorrectly.

At one point with the second-team defense on the field, defensive coordinator Dean Pees expressed his frustration by shouting, “We aren’t going to be out there Thursday to line you up!”

Wide receivers Deonte Thompson and Aaron Mellette are beginning to look more comfortable over the last few days of practice. Thompson is receiving extensive reps with the first-team offense in both the three-wide set and some two-wide formations. Meanwhile, the seventh-round rookie Mellette is working more and more with the second-team offense after beginning camp at the bottom of the depth chart and working with the third unit.

Gino Gradkowski and A.Q. Shipley continue to split playing time at the center position with the starting offense, but Shipley provided one of the highlight blocks of the day in stopping blitzing inside lineback Josh Bynes in his tracks during an 11-on-11 team drill. Bynes went to the ground and appeared to temporarily be stunned until he went back to the defensive huddle and continued practicing.

Cornerback Corey Graham had a highlight interception return off a pass that bounced off the hands of wide receiver Tandon Doss, who was trying to rein in an errant pass from quarterback Joe Flacco.

Harbaugh on the late Art Donovan

Less than 24 hours after the death of Baltimore Colts legend Art Donovan, Harbaugh shared a story of the first time his father was able to meet the Hall of Fame defensive tackle four years ago and expressed his sadness of the loss of a civic legend.

Senior vice president of public and community relations Kevin Byrne took Jack Harbaugh to an alumni dinner to meet Donovan, who was drinking his customary favorite beverage at the event.

“He had a bucket of Schlitz on ice there,” Harbaugh said. “My dad knows Schlitz real well from his days in Crestline, Ohio. He’s familiar with Schlitz. My grandpa drinks Stroh’s, so that’s a good combination -– Schlitz and Stroh’s –- especially if you want a headache in the morning. They drank Schlitz [beers] all night. Art was telling stories and my dad probably told a few stories, too. He can tell a story, too. And they really hit it off real well.

“[Donovan was a] great man, great Baltimore tradition, and he’ll live on in our hearts forever.”

The Ravens flew the flags at their Owings Mills practice facility at half-mast on Monday.

Comments (0)

McClain’s status still up in air at start of Ravens training camp

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

McClain’s status still up in air at start of Ravens training camp

Posted on 23 July 2013 by Luke Jones

(This blog brought to you by Atlantic Remodeling. Visit www.atlanticremodeling.com to learn about their Red Cent Guarantee!)

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Throughout the offseason, the Ravens expressed optimism that inside linebacker Jameel McClain would be ready to play by the start of training camp after suffering a bruised spinal cord that ended his 2012 season prematurely.

A day after the sixth-year linebacker was placed on the physically unable to perform list to begin camp, coach John Harbaugh acknowledged McClain hasn’t progressed as far as doctors anticipated he would by this time, leaving his status in question for the foreseeable future. McClain injured his neck in a loss to the Washington Redskins on Dec. 9 and was placed on injured reserve later in the month.

McClain will turn 28 later this week and was in attendance for most organized team activities in the spring, but was limited to individual work on the side and didn’t take part in team drills.

“Jameel is a tougher one to predict because he’s got the back issue. It’s a spinal cord issue,” Harbaugh said Tuesday on the first day of camp open to media. “So, that just has to heal. Until that heals and we have proof that it’s healed, he’s not going to be out there.”

The top candidates in the inside linebacker mix include second-round selection Arthur Brown, who is fully recovered from sports hernia surgery, and former Jaguars linebacker Daryl Smith, who was signed to a one-year deal in early June. Defensive coordinator Dean Pees said this spring that McClain would be a starter when healthy but with his slower-than-expected recovery, the Ravens must now look more closely at other options should he not be ready for the start of the season.

McClain started 44 of the 45 games he played over the last three seasons, so the Ravens are still hoping to take advantage of his experience after the retirement of future Hall of Famer Ray Lewis and the free-agent departure of Dannell Ellerbe.

“Doctors had anticipated he would be out there at this time,” Harbaugh said. “It’s a little slower than we had hoped. When he’s ready, he’ll be out there. He’s going to continue to take some more tests. He’ll take some more tests [Wednesday], and we’ll have more for you on that on Thursday.”

In addition to McClain, Pro Bowl guard Marshal Yanda was placed on the active PUP list to begin camp as he continues to rehabilitate his surgically-repaired shoulder. Harbaugh said Yanda is “doing great” and will be involved during individual periods and walk-throughs until he’s ready to return to the practice field on a full-time basis.

