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Feb 11

Cincinnati Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict has his 3 game suspension upheld by NFL

Cincinnati Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict has often found himself in situations over the last few years where he could fight and somehow escape any real negative fallout from the NFL for the most part. Well now it is becoming more and more clear that the NFL has had enough with Burfict as he can’t escape a three game suspension from the NFL as the decision has been upheld according to  ESPN.com.

Burfict went as far as to meet with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell to see if he could avoid any stiff penalties in the future.

The cause of the three game suspension was ignited due to Burfict’s incident in the AFC Wild Card playoff game this past season against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Burfict delivered helmet to helmet contact with Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown as Brown was running across the middle of the field.

Brown went on to miss the Steelers next playoff game against the eventual Super Bowl champion Denver Broncos in the AFC Divisional round due to a concussion sustained by Burfict in the very same helmet to helmet contact incident.

Burfict was also fined $50,000 earlier this year for his hit on Baltimore Ravens tight end Maxx Williams in week 17 of the 2015 season.

Feb 11

Baltimore Ravens receiver Kamar Aiken among PFF’s Top 25 Breakout Players of 2015

The journeyman receiver gaining recognition outside of Baltimore too for his stellar performance…

The Baltimore Ravens had many players who underwhelmed in 2015, but a few Ravens really took a step forward despite the circumstances of the rest of the roster. Despite catching passes from 4 different quarterbacks in 2015, Kamar Aiken was one of them. Aiken overcame mediocre offensive line play, a rotating cast at quarterback and running back, and an inexperienced cast of receivers and tight ends opposite him to put up a career year.

Aiken posted a season which was the 6th most receptions and the 12th most yards in Ravens history, despite not really getting started until Steve Smith Sr. went down in week 8. He added 5 touchdowns, and had just under a 60% catch percentage, which is up there with the most sure handed receivers in Ravens history, Anquan Boldin, Derrick Mason, and ahead of others like Michael Jackson, Derrick Alexander, and Torrey Smith.

PFF chose Aiken as one of their 25 Breakout players of 2015, slotting in at 19th:

19. Kamar Aiken, WR, BAL

2014 cumulative grade: +0.2 on 334 snaps

2015 cumulative grade: +12.7 on 955 snaps

Few good news stories emanated from the Ravens’ franchise this season, including at wide receiver, where Steve Smith suffered a season-ending injury. Kamar Aiken stepped up with Smith sidelined, however, suggesting he can contribute in the NFL. The undrafted free agent caught 75 passes for 944 yards and five scores. His hands proved more reliable, dropping only 5 percent of passes compared with 7 percent in 2014, and he made more happen after the catch, breaking eight tackles compared with one. Set to hit free agency, the Ravens will surely want to ensure stability at the position by resigning their young receiver on an upward trajectory.

Aiken left Ravens fans excited to see what he can contribute in 2016, with a true burner threat next to him in Breshad Perriman, and with a full season of Joe Flacco. One thing is for sure, we have not seen the best yet from Kamar Aiken.

Feb 11

Baltimore Ravens – James Ihedigbo reunion not ideal

The former Raven is heading into free agency, but a reunion would not benefit the team.

Free Safety has been one of the more prevalent needs for the post-Super Bowl XLVII Ravens, as they are still looking for a worthy successor to Ed Reed, with all of the free safeties the team brought in fitting into 2 categories: one year stopgap players or developmental prospects such as Terrence Brooks. One of those former Ravens safeties will probably be available for the Ravens to acquire in free agency this March.

James Ihedigbo’s two-year contract with the Detroit Lions is about to expire in March and the idea of bringing back the former Raven sounds like a tempting one, especially to those who wished that the Ravens were able to retain Ihedigbo back in 2014. But it’s not in the best interest of the Ravens and it won’t solve the back-end problems that have plagued the Ravens for the past few years.

