Tag Archive | "Jimmy Smith"

andrews

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Ravens list Andrews, Ricard as questionable for Kansas City game

Posted on 20 September 2019 by Luke Jones

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — The Ravens listed standout tight end Mark Andrews and defensive lineman/fullback hybrid Patrick Ricard as questionable for Sunday’s much-anticipated tilt in Kansas City.

Both are set to play against the Chiefs after practicing Thursday and Friday, but Andrews remained a limited participant with a lingering foot issue while Ricard (back) practiced fully Friday. Andrews’ effectiveness will be worth monitoring, but the ailment didn’t seem to hinder him much in Week 2 as he registered eight receptions for 112 yards and a touchdown in the 23-17 win over Arizona.

As expected, the Ravens officially ruled out safety Brynden Trawick (elbow) and cornerback Jimmy Smith (right knee) after neither practiced this week. Head coach John Harbaugh said Smith is making progress in his recovery from the Grade 2 medial collateral ligament sprain sustained early in the season opener at Miami.

“He’s doing well. He’s very positive,” Harbaugh said. “We can’t say for sure; he hasn’t run yet. But he’s close to that. He’s on schedule, and we’ll know more in the next probably two weeks.”

Smith’s status is more notable with the Ravens’ reported interest in Jacksonville cornerback Jalen Ramsey, who played in the Jaguars’ win over Tennessee Thursday night. The two-time Pro Bowl cornerback was coveted by the Ravens in the 2016 draft and would require a substantial price in a potential trade as well as a lucrative contract to retain his services beyond the 2020 season.

Without Ramsey’s name being mentioned, Harbaugh was asked Friday how much he pays attention to potential player acquisitions and trade rumors.

“I see the direction we’re going with that,” said Harbaugh as he laughed. “I keep track of most of it. I don’t know anything about that, and obviously, you can’t and you would never comment on another player on another team. It’s just not what you do and it’s illegal, according to league rules.

“But I’m like fans; I read it. It adds a little interest because if someone gets traded to a team that we’re playing or away from a team that we play, that matters to us. If we’re ever involved in one of those, then that really matters to us. But it’s not something you could ever comment on anyway.”

The Chiefs are in a worse place than Baltimore from a health standpoint after officially ruling out three-time Pro Bowl wide receiver Tyreek Hill (shoulder), starting left tackle Eric Fisher (groin), and running back Damien Williams. Running back LeSean McCoy (ankle) was designated as questionable, but the veteran was able to practice fully Friday.

Defensive coordinator Wink Martindale downplayed the significance of Hill’s absence while complimenting the creative play-calling of Chiefs head coach Andy Reid.

“Let’s see, Hill runs about a 4.21 [40-yard dash]. They put in a guy that runs about a 4.22 40,” Martindale said. “So, they’re fast. And Andy Reid, we talk about all these young, innovative offensive coordinators. I hope he doesn’t get mad at me saying this, [but] he’s the grandfather. He’s the ‘O.G.’ of the innovators of offense. And the offense that he has there in Kansas City, everybody steals from.”

According to Weather.com, the Sunday forecast in Kansas City calls for rain and temperatures in the low 70s with winds 10 to 15 miles per hour. Some heavy rain is possible, which would add an interesting twist to an exciting matchup.

“I heard that it could rain,” Harbaugh said. “I don’t really have any other thoughts on it other than we’ll just go play in it and try to make sure we do a good job with the ball handling and the footing and those kinds of things.”

Below is the final injury report for Week 3:

BALTIMORE
OUT: CB Jimmy Smith (knee), S Brynden Trawick (elbow)
QUESTIONABLE: CB Jimmy Smith (knee), S Brynden Trawick (elbow)

KANSAS CITY
OUT: OT Eric Fisher (groin), WR Tyreek Hill (shoulder), RB Damien Williams (knee)
QUESTIONABLE: RB LeSean McCoy (ankle)

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Ravens defense aiming to finish job against Kansas City this time

Posted on 20 September 2019 by Luke Jones

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — The numbers are very good for the Ravens defense so far.

Through two games, Baltimore is second in total defense, first in rush defense, fourth in points allowed, fifth in third-down defense, and tied for ninth inside the red zone. You’ll gladly take that kind of defensive profile over the course of the season with few concerns.

