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Jul 23

Titans Players Make Special Deliveries to Season Ticket Members

Titans players surprised season ticket members by making a personal delivery of their 2014 season tickets.

Jul 23

Bernard Pierce cleared to practice

Ravens running back Bernard Pierce has finally been cleared to begin practicing without restrictions.

Ravens running back Bernard Pierce has finally been cleared to begin practicing without restrictions. The third year rusher is looking to rebound after a rough 2013 season that saw his attempts go up but his average go way down to a low of 2.9 ypc while battling a shoulder injury that ultimately required offseason surgery.

With Ray Rice expected to be suspended any day now, Pierce finds himself in a unique position to take over the starting rushing job and possibly hold onto it once Rice returns to action. Under new offensive coordinator, Gary Kubiak, Pierce could have a career season and one that puts him squarely at the forefront of the league. Kubiak has a history of turning running backs into studs and Pierce fits the mold that you have seen from Kubiak in the past. However, in order to do that, Pierce will need to beat out veteran Justin Forsett and rookie Lorenzo Taliaferro in training camp for the bulk of the carries.

Jul 23

Titans, Aramark Unveil LP Field’s New Menu for 2014-15 Season

New look, expanded options and a Burger Brawl await hungry Titans fans this season NASHVILLE, Tenn. – A new lineup of food and beverage offerings awaits Tennessee Titans fans attending games at LP …

Jul 23

Ravens Training Camp 2014: Burning Questions and Top Storylines for Baltimore

The Baltimore Ravens report their 2014 training camp in Owings Mills, Maryland, on Wednesday.

Who is the rookie to watch for in training camp?  Which veteran free-agent signing is looking to make a splash?  What are the burning questions surrounding Ravens camp?

Watch as Adam Lefkoe and Bleacher Report NFL Analyst Chris Simms discuss the top storylines from Ravens training camp in the video above.

Read more Baltimore Ravens news on BleacherReport.com

Jul 23

Ravens still waiting for decision on Ray Rice

Ray Rice will face a suspension. The question is when will he receive it and how many games will it be?

The NFL has still yet to make a decision on Ray Rice, which you’d think would be coming any moment now.

Rice was arrested and charged with assaulting his now-wife Janay Rice back in New Jersey this past February. Janay Rice was arrested in that same incident, though charges were later dropped. Rice has since apologized to the public for what happened and was entered into a pretrial diversion program.

Still, he’s yet to answer any questions on it, with fans divided on it. Anyway, you’d have to wonder how this affects the Ravens‘ distribution of reps in practice. As long as the situation lingers, Rice can’t exactly have his reps taken anyway, even though he could wind up facing anywhere from a one- to four-game suspension.

However, the Ravens do apparently have some time. As Ravens coach John Harbaugh told reporters on Wednesday, it won’t affect the franchise for a few weeks based on the way they structure practice.

“I don’t think it affects us until halfway through training camp, maybe,” Harbaugh said Tuesday. “We’ll be business as usual until then. We’re installing for the first six days and working situations through the first, really, two preseason games. Once we get past that second preseason game, then we’ll need to know that. Whenever they’re ready to let us know, we’ll be ready to hear it.”

Even so, it would seem there’s not much else to mull over when it comes to Rice. It’s time to make a decision on this and get it over with. All of the facts have been presented and Rice met with Roger Goodell a while back. There are a lot of people that simply want the matter dealt with so it can be time to move on from it.


Jul 23

NFL preseason power rankings: No. 30 Cleveland Browns

The Browns are starting anew with coach Mike Pettine,quarterback Johnny Manziel, and running back Terrence West replacing Rob Chudzinski, Brandon Weeden and Trent Richarson.

2013 Record: 4-12

Notable Losses: Brandon Weeden, Trent Richardson (Traded), Greg Little, Shawn Lauvao, T.J. Ward, Josh Gordon (Probable Suspension)

Notable Gains: Donte Whitner, Ben Tate, Miles Austin, Nate Burleson, Karlos Dansby, Jim Dray, Paul McQuistan, Andrew Hawkins

Draft Class: Justin Gilbert, Johnny Manziel, Joel Bitonio, Christian Kirksey, Terrence West, Pierre Desir

The Facts: Ben Tate, if he can stay healthy and Terrence West should provide upgrades from Edwin Baker, Willis McGahee, and something called Fozzy Whittaker. The offensive line should still be strong and get better with the drafting of Joel Bitonio.

