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andrews

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Twelve Ravens thoughts following Week 6 win over Cincinnati

Posted on 15 October 2019 by Luke Jones

With the Ravens winning their second straight game in a 23-17 final against Cincinnati, I’ve offered a dozen thoughts, each in 50 words or less:

1. Sunday reminded how small the margin for error is in the NFL in a game Baltimore dominated statistically. A kick return and a fumble led to 10 first-half points for the Bengals and turned what could have been a comfortable win into a one-score game.

2. Lamar Jackson rushing a season-high 19 times predictably reignited the debate over how much running is too much, but Colin Kaepernick and Michael Vick are the only two NFL quarterbacks to ever run for more yards in a game. Let’s not forget we’re watching someone special here.

3. That we barely mentioned Jackson completing 63.6 percent of his passes for 236 yards speaks to how much he’s improved in that department. He didn’t have to make too many difficult throws against the Bengals, but he remains on pace for a 4,000-yard season through the air.

4. Jackson has a total of two fumbles through six games after fumbling at least once in each of his eight starts last year. It’s just another box the young quarterback has checked after so much fair concern about his ball security.

5. The defense allowed just 4.5 yards per play and played well despite the pass rush being a non-factor until late in the game. Andy Dalton does average the quickest time from snap to throw among quarterbacks with at least 90 attempts, but pressuring the passer remains a big problem.

6. I was intrigued to see Wink Martindale use four outside linebackers at one time to rush the passer with some success on a handful of plays. We saw that look a few times early last year and will probably see more of it moving forward.

7. Mark Andrews said he’s not going to stop being himself on the field, but Ravens tight ends should probably chill on the hurdling a little bit after his fumble. We’ve seen a few fun highlights, but a turnover that cost Baltimore points outweighs the minimal positives.

8. Even with Patrick Onwuasor out because of an ankle injury, Kenny Young and Chris Board failed to play a single defensive snap against the Bengals. Credit Eric DeCosta and the coaching staff for regrouping on the fly, but what an offseason miscalculation that was at the inside linebacker position.

9. You hoped Marquise Brown’s absence might lead to Jackson’s in-game chemistry growing with other wide receivers, but none registered more than three receptions or 28 receiving yards. The 18-yard gain to Miles Boykin on a run-pass option was encouraging, but that was about it.

10. Josh Bynes and L.J. Fort started at inside linebacker, Chuck Clark is wearing the green-dot helmet and starting at safety, Pernell McPhee is averaging a career high for snaps, and former practice-squad safety Bennett Jackson is now on the 53-man roster. Just how we pictured it this summer, right?

11. The Ravens are tied for the NFL’s easiest schedule thus far, but Dallas lost to the winless Jets and the Chargers were flattened by one-win Pittsburgh and its third-string quarterback. It’s a strange, week-to-week league that’s more about survival than expecting to play your best football for all 16 games.

12. Few would have expected Anquan Boldin to retire as a Raven after the organization foolishly traded him away after Super Bowl XLVII, but it was great seeing him back in Baltimore as Sunday’s “Legend of the Game.” He shared the following story during his retirement press conference:

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onwuasor

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Onwuasor, M. Brown “game-time decisions” after not practicing all week

Posted on 11 October 2019 by Luke Jones

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — The Ravens have listed wide receiver Marquise Brown and inside linebacker Patrick Onwuasor as questionable for Sunday’s game against Cincinnati.

Both missed the entire week of practice after sustaining right ankle injuries in the Week 5 win at Pittsburgh. Brown and Onwuasor were able to finish the game — the former did miss much of the second quarter and the entire third quarter — but they’re now in danger of sitting out against the Bengals.

Under 12th-year head coach John Harbaugh, it’s been rare for players to suit up and play after missing an entire week of practice.

“They’ll both be game-time decisions, so we’ll see how they do come Sunday morning,” Harbaugh said. “If they can go, they go. I thought they’d practice today, so we’ll see how they are Sunday.”

If Brown doesn’t play, the Ravens would likely lean more heavily on veteran Seth Roberts and rookie third-round pick Miles Boykin. Brown leads all Baltimore wide receivers with 21 receptions for 326 yards and three touchdowns while Willie Snead ranks second with just 12 catches for 205 yards and two touchdowns.

Onwuasor’s injury complicates an inside linebacker position that had finally found some stability last week with the arrival of veteran Josh Bynes, who surprisingly started and played well at the “Mike” linebacker spot. Onwuasor moved back to the weak-side position where he had started and played well the previous two seasons next to former Raven C.J. Mosley.