But what have we truly learned about the Ravens defense watching games against what could be the worst team in modern NFL history (Miami) and a rebuilding team with a rookie quarterback making his first career road start (Arizona)? Appropriately praising Lamar Jackson and the Ravens offense for setting franchise records in Week 1 is one thing, but how do you judge a defense that does about what you’d expect of any good unit against such competition?

The Baltimore defense was always going to be good, but it’s a matter of just how good, a relevant question when you’re traveling to Arrowhead Stadium for the best game of Week 3.

“Miami was Miami. They’re struggling this year,” said six-time Pro Bowl safety Earl Thomas about the unit’s performance through two games. “But last week [against Arizona], we kind of felt a little type of way because we didn’t dominate like we wanted to dominate. It was a lot of well-schemed-up plays. We got to watch the tape, and we learned from those mistakes.

“Hopefully, we get them corrected once we get out there against Kansas City because it’s a copycat league.”

Yes, the Ravens were without cornerback Jimmy Smith — and will be again Sunday — and were already dealing with the loss of nickel corner Tavon Young, but surrendering 349 passing yards, 6.5 yards per play, and seven pass plays of 20 or more yards to Kyler Murray and the Cardinals don’t look like harbingers for success against 2018 NFL MVP Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs. It’s difficult to expect the same results on third down and inside the red zone against an offense that scored just over 35 points per game last year and has averaged nearly as many (34.0) in two road wins to begin 2019.

Still, the Ravens were that close to knocking off the Chiefs in a 27-24 overtime loss last December, which should give them plenty of confident going into Sunday.

It’s a different year, of course, with the likes of Terrell Suggs, C.J. Mosley, Za’Darius Smith, and Eric Weddle out of the picture, but the formula for success remains as the defense allowed just 24 points in regulation in that Week 14 clash, the Chiefs’ lowest output of the 2018 season. The Chiefs won’t have star wide receiver Tyreek Hill and starting left tackle Eric Fisher, but there’s still four-time Pro Bowl tight end Travis Kelce and no shortage of speed at wide receiver.

Most importantly, they have Mahomes, whose sensational 48-yard completion to Hill on fourth-and-9 kept his team alive and allowed them to tie the game late in the fourth quarter last year.

“You have to handle the series of events,” defensive coordiantor Wink Martindale said. “He’s going to make plays. We know that going in. But what we can’t do is let him make too many plays, and then we have to play great red-zone defense.”

The Ravens did that for long stretches of last year’s game, holding Kansas City scoreless on four of five possessions in the third and fourth quarters and forcing field goals on two of five trips inside the red zone. With Jackson and the offense confident and playing at a higher level than last year, you’d love the Ravens’ chances to win with a comparable defensive performance. But if this one turns into a full-blown shootout, is the Ravens offense truly ready to go toe to toe with an proven heavyweight in a hostile environment for 60 minutes?

Keeping the Chiefs in the mid-20s on the scoreboard is easier said than done with their offense already completing 14 passes of 20 or more yards, two more than the explosive Ravens. That’s with the speedy Hill having played just 12 snaps before injuring his shoulder in the season opener, forcing the Chiefs to turn to veteran Sammy Watkins and younger options Demarcus Robinson and Mecole Hardman.

Thomas believes he’s just the guy to limit those offensive explosions, something the Ravens didn’t do on Mahomes’ game-saving play to Hill last season. It’s a big reason why general manager Eric DeCosta made the four-year, $55 million investment in the former Seattle Seahawk’s services.

“I think that comes down to personnel,” Thomas said. “Luckily, the Ravens have me playing free safety, controlling the deep end. I plan on eliminating all the big plays.”

It isn’t just about the vertical passing game as Kelce can frustrate defenses in the short-to-intermediate portion of the field and Kansas City uses its running backs as receivers out of the backfield as effectively as anyone. That creates quite the challenge for strong safety Tony Jefferson and Ravens linebackers, who all experienced hiccups in pass coverage last week. As head coach John Harbaugh noted, the Ravens will throw enough coverage looks at Kelce to “try to keep the batting average down just a little bit,” understanding he’s going to make his share of plays.

Perhaps more than anything, we’ll truly find out about the pass rush that was scrutinized throughout the spring and summer. Thanks to promising starts by Matthew Judon and Pernell McPhee, the Ravens lead the league with 20 quarterback hits over the first two weeks, but Pro Football Focus ranked Arizona 30th and Miami 32nd in its offensive line rankings entering the season. It’s nothing for which to apologize, of course, but drawing conclusions against that level of competition would be premature.