According to the Baltimore coach, no other players will be placed on the active PUP list due to health concerns, which is good news for cornerback Lardarius Webb after he took part in Tuesday’s practice in a limited role. The fifth-year defensive back worked on a limited basis throughout OTAs after working his way back from last October’s ACL surgery.

“We will bring him along as we see fit, but you saw him out there today,” Harbaugh said. “He’s doing well.”

Defensive tackles Haloti Ngata (knee) and Terrence Cody (hip surgery), linebacker Albert McClellan, and offensive lineman Antoine McClain took part in Tuesday’s practice to varying levels of participation, meaning each will avoid the PUP list after dealing with health concerns in the offseason.

Veteran tight end Ed Dickson was also present and working on Tuesday after he suffered a minor groin strain at the end of mandatory minicamp in mid-June.

Harbaugh didn’t express great concern over wide receiver Jacoby Jones failing the team’s mandatory conditioning test on Monday, but he wasn’t offering any justification for the veteran, who is expected to have the inside track on the starting job opposite Torrey Smith in the first-team offense. Jones will retake the test on Wednesday when the rest of the veterans report to Owings Mills.

“I won’t make any excuses for him,” Harbaugh said. “He should pass it, but he’s battling. We’ll see — it’s up to him. It’s his job to do. That’s the facts. Facts are stubborn things.”

Jones was placed on the non-football injury list on Monday, which is a designation that can be used for any player who fails the conditioning test as well as for those who suffer an injury away from team headquarters.

Tuesday’s practice was reserved for quarterbacks, rookies, and select veterans coming off injuries.

Elam heavier in wallet, lighter on feet

Fresh off officially signing his rookie contract earlier in the week, first-round safety Matt Elam acknowledged he saved “a lot of money” by not hiring an agent to help complete the four-year, $6.767 million contract that includes a team option for a fifth year.

Elam relied on his older brother Abe Elam, who has also played in the NFL, as well as others who offered advice, ranging from those closest to him to attorneys to various NFL players currently in the league. The University of Florida product stands to save roughly $200,000 over the length of the contract by passing on formal representation.

Due to the NFL’s slotting system for rookie contracts, most of the drama has been eliminated from post-draft negotiations after years of holdouts and record-setting deals for top picks.

“I felt like I built the team that helped me learn a lot of things about a contract,” said Elam, who was complimented by Harbaugh for the way he handled negotiations. “I knew all the language and everything about the contract.”

Though Elam gained extra money in his wallet, he elected to drop some weight before the start of training camp to be lighter on his feet as he adjusts to the speed of the NFL.

The 32nd overall pick told reporters he lost eight pounds over the summer and is playing at roughly 200 pounds to begin training camp.

“I just go out there and keep on improving to be the best I can be,” said Elam, who is expected to start at strong safety as a rookie. “People have high expectations for me. They want me to do great things, but I’ve got to live up to my own expectations.”

Flacco candid on first day of camp

CONTINUE ON NEXT PAGE >>>>>

Comments (0)

Ravens positional stock report entering training camp

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

Ravens positional stock report entering training camp

Posted on 19 July 2013 by Luke Jones

(This blog brought to you by Atlantic Remodeling. Visit www.atlanticremodeling.com to learn about their Red Cent Guarantee!)

With players beginning to report to Owings Mills by the end of the weekend and the first full-squad workout less than a week away, training camp signifies the official start of the Ravens’ marathon journey to defend their Super Bowl championship from a year ago.

Coach John Harbaugh will undoubtedly be eager to learn which players report in better shape — Courtney Upshaw, anyone? — and which ones with preexisting injury concerns — Lardarius Webb and Jameel McClain among others — are ready to return to the practice field.

With that in mind, the time for pondering the upcoming season is nearly over as I predict whose stock will rise and which players will fall during camp and the preseason. I’ve made two selections from each position group, with some units obviously being more intriguing than others to watch this summer.

On Friday’s edition of The D&L Window Tinting Morning Reaction, I provided a more extensive breakdown of the offensive units and defensive units and Drew Forrester offered his own choices. You can listen to those segments HERE and HERE.

QUARTERBACKS
Rising: Joe Flacco
Falling: Caleb Hanie
Tip: The Ravens will rely on their franchise quarterback more heavily than ever in terms of both play on the field and leadership off it as Flacco will be working with the least-experienced group of wideouts he’s seen over his six seasons. Meanwhile, Hanie is the latest contestant in fans’ annual game of “Who Will Unseat Tyrod Taylor as Backup Quarterback?” with which I haven’t been impressed.