To start, Ihedigbo isn’t the rangy, ballhawk that the Ravens could use in the secondary. He struggled with the deep ball when he was a starter in 2013 and I doubt that being two years older is going to fix that issue. Second. Ihedigbo is no longer a starting caliber safety. He was a worthy starter in 2013 for the Ravens and the Lions in 2014, but he was benched by the Lions for Isa Abdul-Quddus midway through the season after the Lions went 1-7 to start the season. And third, Ihedigbo would be making the secondary older, not younger. The Ravens need young talent in the secondary and James Ihedigbo is 32. At the very best, he would be a stop-gap player, something that the Ravens already have in Kendrick Lewis.

Some Ravens fans might want the team to pursue the former Raven in free agency this year. But spending money on a stopgap player is not the best use of what money the team does have and it won’t solve the problems in the Ravens secondary.

Feb 11

Best and worst moments of 2015: Baltimore Ravens edition

What made you jump for joy, and what made you dwell in sadness?

With 2015 in the books it’s time to take a look back review the best and worst moments of the Baltimore Ravens season

Worst:

Joe Flacco tears ACL – Never enjoyable for any squad to lose the starting quarterback, but Joe Flacco has been an iron-man since the beginning, it was unfortunate to see him go down.

Justin Forsett breaks arm – Starting running-back and starting qb went down same game. Just terrible to watch

Steve Smith Sr. tears Achilles – Man put the team on his back, and his leg couldn’t hold them up any longer

Terrell Suggs tears achilles – Really a terrible way to start the season

Supposedly a wide receiver on the team never sees the field – We had a first round pick last year?

Dennis Pitta will never be seeing the field again – We still love you Dennis

Bengals beating the Ravens twice – Sick and tired of AJ Green getting away with it

Steelers somehow getting into the playoffs – I mean really, even we beat them twice. We only won 5 games!

Courtney Upshaw ruining a 100 yard interception for touchdown, Jimmy’s second of the year nullified. – just brutal

Best:

Winless Ravens hurt Steelers feelings at Heinz Field – Finally getting the monkey off our backs

WILL HILL KICK SIX TOUCHDOWN – Shout-out to Brent Urban with a winning effort on his first game

Will Hill WWE tackle – YOU SHALL NOT PASS

Another glorious season by Steve Smith Sr. – And to another one this season

Jimmy Smith snares an interception and takes it to the house – A great start to the season diminished

Do you have any others you’d like to share? Feel free to let em rip down in the comment section.

Feb 11

Mularkey, Robinson Open Doors to Former Players

Message to former Titans: You’re still part of the team.

Feb 11

Baltimore Ravens offensive tackle Eugene Monroe is a perfect trade candidate

If the Ravens decide not to keep him, Monroe would make a perfect trade candidate due to his contract structure…

One of the bigger offseason decisions the Ravens have to make is what to do at left tackle. Incumbent Eugene Monroe has missed about 75% of the games since he signed his big extension. When he has played, his performance has been somewhere slightly better than decent. The Ravens kicked pro bowl caliber guard Kelechi Osemele out to left tackle, the position he played in college, for the last few games of the 2015 season to get a feel for his ability there before his pending free agency.

With several good options at left guard for next season, the Ravens are left with a dilemma: what to do at left tackle.

The way I see it, there are several options:

1) Assuming the team feels he is a long term fit at Left Tackle, resign Kelechi Osemele to play there and start John Urschel or Ryan Jensen at left guard. This would mean Monroe would likely be gone from Baltimore, a savings of $2.1 million (if cut or traded before June 1st)

2) If the team does not feel that way about Osemele, or he is priced out of the teams range, the team would have to make an assessment of Monroe. If they feel he is not going to bounce back, they let him go and bring in reinforcements in the draft, possibly with a high pick, and/or free agency using the savings. Not likely, but possible.

3) Roll with Monroe at left tackle, but bring in a better backup than Hurst, likely on day 2 or early on day 3 to take over for Monroe in the likely event of an injury, or latest in 2017.

