Tag Archive | "trent richardson"

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Ravens cornerback Smith feeling “way better” than he did in 2015

Posted on 03 August 2016 by Luke Jones

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Ravens cornerback Jimmy Smith made it a point not to talk about his surgically-repaired right foot last season.

Despite starting all 16 games after missing the second half of 2014 with a Lisfranc injury and the subsequent surgery, Smith’s play fell off in 2015 as he ranked 77th among qualified NFL cornerbacks in Pro Football Focus’ grading system. Not wanting to make excuses last season but acknowledging he felt discomfort throughout the campaign, the 28-year-old had the surgical screws removed from his foot this spring in hopes that he will finally get back to being the player he was two years ago.

In 2015, Smith made 54 tackles, broke up 10 passes, and grabbed three interceptions — returning one for a touchdown in the 2015 season opener — but he struggled going up against the opposition’s No. 1 receiver on a weekly basis.

“I feel way better than I did last year,” said Smith, who signed a four-year, $41 million contract extension through the 2019 season last spring. “My foot is not even close to what it was last year. Now, it’s just getting back and knocking some rust off, but I feel good.”

Trying to rebound from a 5-11 season in which they set a single-season franchise low for interceptions with only six and ranked 27th in opponent passer rating, the Ravens are counting on Smith to bounce back in a major way. With pass rushers Terrell Suggs and Elvis Dumervil both on the wrong side of 30, Baltimore needs Smith as well as nose tackle Brandon Williams and inside linebacker C.J. Mosley to lead its next great defensive unit.

It’s been a quiet start to training camp for Smith, who missed spring workouts while recovering from the procedure and gave up a long touchdown to rookie Chris Moore on the second day of practice. The 2011 first-round pick has allowed some other completions here and there, but getting back to top form in time for the Sept. 11 opener is the primary goal.

Head coach John Harbaugh credited Smith’s determination in competing last season despite being at less than full strength and pointed out the unique challenge of playing the cornerback position where every mistake is magnified.

“It’s not like another position when you’re in the trenches and nobody sees it,” Harbaugh said. “For a corner not to be 100 percent — not to be as fast or as quick — is tough. That’s where we’ve got to get him to, and he’s working to get there. He’s 100 percent healthy. Now, if we can get all of the quickness, and the speed, and change of direction back to where it was, then we’ll have the Jimmy Smith that we all know.”

Harbaugh defends Richardson

The Ravens elected to move on from injured running back Trent Richardson on Tuesday, but Harbaugh went out of his way to defend the 2012 first-round pick, who has faced plenty of ridicule as his NFL career has fallen apart over the last few years.

“He’s definitely still on our radar. It’s amazing to me the vitriol and, really, the hate out there that people want to put out,” Harbaugh said. “All he’s done is come in here and work as hard as he can, and he’s got a [recovery from knee surgery], and we’re making a roster decision. He’s done nothing wrong. He’s still trying very hard. He’s just a young guy who’s trying his best to make it in this league. Because he was a top pick, I know that that definitely comes with more scrutiny.

“Certainly he understands that and he handles it really well, but he’s a good person, he wants to do well, and he’s a hard worker. There’s a possibility that sometime, someway, some fashion, he could come back here or somewhere else in the league.”

Of course, the Ravens frequently say they are leaving the door open for departed players to return in the future, but they currently have a 90-man roster with numerous individuals having no real chance of making the regular-season roster and still elected to let Richardson go.

Richardson went unclaimed off waivers on Wednesday.

Injury report

Twelve players currently on the 90-man roster did not practice on Wednesday including tight ends Dennis Pitta (finger) and Crockett Gillmore (hamstring), wide receiver Chris Moore (foot), defensive tackle Timmy Jernigan (ribs), cornerbacks Will Davis (undisclosed) and Maurice Canady (undisclosed), and running back Kenneth Dixon (knee).

