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Mar 26

Ravens’ Draft Stock Watch: 4 Players Rising and Falling on Baltimore’s Board

At the end of April, the Baltimore Ravens will be on the clock, making their first selection of the 2015 NFL draft.

Many of this year’s best prospects will be long gone when Baltimore makes its first pick at No. 26. However, the Ravens have been as good as anyone at finding star-caliber players later in the first round. 

Baltimore drafted C.J. Mosley (17th), Joe Flacco (18th), Jimmy Smith (27th) and Ben Grubbs (29th) in the second half of the first round, and all went on to become quality NFL players.

Various players’ draft stock will continue to rise and fall throughout the next few weeks, but here are four players who are rising or falling down Baltimore’s board.

Begin Slideshow

Mar 26

#MarchMadness: Sweet Sixteen Open Thread

Discuss March Madness’ Sweet Sixteen basketball here.

The chaff has been culled.

The wheat has been separated.

Now, they must prove that they belong amidst the nation’s Elite Eight.

Mar 26

The Madness Continues: Who’s Still Alive?

As March Madness continues, TitansOnline.com beat writer Joe Fann looks at which Titans players have schools still represented in the Big Dance.

Mar 26

The Madness Continues: Who’s Still Alive?

As March Madness continues, TitansOnline.com beat writer Joe Fann looks at which Titans players have schools still represented in the Big Dance.

Mar 25

NFL takes Brady’s advice to study rulebook, bans Patriots’ ineligibles exploit

NFL studies rulebook and determines that ploy of lining up players with eligible numbers outside the tackle box and declared as ineligible is now explicitly disallowed.

After the Ravens‘ final offensive drive (and Hail Mary) fell short, the Patriots held on to win 35-31 in the AFC Divisional round.

Afterwards, Tom Brady, who is often described as the epitome of class and grace, said indignantly after the game, “…maybe they should study the rulebook”, in response to a question about the tactic of lining up receivers outside the tackle box declared as ineligible. Brady’s sensitivity to the question implied that he did not appreciate his team being grilled again on the subject of rules. Little did he know what awaited him two weeks later.

In any case, the NFL decided to take that advice.

After studying the rulebook, the NFL passed rules banning the exploit during their annual league meetings, thus indicating that the tactic was not consistent with the betterment or spirit of the game.

Ironically, it appears that Tom Brady will now have to re-study the rulebook himself to become acquainted with the forthcoming changes, which include the aforementioned ban on that which was not explicitly illegal before.

That should be no problem though as the Patriots have proven themselves time and again to be an adaptive and cunning adversary in this regard, among others.

The NFL no doubt felt that the referees, themselves often a target of criticism for their interpretation of the rules, would struggle to handle the ploy otherwise, such as in the following week’s game when Nate Solder scored a receiving touchdown which Dean Blandino later indicated should not have been a legal play.

Either way, all 32 teams will have to refamiliarize themselves with the nuances of the rulebook in search of further untapped exploits.

Mar 25

Ravens March Madness: Vote for the best free-agent signing in the Ray Lewis Region

Vote bracket style for the best free-agent in team history. This is the Ray Lewis bracket.

In the spirit of March Madness and NFL free agency, I thought it might be fun to put together a bracket related to the Ravens, with the Baltimore Beatdown community voting for who advances and who doesn’t.

What I decided to do was put 32 Ravens free-agent signings in team history and have them battle it out bracket style.

A few notes for the first round:

1) Matt Stover does not count since he was a Browns free-agent signing. When the team relocated, the Ravens did not bring over the Browns history. So in essence, Stover just kind of showed up and wasn’t a free-agent signing.

2) Willis McGahee was sort of a free agent but not really. With his contract expiring the Bills traded him to the Ravens before the new league year began, and then the Ravens worked out a new deal immediately after. Since it was technically a trade, McGahee is not involved.

3) I didn’t include undrafted free agents, just guys that had at least played games or been on a different roster previously.

Other than that, here goes. Each bracket is divided into four regions. This one is the Ray Lewis Region.

Ray Lewis Region

About each player and matchup:

No. 1 Michael McCrary vs. No. 8 T.J. Houshmandzadeh

A seventh-round selection by the Seahawks, McCrary came to Baltimore as an unrestricted free agent in 1997. He went on to become one of the best Ravens in franchise history. McCrary ranks third all-time (behind Terrell Suggs and Peter Boulware) in sacks with 51. He was a two-time Pro Bowler. McCrary’s single-season best in sacks came in 1998 when he tallied 14.5. He was on the 2000 team that won Super Bowl XXXV. McCrary entered the Ravens’ Ring of Honor in 2004.

Houshmandzadeh came to the Ravens late in his career and became the team’s No. 3 receiver. He finished his lone season with the Ravens in 2010 with 398 yards and three touchdowns. However, he’ll be remembered in Baltimore for his game-winning touchdown on the road against the Steelers with 32 seconds left in the game.

Who wins — No. 1 Michael McCrary or No. 8 T.J. Houshmandzadeh
Type your answers here
Michael McCrary
T.J. Houshmandzadeh

Poll Maker

No. 4 Qadry Ismail vs. No. 5 James Ihedigbo

Ismail was a bit of a journeyman before finding his way to Baltimore in 1999. In his three seasons with the Ravens, Ismail became a starter and caught 191 passes for 2,819 yards and 18 touchdowns. Ismail’s first season in Baltimore was statistically his best as he caught 68 passes for 1,105 yards and six touchdowns.