The Browns have a good pair of blocking tight ends in Gary Barnidge and Jim Dray, and a quality receiving threat in Jordan Cameron. It’s at wide receiver and quarterback where the problems arise. Brian Hoyer has been a back-up his entire career and Johnny Manziel is a rookie who will be starting with a team that’s lacking in the wide receiver department.

With Josh Gordon suspended Manziel/Hoyers’ receiving corps will be composed of 31 year old, injury prone Miles Austin, aged, injury-prone Nate Burleson, Andrew Hawkins, who was a No. 4 receiver in Cleveland, and Anthony Armstrong, who’s bounced around the NFL and AFL. However the defense looks good and the Browns pass rush should improve if Barkevious Mingo improves and Paul Kruger plays up to the level of his contract.

The Browns pass secondary shouldn’t suffer with Joe Haden locked up and the Browns having drafted Gilbert and Desir. If Johnny Manziel or Brian Hoyer can play at an even adequate level, the Browns have reasons for future optimism, despite probable struggles vs. divisional opponents, and NFC South opponents.

Predicted Record: 5-11. Wins against the Titans,Jaguars,Buccaneers,Texans,and Bills

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

Jul 23

Wednesday Ravens links: Awaiting the Ray Rice situation, Marlon Brown profile

Read what others are saying about the Baltimore Ravens.

Ravens awaiting ruling on Ray Rice situation

With training camp underway, the Ravens are still waiting on a decision from the NFL regarding his suspension, writes The Baltimore Sun’s Aaron Wilson.

John Harbaugh setting new tone on Ravens season

With the preseason kicking off, coach John Harbaugh is getting his players ready for the upcoming season, writes The Baltimore Sun’s Jeff Zrebiec.

Ravens player profile: Marlon Brown

Purple Reign Show’s Slater Jackson gives a good breakdown of Marlon Brown, who is entering his second season as a member of the Baltimore Ravens.

C.J. Mosley looking to make impact

Russell Street Report’s Brian Bower writes that the rookie inside linebacker is looking to make an immediate impact with the Ravens this season.

Who will win the starting safety job?

CSNBaltimore.com’s Clifton Brown breaks down the competition for the safety position in a video for the website.

Joe Flacco expects precise offense

BaltimoreRavens.com’s Ryan Mink writes that the Ravens’ quarterback believes his team will have a precise offense quickly.

Jul 22

Training Camp Positional Preview: Defensive Front 7

ON THE ROSTER: LB – David Gilbert #46, LB – David Hinds #47, LB – Jonathan Willard #49, LB – Zaviar Gooden #50, LB – Brandon Copeland #51, LB – Colin McCarthy #52, LB – Moise Fokou #53, ILB – Aver…

Jul 22

Video: "Undercover" Browns fan urinates on Art Modell’s grave

With LeBron James back in town, Art Modell remains public enemy #1

Instead of tears produced from the Factory of Sadness, Browns fans have found new bodily fluids to excrete from their bodies.

Urine.

You’d think with all the problems surrounding Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon, the last thing a fan would want to do is waste perfectly good urine he could use to pass a drug test. Unfortunately, that’s not the case.

(I can’t believe I have to actually write this next part.)

This video (non-embedable likely due to the public library not allowing file uploads) shows a Browns fan (sans dog mask and moronically barking) urinating on Modell’s grave. Unless you’ve been living under a rock since 1964 – coincidentally the last time the Browns ever won anything in the NFL – Modell moved the Browns to Baltimore after failing to come to an agreement with the City of Cleveland to replace Cleveland Municipal Stadium, the previous gathering place for losing football on most Sunday afternoons.

This video is especially insulting because if there’s any fan base in the NFL that can understand the pain of Browns’ fans, it’s Baltimore. When Bob Irsay moved the Colts to Indianapolis, Baltimoreans were hurt and likely wished horrible things to him, but Ravens fans probably had the satisfaction of knowing that Irsay was so drunk he probably urinated on himself all the time.

The Browns only had a minor layover until they received a new team. They got to keep their colors, they got to keep their records and it looks like they also kept a few classless fans along the way. I just can’t wait to see Johnny Manziel shake as much as this footage did when he realizes what he got himself into when he begged the Browns to take him 22nd-overall.

Update: I just had to include this reply from Facebook.

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For more Ravens news and information, follow me on Twitter @RavenManiac.


Jul 22

Meet Matt Elam, the Baltimore Ravens Safety Set to Break Out This Summer

If the Baltimore Ravens are to make it back to the playoffs in 2014, they’ll need their younger players to make big leaps this season.