In the event the Ravens decided to go the route of option 1 or 2 however, they should not cut Monroe. The contract the Ravens signed Monroe to is structured in a way which would be very attractive for other teams. While the Ravens would still be on the hook for $6.6 million of the signing bonus, a team who would acquire him would only be on the hook for $6.5 million in 2016. An even bigger advantage of the contract is that it is essentially pay-as-you-go. With no guaranteed money left in any of the last 3 years, a team could acquire him and play it year to year. If Monroe plays well for them in 2016, they have him under contract for the next 2 seasons at reasonable salaries of $6.75 million in 2017 and 2018, with the ability to cut him at any time with no dead money. While the cap hit is not small, the ability to not be locked in could be very valuable to the right team.

A team like the Carolina Panthers could trade for him and slide him in at left tackle, shifting former Raven Michael Oher to right tackle and simultaneously upgrading both tackle positions. The ability to bring in a player like Monroe without committing $20-30 million in guaranteed money, like the Dolphins did with Branden Albert is very attractive. With the lack of available tackles on the free agent market, and the value of a starting left tackle like Russell Okung north of $10 million a year with a nice guarantee, Monroe should have a healthy trade market, possibly including Okung’s former team, the Seahawks.

While I doubt the Ravens can expect much more than a 4th rounder for him, stranger things can happen. Maybe the Ravens recoup the 4th and 5th round picks they gave up to acquire him in the first place. Either way, Monroe should provide an interesting storyline for the Ravens as the seek to upgrade their roster to propel themselves back into playoff contention for 2016.

Feb 11

Today’s Bold Raven Claim: Healthy, We Would Have Beaten Denver.

There is reason to believe that the Ravens could have beaten Denver, with health intact. Here’s the how and why.

A healthy 2015 Ravens team would have beaten the Broncos in the playoffs and represented the AFC in the Super Bowl, eventually winning it.

A bold claim indeed, but with many reasons to believe it.

Because these Broncos are essentially the HOUSTON TEXANS.

They have the same Head Coach, one that I can never root for; the same Offensive Coordinator, the same Defensive Coordinator. The Ravens faced this Houston team at it’s best for a playoff game and a playoff-implicating game, and the results were positive. Of course, the players are different and merit a case-by-case comparison:

  • Denver has Manning, Houston had Matt Schaub and T.J. Yates. Remember, we are talking about this season’s Manning, who had a low QBR of 44.96. Schaub of that Houston playoff year had a QBR of 66.63. Yates is harder to discern because he had a few garbage-time exposures that altered his rating, but it was still around 50, higher than Manning. Is this saying these guys are better? No. Playing better in the Kubiak system? Yes. I dare say so. ADVANTAGE: HOU
  • Denver has Von Miller and DeMarcus Ware, Houston had a rookie J.J. Watt and  All-Pro Antonio Smith. As well as Mario Williams. Both teams could get to the QB although Houston’s Linebackers had more number this way. Denver had the #1 defense, Houston had the #2 defense. A Super Bowl MVP gives the Denver D the nod. ADVANTAGE: DEN
  • Denver has Ronnie Hillman and C.J. Anderson, Houston had Arian Foster. Although Anderson had a good Super Bowl, Foster is far better and had about 500 more yards. Remember how dangerous he was?! ADVANTAGE: HOU
  • Denver has Aquib Talib, Chris Miller Jr., T.J. Ward, and Darian Stewart. Houston had Pro Bowler Jonathan Joseph, Kareem Jackson, Danieal Manning, and Glover Quin. Don’t scoff at the Texans crew. Their D was 3rd in the league vs. the pass. And even though I believe Darian Stewart is a liability, Denver’s team might have been more stout. ADVANTAGE: DEN
  • Denver has KR Omar Bolden and K Brandon McManus; Houston had K Neil Rackers, and a young KR named Jacoby Jones. They had more return yards, a better return average, and more field goals. ADVANTAGE: HOU
In other words, the Houston teams that the Ravens beat had comparable talent, and the same scheme.
Here is what a healthy Ravens team looks like for this theory:
It is so tempting to add DENNIS PITTA to this mix, but I will try to remain realistic. Will Davis is the replacement for Matt Elam, who, for the purposes of this theory, will remain on the injured reserve. Others like him are as follows:
  • Marlon Brown remains on IR. Daniel Brown takes his spot. That’s right.
  • Lorenzo Taliaferro remains on IR. Terrence West takes his spot.
  • Waller and J. Wilson, all rookies except Perriman, remain on IR.
The last of the roster adjustments are for players added throughout the season due to injury. Note that Will Davis has been promoted to the full-season roster as the replacement for Elam’s spot. Here are those adjustments:
Now, for clarity’s sake, let’s look at the depth chart of this healthy Ravens team:
First, the offense:


