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Jul 30

John Harbaugh on Ray Rice: ‘I hate what happened’

Ray Rice has a presser scheduled for Thursday, where he will be expected to answer questions about his February arrest for domestic assault.

We probably should have addressed the aftermath of Ravens coach John Harbaugh’s quote on Ray Rice almost a week ago, when he said, “It’s not a big deal” in relation to Ray Rice’s suspension.

Of course, the quote was in reference to a question on how the Ravens will be able to adjust to Rice missing two games, even though a lot of outlets misrepresented the quote to indicate Harbaugh was OK with Rice assaulting his wife, Janay Rice. That did not happen, and Harbaugh made sure writers and reporters were sure of that during his Wednesday press conference.

“For anybody out there that’s going to misconstrue that and just write, ‘John Harbaugh is proud of Ray,’ then shame on you,” he said.

That prefaces the larger point Harbaugh was making, just a day before Rice is scheduled to take questions from the media. At this point, it’s expected that Rice will answer questions in relation to what happened at Atlantic City, N.J.’s Revel Casino in February, when he and his wife — his fiancée at the time — were arrested for assaulting each other. Rice’s public image as taken a huge hit, especially after a video surfaced on TMZ showing him dragging his now-wife’s unconscious body out of an elevator.

Harbaugh isn’t OK with that. And he at least made that point.

“I hate what happened,” Harbaugh said. “What happened was wrong — flat out.”

But to be fair, Harbaugh sees Rice every day at work. Based on Rice’s productivity on the field and the fact the two have gotten to know each other since 2008, it’s probably hard for Harbaugh to abandon the relationship, even if the aftermath of the incident could be construed as deplorable.

“I’m proud of him for the way he’s handled it,” Harbaugh said. “I’m disappointed in what happened, but you go forward. You go forward. And that’s what we’re going to do as a football team, and that’s what we’re going to do as [individuals and] what [Rice will] do as an individual. You’ll see his heart tomorrow just like you saw it last time. He’s not going to be polished. He’s not going to give you some polished press conference. That’s not Ray. Ray is going to speak from the heart, and he’s going to do his best, just like he’s doing going forward.”

How much will Rice open up about that night? That remains to be seen. Practice begins at 8:30 a.m. on Thursday, with Rice, along with Harbaugh, running backs coach Thomas Hammock and Harbaugh expected to address the media at around 11:15 a.m.

Tune into SportsCenter or the Ravens official site because this is a presser you probably don’t want to miss.

Jul 30

Ask Mike: Can Jake Locker be Franchise QB if Healthy?

As Titans training camp comes to the end of its first week, most of the questions still concern quarterback Jake Locker. Three examples…   Eddie in Cypress, CA: “Do you believe Jake Locker is…

Jul 30

Tennessee Titans Training Camp: Week 1 Stock Report

Training camp is now finally in full swing for the Tennessee Titans as they try to make quick progress in a system being installed by head coach Ken Whisenhunt.

Time is certainly of the essence for this team that is coming off of a disappointing 7-9 season.

The Titans will open up the season with three of their first four on the road, with three of their first four games also coming against playoff teams from 2013.

In other words, the Titans have no time to mess around. This team is going to have to pull of a minor upset or two in the early going to keep from starting the season 0-2 or even 0-4.

Here is a stock report on the players involved in key position battles after the early portion of training camp.

Begin Slideshow

Jul 30

Brent Urban, Timmy Jernigan injured in Ravens’ Wednesday practice

Urban’s appears to be rather serious.

Two Ravens rookie defensive linemen have seen better days.

Fourth-round pick Brent Urban and second-rounder Timmy Jernigan both sustained injuries in Wednesday’s practice. Urban had to be carted off of the field while Jernigan limped off.

While neither player was fighting for a starting spot, it would be setback for the Ravens to lose even one of these guys for a substantial amount of time. Defensive coordinator Dean Pees like to rotate his front seven quite a bit and both Urban and Jernigan were hoping to work in for some playing time.

Of the two, Jernigan has had the better training camp, which would make a long-term absence from him harder to deal with. However, as The Baltimore Sun’s Aaron Wilson pointed out, Urban’s injury appears to be more serious than Urban’s.

John Harbaugh will likely address the two injuries — in some fashion — after practice concludes.

Jul 30

Blidi Wreh-Wilson Embracing CB Competition

NASHVILLE, Tenn. –Second year cornerback Blidi Wreh-Wilson is in the midst of one of the Titans’ most watched competitions of training camp, with the offseason departure of corner back Alterraun V…

Jul 30

How many more years will Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco play?

The Ravens have Flacco signed for four more years, though it stands to be restructured after the next two. Based on what we know about Flacco, how many more years can he play?

Drew Brees recently said that he intends on playing until he’s 45. Tom Brady’s current contract will have him play at age 40. Peyton Manning’s contract has him playing at age 41. Brett Favre played at age 41 and Vinny Testaverde played at age 44.

Ben Roethlisberger said that he has another five years left which would mean he’s playing until he’s 37, a good age for a quarterback to play to.

Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco is 29. He’s not one of the young guns, but he’s not one of the greyhounds either. His contract stands to be restructured when he turns 31, which still isn’t entering greyhound territory, so the Ravens could still keep Flacco around for an extended period of time.