Ihedigbo was seen as a special-teamer and backup safety when he arrived in Baltimore in 2012. He was also someone that signed a free-agent deal late in the process as the Patriots cut him just before the regular season. Ihedigbo’s first season was mostly as a reserve, though he did get plenty of playing time in Dean Pees’ sub package and filling in for Bernard Pollard when injured. In 2013 he became a starter and totaled 101 tackles, three interceptions and 11 pass deflections.

Who wins — No. 4 Qadry Ismail or No. 5 James Ihedigbo
Type your answers here
Qadry Ismail
James Ihedigbo

Poll Maker

No. 2 Daryl Smith vs. No. 7 Chris Carr

Not many people want to replace a legend. Oftentimes those shoes are just too big to fill. Daryl Smith, however, stepped up to the challenge. With Ray Lewis retiring after the 2012 season, the Ravens needed a veteran inside linebacker to take his place. Enter Smith, who spent his entire career with the Jaguars before coming to Baltimore. Smith did much more than expected, leading the Ravens with tackles (123) in 2013. He followed that up with 128 tackles in 2014.

Carr came to the Ravens in 2009 after having one of his best NFL seasons with the Titans the season before. It took some time but Carr ended up in a starter’s role in 2010 as Dominique Foxworth, Fabian Washington and Lardarius Webb were all dealing with injuries. Carr had 61 tackles, two interceptions and eight pass deflections that season. Unfortunately for Carr, an early-season injury in 2011 set him back and he was released after the season.

Who wins — No. 2 Daryl Smith or No. 7 Chris Carr
Type your answers here
Daryl Smith
Chris Carr

Poll Maker

No. 3 Jacoby Jones vs. No. 6 Orlando Brown

Jones had many spectacular moments as a member of the Ravens. He ran back a 108-yard kickoff against the Cowboys in 2012 in a key moment. He ran a 108-yard kickoff return for a touchdown to open the second half of Super Bowl XLVII. Two games before that, he caught a 70-yard bomb from Joe Flacco in the AFC Championship Game against the Broncos to send it to overtime. He had a touchdown return in the snow against the Vikings. There were returns against the Steelers — Mike Tomlin got in the way of one. Jones turned out to be a great signing in 2012.

Brown was actually a member of the Browns team that moved to Baltimore and was with the Ravens from 1996-1998. But then he joined the new Browns in 1999, when he became well-known for being hit in the eye with a referee’s flag. He sat out of the 2000 due to the eye injury and didn’t play in 2001 or 2002 either. Then the Ravens took a chance on Brown in 2003. Over three seasons, Brown would go on to start 35 games. In 2003, Brown actually played both offensive tackle and defensive tackle against the Raiders.

Who wins — No. 3 Jacoby Jones or No. 6 Orlando Brown?
Type your answers here
Jacoby Jones
Orlando Brown

Poll Maker

The winner of this plays the winner of the Jonathan Ogden Region.

Terrell Suggs Region

Ed Reed Region

Mar 25

Free Agency Review: Titans Sign 11 Players in First Two Weeks

TitansOnline.com beat writer Joe Fann recaps the Titans’ moves early on in the free agency period.

Mar 25

Ravens should learn more on Dennis Pitta’s status in the summer

John Harbaugh said nothing’s changed with Dennis Pitta’s status at the moment.

It’s somewhat hard to figure out where the Ravens stand at the tight end position.

A lot hinges on Dennis Pitta and the status for his career. Pitta dislocated and fractured his hip early in the 2014 season. It was the same injury he sustained during the Ravens’ 2013 training camp. Speaking at the NFL owners meetings in Phoenix, Ravens coach John Harbaugh said nothing’s changed at the moment with Pitta’s status.

However, Harbaugh added that the Ravens should know more once the summer nears.

Pitta was seen as entering the prime of his career. It would be a shame if he can no longer play football. But given the nature of the injury, the risks of returning are something he’ll have to heavily consider.

Mar 25

Wednesday Ravens links: Seeking WR depth, salary cap update

Read what others are writing about the Baltimore Ravens.

John Harbaugh confident Ravens can fill void of losses to Haloti Ngata, Pernell McPhee

Ravens coach John Harbaugh believes the Ravens have enough capable players to overcome the losses of defensive tackle Haloti Ngata and outside linebacker Pernell McPhee, writes The Baltimore Sun’s Jeff Zrebiec.

Ravens are $7.875 million under the salary cap

The Baltimore Sun’s Aaron Wilson reports that the Ravens have just under $8 million in unused salary cap space at the moment.

Ravens seeking depth at receiver

ESPN.com’s Jamison Hensley talks about how the Ravens are still seeking depth at the receiver position now that Torrey Smith has left in free agency.

Offseason has left holes in Ravens roster

CSNBaltimore.com’s Clifton Brown writes that the Ravens still have some holes to fill after losing a few key guys during free agency.

Nine players you didn’t know were compensatory picks

BaltimoreRavens.com’s Garrett Downing lists nine current and former Ravens that you may not have realized were compensatory picks.

Mar 24

Interim President/CEO Makes Clear Titans Not For Sale

The man selected by Tennessee’s owners to oversee the Titans and help search for a new president and chief executive officer says they have made it clear the NFL franchise is not for sale.

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