Should Onwuasor not be able to play Sunday, the Ravens would turn to some combination of Kenny Young, Chris Board, and veteran L.J. Fort to play next to Bynes. Young was a healthy scratch last week despite starting three of the first four games of the season while Board was limited to one defensive snap after the reshuffling at inside linebacker.

“I’m sure that they want to have a bigger role, absolutely, and they’re competitive guys,” said Harbaugh about Young and Board. “But the attitude has stayed positive. They want to help us win. They want to practice well. They both practiced well again, so that will just shake itself out as we go.”

The Ravens also listed tight end Mark Andrews (left shoulder) as questionable, but he practiced fully Friday, leaving little question about his availability. Cornerback Jimmy Smith (right knee) was officially ruled out and will miss his fifth straight game after being injured in the season opener.

The 0-5 Bengals are in much worse shape from a health standpoint after ruling out six players, a list including seven-time Pro Bowl wide receiver A.J. Green (ankle), two-time Pro Bowl defensive end Carlos Dunlap (knee), and offensive tackles Cordy Glenn (concussion) and Andre Smith (ankle). Smith had already been filling in for Glenn at left tackle to begin the season, leaving a struggling offensive line in even worse shape for Week 6.

The Weather.com Sunday forecast in Baltimore calls for mostly cloudy skies and temperatures in the mid-60s with winds light and variable and only a slight chance of a rain shower.

Below is the final injury report of the week:

BALTIMORE
OUT: CB Jimmy Smith (knee)
QUESTIONABLE: TE Mark Andrews (shoulder), WR Marquise Brown (ankle), LB Patrick Onwuasor (ankle)

CINCINNATI
OUT: DE Carlos Dunlap (knee), DT Ryan Glasgow (thigh), OT Cordy Glenn (concussion), WR A.J. Green (ankle), OT Andre Smith (ankle), DE Kerry Wynn (concussion)
QUESTIONABLE: S Shawn Williams (thigh)

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marquisebrown

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M. Brown, Onwuasor still sidelined from Thursday’s Ravens practice

Posted on 10 October 2019 by Luke Jones

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Wide receiver Marquise Brown and inside linebacker Patrick Onwuasor remained sidelined from Thursday’s practice as the Ravens count down to their meeting with Cincinnati.

Brown hurt his right ankle in the second quarter of the Week 5 win at Pittsburgh and didn’t return until the fourth quarter, registering just one catch for three yards after sustaining the injury. Offensive coordinator Greg Roman is hoping to get Brown going again after the 2019 first-round pick registered a total of 44 receiving yards over the last two games. However, he did make a terrific 11-yard touchdown catch before leaving Sunday’s game with the ailment.

Many are clamoring for offensive coordinator Greg Roman to find more creative ways to get the speedy Brown the football as defenses have gone out of their way to take away the deep ball since the first two games of the season when Brown registered a combined 12 catches for 233 yards and two touchdowns.

“I think we’d like to definitely deploy Marquise in a variety of ways,” Roman said. “I think if you do them all at once, that’s one way to do it. But you kind of like to evolve and add things as you go rather than just kind of throw it all out there in one game or two games. It’s a long season, so it’ll continue to evolve, his role.”

Onwuasor is also dealing with a right ankle injury despite playing all but six defensive snaps against the Steelers. With the arrival of veteran Josh Bynes to play the “Mike” linebacker position last week, Onwuasor moved back to the weak side, the position he previously played next to four-time Pro Bowl selection C.J. Mosley.

Should Onwuasor not be able to play Sunday, the Ravens would have to choose between second-year linebackers Kenny Young and Chris Board to play next to Bynes, who is rapidly gaining trust among Ravens coaches and teammates after a strong 2019 debut.

“The biggest thing Josh brought was a calmness to the middle of the defense, and it let ‘Peanut’ play faster,” defensive coordinator Wink Martindale said. “It just really brought a calmness to our group inside there with the linebacker room.”

Tight end Mark Andrews (left shoulder) and cornerback Maurice Canady (thigh) practiced on a limited basis Thursday after sitting out the first practice of the week.

Meanwhile, the Bengals welcomed back wide receiver A.J. Green to practice for the first time since the seven-time Pro Bowl selection injured his ankle on the first day of training camp in July. Green will not play against the Ravens, but his limited participation improves his chances of playing in Week 7.

Offensive tackle Cordy Glenn (concussion) didn’t practice after working on a limited basis Wednesday, making it likely he’ll miss his sixth straight game to begin the season.