But how long can they keep him around for? First let’s look at Flacco’s health, which is a determining factor in passer longevity. Flacco has played 103 games in his career and has only suffered minor injuries. That’s incredible health for an NFL player and will help in determining how long Joe Flacco can play.

But there’s more than just health to the equation. A passer tends to lose some things he had when he was younger when he ages, namely arm strength, which is a particularly big part of Flacco’s game.

Passers such as Brady and Manning have been able to use their brains rather than their arms to dissect opposing defenses which is why it’s more feasible to see them playing well for extended amounts of time opposed to gunslingers like Brett Favre.

However, Flacco has never been Brady, which is what makes me think that Flacco can play until he’s 35, which still gives him a respectable 12 season career.

What do you think?

At what age can Joe Flacco feasibly play until?

  172 votes | Results

Jul 30

Preseason power rankings: No. 23 Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The Buccaneers have completely changed direction as they will be heading into 2014 with a new coach, general manager and quarterback.

2013 Record: 4-12

Notable Losses: Darrelle Revis, Carl Nicks (retirement), Donald Penn, Davin Joseph, Jeremy Zuttah, Dekoda Watson, Mike Williams, Erik Lorig

Notable Gains: Alterraun Verner, Josh McCown, Anthony Collins, Oniel Cousins, Evan Dietrich-Smith, Major Wright, Mike Jenkins, Brandon Myers, Michael Johnson

Draft Class: Mike Evans, Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Charles Sims, Kadeem Edwards, Kevin Pamphile, Robert Herron

The Facts: The Buccaneers completely got rid of all the evidence of the old regime. They released Josh Freeman early last season. They fired GM Dennis Hickey after the season. They cut Darrelle Revis after the season. The biggest move the Buccaneers made was firing Greg Schiano and hiring Lovie Smith as head coach.

Also Leslie Frazier was hired to be the new defensive coordinator. The roster should be improved, but there are still questions. Quarterback is one of those question marks as the Buccaneers have Josh McCown, a veteran who hasn’t been more of a back-up and Mike Glennon, who had a good season, but leaves much to be desired in the accuracy and YPA department.

Also with Carl Nicks retiring and Davin Joseph getting released, there’s questions at the guard position with the most experienced guard there being Oniel Cousins. Good times.

The running back stable looks talented with Doug Martin, Bobby Rainey, and Charles Sims. Wide receiver is a position that was upgraded as Mike Evans and Robert Herron should be improvements over Tiquan Underwood and Mike Williams. And tight end got a boost with the selection of Austin Seferian-Jenkins.

That being said, Evans and Seferian-Jenkins are rookies. But they’re talented rookies that will surely make highlight reel grabs out of could-be interceptions. At the same time, they’ll also have the normal teeth-grinding mistakes that rookies have. The defense looks like it got better from last year’s unit and it should help out an offense that will have its fair share of struggles as it tries to lift itself out of the bottom of the league.

Predicted Record: 7-9. Wins against Panthers, Falcons, Saints, Ravens, Browns, Redskins and Rams.

If you disagree with my assessment and ranking remember: Unless it’s something crazy, your guess is as good as mine.

Jul 30

When Opportunity Knocked, Bishop Sankey Answered

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – It takes the right balance of patience, persistence and luck in order to earn an opportunity. Not everybody gets their big break, and few are prepared enough to take advantage w…

Jul 30

Baltimore Ravens Training Camp: Week 1 Stock Report

The Baltimore Ravens have just started training camp, but it’s not too early to make some preliminary judgments about certain players. This stock report will break down three players who have impressed so far, as well as two players who have given us some cause for concern.

The duo of Steve Smith Sr. and Joe Flacco both make the cut, with their “stocks” trending upward. Despite facing a number of questions (age for Smith, a poor 2013 season for Flacco), the tandem has performed extremely well and the two have been the stars of training camp.

Defensive players make up the rest of the list, with both “stock downs” coming from the secondary (although one of them is due to injury).

Most of training camp is still yet to come, but these are the early takeaways from the action.

Begin Slideshow

Jul 30

Lardarius Webb’s back injury minor, no structural damage

The Ravens got some good news as it has been revealed that Lardarius Webb’s “lingering” back injury isn’t going to be a long-term one.

Initially deemed a minor injury, coach John Harbaugh sent some worry to Ravens fans when he told reporters that Lardarius Webb’s back spasms were “lingering” more than the team thought.

However, after undergoing some tests, Webb will be fine as the team takes a cautious approach, according to The Baltimore Sun’s Aaron Wilson. Webb’s back has no structural damage, though rest does appear to be key for him at this time.

With the Ravens thin depth-wise at cornerback, they can’t afford to take any chances on Webb. For an injury like this, the silver lining is that it happened early in the preseason, giving him plenty of time to recover by the time the regular season starts.

A year ago, coming off of a torn ACL, Webb recorded 74 tackles, two interceptions and 22 pass deflections. He’ll be looking to return to 2011 form, when he was slowly becoming one of the NFL’s better cornerbacks. But the ACL injury in 2012 derailed those plans temporarily.

The Ravens should rest Webb for as long as they need to. Risking re-injury doesn’t do anyone any favors at this time of the year.

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