The good news for the Ravens is that the Chiefs will be depending on former Cleveland first-round bust Cam Erving at left tackle to protect Mahomes’ blind side. If Martindale’s defense wants to approach the 15 quarterback hits registered in Kansas City last December, that matchup will be one to exploit.

Amid the hype for Mahomes-Jackson II, the Ravens have a great opportunity to avenge last December’s loss while proclaiming themselves legitimate Super Bowl contenders with a win. It’s the kind of game in which we used to ask if the offense would be able to do enough, but times are certainly changing and a younger defense is aiming to prove its standard remains high in matchups such as these.

If the defense can again keep Mahomes and the Chiefs from lighting up the scoreboard, there’s no reason to think Jackson and an improved offense won’t get the job done. And if it again come down to the ball being in Mahomes’ hands late, there’s experience from which to draw.

“You have to play to the whistle,” cornerback Brandon Carr said. “He’s a guy that can extend the play — smart guy, big arm, strong arm. You’ve got to lock in each and every down. They have a lot of different movements and gadgets and a lot of different things going on with their offense, so you have to have disciplined eye control, 100 percent communication, and just play as a unit for 60 minutes.”

Sixty minutes, indeed.

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andrews

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Andrews, Ricard practice as Ravens move toward Kansas City showdown

Posted on 19 September 2019 by Luke Jones

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Ravens tight end Mark Andrews continues to deal with a nagging foot issue, but that didn’t keep him off the field Thursday.

Baltimore’s leader in receptions practiced on a limited basis after missing Wednesday’s workout, diminishing any doubt about his status for Sunday’s showdown with the Kansas City Chiefs. A major part of the NFL’s top-ranked offense through the first two weeks of the season, Andrews hopes the strong chemistry he’s developed with quarterback Lamar Jackson will travel to Arrowhead Stadium, the place the Ravens lost a 27-24 overtime heartbreaker last December.

“That was a big-time game, kind of a nail-biter game. A lot of guys kind of grew up in that game,” Andrews said. “I think Lamar being able to play a tight game like that was big for his growth. It’s one of those games that I don’t think a lot of people have forgotten to this day.”

Defensive lineman and fullback Patrick Ricard also returned to practice after missing Wednesday’s session with a back issue.

Cornerback Jimmy Smith (knee) and safety Brynden Trawick (elbow) were the only players on the 53-man roster not to participate in Thursday’s workout. Smith won’t play against the Chiefs while Trawick is appearing more likely to miss Sunday’s game, which would leave the Ravens without one of their best special-teams players and depending on younger options to pick up the slack.

“You’ll see we won’t lose a step with those guys,” special teams coach Chris Horton said. “The guys that we put in there, those guys have worked hard this [summer] to give themselves an opportunity go out and play. Whoever we put in there, we’re going to expect the same kind of effort, the same kind of physicality. And those guys will go out and play.”

Kansas City running back Damien Williams missed his second straight practice with a knee injury while fellow running back LeSean McCoy (ankle) returned to practice on a limited basis.

Orioles manager Brandon Hyde was a visitor at Thursday’s practice as he spent some time chatting with head coach John Harbaugh and Pro Football Hall of Famer and Baltimore Colts legend Lenny Moore, who remains a frequent visitor in Owings Mills. Cornerback Marlon Humphrey stepped out of a defensive backs drill to greet Hyde and shake his hand.

Below is Thursday’s full injury report:

BALTIMORE
DID NOT PARTICIPATE – CB Jimmy Smith (knee), S Brynden Trawick (elbow)
LIMITED PARTICIPATION – TE Mark Andrews (foot), DL/FB Patrick Ricard (back)
FULL PARTICIPATION – S Earl Thomas (non-injury)

KANSAS CITY
DID NOT PARTICIPATE – OT Eric Fisher (groin), WR Tyreek Hill (shoulder), RB Damien Williams (knee)
LIMITED PARTICIPATION – RB LeSean McCoy (ankle)

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andrews

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Andrews still dealing with foot issue as Ravens prepare for Kansas City

Posted on 18 September 2019 by Luke Jones

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Mark Andrews didn’t register a catch in the 27-24 overtime loss at Kansas City last December, but the Ravens expect a much different output Sunday in a showdown between undefeated teams.

Andrews is not only becoming Lamar Jackson’s most reliable target, but the 2018 third-round pick is rapidly emerging as one of the NFL’s best tight ends as he enters Week 3 seventh in the league in receiving yards and first among all tight ends. Of his team-leading 16 receptions, six have gone for 20 or more yards and 12 have gone for first downs.