Wide receivers Steve Smith (Achilles) and Breshad Perriman (knee), linebackers Terrell Suggs (Achilles) and Elvis Dumervil (foot), and running back Lorenzo Taliaferro (foot) remain on the active physically unable to perform list and have yet to practice during training camp.

Roster moves

With Dixon and Taliaferro still sidelined because of injuries, the Ravens were light at the running back position and signed Stephen Houston on Wednesday. The former undrafted free agent out of Indiana spent time with New England and Pittsburgh during training camp two years ago.

The Ravens waived left-footed punter Michael Palardy to make room on the roster.

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Ravens place six players on active PUP list to begin training camp

Posted on 23 July 2016 by Luke Jones

Set to open their 2016 training camp this coming week, the Ravens announced Saturday that six players would begin the summer on the active physically unable to perform list.

Wide receivers Steve Smith (Achilles tendon) and Breshad Perriman (knee), linebackers Terrell Suggs (Achilles tendon) and Elvis Dumervil (foot surgery), running back Trent Richardson (knee), and cornerback Jumal Rolle (Achilles tendon) were placed on the PUP list ahead of Wednesday’s report day for veterans. Rolle is expected to miss the 2016 season after suffering a torn Achilles tendon during a spring workout.

Head coach John Harbaugh indicated during last month’s mandatory minicamp that the Ravens would be careful with the workload for Smith, Suggs, and Dumervil during training camp and even in preseason games as they work their way back to full strength. After suffering a left knee injury originally feared to be a season-ending ACL tear in June, Perriman is expected to return at some point during training camp, according to Harbaugh.

Signed to compete for a roster spot with a deep group of running backs, Richardson was hampered by a hamstring issue during organized team activities and underwent knee surgery last month.

Often confused with the reserve list that requires a player to miss the first six weeks of the regular season, active PUP is used for any player who isn’t ready to begin practicing at the start of training camp. Players on active PUP may return to the field at any point, but that activation makes them ineligible for the reserve list that doesn’t count against the 53-man roster limit to begin the regular season.

It’s worth noting that quarterback Joe Flacco (knee), cornerback Jimmy Smith (foot surgery), cornerback Will Davis (knee), and wide receiver Michael Campanaro (calf) were not placed on PUP, meaning they should be ready to begin practicing immediately. Flacco said during last month’s minicamp and reiterated this past week that he would be back on the field for the first day less than eight months after undergoing ACL reconstruction surgery on his left knee.

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Five Ravens questions ahead of mandatory minicamp

Posted on 10 June 2016 by Luke Jones

The Ravens will hold their three-day mandatory minicamp in Owings Mills next week, giving us our final look at John Harbaugh’s team before the beginning of training camp in late July.

Below are five questions pertaining to the Ravens as they conclude spring workouts:

1. How will Eugene Monroe look and where will he fit in?

We’ve heard at length — and then some — about the maligned left tackle’s stance on medical marijuana this offseason, but he revealed this week via Twitter that he’s finally been cleared to play after undergoing shoulder surgery in December, meaning he should be on the field for mandatory minicamp. It was telling how coach John Harbaugh alluded to 2016 first-round pick Ronnie Stanley playing exclusively at left tackle during organized team activities, so what will that mean with Monroe back at practice this coming week? Many continue to doubt whether the oft-injured veteran will be on the roster come September, but it will be interesting to see how he’s handled in the meantime.

2. Will Terrell Suggs break his lengthy silence?

It’s been nine months since the outside linebacker tore his left Achilles tendon in the fourth quarter of the season-opening loss to Denver, and we’ve yet to hear from him to any meaningful degree regarding his health and where he stands mentally entering his 14th year in Baltimore. The Ravens have given no indication that the 33-year-old will be on the field for minicamp, but he has been at the team’s Owings Mills facility working out during OTAs, an encouraging sign in terms of where he is mentally for the 2016 season. Considering how introspective he was talking about the twilight of his career a year ago, Suggs will inevitably be asked whether this could be his final year whenever he does talk to the media.