Below is Thursday’s full injury report:

BALTIMORE
DID NOT PARTICIPATE: WR Marquise Brown (ankle), LB Patrick Onwuasor (ankle), CB Jimmy Smith (knee), DT Brandon Williams (non-injury)
LIMITED PARTICIPATION: TE Mark Andrews (shoulder), CB Maurice Canady (thigh)
FULL PARTICIPATION: CB Brandon Carr (non-injury), RB Mark Ingram (non-injury), G Marshal Yanda (non-injury), S Earl Thomas (non-injury)

CINCINNATI
DID NOT PARTICIPATE: DT Ryan Glasgow (thigh), OT Cordy Glenn (concussion), OT Andre Smith (ankle), S Shawn Williams (thigh), DE Kerry Wynn (concussion)
LIMITED PARTICIPATION: DE Carlos Dunlap (knee), WR A.J. Green (ankle), CB Dre Kirkpatrick (non-injury), G John Miller (groin), LB Nick Vigil (ankle)
FULL PARTICIPATION: K Randy Bullock (back), WR Alex Erickson (concussion), G Michael Jordan (ankle)

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Andrews, M. Brown among Ravens missing from Wednesday’s practice

Posted on 09 October 2019 by Luke Jones

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — The Ravens are still feeling the effects of a physical battle with Pittsburgh as nine players sat out Wednesday’s practice with preparations ramping up for the Week 6 meeting with Cincinnati.

Baltimore lost starting safety Tony Jefferson to a season-ending knee injury in the fourth quarter against the Steelers, but four others playing key roles in the 26-23 overtime win are dealing with ailments and a season-high four players received veteran days off Wednesday. The list of injured players was headlined by rookie wide receiver Marquise Brown and second-year tight end Mark Andrews, the Ravens’ two leading receivers

Brown left Sunday’s game in the second quarter with a right ankle injury and didn’t return until early in the fourth quarter. However, he appeared limited while catching just one pass for three yards in his return to action. It’s the opposite foot from the Lisfranc injury he sustained last season at Oklahoma.

“He should be [fine], yes,” head coach John Harbaugh said Monday. “He should be. Nothing serious.”

Andrews left Sunday’s game with a shoulder issue midway through the fourth quarter, but he was able to return on the next offensive series. Harbaugh didn’t reveal the specifics of the ailment Monday, but he reminded the 2018 third-round pick is still dealing with the effects of a lingering foot injury that’s cost him practice time dating back to Week 2.

“He’s just dealing with the thing; he’s dealing with his foot,” Harbaugh said. “He just has to keep working on that, and that’s just part of the process.”

The other two health-related absences came on the opposite side of the ball as inside linebacker Patrick Onwuasor is nursing an ankle injury and cornerback Maurice Canady was listed as having a thigh injury. Harbaugh said Onwuasor turned his ankle in the Pittsburgh game, but he was spotted wearing a boot on his right foot in photos posted on the team’s official website Tuesday. Onwuasor did speak to reporters Wednesday and wasn’t wearing the boot.

Drawing his first start of the season in place of the demoted Anthony Averett, Canady recorded a team-high seven tackles and forced a fumble against the Steelers. However, injuries have hampered him throughout his four-year career, leaving some concern about his status for Week 6.

“Maurice really stepped up. He played well,” Harbaugh said Monday. “He covered man, covered zone, made plays on the ball, made tackles. I thought he played very well. It’s nice to see a guy step up when the opportunity comes, and he did it.”

Canady was already filling in for the injured Jimmy Smith, who remains out with a Grade 2 MCL sprain in his right knee and appears likely to miss his fifth straight game Sunday. The 31-year-old Smith has increased his activity level, but Harbaugh wouldn’t reveal any timetable for when he might begin practicing.

Smith was injured on the sixth defensive play of the season-opening win at Miami and has now missed at least four games in seven of his nine NFL seasons.

“I wouldn’t want to speculate on it exactly because you just can’t say for sure,” Harbaugh said. “I’d just say he’s doing well, and I’ve got my fingers crossed for soon.”

Smith has often been tasked with matching up against Bengals wide receiver A.J. Green over the years, but the seven-time Pro Bowl selection won’t play Sunday as he continues to recover from an ankle injury sustained on the first day of training camp in July. That’s good news for the Ravens, who are just 4-8 against the Bengals since Super Bowl XLVII and 2-6 in games in which Green has played.

The winless Bengals were also without left tackle Andre Smith (ankle) and safety Shawn Williams (thigh) for Wednesday’s practice. Starting left tackle Cordy Glenn (concussion) was listed as a limited participant, but he hasn’t played since suffering a head injury in the preseason and practiced on a limited basis two weeks ago before again sitting out last week, leaving his status in doubt.