With eight catches for 112 yards and a touchdown in the 23-17 win over Arizona, Andrews became the first tight end in Ravens history to post back-to-back 100-yard receiving games.

“He knows how to get open. He knows how to use his body. He has a knack for the game,” head coach John Harbaugh said. “It’s not all Xs and Os on a card or a play sheet. A lot of it is the human element, the backyard part of it, the feel for where the defender is at, the connection between the quarterback and the receiver to be on the same page.

Andrews is thriving despite a lingering foot issue that again kept him out of Wednesday’s practice. The 24-year-old sat out last Friday’s workout before playing against the Cardinals, which does ease immediate concern about his availability against the Chiefs as long as he’s able to log some practice time by the end of the week.

Fullback and defensive lineman Patrick Ricard (back), safety Brynden Trawick (elbow), and cornerback Jimmy Smith (knee) also missed practice. Smith is not expected to play against Kansas City while Harbaugh has expressed uncertainty about Trawick’s status for Week 3.

Safety Earl Thomas received a veteran day off.

Meanwhile, the Chiefs will be without their starting left tackle against the Ravens as Eric Fisher is expected to undergo groin surgery this week. Pro Bowl wide receiver Tyreek Hill also remains sidelined with a shoulder injury sustained in the season opener.

Kansas City’s top two running backs, Damien Williams and LeSean McCoy, also missed Wednesday’s practice.

Below is Wednesday’s full injury report:

BALTIMORE
DID NOT PARTICIPATE: TE Mark Andrews (foot), DL/FB Pat Ricard (back), CB Jimmy Smith (knee), S Earl Thomas (non-injury), S Brynden Trawick (elbow)

KANSAS CITY
DID NOT PARTICIPATE: OT Eric Fisher (groin), WR Tyreek Hill (shoulder), RB LeSean McCoy (ankle), RB Damien Williams (knee)
FULL PARTICIPATION: G Laurent Duvernay-Tardif (elbow), OL Cam Erving (elbow), TE Travis Kelce (knee), QB Patrick Mahomes (ankle), WR Demarcus Robinson (elbow)

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canady

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Needing cornerback depth, Ravens promote Canady to 53-man roster

Posted on 14 September 2019 by Luke Jones

The Ravens boosted their depth at cornerback by promoting fourth-year player Maurice Canady from the practice squad to the 53-man roster ahead of Sunday’s home opener against Arizona.

Baltimore waived reserve offensive tackle Greg Senat to make room for Canady.

With the Cardinals’ “Air Raid” offense using four wide receivers on roughly two-thirds of their plays last week — more than the rest of the NFL combined — and veteran Jimmy Smith out with a right knee injury, Baltimore chose to add Canady to the game-day mix behind the current top three of Marlon Humphrey, Brandon Carr, and Anthony Averett. The Ravens also had cornerbacks Cyrus Jones and Justin Bethel active in Week 1, but both are viewed more as special-teams contributors than defensive players.

On Friday, head coach John Harbaugh expressed confidence in the cornerback group without Smith, but he left open the possibility of making a roster move prior to Saturday’s 4 p.m. deadline.

“We could consider it. We’ll see where that goes,” Harbaugh said. “Yes, we’re good with what we’ve got. Yes, we could consider making a move.”

Canady was waived at the end of the preseason and re-signed to the practice squad as a valuable depth piece after the Ravens lost slot cornerback Tavon Young to a season-ending neck injury in August and placed rookie cornerback Iman Marshall on injured reserve earlier this month. A 2016 sixth-round pick, Canady has appeared in 19 career games and collected 34 tackles and one pass breakup. He has the ability to play outside or inside as a nickel back, a role he played in the second half of the 2017 season.

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andrews

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Ravens list Andrews, M. Brown, three others questionable for home opener

Posted on 13 September 2019 by Luke Jones

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — The Ravens will be without cornerback Jimmy Smith for Sunday’s season opener, but all other players are expected to play against Arizona.

Tight end Mark Andrews (foot) and wide receiver Marquise Brown (hip) sat out Friday’s practice, but their availability isn’t in doubt despite both being designated as questionable on the final injury report. Brown also sat out last Friday’s practice, but Andrews’ absence came as more of a surprise after he hadn’t been listed on the injury report all week. The pair combined for 12 catches for 255 yards and three touchdowns in the 59-10 win over Miami last Sunday.