3. How are the reps divided for the Ravens’ deep group of tight ends?

Crockett Gillmore saying Baltimore had the best collection of tight ends in the NFL sparked debate, but it was interesting how he acknowledged that the Ravens will likely be forced to let go of a couple NFL-caliber tight ends due to numbers. Gillmore, veteran Benjamin Watson, and 2015 second-rounder Maxx Williams are roster locks, but the Ravens must evaluate what kind of player Dennis Pitta is after two serious hip injuries and have intriguing young options in converted receivers Darren Waller and Daniel Brown and the suspended Nick Boyle. With Watson possibly only in Baltimore one year and Pitta’s health a major question, you’d hate to lose a promising option or two for the future.

4. What will Breshad Perriman show us over the three-day period?

Though the 2015 first-round pick was a full participant in both OTA days open to media, it will be interesting to see how he performs over three full-squad practices next week. Perriman looks healthy as he easily sprinted past defensive backs on several occasions on Tuesday, but his development is far from finished after missing so much time with the knee injury during his rookie season. Maybe it’s putting too much pressure on a 22-year-old who’s been through a lot this offseason, but you can’t help but think Perriman could be one of the biggest X factors in determining whether the Ravens return to being a dangerous playoff contender in 2016 or are more of a team fighting to finish .500 or so.

5. Can Trent Richardson provide some substance to accompany the attention he’s received?

We always look for captivating stories at this slow time of year in the NFL, but the attention being paid to a player who was out of the league entirely during the 2015 regular season has felt excessive, especially when there are five running backs ahead of him on the depth chart. Anyone can appreciate a redemption story, but Richardson already tweaked a hamstring before OTAs even began and rarely showed good field vision in Cleveland or Indianapolis when those teams weren’t already displeased with his weight and conditioning. It’s admirable for Richardson to have goals that still include making the Hall of Fame, but there was a reason no one wanted him after being cut by Oakland last summer.

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Flacco remains on track to be ready for training camp

Posted on 07 June 2016 by Luke Jones

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Ravens head coach John Harbaugh continues receiving the question and again provided the same answer regarding the status of Joe Flacco on Tuesday.

How is the franchise quarterback progressing with his surgically-repaired left knee?

“He’s ahead of schedule, just as he has been,” said Harbaugh while smiling. “He’ll be here for training camp. The big thing is no setback. He was running out here — he’s been running. I saw him running and I’m like, ‘Man, you’re running!’ I didn’t know he was doing [as much as] what he was doing. I hadn’t seen him run really. He was running more than I thought, so it looked good.

“That [progress evaluation is] with the training room and the strength and conditioning coaches. I feel like it’s going well.”

The 31-year-old is still less than seven months removed from tearing the anterior cruciate and medial collateral ligaments in his left knee, but the Ravens remain confident that he will be back on the practice field this summer in plenty of time to get ready for the 2016 season. Flacco had never missed a game prior to injuring his knee in the final moments of a 16-13 win over St. Louis on Nov. 22, 2015.

He underwent surgery on Dec. 8 and has now been running for a couple months.

In addition to Flacco, linebackers Terrell Suggs (Achilles tendon) and Elvis Dumervil, wide receivers Steve Smith (Achilles tendon) and Michael Campanaro (calf), cornerbacks Jimmy Smith (foot) and Kyle Arrington, and offensive linemen Marshal Yanda and Eugene Monroe were not on the field for Tuesday’s organized team activity open to reporters. As he did during the first week of OTAs, Suggs was rehabbing and working out at the team’s Owings Mills training facility during the practice.

Rookie defensive end Bronson Kaufusi remains sidelined with a back injury suffered during last month’s rookie camp. Harbaugh confirmed that he is not expected to return until training camp, which will put the third-round pick behind veteran Lawrence Guy and 2014 fourth-round pick Brent Urban in the competition for the starting 5-technique defensive end job.