Cincinnati placed wide receiver John Ross (shoulder) on injured reserve last week, further damaging a passing attack already missing Green.

Below is Wednesday’s full injury report:

BALTIMORE
DID NOT PARTICIPATE: TE Mark Andrews (shoulder), WR Marquise Brown (ankle), CB Brandon Carr (non-injury), CB Maurice Canady (thigh), RB Mark Ingram (non-injury), LB Patrick Onwuasor (ankle), CB Jimmy Smith (knee), G Marshal Yanda (non-injury), S Earl Thomas (non-injury)

CINCINNATI
DID NOT PARTICIPATE: DT Ryan Glasgow (thigh), WR A.J. Green (ankle), OT Andre Smith (ankle), S Shawn Williams (thigh), DE Kerry Wynn (concussion)
LIMITED PARTICIPATION: WR Alex Erickson (concussion), OT Cordy Glenn (concussion), G Michael Jordan (ankle), G John Miller (groin), LB Nick Vigil (ankle)
FULL PARTICIPATION: K Randy Bullock (back)

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skura

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Skura, Williams questionable for Ravens’ tilt in Pittsburgh

Posted on 04 October 2019 by Luke Jones

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — The only man to play every offensive snap for the Ravens since the start of the 2018 season is questionable for Sunday’s game against Pittsburgh.

Center Matt Skura missed practice for the second straight day with a knee injury, leaving his availability uncertain for Week 5. The Ravens have expressed optimism about his status, but no Baltimore player who’s missed the final two practices of a week this season has played that Sunday.

“He had something happen in practice. I think there’s a real good chance he’ll play,” head coach John Harbaugh said. “I’m very encouraged, so we’ll just have to see. If not, we’ll go with the guys we have.”

Starting left guard Bradley Bozeman is listed as the backup center on the depth chart included in this week’s game release, but the Ravens may not want to disrupt two positions on an offensive line that’s shown promising continuity through the first quarter of the season. Undrafted rookie Patrick Mekari would be the other candidate to start in Skura’s place after being active as a reserve in each of the first four games of 2019.

Not only would a change at center be unsettling with Pittsburgh’s interior defensive line regarded as one of the NFL’s best, but 97 percent of the Ravens’ offensive snaps this season have come from the shotgun or pistol formation, according to SharpFootballStats.com. Accuracy problems with snaps are detrimental to the timing of read-option and run-pass option plays that require a precise mesh point between the quarterback and running back.

Defensive tackle Brandon Williams was also listed as questionable on the final injury report, but he practiced fully Friday, a good sign for his availability after he missed last Sunday’s loss to Cleveland due to a knee injury. Punt returner and reserve cornerback Cyrus Jones was also designated as questionable after being limited in Friday’s practice with a foot issue.

Tight end Mark Andrews wasn’t listed with a game status after practicing fully Friday, a sign that his health continues to improve after being hampered by a foot injury since Week 2. He sat out Wednesday’s practice and worked on a limited basis Thursday.

Harbaugh said he expects the Ravens to make a 53-man roster addition prior to Saturday’s 4 p.m. deadline for Week 5 after placing reserve safety Brynden Trawick (elbow) on injured reserve Thursday. That move would presumably be a promotion from the practice squad.

Trawick had returned to practice on a limited basis Wednesday after a two-game absence, but Harbaugh said he’s now a candidate for a designation to return later in the season, a decision that doesn’t have to be made right now.

“It’s just a move we decided to make. It’s kind of the way it worked out,” Harbaugh said. “It’s not really as much medical. I mean he’s not ready to play yet, so we’ve got a little time there.”

As expected, cornerback Jimmy Smith (knee) was officially ruled out and will miss his fourth straight game. This marks the seventh time in his nine seasons in which the oft-injured defensive back will miss at least four contests in a campaign.

The Steelers are dealing with their own health concerns as wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster (toe) and tight end Vance McDonald (shoulder) are questionable to play, but both practiced fully Friday. Running back James Conner (ankle) wasn’t listed with a game status despite sitting out the first two practices of the week, meaning he’ll play against the Ravens.

Pittsburgh fullback Roosevelt Nix (knee) was officially ruled out.

The Weather.com forecast for Sunday in Pittsburgh calls for cloudy skies with occasional showers and temperatures approaching the mid-70s. There’s a 40-percent chance of rain with winds 10 to 15 miles per hour.