Cornerback Marlon Humphrey (back), running back Mark Ingram (shoulder), and linebacker Tyus Bowser (groin) were also listed as questionable, but each will play against the Cardinals. Ingram and Bowser practiced all week while Humphrey was a limited participant Thursday and Friday after missing Wednesday’s workout.

“No concern about Marquise or Mark Andrews,” head coach John Harbaugh said. “Nope, no concern. No concern about any of those guys.”

Meanwhile, the Cardinals ruled out reserve offensive lineman Lamont Gaillard. Defensive end Jonathan Bullard is questionable after failing to practice all week.

Below is the final injury report of the week:

BALTIMORE
OUT: CB Jimmy Smith (knee)
QUESTIONABLE: TE Mark Andrews (foot), LB Tyus Bowser (groin), WR Marquise Brown (hip), CB Marlon Humphrey (back), RB Mark Ingram (shoulder)

ARIZONA
OUT: OL Lamont Gaillard (knee)
QUESTIONABLE: DL Jonathan Bullard (hamstring)

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marquisebrown

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Twelve Ravens thoughts following Week 1 win over Miami

Posted on 10 September 2019 by Luke Jones

With the Ravens winning their season opener in a record-setting 59-10 final at Miami, I’ve offered a dozen thoughts, each in 50 words or less:

1. Jimmy Smith missing “multiple weeks” with a knee injury will test the diminishing depth at cornerback, but the silver lining is an extended audition for Anthony Averett, whom the Ravens have viewed as possible starter material. Averett can now prove it with Smith in the final year of his deal.

2. You can’t expect an 83-yard touchdown every week, but Lamar Jackson’s first scoring throw to Marquise Brown came on a simple run-pass option against an eight-man box. Those backside double slants will kill defenses if Jackson simply plays pitch and catch.

3. Jackson’s “not bad for a running back” quip received much attention, but the image below shows a third-and-three play in which the left edge was clear and Ronnie Stanley was signaling for him to run to easily move the chains. A moment later, Jackson threw the beautiful bomb to Brown.


(Screen grab courtesy of NFL Game Pass)

4. Speaking of the 2019 first-round pick, just 14 snaps produced four catches, 147 yards, and two touchdowns. Just imagine what he might do when fully acclimated to the offense. For those keeping track, he’s now one touchdown shy of Breshad Perriman’s career total with Baltimore.

5. The pass rush produced three sacks and 12 quarterback hits, but failing to create havoc against that overwhelmed Dolphins line would have been a red flag. Tim Williams and Tyus Bowser played pretty well, but pass rush remains a real question mark until we see it against a better opponent.

6. Bradley Bozeman received praise from John Harbaugh and earned another start at left guard for Week 2 at the very least. He helped set the tone for the day with a excellent pull block to spring Mark Ingram for 49 yards on the first play from scrimmage.


(Screen grab courtesy of NFL Game Pass)

7. Patrick Onwuasor is so aggressive that he occasionally takes himself out of the play and still has to show consistency in coverage, but he’s the fastest linebacker Baltimore has had since a young Ray Lewis. He was incredibly active and played all but one defensive snap.

8. After a quiet first half, Mark Andrews became the monster reporters watched all summer with six catches for 93 yards and a touchdown after intermission. Deep-strike passes may not be there every week, but you should get used to hearing “Jackson to Andrews over the middle.”

9. Leading 35-0, the Ravens had every right to run a fake punt with plenty of ballgame left late in the second quarter. However, going for a fourth-and-goal at the 3 with a 52-10 lead and under 10 minutes to go seemed a bit much or “Belichickian,” if you will.

10. Despite Chris Board having a clear lead throughout the spring and summer competition, Kenny Young played eight more snaps at the weak-side inside linebacker position. A preseason concussion cost Board some time last month, but Young has apparently stepped it up in recent weeks.

11. In his first game as general manager, Eric DeCosta watched his two big free-agent acquisitions — Ingram and Earl Thomas — immediately make splash plays and his first ever draft pick catch two touchdowns in the opening quarter. DeCosta couldn’t have written a better opening script.

12. Reports of Miami players wanting out after the embarrassing loss raise a real question. Tanking in basketball or baseball is one thing, but putting your body on the line with no chance of winning in a sport with greater safety concerns and non-guaranteed contracts? I don’t blame them at all.