“I don’t think he’ll probably practice,” Harbaugh said. “They told us that when it happened that it was going to be a [lengthier absence]. He kind of wrenched his back for lack of a better term. He will definitely be back in training camp. He’ll be training hard here between now and then.”

In positive injury news, running backs Kenneth Dixon and Trent Richardson both returned to the practice field after sitting out the first week of OTAs with hamstring injuries.

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Surprise candidate surfacing for Ravens at inside linebacker?

Posted on 27 May 2016 by Luke Jones

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — You should never read too much into what you see during spring non-contact practices, but the Ravens clearly face questions at inside linebacker after the offseason release of veteran Daryl Smith.

That’s why it was interesting to see second-round rookie Kamalei Correa taking extensive reps inside during Thursday’s voluntary workout. The Boise State product even broke up a pass intended for veteran tight end Dennis Pitta near the goal line during an 11-on-11 drill and proceeded to do pushups as punished for failing to secure the interception.

Projected by many to serve as a situational pass rusher to spell veterans Terrell Suggs and Elvis Dumervil as a rookie, Correa could end up being an interesting candidate to compete with the likes of Zach Orr and Arthur Brown for the starting inside linebacker spot next to C.J. Mosley, who will assume Smith’s “Mike” linebacker position. Wearing Smith’s old No. 51 jersey, Correa has a 6-foot-3, 245-pound frame that would seem to fit inside if he’s able to hold up in pass coverage, the biggest unknown about his game at this point.

“They all need to learn all the positions, and I think K.C. has inside linebacker traits,” said head coach John Harbaugh, who noted that the “Will” linebacker spot has outside backer characteristics. “He played it in college quite a bit. They moved him around at Boise. The more he can do, the better. We’re definitely going to look at him, and you have Albert [McClellan] that can play the different [linebacker] spots.

“We’ll look at different guys at different spots for sure.”

It’s worth noting that Mosley wasn’t present for Thursday’s workout, but neither were Suggs and Dumervil, which would lead you to assume Correa would have spent more time at either outside position if the Ravens weren’t serious about evaluating him as an inside linebacker. This all could mean nothing in even a couple weeks, but Correa’s development will definitely be worth monitoring as the Ravens desperately need to get faster and more athletic on the defensive side of the ball.

Injuries won’t help bubble players

Neither wide receiver Michael Campanaro nor running back Trent Richardson are locks to make the 53-man roster, so it’s disappointing for both to be sidelined with injuries — even for spring workouts.

Harbaugh has been outspoken in the past about Campanaro’s inability to stay on the field, but the coach took a more empathetic tone in discussing the latest injury — a “tweaked” calf suffered a couple weeks ago. The 2014 seventh-round pick has been limited to eight games in his first two seasons.

“There will be a time when he will get past this stuff,” Harbaugh said. “This stuff will stop happening and hopefully it’s training camp. That’s what we’re hoping for him. The guy works tremendously hard and was in phenomenal shape, and we’re still expecting really good things from him.”

Meanwhile, Richardson faces an uphill climb to resurrect his career as he will compete with Justin Forsett, Buck Allen, Kenneth Dixon, Lorenzo Taliaferro, and Terrance West for what figures to be three or four roster spots at the most.

Much was made about the former first-round pick’s efforts to lose weight and get in better shape before the Ravens signed him this spring, but Harbaugh apparently wants to see more from the Alabama product. He could only observe Thursday’s workout after injuring his hamstring last week.

“I think the workload and the amount of work it takes to be a world-class conditioned athlete is something that he’s working on right now,” Harbaugh said. “That’s what he needs to understand and that’s where he needs to get himself. When he gets himself there, he’s got talent. It will be fun. I’m very certain he’ll get there and when he does we’ll be able to evaluate him.”

Jernigan number change

Despite being a Florida State product, defensive tackle Timmy Jernigan interestingly changed his jersey number to honor a former University of Miami legend.