Below is the final injury report of the week:

BALTIMORE
OUT: CB Jimmy Smith (knee)
QUESTIONABLE: CB Cyrus Jones (foot), C Matt Skura (knee), DT Brandon Williams (knee)

PITTSBURGH
OUT: LB Anthony Chickillo (foot), RB Roosevelt Nix (knee)
QUESTIONABLE: TE Vance McDonald (shoulder), WR JuJu Smith-Schuster (toe), LB Vince Williams (hamstring)

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brandonwilliams

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B. Williams practices as Thomas says Ravens teammates on “same page”

Posted on 03 October 2019 by Luke Jones

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — On the same day Ravens defensive tackle Brandon Williams returned to practice, safety Earl Thomas says the two are “on the same page” after last Sunday’s post-game dispute.

An NFL Network report indicated the two were involved in a “heated” discussion after Williams missed the Week 4 loss to Cleveland with a knee injury. The veteran lineman hadn’t been on the injury report until Saturday and was deactivated after a lackluster on-field workout before Sunday’s game. Without their run-stopping tackle anchoring the defense, the Ravens gave up a season-worst 193 yards in the 40-25 loss to the Browns.

Baltimore is allowing 4.9 yards per carry, which currently ranks 27th in the NFL.

“We talked about it. I just want him out there,” said Thomas about his spat with Williams. “He’s a Pro Bowler. We’re better when he’s out there, so I was a little frustrated. I just wanted to see what was going on with him because I knew he had practiced earlier in the week. I didn’t know.

“It just kind of hit me out of the blindside, but hopefully he’ll play this week. We’ll get it fixed.”

Williams practiced on a limited basis after sitting out Wednesday’s session, a positive sign for his availability for Sunday’s trip to Heinz Field to take on Pittsburgh. However, the Ravens were without center Matt Skura, who missed Thursday’s workout with a knee issue. Starting left guard Bradley Bozeman is listed on the team’s depth chart as the backup center, but undrafted rookie Patrick Mekari would be another option if Skura weren’t able to play.

Tight end Mark Andrews (foot) was a limited participant on Thursday after receiving the previous day off. He has now missed parts of four straight practice weeks, but he appeared to be moving better against the Browns than he did in the previous week’s loss to Kansas City, catching four passes for 31 yards and a touchdown in Week 4.

There is no shortage of urgency with the Ravens having lost two straight and not wanting to fall to 0-2 in AFC North play against the Steelers, who registered their first win of the season Monday night.

“We know what this game entails. It’s a rivalry,” Andrews said. “We know it’s going to be a hostile environment. We have a bunch of fighters in this locker room, a bunch of resilient guys, and I trust these guys.”

Reserve safety Brynden Trawick (elbow) was placed on injured reserve a day after returning to practice on a limited basis. Trawick had missed each of the last two games with the injury. The Ravens did not immediately announce a corresponding roster move.

Meanwhile, the Steelers are dealing with their own health concerns as wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster (toe), running back James Conner (ankle), and tight end Vance McDonald (shoulder) have yet to practice this week. McDonald didn’t play in Week 4 while Smith-Schuster and Conner were banged up in Pittsburgh’s win over Cincinnati.

Below is Thursday’s full injury report:

BALTIMORE
DID NOT PARTICIPATE: C Matt Skura (knee), CB Jimmy Smith (knee)
LIMITED PARTICIPATION: TE Mark Andrews (foot), DT Brandon Williams (knee)
FULL PARTICIPATION: S Earl Thomas (non-injury)

PITTSBURGH
DID NOT PARTICIPATE: LB Anthony Chickillo (foot), RB James Conner (ankle), G Ramon Foster (non-injury), TE Vance McDonald (shoulder), RB Roosevelt Nix (knee), WR JuJu Smith-Schuster (toe)
FULL PARTICIPATION: LB Mark Barron (non-injury), DT Cameron Heyward (quadricep), C Maurkice Pouncey (non-injury), LB Vince Williams (hamstring)

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brandonwilliams

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Ravens-Browns: Inactives and pre-game notes

Posted on 29 September 2019 by Luke Jones

BALTIMORE — The Ravens will be without the anchor of their defensive line for a key AFC North battle with Cleveland.

A day after being added to the injury report, defensive tackle Brandon Williams was deactivated for Sunday’s game due to a knee injury. The 30-year-old is missing his first game since Week 6 of the 2017 season when Chicago rushed for 231 yards in a 27-24 overtime win over the Ravens.

Williams went through a pre-game workout with defensive line coach Joe Cullen and head athletic trainer Ron Medlin that included plenty of dialogue and deliberate, unimpressive movements. Defensive coordinator Wink Martindale also watched closely while defensive lineman Chris Wormley assisted for the latter portion of the workout before Williams left the field.