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jimmysmith

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Ravens cornerback Jimmy Smith exits Sunday’s win with knee injury

Posted on 08 September 2019 by Luke Jones

The only damper on a spectacular record-setting performance by Lamar Jackson and the Ravens in their 59-10 demolition of Miami Sunday was another injury to a secondary already testing its depth.

Cornerback Jimmy Smith suffered a knee injury in the first quarter and didn’t return. The 31-year-old limped off the field and went to the locker room soon after inside linebacker Patrick Onwuasor fell into Smith’s right knee on the sixth defensive snap of the game. Smith returned to the sideline in the second half wearing street clothes.

“It’s not a season-ending injury as far as we know right now,” head coach John Harbaugh. “It does not look like that at all. I’m sure he’ll get an MRI tomorrow. We’ll just see if it’s days or weeks or what. We’ll know tomorrow after we get the MRI.”

The Ravens were already dealing with the loss of standout slot cornerback Tavon Young, who sustained a season-ending neck injury last month. Rookie fourth-round cornerback Iman Marshall was also placed on injured reserve last week, but he remains eligible to return later in the season.

With Smith out, the Ravens turned to second-year cornerback Anthony Averett on the outside with veteran cornerback Brandon Carr now playing extensive snaps inside at the nickel in Young’s absence. Averett fell down in coverage on the Dolphins’ lone touchdown of the day to wide receiver Preston Williams late in the second quarter, but the 2018 fourth-round pick from Alabama finished with four tackles and a pass breakup.

“It’s always tough to see one of my boys go down,” said Carr, who played in his 177th consecutive regular-season game Sunday. “We put so much work into this game and we know it can be taken away at the blink of an eye, and that’s what happened to [Smith].

“Of course, the football game is the next-man-up mentality, and we had [Averett] that’s been champing at the bit to get out there and make some plays. He had his work cut out for him today, but he made some big plays for us and he had some fun.”

Injuries have been the story of the talented Smith’s career as he’s played more than 12 games in a season just twice in his first eight years. The 2011 first-round pick is in the final year of his contract and is making $9.5 million this season.

The Baltimore defense had two interceptions against the Dolphins with six-time Pro Bowl safety Earl Thomas picking off a Ryan Fitzpatrick pass on his first defensive series as a Raven and cornerback Marlon Humphrey intercepting Miami backup Josh Rosen on the first play of the fourth quarter.

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andrews

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Ten Ravens predictions for the 2019 season

Posted on 06 September 2019 by Luke Jones

Instead of going through the exercise of making league-wide predictions, the following focus on the Ravens and their goal to win back-to-back AFC North division titles for just the second time in team history:

1. Lamar Jackson won’t break Michael Vick’s season rushing record for a quarterback, but his 3,000 passing yards and 60-percent completion percentage will be positive steps in his development.

Make no mistake, the 22-year-old will continue to run more than any quarterback in the NFL, but general manager Eric DeCosta didn’t invest meaningful resources at running back and the Ravens didn’t practice their passing game so exhaustively this summer for Jackson to again average 17 carries per game like he did as a starter last season. There won’t be a rigid cap on how much he runs, but this offense will use more play action and run-pass options to create higher-percentage, short-to-intermediate throws with occasional deep shots. He’ll still have accuracy lapses, but his mechanics were steadier and he threw the ball more consistently all summer. The biggest question is how much he’s improved his ball security, an area more difficult to gauge in controlled practice environments without the threat of contact.

2. The defense will register 37 sacks and see its pressure rate fall to the bottom half of the league.

Baltimore was tied for 11th with 43 sacks last year, but its pressure rate (33.4 percent) ranked eighth in the league, according to Football Outsiders. Wink Martindale isn’t panicking with one of the best secondaries in the NFL backing up his well-designed blitzes, but there’s so much uncertainty beyond Matthew Judon. Pernell McPhee should provide some help if his snaps are managed properly, but Willie Henry and Shane Ray, two players thought to be potential answers, were jettisoned at the end of the summer. Za’Darius Smith and Terrell Suggs weren’t elite last year, but expecting the trio of Tyus Bowser, Tim Williams, and rookie Jaylon Ferguson to just step in without drop-off and growing pains is asking a lot. The good news is Football Outsiders ranked the Ravens first in their DVOA defensive metric when failing to pressure, again illustrating the secondary’s value. They’ll lean on that more heavily this year.