BOLD Ravens 2015 Depth Chart – 2015
Regular Offense
STARTER 2ND 3RD 4TH
WR SMITH, SR. Aiken Campanaro
TE Gilmore Maxx W. Boyle
LT Monroe Hurst
LG Osemele Urschel Jensen
C Zuttah Urschel
RG Yanda Urschel Jensen
RT Monroe Hurst
WR Perriman Matthews D. Brown
QB FLACCO Mallett Renner
FB Juszczyk
HB Forsett Allen West

And the defense:

Ravens Defense Depth Chart – 2015
Base 3-4 Defense
STARTER 2ND 3RD 4TH
LDE Canty Guy Urban
NT Jernigan Lewis-Moore
RDE Williams Davis
LOLB SUGGS Z. Smith
LILB Moseley Brown
RILB D. Smith McClellan Orr
ROLB Upshaw Dumervil
CB Wright W. Davis
SS Hill III Trawick
FS Webb Brooks Lewis
CB J. Smith Levine

These Ravens could have beaten the Broncos in the playoffs.

The Ravens beat Houston twice in 2011, in crucial games, to get the playoff homefield advantage and then playoff win. Why wouldn’t this Bold team, fully healthy, be able to beat an oddly balanced Denver team? If it were not for a non-called pass interference at the end of the game, they would have won, this season.

The difference with this Bold team would be on offense. Perriman would provide Baltimore with a matchup advantage because of his speed, which Stewart could not match across the top of the defense. Steve Smith would destroy the middle. Strong blocking would enable Forsett to find creases, and Flacco would make the blitz-happy Wade Phillips attack pay with dump-off passes to him.

On paper, Carolina probably had a far better team than Denver. On Sunday, Denver produced because of focus and maturity.

Baltimore a’int Carolina. They would beat the Broncos.

Feb 11

Joe Flacco’s 10 playoff wins put 10 other teams to shame

Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco has more playoff wins than 10 teams in the NFL right now. Flacco has 10 playoff wins right now and 10 teams have less than that all-time their franchise history. Outside of the Carolina Panthers, Jacksonville Jaguars and the Houston Texans, the other eight teams have been around in the league for at least 40 years.

Some of you may be asking why I’m talking about this when the Ravens just finished their season with a 5-11 record. Well, I think this statistic is funny that’s why.

Check out this list:

That’s a bad list to be on especially if you are not the Panthers, Jaguars or the Texans. The Panthers entered the NFL in the mid 1990′s and the Texans arrived in the early 2000′s so they have somewhat of an excuse. But the rest of the teams on this list don’t.

Feb 11

Throwback Thursday: Baltimore Ravens shut out the Dallas Cowboys 27-0 in 2000

As Super Bowl 50 ended this past weekend with the Denver Broncos winning it all and their defense being proclaimed as the best of all-time by some, it is only appropriate to show a Baltimore Ravens throwback from their record setting defense during the 2000 season as they shut out the Cowboys 27-0.

The 2000 Ravens had four shutouts that year which is an NFL record during the 16 game regular season format. The 2015 Broncos had zero shutouts on the season. The Broncos allowed 340 points in 19 games during the 2015 season. The 2000 Ravens allowed 188 points in 20 games. There is no debate between the two units.

The 2000 Ravens held their opponents to three points or less eight times that year including the playoffs. EIGHT TIMES.  Just watch this game against the Cowboys and see how things felt so effortless for the Ravens defense. I don’t think it would be a bad idea for the current Ravens defense to watch this game either.

Feb 10

Russ Grimm Wants O-Line to Establish its Own Identity

Titans offensive line coach Russ Grimm wants his unit to establish its own identity.

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