Football Archive: January / February 2012
Free Agents To Target: Wide Receivers
As the Ravens look to acquire at least one more target for quarterback Joe Flacco, who are some potential pick-ups? Joe Platania spotlights the top candidates in a wide receiver free-agent market that is loaded with plenty of quantity, a lot of youth and at least some quality.
Updated 2012 Offseason Calendar And Draft Order
Thanks to a few coin flips at the NFL Scouting Combine and the new collective-bargaining agreement, there are a few updates to make to the offseason calendar as well as the first-round draft order.
NFL Combine's Biggest Losers
Which players hurt their standing by their performance at this year's NFL Combine? Ken Zalis and Matt Zenitz both picked Mike Adams and Vontaze Burfict, and Zalis also singled out Kendall Wright.
NFL Combine's Biggest Winners
Which players helped themselves the most with their performance at this year's NFL Combine? Ken Zalis and Matt Zenitz share their picks, including Dontari Poe, Kirk Cousins and Mychal Kendricks -- plus one ACC wide receiver who may have worked his way into the first round of the draft with his showing in Indianapolis.
Free Agents To Target: Offensive Line
If the Ravens decide not to re-sign their free-agent offensive linemen, such as veteran center Matt Birk, here are some other NFL offensive linemen they might target during the free agency signing period.
• This Week In Baltimore Football History: Feb. 27-Mar. 4
Free Agents To Target: Pass Rushers
The Ravens' sack total rose from a franchise-record-low 27 to a gaudy 48 in 2011 (including 4.5 by Cory Redding), but general manager Ozzie Newsome has said the team couldn't have too many pass rushers. Joe Platania breaks down potential free agents the Ravens could target for next season.
NFL Draft Position Breakdown: Running Backs
Trent Richardson (Alabama) is the obvious headliner of this group, but he is one of five or six running backs that will likely be selected during the first two rounds.
• Updated First-Round Mock Draft
Players To Watch At NFL Combine
Last year, the Ravens made Jimmy Smith their top pick in the NFL Draft. Who will it be this year? The anticipation and evaluation kick into high gear this week with the annual NFL Combine. Ken Zalis spotlights five players to watch, while Matt Zenitz focuses on seven prospects on both sides of the ball.
Offseason Reader Mailbag #2: Free Agency And Schedule
Joe Platania responds to reader comments and questions on topics from new contracts for Joe Flacco and Ray Rice to whether the Bengals could make a run for the AFC North title in 2012.
Ten Years Of The AFC North
The 2012 season will begin the second decade of the AFC North Division's existence, and Joe Platania takes a look back at a few facts and figures from the first decade of AFC North Division play.
Tag Process Could Fade Rice's Smile
The NFL's two-week franchise-tag window opened Monday, but will the Ravens use it on star running back Ray Rice?
Can Ravens Catch McNutt In Draft?
Projected as a fourth or fifth round pick, former Iowa wide receiver Marvin McNutt could could potentially be of interest to the Ravens.
NFL Draft Position Breakdown: Quarterbacks
Andrew Luck (Stanford) and Robert Griffin III (Baylor) are the elite among a group of six or seven quarterbacks who could hear their names called during the first three rounds of this year's NFL Draft.
• Ravens Three-Round Mock Draft
This Week In Baltimore Football History
Joe Platania takes a look back at this week in Baltimore football history, including the team's 199 signing of free agent right tackle Harry Swayne, who is currently the Ravens' player development director.
What Could 2012 Schedule Look Like?
Joe Platania takes another shot at predicting this year's Ravens schedule, which includes home games against both Super Bowl XLVI participants and contests against the entire NFC East and AFC West divisions.
Competition Committee Get New Voices
The NFL's Competition Committee, which has included Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome for approximately the past decade, has grown to nine members.
Ravens' Free-Agent Priority Ladder
The news that the Ravens are set to re-open negotiations for quarterback Joe Flacco's contract extension was indeed welcoming, but not surprising.
Q&A: Ravens Linebacker Jameel McClain
Once an undrafted rookie free agent out of Syracuse, Jameel McClain hasn't missed a game during his four-year NFL career in Baltimore. But just when McClain got comfortable in a starting role, he is now an unrestricted free agent, and his future in Baltimore is unknown.
• Joey P's Trivia Time | Joey P's Trivia Time Answers
Attention, Combine Watchers: A Few To Keep An Eye On
The 2012 NFL Scouting Combine kicks off Feb. 22, and there are plenty of players for Ravens fans to keep their eye on during the seven-day event.
• 2012 Mock NFL Draft | Where Ravens Need Help In 2012 NFL Draft
Pees Boosted, Caldwell Added In Changing Of Guard
Come fall, the Ravens' coaching staff will again have a different look, and in two of the team's most-discussed areas: quarterback and defense.
Ravens Have Cap Room To A Point
Even with unused cap room from 2011, Baltimore is currently among those teams with the smallest amount of cap room, at approximately $10 million less than the anticipated cap of approximately $124 million. The Ravens could gain as much as $9 million more if players such as injured-reserve cornerback Domonique Foxworth and injury-prone wideout Lee Evans were released.