3. Mark Ingram will give Baltimore its first 1,000-yard rusher since Justin Forsett.

Frank Gore averaged 268 carries per season in Greg Roman’s four-year run in San Francisco and LeSean McCoy was on a similar workload pace in an injury-abbreviated 2015 season in Buffalo, dispelling the myth that the new Ravens offensive coordinator prefers a timeshare at the running back position. That’s not to say 2018 leading rusher Gus Edwards and rookie fourth-round pick Justice Hill won’t have roles, but the Ravens gave Ingram $6.5 million guaranteed for a reason after they had already averaged 5.1 yards per carry over the final seven regular-season games last year. Ingram’s career-high 230 carries two years ago seems like a reasonable mark for him to approach or even surpass.

4. Mark Andrews and Patrick Onwuasor will take a step forward.

It’s easy envisioning Andrews as Baltimore’s leading receiver with Jackson’s passing strength being over the middle and the wide receivers being so inexperienced. Volume remains a question, but seeing the 2018 third-round pick produce 2002-03 Todd Heap-like numbers wouldn’t be shocking. We’ve spent so much time discussing the pass rush this summer that we forget Onwuasor will be replacing four-time Pro Bowl selection C.J. Mostly and only played 41.9 percent of defensive snaps last year. The Ravens wanted Mosley back before offers from the New York Jets became too lucrative, but Onwuasor will be steady enough to ease concerns about the position, even if inside linebacker won’t be viewed as a strength.

5. Gus Edwards and Jimmy Smith will take a step back.

Edwards won’t go by the wayside like recent season leading rushers like Alex Collins, Terrance West, and Forsett, but he’ll have a reduced role and could even lose backup touches to the speedy Hill as the year progresses. The 2018 rookie free agent averaged an impressive 5.2 yards per carry last season, but his best bet might be short-yardage situations and a bigger fourth-quarter share of carries when the Ravens lead. Entering the final year of his contract, Smith is now 31 and has plenty of wear on the tires after a number of injuries over the years. The veteran cornerback had an uneven training camp, but he has much incentive to prove his value, whether in Baltimore or elsewhere on the free-agent market.

6. Ben Powers will be starting at left guard by the bye week.

The late-summer signs pointed to Bradley Bozeman beginning the season as the starting left guard, but we won’t know for sure until Sunday and this position remains a week-to-week evaluation anyway. Ideally, Powers, a fourth-round rookie from Oklahoma, would be ready to take over in the way Orlando Brown Jr. did at right tackle last October, but he struggled with first-team reps early this summer.

7. A rough November will cost the Ravens their chance at winning the AFC North.

The month of October has frequently been the bane of John Harbaugh’s existence in the past, but the November pain won’t be because of New England’s Sunday night trip to Baltimore. The Ravens will take full advantage of their Week 8 bye to knock off Tom Brady and the Patriots, but three straight losses will follow as they play at Cincinnati and host Houston with both teams coming off their byes, a tricky scheduling quirk not to be overlooked. The month concludes with a long trip to Los Angeles to play the Rams on a Monday night, another defeat that will have the Ravens’ playoff hopes looking bleak.

8. Miles Boykin will tie the franchise rookie record for touchdown receptions with seven.

First-round pick Marquise Brown missing Friday’s practice was a reminder that early expectations should be tempered after he missed so much valuable practice time in the spring and summer and is still managing his surgically-repaired foot to some degree. Meanwhile, Boykin was impressive during the summer and presents a 6-foot-4, 220-pound target with speed for a quarterback whose accuracy issues aren’t a big secret. Boykin, a third-round pick from Notre Dame, won’t put up monster numbers overall, but he will offer a nice boost inside the red zone, an area where the Ravens’ revamped offense struggled down the stretch last year. He’ll tie the record shared by Torrey Smith (2011) and Marlon Brown (2013).

9. Marlon Humphrey, Marshal Yanda, and Earl Thomas will be named to the Pro Bowl.

After being voted Ravens MVP by the local media last year and receiving more praise for his play this offseason, Humphrey appears primed to become Baltimore’s first Pro Bowl cornerback since Chris McAlister in 2006. Meanwhile, Yanda will continue to add to a resume that will receive strong Hall of Fame consideration with his eighth trip to the Pro Bowl in the last nine years. Some intrigue remains over just how close Thomas will be to his old self after his second broken left leg in a three-season period, but he’ll extend the Ravens’ streak of sending a safety to the Pro Bowl to four straight years. Left tackle Ronnie Stanley and Andrews will be named Pro Bowl alternates.