RUNNING BACKS
Rising: Bernard Pierce
Falling: Ray Rice
Tip: These choices seem too obvious, but they are simply a product of the Ravens wanting to get Pierce more involved in the offense while keeping Rice fresh for the latter portion of the season. The veteran will remain the feature back and Pierce the change of pace, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Rice receives fewer carries than in past years while posting a career high in receptions this season.

WIDE RECEIVERS
Rising: Torrey Smith
Falling: Jacoby Jones
Tip: We’ve discussed the merits of such names as Tandon Doss and Deonte Thompson ad nauseam, but Smith becoming a receiver capable of making 70 or more receptions would be far more significant than predicting which other young receiver might make more than a token contribution on the field. Much has been made by Jones’ improved footwork from his time spent dancing this offseason, but I just don’t see him showing enough versatility to be an every-down receiver in the Baltimore offense.

TIGHT ENDS
Rising: Dennis Pitta
Falling: Billy Bajema
Tip: It will be fascinating to see how much offensive coordinator Jim Caldwell elects to use Pitta out of the slot and how that might impact his production as well as Ed Dickson as they approach unrestricted free agency next winter. Meanwhile, Bajema will have a tough time beating out Maryland product Matt Furstenburg and 2012 practice-squad member Alex Silvestro for the third tight end spot.

OFFENSIVE LINEMEN
Rising: Kelechi Osemele
Falling: Bryant McKinnie
Tip: Entering his second year and finally able to focus on the left guard position, Osemele has made the free-agent departure of Ben Grubbs a distant memory, hasn’t he? I don’t anticipate McKinnie having any real issues in terms of his work ethic or keeping his starting job, but many have glossed over the reality that he’ll turn 34 early in September and has never been a very strong run blocker, two realities that are likely to be exposed over a 16-game schedule.

DEFENSIVE LINEMEN
Rising: Chris Canty
Falling: Terrence Cody
Tip: One of the most overlooked aspects of the Ravens’ defensive struggles last season was the inability to find a suitable replacement for Cory Redding, which Canty will bring as an effective 5-technique player this season. Cody appears to be the easy choice in this unit after he was sidelined this spring while recovering from hip surgery and will be pushed by rookie nose tackle Brandon Williams in the defensive line rotation.

LINEBACKERS
Rising: Arthur Brown
Falling: Jameel McClain
Tip: With Brown expected to be 100 percent after undergoing sports hernia surgery this spring, he will have every chance to win one of the starting inside linebacker jobs. The Ravens and McClain have said all the right things in being optimistic that he’ll be cleared to play, but I remain skeptical until that day actually arrives and others such as veteran Daryl Smith and the emerging Josh Bynes will have the opportunity to close the gap in the meantime.

CORNERBACKS
Rising: Jimmy Smith
Falling: Chykie Brown
Tip: After two disappointing campaigns to begin his NFL career, Smith will finally start to show more consistency at the cornerback position and he’ll need it to unseat Corey Graham as a starter opposite Lardarius Webb. Brown will remain a strong special-teams player, but his opportunities in the nickel package will dwindle with Webb and Smith both healthy this year.

SAFETIES
Rising: Matt Elam
Falling: Christian Thompson
Tip: The first-round pick Elam may not be a Pro Bowl player, but his skills in pass coverage to go along with his physicality will be an upgrade over Bernard Pollard in the Baltimore secondary. It didn’t speak well for Thompson, a 2012 fourth-round pick, that the Ravens drafted a safety in the first round, re-signed James Ihedigbo, and signed veteran Michael Huff in the offseason and that’s not even taking into account his four-game suspension to start the season for violating the league’s substance-abuse policy.

Comments (0)

Tags: , , ,

Which Ravens Rookie Will Have the Biggest Impact in 2013?

Posted on 11 July 2013 by jeffreygilley

The Ravens aced the 2013 NFL Draft. They added many talented, hard working players to the team. Many of these talented rookies are competing for jobs and all of them may get a chance to see the field in 2013.

But let me start off by clarifying the usage of impact in the title. Impact, to me, does not mean projecting or looking at the stat sheet. One’s impact can reach far greater than the stat sheet. Doesn’t that sound like the job description of a nose tackle?

Enter Brandon Williams. Williams was drafted 94th overall in the 2013 draft and was brought to Baltimore to help improve the interior of the Ravens defense. The former Missouri Southern State Lion is a small school prospect who will compete with Terrence Cody for the starting nose tackle spot.