After giving up 5.6 yards per carry in last Sunday’s loss in Kansas City, the Ravens not having Williams in the middle of the defensive line is a substantial loss. Rookie fifth-round pick Daylon Mack will make his NFL debut as part of the defensive line rotation.

As expected, tight end Mark Andrews (foot) and cornerback Marlon Humphrey (hip) are active after being listed as questionable on the final injury report. How Andrews fares will be interesting after he practiced only once this week and registered just three catches for 15 yards against the Chiefs in Week 3.

As anticipated, the Browns deactivated starting cornerbacks Denzel Ward and Greedy Williams as well as starting safety Morgan Burnett for Week 4. All three sat out practices all week and are missing their second straight game, but Cleveland — led by its stout defensive line — still managed to hold the Los Angeles Rams to just 20 points last Sunday night.

On the positive side for the Browns, starting safety Damarious Randall will play after a two-game absence with a concussion.

Sunday’s referee is Shawn Hochuli.

According to Weather.com, the Sunday forecast in Baltimore calls for mostly sunny skies and temperatures reaching the mid-80s with winds five to 10 miles per hour and no chance of precipitation.

The Ravens are wearing their purple jerseys with purple pants while Cleveland dons white tops with orange pants for Week 4.

Sunday marks the 41st all-time meeting between these AFC North teams with the Ravens enjoying an overwhelming 30-10 advantage. Baltimore is 19-3 against Cleveland in the John Harbaugh era, but 10 of the last 15 contests have been decided by a single possession, including both parts of last season’s split.

The Ravens are inducting former head coach and Super Bowl XXXV champion Brian Billick into their Ring of Honor at halftime with more than 60 former players in attendance. Senior advisor of player engagement and former Ravens linebacker O.J. Brigance will also be honored on his 50th birthday.

Below are Sunday’s inactives:

BALTIMORE
DT Brandon Williams
CB Jimmy Smith
QB Trace McSorley
WR Jaleel Scott
S Brynden Trawick
G Ben Powers

CLEVELAND
CB Denzel Ward
CB Greedy Williams
S Sheldrick Redwine
S Morgan Burnett
DE Genard Avery
OT Kendall Lamm
WR Rashard Higgins

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Ravens-Browns: Five predictions for Sunday

Posted on 28 September 2019 by Luke Jones

There are always a few pivotal games that stand out in any season with Sunday’s tilt between the Ravens and Cleveland certainly shaping up to be one.

A win gives Baltimore a full two-game lead over every other AFC North team and drops the Browns to 1-3 with the accompanying “same old story” thoughts. However, a Ravens loss would pull Cleveland even in the division and put the winner of Monday’s Pittsburgh-Cincinnati game just one game behind.

With two more division games to immediately follow for the Ravens, Week 4 could help put them on a path to win the AFC North going away or provide a major jolt for the Browns.

It’s time to go on the record as the Ravens and Browns face off for the 41st time in the regular season with Baltimore holding a lopsided 30-10 advantage and a 19-3 mark under John Harbaugh. However, 10 of the last 15 meetings have been decided by a single possession, including both halves of last year’s split between the division foes.

Below are five predictions for Sunday:

1. The Ravens will commit their first turnover of the season. Only six teams have forced fewer turnovers than Baltimore, but Harbaugh’s team is the only one in the NFL without a giveaway, which reflects Lamar Jackson’s growth in his first full year as a starter. Of course, some luck has been involved as well with the Ravens recovering both of their fumbles this season and Jackson getting away with a few passes that could have been intercepted last week. The law of averages will finally catch up to them.

2. Odell Beckham Jr. will catch a touchdown and Marlon Humphrey will register an interception matched up against each other. With Jimmy Smith out with a knee injury, Humphrey traveled with Chiefs wide receiver Sammy Watkins for much of last week’s game, a strategy that should continue against the talented Beckham. Baker Mayfield has targeted his star wideout 30 times in three games and will continue throwing his way, which will give Humphrey chances to get his hands on passes. It’s worth noting the third-year corner was limited with a hip issue this week, however.

3. Jackson will throw touchdown passes to Nick Boyle and Seth Roberts. The Browns will try to copy Kansas City’s plan to take away deep shots to Marquise Brown, which should create underneath chances for others. That reality coupled with Mark Andrews’ lingering foot issue will make it important for Jackson to look beyond his top two pass-catching targets. Boyle’s first career touchdown is long overdue, and Roberts’ playing time is trending up with Miles Boykin struggling early. Cleveland is likely to be without three starters in its secondary, which sets up for Jackson to have a good game.