Week In Baltimore Football History
Joe Platania takes a look back at this week in Baltimore football history, including the Ravens' 1998 move to acquire veteran quarterback (and John's brother) Jim Harbaugh, currently the head coach of the San Francisco 49ers.
Next HOF Class Could Be Quite Purple
Now that this year's Hall of Fame induction class has been chosen, attention turns to next year, when the Baltimore Ravens could claim quite a bounty, including the team's first-ever draft pick, Jonathan Ogden.
• Mailbag: Readers Sound Off On Football Issues
Running Back Ricky Williams Retires
After one season with the Ravens and 11 years in the NFL, multiple sources are reporting that running back Ricky Williams has apparently decided to retire, again.
AFC North Player Movement Update
As the NFL shifts to offseason mode, Joe Platania offers his first AFC North player movement update. The Bengals lead the division with 25 free agents, while the Ravens have 21, including linebacker Jarret Johnson and running back Ray Rice.
Was Past Season NFL's GOAT?
Jim Henneman has a question for all the football fans out there: Did we just witness the NFL's most spectacular season ever?
This Week In Baltimore Football History
Joe Platania takes a look back at this week in Baltimore football history, from the very first NFL Draft in 1936 to Ozzie Newsome becoming the Ravens' -- and the NFL's -- first-ever minority general manager in 2003.
Observations From Super Bowl XLVI
Eli Manning and the Giants defeated the Patriots, 21-17, to earn the title of NFL champions. Joe Platania shares his observations from Super Bowl XLVI.
Suggs Wins Defensive Player Of Year
Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs became the third player in Ravens history to win the Associated Press/NFL Defensive Player of the Year award and center Matt Birk was named the Walter Payton Man of the Year at the "NFL Honors" awards show.
Super Bowl XLVI: Giants vs. Patriots
Joe Platania breaks down everything you need to know for this year's Super Bowl matchup between the New York Giants and New England Patriots.
Pats-Giants Enmity Is Hardly New
Some might think the revenge factor in this year's Super Bowl matchup only goes back four years, to when the New York Giants upset the New England Patriots, ruining the latter's hope for a perfect 19-0 season. But, as Phil Jackman tells it, such thinking couldn't be further from the truth.
Bisciotti, Brass Feel Playoff Hurt Too
At majority owner Steve Bisciotti's annual season-ending news conference Wednesday afternoon, it was clear that the sting that accompanied Lee Evans' lost touchdown and Billy Cundiff's hooked field goal has stayed with the organization as much as it has with the fan base.
Stan The Fan's Super Bowl Prediction
Stan "The Fan" Charles knows the better team did not win the AFC Championship, but he's picking the better team to win the Super Bowl and it is ...
Caldwell Is Ravens' New QB Coach
Joe Flacco and the Ravens have a new quarterback coach and it is former Indianapolis Colts head coach Jim Caldwell, who fills a position the team left vacant in 2011 after Jim Zorn left to join the Kansas City Chiefs' coaching staff.
This Week In Baltimore Football History
Joe Platania takes a look back at this week in Baltimore football history, including the Colts' selection of Joe Ehrmann in the 1973 NFL Draft.
Mythbusters: Baltimore Ravens Edition
There's been a lot of talk lately, and the Baltimore Sports Blog is ready to take on two key myths about the Baltimore Ravens.
Joey P's Pro Bowl Observations
Joe Platania shares his thoughts on last night's Pro Bowl, which featured four representatives from the Baltimore Ravens, including fullback Vonta Leach who scored a fourth-quarter touchdown as the AFC pulled off a 59-41 comeback win.
Ravens Promote Pees, Retain Cameron
The Ravens have promoted 62-year-old linebackers coach Dean Pees to defensive coordinator and retained offensive coordinator Cam Cameron.
Colts Name Pagano New Head Coach
After just one season as the Ravens' defensive coordinator and four on head coach John Harbaugh's staff, Chuck Pagano was hired as the Indianapolis Colts' new head coach Wednesday afternoon, replacing the fired Jim Caldwell.
Guid To Ravens' 2012 Offseason
There are many things John Harbaugh and the Ravens have to accomplish this offseason, including starting their offseason conditioning program, sorting out many front-line free agents, getting ready for the draft and conducting OTA practices.
More Than Just A Pretty Arm
Jim Henneman thinks the long-running process of evaluating Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco has grossly overlooked some not-so-minor details.
Video: Ravens Fans React To Loss
PresBox hit the streets to find out how Baltimore fans are dealing with the Ravens' 23-20 loss to the Patriots in the AFC Championship.
Stunned Ravens Pack Up Their Gear
"It's kind of like a bad dream," Terrell Suggs said Monday morning as he packed his belongings into a huge, dark green garbage bag, much like most of his teammates. "We just have to roll with it. We had a hell of a season. We just had a series of unfortunate events."