Cody had a rough 2012 season. He was consistently thrown around at the line of scrimmage and showed little power in the upper or lower body. As a result, the Ravens defense suffered immensely. The unit finished 17th in total defense but it seemed worse than that.

Ma’ake Kemoeatu was signed by the Ravens in the offseason and played well in stretches but was also pushed around on a routine basis. For a three-four defense to function properly, the nose tackle must eat up blockers at the line of scrimmage. Neither Cody or Kemoeatu were able to keep blockers off linebackers which in turn impacted the entire defense.

Brandon Williams may be a rookie but he is a better option than Cody at this point. There was been talk about using Haloti Ngata at nose tackle but Ngata’s real strength lies in his versatility to lineup anywhere along the line of scrimmage.

The thought of Brandon Williams and Haloti Ngata playing together is awesome. Together, they block out the sun and will be able to keep blockers off the Ravens young linebackers.

Sure, there are other rookies like Matt Elam and Arthur Brown who have the opportunity to start but the nose tackle position is what makes a three-four defense work. If the nose tackle struggles, the entire defense struggles.

Comments (0)

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

Baltimore Ravens 2013 Season Preview Part Three: Predicting the Biggest Positional Battles

Posted on 06 July 2013 by jeffreygilley

It’s no secret the Ravens are a different team. Starters that must be replaced include Carry Williams, Ed Reed, Ray Lewis, Dannell Ellerbe, Vonta Leach, and Anquan Boldin. Paul Kruger is also gone but he was more of a role player that rotated starts with rookie Courtney UpShaw.

The following are my projections for the most heated roster battles.

Receiver:

Torrey Smith is the only receiver guaranteed a starting spot. Jacoby Jones is a veteran but struggled in Houston when given a larger workload. Therefore, Jones will be competing with Tandon Doss, Deonte Thompson, Tommy Streeter, David Reed, and LaQuan Williams. So far, Thompson has made the most of offseason workouts. According to reports, he displays great hands and improved route running ability to go along with his blazing speed.

When the Ravens face the Broncos on Sept. 5, Jacoby Jones will start across from Torrey Smith. He is experienced and made plays when given the opportunity last season. The third receiver will be Danton Doss with Deonte Thompson winning the fourth receiver spot on the depth chart. Doss’s skill set translates well to the slot receiver position. His hands, physicality, and ability to get upfield after the catch will make him a nice weapon for Flacco.

Cornerback:

I am a huge Jimmy Smith fan. Smith has too much potential to be the Ravens nickel corner. If he can put everything together, he will be starting opposite Lardarius Webb. Corey Graham would then be the team’s nickel corner. Successfully defending two passes to Michael Crabtree towards the end of the Super Bowl will be positive plays for Smith to build upon.

Chykie Brown could be a sleeper to receive playing time this season. He showed promise last season and played frequently towards the end of the season.

Inside linebacker:

John Harbaugh and the Ravens have a lot of options at inside linebacker. Jameel McClain will likely start. Therefore, the competition really comes down to Arthur Brown and Darryl Smith. Brown was a second round selection in the 2013 draft and is projected to be a defensive rookie of the year candidate. But Smith brings experience and proven ability at inside linebacker. In the beginning of the season, I think Smith will start on running downs and Brown will play on passing downs. Brown has excellent coverage ability and when paired with McClain, they could make up a great duo in pass coverage.

Bryan Hall could also receive playing time pending the training camp competition. Hall played along the defensive line last season but is making the switch to inside linebacker. Hall could play in certain blitz packages but for the most part, will be a special teams player.

Nose tackle

After a solid 2011 season, many thought Mount Cody would break out in 2012. But Cody struggled. He was consistently pushed around and made little impact against teams with great running games. Ozzie Newsome has made an effort to improve the middle of the defense through the draft and free agency. Brandon Williams was drafted in the third round and Marcus Spears and Chris Canty were signed in free agency. Spears and Canty won’t play nose tackle but they will improve the middle of the defense.

I think Brandon Williams will win the starting job. Cody had hip surgery which could explain his poor play in 2012. If Cody can get healthy and play like he did in 2011, the Ravens will have a great rotation at nose tackle.

Center

Replacing Matt Birk will be difficult. Birk was a great leader and will be replaced by either Gino Gradkowski or AQ Shipley. Gradkowski was drafted out of Delaware in the fourth round of the 2012 draft. Gradkowski was projected to be the starter once Birk retired but Shipley played very well for the Colts last season. He played so well that he earned a plus 6.9 rating from Pro Football Focus.