10. A December rally will lead to a 9-7 finish and another trip to the playoffs.

A 5-6 record and plenty of outside doubts entering the final month won’t stop the Ravens from getting hot and reeling off three straight wins to put themselves back in wild-card position. A last-minute defeat at Cleveland in Week 16 will look like the death knell, but the Browns will “Brown” their playoff spot away in a season-ending loss at Cincinnati while the Ravens will regroup to beat the AFC North champion Steelers, who will only be playing for playoff seeding in Week 17. Baltimore will follow that up with a road playoff win over the Texans before bowing out in the divisional round, ending a promising year for a young team with plenty of salary cap space and draft capital going into 2020.

Bonus Super Bowl pick no one asked for: Kansas City 30, Philadelphia 24

I just can’t stomach predicting another championship for New England, so I’ll go with Chiefs head coach Andy Reid finally getting over the hump against the team he coached for 14 seasons.

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“Process” continues as Ravens rookie Marquise Brown practices Tuesday

Posted on 13 August 2019 by Luke Jones

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Ravens wide receiver Marquise Brown caught a slant pass and accelerated during Tuesday’s practice, flashing the blazing speed that made him a first-team All-American at Oklahoma.

At other times, the 2019 first-round pick still appeared tentative changing direction. But the sight of the 5-foot-9, 170-pound rookie being back on the practice field was reassuring after he missed Monday’s practice, just two days after the Ravens had ramped up his practice participation.

Brown took 17 combined full-team and seven-on-seven reps during the shells-and-shorts practice, a bigger workload than he handled in either of the two weekend workouts. However, his return from January Lisfranc surgery on his left foot remains a day-by-day proposition with the season opener less than four weeks away.

“It’s just going to be a process with Marquise and seeing how he feels from one day to the next,” head coach John Harbaugh said. “It’s healing. I think part of it is just getting strong from the reps. He’s been healing, so he hasn’t been running and there are muscles in there that need to be trained and stuff. He looked great today. He looked really good.”

Brown is not expected to play in Thursday’s preseason opener against Green Bay after seeing most of his full-team work in non-padded practices Saturday and Tuesday. However, it’s apparent the Ravens are doing all they can to accelerate his learning curve with wide receivers coach David Culley providing individual input after most of his snaps and quarterbacks Lamar Jackson, Trace McSorley, and Joe Callahan — Brown has taken reps with the first, second, and third offenses — targeting him frequently when he’s taking part in a play.

Managing any lingering soreness when he makes cuts remains a priority for the training staff, but Brown is trying to get into football shape and apply his understanding of the offensive system on the field after missing spring workouts and seeing very limited practice time in training camp until the last four days. The 22-year-old began camp on the non-football injury list before making his practice debut on July 31.

“I felt pretty good. I got me a good day off to get some rest,” said Brown, who caught two passes on five targeted throws Tuesday. “Today, I opened up more and got some shots and was able to make some plays.

“I feel like each day I’m getting better. Each day, I’ve got to knock some rust off technique-wise and [with] stuff I’ve got to get down.”

Eleven players were missing from Tuesday’s practice, a list that included right guard Marshal Yanda (foot/ankle), outside linebackers Matthew Judon, Pernell McPhee, and Mike Onuoha (wrist), wide receiver Seth Roberts, and offensive linemen Greg Senat and Randin Crecelius. Yanda and Judon have missed two consecutive workouts, but the reason for the latter’s absence is unknown.

A deep cornerback group was particularly hit hard Tuesday with Jimmy Smith, Tavon Young, Anthony Averett, and Iman Marshall all missing practice. Young has missed back-to-back practices while Marshall has sat out three in a row. Maurice Canady did return to the field for the first time since the preseason opener last Thursday.

“It’s just the middle of training camp right now. There are varying things with varying guys,” Harbaugh said. “We gave Jimmy a rest. A couple of guys need to get some tests and some things like that. It’s really nothing to comment on. But when there is, you’ll be the second to know.”

The Packers are expected to play quarterback Aaron Rodgers and the rest of their starters for roughly a quarter after Jacksonville rested virtually all of its starters against Baltimore last week. Harbaugh said he plans to follow a similar script to last week when Jackson played 16 snaps over three series before giving way to rookie Trace McSorley to begin the second quarter.

“We kind of balance it out. We have a way of doing it that goes back [to the way] my brother did it in San Francisco,” Harbaugh said. “It’s unique. It’s different than really what anybody else does, but that’s how we do it. He’ll play about the same.”

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