The 2014 second-round pick is now wearing No. 99, a nod to Hall of Famer Warren Sapp. Veteran Chris Canty had worn the number most recently while Jernigan donned No. 97 in his first two seasons.

“Nasty, ferocious, he came every play,” said Jernigan about his appreciation for Sapp’s career. “You definitely knew he was there and when he made a play. Another thing, he played down in Florida, too, so he was definitely one of the greats from our state.”

The admiration may not be mutual, however, as Sapp tweeted to the Ravens asking how he could stop this. It’s unclear whether this was more of a playful jab at someone from a rival Florida school or that the cantankerous Sapp has a serious — and, frankly, inexplicable — objection.

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Dixon eager to prove himself in Ravens’ crowded backfield

Posted on 10 May 2016 by Luke Jones

The Ravens already had plenty of depth at the running back position when they selected Louisiana Tech’s Kenneth Dixon in the fourth round.

The question is whether someone will emerge as the clear-cut feature back for 2016 and beyond. Ranked by some as high as the second-best running back in the draft behind fourth overall selection Ezekiel Elliott, Dixon surprisingly fell all the way to the 134th pick where the Ravens snatched him up with the last of their record five fourth-round choices.

Watching his college highlights filled with big plays and impressive vision, it isn’t difficult to figure out which running back he tries to imitate on the football field as he wore No. 28 and averaged 11.1 yards per reception to go along with his robust 5.6 yards per carry over four seasons with the Bulldogs.

“The running back I really looked up to is Marshall Faulk,” Dixon said. “Just looking at his journey, just his work ethic that he had and the perseverance that he had through life. It’s always great, so that’s kind of who I modeled my game after.”

Of course, the Ravens would be thrilled if he could be half the player that Faulk was, but his physical gifts don’t stand out, a reason why he remained on teams’ draft boards until the end of the fourth round. His 4.58-second 40-yard dash time is good enough but hardly special and his 5-foot-10, 215-pound frame isn’t imposing, but then you watch his tape and look at his production as a four-year starter and can’t help but be intrigued.

Over four seasons, Dixon rushed for 4,483 yards on 802 carries — a heavy college workload that also might have scared some teams away — and caught 87 passes for 969 yards. His 87 career touchdowns temporarily gave him the NCAA Division I record last December before it was eclipsed by new Ravens teammate Keenan Reynolds, who is now Dixon’s roommate.

“It was kind of bittersweet. I was kind of mad at the time, but I’m especially happy for him and his journey,” said Dixon, who added that his mother is a huge Reynolds fan and asked for his autograph. “We all have different journeys, different walks through football. You never want to knock someone else’s walk through football. I gave him his props and everything.

“I told him if I had those other two [extra] games, he probably wouldn’t have been the leader.”

Dixon smiled as he noted that Reynolds had played in 13 games as a senior compared to his 11, but he’ll need that competitive fire in a backfield that includes 2014 Pro Bowl selection Justin Forsett, 2015 fourth-round selection Buck Allen, 2014 fourth-rounder Lorenzo Taliaferro, 2014 third-round pick Terrance West, and Trent Richardson, the third overall pick of the 2012 draft who is trying to revitalize his career. Of those six, the Ravens figure to keep four at most on their 53-man roster.

Plenty of intriguing talent, but who will seize the opportunity and run with it?

It would be unwise to overlook the man who scored more touchdowns than any running back in FBS history.

“It’s a lot of competition in the room,” Dixon said. “[Running backs coach Thomas] Hammock, he works really well with us. He does a great job with us. All we can do is control what we can control. That’s what we’re going to do is come out here and compete and work hard.”

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Ravens’ free-agent newcomers assigned jersey numbers

Posted on 26 April 2016 by Luke Jones

With organized team activities set to begin next month, the Ravens officially announced jersey numbers for one of their more decorated groups of free-agent newcomers in recent years.