Gradkowski is the early favorite but Shipley is a solid veteran that could start should Gradkowski struggle.

Comments (0)

Ten non-Flacco thoughts on Ravens’ offseason

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

Ten non-Flacco thoughts on Ravens’ offseason

Posted on 19 February 2013 by Luke Jones

With the Ravens about to enter the most critical contract negotiations in franchise history later this week at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis, it’s difficult not to be inundated with the Joe Flacco discussions as general manager Ozzie Newsome tries to lock up his franchise quarterback for the long haul.

Frankly, the talk has been overwhelming and I’m as guilty as anyone in fueling the Flacco fire — HERE, HERE, and even HERE — and what impact it will have on the rest of the offseason and even the future of the franchise.

With that in mind, I offer 10 offseason thoughts not related to “you know who” as we wait to see how negotiations play out:

1. The Ravens could be faced with the choice of overpaying Bryant McKinnie or enduring another season of Michael Oher at left tackle.
Both sides will explore other options, but it’s difficult to find a left tackle — who’s ready to play immediately, anyway — with no cap room and no draft choice higher than 32nd overall. McKinnie may also find a lukewarm market with his off-field baggage and questions over why the Ravens sat him for the entire regular season. If the Ravens deem McKinnie too expensive or too risky to sign, would they roll the dice in going with Oher at left tackle for another season and hoping they can find their left tackle of 2014 in the draft? It’s a dangerous proposition and the Ravens simply don’t have the resources to expect to find anyone better than McKinnie in free agency.

2. Regardless of how the tackle position shakes out, I’d like to see Kelechi Osemele remain at left guard next season. Lost in the shuffle of the offensive line shakeup to start the postseason was the stellar play of Osemele, who was seeing his first extensive time at left guard since the preseason. The Iowa State product played solidly at the right tackle position, but he showed the potential of being a Pro Bowl player on the interior line in four playoff games. At 6-foot-5 and 335 pounds, Osemele clearly has the size to hold up at right tackle, but he could be good enough to make everyone forget about Ben Grubbs at the left guard position. The combination of him and Marshal Yanda could be the best guard duo in the league sooner rather than later, so the Ravens would love to keep Osemele inside in a perfect world.

3. Nothing should be guaranteed to Jimmy Smith next season despite a strong rebound in the postseason.
It looked like a lost season for the 2011 first-round pick after ineffective play and sports hernia surgery dropped him to fourth on the depth chart late in the year, but Smith rebounded to play well in the postseason, including making critical plays on third and fourth down of the Ravens’ goal-line stand in the Super Bowl. His 6-foot-2 frame is the logical replacement for the likely-to-depart Cary Williams, but Smith will need to work his way up the depth chart by first beating out Chykie Brown for the No. 3 corner spot and then Corey Graham for a starting job. His postseason play proves the discussion about Smith being a bust was premature, but the time is now for Smith to prove the Ravens were wise to use a first-round pick on him.

4. This will be a big offseason for Terrence Cody, who is looking more like the second failed second-round pick of the 2010 draft. Outside linebacker Sergio Kindle has already parted ways with the Ravens and Cody might follow him sooner rather than later as the nose tackle enters the final year of his rookie contract. Newsome made it clear at the season-review press conference that the Ravens need to improve at defensive tackle and Cody struggled to get on the field as he competed with veteran Ma’ake Kemoeatu this season. Despite being listed at 341 pounds, Cody was often manhandled and made little impact in taking on blockers to allow linebackers to make plays against the run. The defensive lineman made only two tackles in the postseason and could find himself on the roster bubble should he go through the motions during training camp.

5. With all the discussion over the salary cap purge following the 2001 season, has everyone forgotten how quickly the Ravens returned to prominence after gutting their roster? I understand the line of thinking of both Newsome and owner Steve Bisciotti in saying they don’t want to mortgage the future solely to make an ill-advised effort to get back to the Super Bowl next season, but it’s not as though the Ravens fell off a cliff following their last purge. They went 7-9 as the youngest team in the NFL in 2002 and improved to 10-6 and captured their first AFC North title in 2003. It certainly helped that the Ravens had young versions of Ray Lewis and Ed Reed as well as offensive pillars in Jonathan Ogden and Jamal Lewis, but that group also had Kyle Boller and Anthony Wright playing quarterback. What’s the moral of the story? Organizations that draft well and stay true to their process for making personnel decisions won’t stay down for long in the NFL.

CONTINUE ON NEXT PAGE >>>>>

Comments (0)