4. Myles Garrett will register multiple sacks for the third time in four weeks. Harbaugh admitted his offensive line hasn’t yet seen a defensive front this talented, which will set up some intriguing battles. Ronnie Stanley and Orlando Brown Jr. will have their hands full with Garrett and Olivier Vernon on the edges, but defensive tackles Sheldon Richardson and Larry Ogunjobi could also create some problems against the run and pass. Even more play-action and run-pass options than usual are in order to keep the Cleveland rush in check, but Garrett will continue his monster start to 2019.

5. Some strong running from Mark Ingram in the fourth quarter will help the Ravens preserve a tight 26-20 win. The body of work for each team so far and the home-field advantage suggest a Baltimore win, but the 1-2 Browns are already feeling pretty desperate with three more games against winning teams immediately following Sunday’s contest. The talent is still there for Cleveland and Mayfield is a better quarterback than he’s shown to be so far this season, but the likely absences of Browns cornerbacks Denzel Ward and Greedy Williams will keep the Ravens offense a step ahead. Baltimore will start 3-1 for the third time in the last four years and eighth time in the Harbaugh era.

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Ravens tight end Andrews listed as questionable, expects to play Sunday

Posted on 27 September 2019 by Luke Jones

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Ravens tight end Mark Andrews expects to play Sunday against the Cleveland Browns despite a foot injury that limited him to only one practice this week.

Listed as questionable on the final injury report, Andrews was able to participate on a limited basis Friday after missing the first two workouts of the week. The 2018 third-round pick missed only one practice in each of the previous two weeks and was limited to three catches for 15 yards in last Sunday’s loss in Kansas City, which led to increased concerns about his foot.

The 2018 third-round pick says it’s all part of the plan to keep him healthy for game days as he’s caught 19 passes for 235 yards and two touchdowns in the first three contests of the season.

“It’s kind of been tough for me to miss these last couple practices, but it’s all a common goal,” Andrews said. “These trainers have an idea for me to come out Sunday and be 100 percent. I’m well on my way there, so I’m healthy right now.

“They’re doing a great job with that. I’m feeling good, and I’m excited to play the Browns.”

Head coach John Harbaugh shared Andrews’ sentiments without disclosing specifics of the foot ailment that first landed him on the injury report on Sept. 13.

“We’re managing the issue that he has, which is not any kind of structural thing,” Harbaugh said. “It’s just one of those things. It’s part of the football season. I wouldn’t overthink it. He plans on being out there.”

Cornerback Marlon Humphrey was also designated as questionable on the final injury report after being limited in practices throughout the week with a hip issue. The third-year defensive back missed much of the second quarter of the loss to the Chiefs when the Ravens allowed 23 points to fall behind by 17 at intermission.

Baltimore officially ruled out cornerback Jimmy Smith (knee), safety Brynden Trawick (elbow) and inside linebacker Otaro Alaka (hamstring) for Sunday’s game. Smith will miss his third straight game while recovering from a Grade 2 MCL sprain in his right knee.

The Browns will welcome starting safety Damarious Randall back to action after a two-game absence with a concussion, but the status of the other three starting members of their secondary remains in serious doubt. Cornerbacks Denzel Ward and Greedy Williams were both listed as questionable with hamstring injuries, but neither practiced all week after missing last Sunday’s loss to the Los Angeles Rams, making one wonder how realistic their chances are of playing. Safety Morgan Burnett was also designated as questionable after failing to practice all week and missing the Rams game.

The Ravens will officially induct former head coach and Super Bowl XXXV champion Brian Billick into their Ring of Honor Sunday with over 60 former Ravens players scheduled to attend. That list includes Hall of Famer Jonathan Ogden, Peter Boulware, Todd Heap, Priest Holmes, Jamal Lewis, Michael McCrary, Duane Starks, Matt Stover, and Adalius Thomas.

Baltimore will also hold a special tribute for senior advisor to player engagement and former Ravens linebacker O.J. Brigance, who celebrates his 50th birthday on Sunday. Diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) in 2007, Brigance has continued to fight the odds and be an inspiration for both the organization and the community.

On Thursday, he shared a message with the team during a birthday celebration.

“There is no testimony without a test,” said Harbaugh of Brigance’s words. “If you want to have a story to tell, it can’t be, ‘Everything was great in my life. We won every game. We scored every touchdown. We got every stop.’ It just doesn’t work like that. Who would watch that movie? Nobody. That’s not how life works. What a message.”

The Weather.com forecast for Sunday’s game calls for sunny skies and temperatures reaching the mid-80s with winds five to 10 miles per hour and only a 10-percent chance of precipitation.