As he did for nine seasons in San Diego, veteran safety Eric Weddle will wear No. 32 as he leads the Baltimore secondary this fall. The Ravens hope the three-time Pro Bowl selection will finally bring stability to a position lacking in that department since the departure of Ed Reed after the 2012 season.

Speedy wide receiver Mike Wallace will wear No. 12 as second-year receiver and tight end Darren Waller has switched to No. 84. Tight end Benjamin Watson will wear No. 82, the same number with New Orleans over the last three seasons.

Attempting a comeback after sitting out the 2015 season, 2012 first-round running back Trent Richardson will wear No. 33, which was last worn by former Ravens safety Will Hill.

Below are other Ravens players who have changed their jersey numbers from last season:

WR Chris Matthews — No. 13 (previously 84)
WR Kaelin Clay — No. 16 (previously 81)
CB Sheldon Price — No. 27 (previously 32)
RB Terrance West — No. 28 (previously 27)
TE Konrad Reuland — No. 85 (previously 86)
TE Nick Boyle — No. 86 (previously 82)

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Ravens officially sign Trent Richardson to offseason roster

Posted on 18 April 2016 by Luke Jones

After nearly two months of anticipation, the Ravens officially signed running back Trent Richardson for the start of the offseason training program in Owings Mills on Monday morning.

Baltimore was first linked to the third overall pick of the 2012 draft during the NFL scouting combine in Indianapolis, but the organization wanted the former Cleveland and Indianapolis running back to get into better shape. Head coach John Harbaugh said last month that the Ravens had reached an “unofficial agreement” with Richardson, but the 25-year-old is now an official member of the 90-man offseason roster.

The University of Alabama product wasn’t sure if his NFL career was over after he was cut by the Oakland Raiders last August and sat out the 2015 season. However, general manager Ozzie Newsome — also a former Crimson Tide great — and the Ravens were willing to give Richardson another chance despite a disappointing start to his career.

After a solid rookie season with the Browns in which he rushed for 950 yards and 11 touchdowns, Richardson quickly fell out of favor in Cleveland and wasn’t any better following a trade to Indianapolis as both organizations were dissatisfied with his weight and lack of commitment to the game. In 46 career games, Richardson has averaged just 3.3 yards per carry.

The 5-foot-9, 230-pound back rushed for over 3,000 yards in a brilliant collegiate career.

Richardson will still have to earn his way onto the 53-man roster this summer as he’ll compete in a crowded backfield that already includes Justin Forsett, Buck Allen, Lorenzo Taliaferro, and Terrance West.

Wide receiver Kamar Aiken signed his restricted second-round tender on Monday, and Baltimore also announced the signings of three exclusive-rights free agents: wide receiver Jeremy Butler, return specialist Kaelin Clay, and offensive lineman Ryan Jensen.

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Ravens working on adding former draft bust to roster

Posted on 25 February 2016 by Luke Jones

INDIANAPOLIS — As the Ravens evaluate the incoming rookies at the scouting combine in Indianapolis this week, they are looking into adding one of the biggest busts in recent NFL draft history.

Head coach John Harbaugh confirmed Thursday that the organization has had discussions with running back Trent Richardson and could add the third overall pick of the 2012 draft to the 90-man roster. The 25-year-old has not played in the NFL since being cut by the Oakland Raiders at the end of the 2015 preseason, but general manager Ozzie Newsome has shown an affinity for fellow Alabama products over the years.

Is Richardson next?

“We’re talking to him right now. He seems like a good guy,” Harbaugh said. “I’ve talked to him on the phone a few times. Ozzie’s got all the ties at Alabama, so we’ll see where it goes. It’s in the works. It’s possible.”

Even with a relatively successful 950-yard season as a rookie with the Cleveland Browns, Richardson has struggled mightily in the NFL, averaging 3.3 yards per carry over 46 career games. His issues with weight while playing for both Cleveland and Indianapolis were no secret as coaches also questioned his overall commitment and maturity.