There may not be a player this applies more to than second-year safety Matt Elam. In the midst of the worst season of John Harbaugh’s head coaching career—an 8-8 record and no playoffs—Elam was one of the lone bright spots.

Drafted in the first round (32nd overall) in the 2013 NFL draft, Elam was tasked with the unenviable responsibility of replacing Ravens great and future NFL Hall of Famer Ed Reed.

That shouldn’t have been the case, though. Reed played free safety, and he was one of the best when it came to patrolling the field and frequently making plays in coverage.

That’s not what Elam is. He’s a strong safety who often played closer to the line of scrimmage in college, almost like an extra linebacker.

During his career at Florida, Elam recorded 176 tackles, including 23.5 tackles for loss. From a pass-coverage standpoint, though, he wasn’t as productive, notching only 13 career pass breakups and six career interceptions.

Simply put, Elam was better at making plays at or behind the line of scrimmage, not dropping back into coverage. He was out of position as an NFL rookie, and that led to him struggling to make a positive impact.

Baltimore played Elam at free safety because of how well James Ihedigbo played at strong safety. Last year, Ihedigbo registered 101 tackles and received a plus-4.7 grade from Pro Football Focus (subscription required). That was the ninth-best grade of any Raven, and it showed why Baltimore wanted him at strong safety.

That led to Elam being moved to free safety as a rookie. He registered 66 tackles but had only three pass breakups and one interception, a low number for a free safety.

According to PFF, Elam had a minus-3.4 grade as a rookie, including a minus-6.6 grade in pass coverage. In run defense, however, Elam had a respectable plus-1.9 grade.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Elam’s highest-rated game as a rookie came in his one start at strong safety: a plus-2.0 grade in Week 11 versus the Chicago Bears. This was the only game Elam started at the position.

The Ravens were beginning to see that Elam playing free safety wasn’t the best idea, so they moved him to strong safety while starting Ihedigbo at free safety versus the Bears. Here’s an example of Elam lining up at strong safety and Ihedigbo at free safety.

Elam is circled in black lining up on the line of scrimmage. Ihedigbo is circled in white lining up at free safety. For much of the 2013 season, it was Elam lining up deep behind the defense while Ihedigbo was put closer to the line.

But the roles were reversed this time, and Elam had the best game of his career because of it.

On this play, Elam explodes off the line and into the backfield. He gets chipped by running back Matt Forte but still manages to force quarterback Josh McCown out of the pocket and into the waiting arms of cornerback Corey Graham, who picks up the sack.

Though Elam didn’t get the sack, he did disrupt the play and helped cause a negative play by Chicago. Elam was credited with a QB hurry on this play. Here’s another example from that game in which Elam made a positive play at strong safety.

Once again, Elam is lining up at the line of scrimmage while Ihedigbo is back deep.

Elam lines up between the tackle and tight end, where the quickest path to the backfield is.

Elam explodes into the backfield and wraps up Matt Forte for no gain on the play. This is another negative play Elam forced while playing at strong safety.

This offseason Ihedigbo left to sign with the Detroit Lions. The plan is for Baltimore to move Elam to his more natural strong safety position, according to Aaron Wilson of The Baltimore Sun:

By going back to strong safety, Elam returns to the position where he was an All-American selection at Florida who registered 176 career tackles, six interceptions and five sacks. It gets him closer to the line of scrimmage.

‘That’s what I did in college because I played a lot of nickel,’ Elam said. ‘I was closer to the line of scrimmage, so I was more confident. In high school playing linebacker, that’s what I was more confident at.

‘You have to build your stock. You have to be able to do more, play the nickel, play free, strong, play corner. I just want to do whatever I can to help this team win and get back to where we were.’

If Elam plays at strong safety full time in 2014, he’ll have a great season while looking like a steal where the Ravens drafted him.

Baltimore has been one of the best drafting teams since Ozzie Newsome became the team’s general manager. His mantra has been taking the best player available, and it’s often led to him getting good value picks.

Elam is a small example of this. Selected 32nd overall, he played like a player who should have been drafted higher. B/R’s own Alessandro Miglio did a re-draft of the 2013 draft, and he had Elam going 30th overall to the Falcons.

While it wasn’t significantly higher, it does reinforce the belief that Baltimore got one of the best players available, if not the best, when it selected Elam where it did. It also shows how good Elam was able to be despite playing out of position.

Had Elam played strong safety full time as a rookie, we would have seen his true potential as an NFL player. As it stands, we should see Elam have a breakout year in 2014 if he is the full-time starter at strong safety.

Read more Baltimore Ravens news on BleacherReport.com

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