Below is the final injury report of the week:

BALTIMORE
OUT: LB Otaro Alaka (hamstring), CB Jimmy Smith (knee), S Brynden Trawick (elbow)
QUESTIONABLE: TE Mark Andrews (foot), CB Marlon Humphrey (hip)

CLEVELAND
OUT: OT Kendall Lamm (knee)
QUESTIONABLE: S Morgan Burnett (quad), WR Rashard Higgins (knee), OT Chris Hubbard (foot), S Sheldrick Redwine (hamstring), CB Denzel Ward (hamstring), CB Greedy Williams (hamstring)

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Ravens tight end Andrews still bothered by foot issue

Posted on 25 September 2019 by Luke Jones

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — The Ravens began a new practice week with a familiar concern ahead of Sunday’s AFC North meeting with Cleveland.

Tight end Mark Andrews didn’t practice Wednesday as he deals with a lingering foot issue that first landed him on the injury report in Week 2. The ailment didn’t hinder him much against Arizona as he caught eight passes for 112 yards and a touchdown, but he registered just three receptions for 15 yards on seven targets in Sunday’s 33-28 loss at Kansas City.

There was some doubt about his availability against the Chiefs after he was limited in practices last week, but Andrews still managed to play a season-high 43 offensive snaps — even if not appearing to be close to full strength. The 2018 third-round pick from Oklahoma didn’t appear on special teams after contributing in that phase in the first two games of the season.

“The training staff did a great job of getting me ready for this game,” Andrews said after Sunday’s loss. “My foot’s getting better and better. I’ll be alright.”

Unlike last week when he sat out one practice, Andrews was conspicuously absent from the Ravens locker room during Wednesday’s media availability time. Should Andrews not be able to play in Week 4, the Ravens would lean more heavily on fellow tight ends Nick Boyle and Hayden Hurst, who combined for six passes for 72 yards against the Chiefs.

Cornerback Jimmy Smith remains sidelined with a right knee injury and walked through the locker room wearing a brace, a clear sign that he’ll miss his third straight game Sunday. Safety Brynden Trawick was also absent from Wednesday’s workout with an elbow injury sustained in Week 2.

After missing some action in the second quarter of the Kansas City game, top cornerback Marlon Humphrey was a limited participant in Wednesday’s session with a hip issue.

Trailing the Ravens by a game in the division, the Browns are dealing with significant health concerns after all four starting members of their secondary missed their Week 3 loss to the Los Angeles Rams. Three of those four starters — cornerbacks Denzel Ward and Greedy Williams and safety Morgan Burnett — remained sidelined during Wednesday’s practice.

“It’s kind of a day-to-day thing with several of these guys,” Browns coach Freddie Kitchens said in a conference call. “We got Damarious Randall back today. He cleared protocol, so he’s back. As the other guys go, it’s just kind of day-to-day. We’ll just wait and see at the end of the week.”

It was a credit to the Cleveland defense for holding the explosive Rams to just 20 points despite those absences in the secondary for Week 3, but a big reason why is a defensive line that includes 2018 Pro Bowl defensive ends Myles Garrett and Olivier Vernon as well as 2014 Pro Bowl defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson. In three games, Garrett has collected six sacks while defensive tackle Larry Ogunjobi has two quarterback takedowns.

Head coach John Harbaugh said he’s pleased with how his offensive line has performed so far this season, but Sunday presents the kind of test the Ravens didn’t see in their first three games.

“You look at that and you say, ‘Well, we’ve got a big challenge in front of us now with the Browns,’” Harbaugh said. “This will be the best defensive front we’ve played yet I’d say by a long way. This is one of the best defensive lines in football, so let’s just focus on Sunday.”

Below is Wednesday’s full injury report:

BALTIMORE
DID NOT PARTICIPATE: TE Mark Andrews (foot), CB Jimmy Smith (knee), S Earl Thomas (non-injury), S Brynden Trawick (elbow)
LIMITED PARTICIPATION: LB Otaro Alaka (hamstring), CB Marlon Humphrey (hip)

CLEVELAND
DID NOT PARTICIPATE: S Morgan Burnett (quad), OT Chris Hubbard (foot), OT Kendall Lamm (knee), DT Devaroe Lawrence (non-injury), S Sheldrick Redwine (hamstring), CB Denzel Ward (hamstring), CB Greedy Williams (hamstring)
LIMITED PARTICIPATION: G Joel Bitonio (abdomen), WR Rashard Higgins (knee), LB Adarius Taylor (ankle)
FULL PARTICIPATION: WR Odell Beckham Jr. (hip), LS Charlie Hughlett (shoulder), S Damarious Randall (concussion), K Austin Seibert (right hip)

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