This rapid fall from grace in the NFL came after Richardson rushed for more than 3,000 yards over a terrific collegiate career with the Crimson Tide.

With Justin Forsett, Buck Allen, Terrance West, and Lorenzo Taliaferro already on the roster, Richardson would be facing an uphill battle to make the 53-man roster and get his NFL career back on track with the Ravens. However, Baltimore would presumably be risking little more than a spot on the 90-man offseason roster and an invitation for spring and summer workouts while giving a once-promising player a chance to redeem himself.

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A Dirty Dozen for the Defense

Posted on 02 August 2012 by Thyrl Nelson

Earlier in the week I posed the question, “Are the Ravens set up for success on offense?” While the answer is absolutely subjective, I’d venture to say that the real answer is that they better be. In hindsight we can see that whatever shortcomings we perceived in the Ravens offense in 2011 have to be viewed through the filter of the gamut of high caliber pass defenses that they had to deal with along the way. This year it appears that the shoe may be on the other foot, or more aptly, on the other side of the ball as the Ravens look to have to deal with a lot of scary offensive propositions in 2012. If there ever were a good time to have to deal with the defection and absence of defensive talent that the Ravens have recently undergone, 2012 certainly doesn’t appear to be it.

Here’s a look at the 12 scariest players that the Ravens defense will have to contend with in 2012:

 

Honorable Mentions (in no particular order):

 

Quarterbacks: Ben Roethlisberger, Matt Schaub, Carson Palmer, Robert Griffin III, Andy Dalton

 

Running Backs: Benjarvus Green-Ellis, Lesean McCoy, Ryan Matthews, DeMarco Murray, Willis McGahee

 

Pass Catchers: Jermaine Gresham, Jeremy Maclin, DeSean Jackson, Aaron Hernandez, Dwayne Bowe, Dez Bryant, Miles Austin, Mike Wallace, Antonio Brown, Hakeem Nicks, Victor Cruz, Wes Welker, Antonio Gates, Malcolm Floyd

 

 

#12 – Peyton Manning (DEN) – There are no offensive stats to base this on from last season and Manning’s health is still a huge question, but the reputed Ravens killer is a scary proposition until he proves that he isn’t. There are some serious questions about how easily he’ll find his way in a new offense and on a new team, but make no mistake, if Manning is healthy and surrounded by 10 warm bodies he’ll likely be tough to deal with for the Ravens as usual.

 

 

#11 – Darren McFadden (OAK) – It’ll be week 10 before the Ravens cross paths with McFadden, and history suggests that there’s a decent chance McFadden could be hurt and/or on the shelf by that time. That might be the Ravens best hope at containing him. When healthy McFadden is a scary combination of speed and muscle. He’s explosive inside the tackles and outside and at his best McFadden has a skill set that’s eerily similar to Maurice Jones-Drew who had a field day against the Ravens last season.

 

 

#10 – Philip Rivers (SD) – Whether you agree that Rivers is worthy of being regarded as a top 5 to 7 quarterback in the league or not, it’s hard to argue that last year was a disappointing one for both he and the Chargers. Still, in the midst of all that struggle, Rivers and crew had their way against the Ravens in San Diego last season. Traveling coast to coast is never easy in the NFL, and neither is facing Rivers and co. in the final weeks of the season. All of that could make for a scary storm of circumstances for the Ravens as they travel west to San Diego in week 12.

 

 

#9 – Trent Richardson (CLE) – The profile and value of the NFL running back in general has taken a substantial hit in recent seasons, evidenced perhaps no better than in the love (or lack thereof) that ball carriers have gotten on draft day. When it comes to Richardson however there was no hesitation from NFL execs in casting him near the tops of their draft boards. Of course as a rookie there’ll be no shortage of question marks and growing pains for the young, prospective bell cow, but in having to see him twice the Trent Richardson fear factor goes up exponentially.

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