Ray Lewis Says: I'll Be Back...
Perhaps the biggest news that came out of the postgame locker room yesterday was that linebacker Ray Lewis, the Ravens' second-ever draft pick and only remaining player from their Super Bowl-winning team, said he was not retiring.
Ravens Fans In Midseason Knee-Jerk Form
Stan "The Fan" Charles explains why he'll be rooting for Billy Cundiff next season.
Ravens Come Up Short Against Pats
Billy Cundiff missed a 32-yard field goal with 11 seconds remaining that could have sent the game to overtime, as the Ravens fell to the Patriots, 23-20, in the AFC Championship game. Joe Flacco threw for 306 yards, two touchdowns and one interception in the loss, while Ray Rice was held to 67 yards on 21 carries.
• AFC Championship Game Photo Gallery
Game On: Ravens vs. Patriots
Can Ray Lewis and the Ravens knock off the Patriots in the AFC Championship game? Check out PressBox's opponent previews, key matchups and plenty of "expert" predictions.
Healthy Ravens Mostly Enjoy Being The Underdog
"We like being the underdog," Jarret Johnson said Friday. "We're used to it. I think we handle it better. Psychologically, I don't really know why, but I think we do."
In Flacco We Trust
The saying in Baltimore is "Wacko for Flacco." A more appropriate slogan might be "Hey Baltimore, give Flacco some Slacko." But for Stan "The Fan" Charles, it's "In Flacco we trust."
• Phil Jackman: Is This A Duckling-Swan Thing?
The Picks Are In: Ravens vs. Patriots
PressBox experts and friends, including former Gov. Martin O'Malley, Josh Charles, Dan Duquette, Boog Powell and Jamie Costello, weigh in with their predictions for Sunday's AFC Championship game between the Ravens and the Patriots.
For Matthew Costello & Cam Cameron, Play's The Thing
Two years after testing positive for a germinoma brain tumor, Matthew Costello is alive and well, living a normal life that includes playing as much golf as possible-- and calling plays for the Baltimore Ravens.
Key Matchup: The Punters
The field-position battle could go a long way to determine the outcome of Sunday's AFC Championship. How do Ravens punter Sam Koch and Patriots punter Zoltan Mesko compare?
Ravens Pass Rush vs. QB Tom Brady
The Patriots have an experienced offensive line that allowed a mere 32 sacks this year. Can the Ravens pass rush get to quarterback Tom Brady on Sunday?
Playoff Fantasy Football: Player Rankings And Picks
There are all kinds of formats for playoff fantasy football, but most make you choose the same team for the conference championships and Super Bowl. So, how do you pick?
Revisiting Belichick's Lax Connection
In 2000, while the Ravens were busy putting their Super Bowl pieces together, the head coach they are facing this weekend was busy forging another connection.
Get Ready For AFC Championship With Ray Lewis Videos
The Baltimore Sports Blog presents a series of Ray Lewis videos to help Baltimore get ready for the AFC Championship game.
Ravens Opponent Preview: Patriots
Joe Platania breaks down the Patriots with 37 things Ravens fans should know about Baltimore's AFC Championship game opponent before Sunday.
There's Always Something 'More' To A Playoff Run
For John Harbaugh, and for his players, there's really nothing different about AFC Championship Game week -- or is there?
Ravens Guards/Center vs. Wilfork
If Marshal Yanda, Ben Grubbs and Matt Birk can face up to the still-awesome challenge of blocking Vince Wilfork, it could lead to another magical moment for Ray Rice and a piece of infamy for Wilfork.
Ravens Safeties vs. Patriots Tight Ends
Bernard Pollard wasn't with the Ravens the last time they faced New England, but it will be incumbent upon him and free safety Ed Reed to wrap up Patriots tight ends Aaron Hernandez and Rob Gronkowski for sure tackles after the catch, that is, if they can't prevent the receptions.
Does Baltimore Appreciate The Ravens?
After listening to the whining tenor of phone calls from Ravens fans on sports radio, Stan "The Fan" Charles has a question: Does Baltimore appreciate the Ravens?
Ravens Will Face Patriots In AFC Championship Game
Sunday's AFC Championship Game will be the Ravens' second playoff matchup against the Patriots in three years. Following the 2009 season, the wild-card Ravens became the first team to win a playoff game in New England since 1978, scoring 24 first-quarter points and decking the Pats, 33-14.
Ravens Advance to AFC Championship
The Ravens defeated the Texans, 20-13, to advance to next Sunday's AFC Championship game in New England. Joe Flacco had two touchdowns and zero interceptions, while Lardarius Webb had two picks on T.J. Yates. Ed Reed helped seal the victory for Baltimore with his eighth career postseason interception.
• AFC Divisional Round Photo Gallery | Ravens-Texans By The Numbers
Who Won The Most Important Matchups Vs. Houston?
Last week, Joe Platania previewed five key "Matchups" that might have provided a clue as to which team would win Sunday's Divisional Playoff game between Baltimore and the Houston Texans. The results were interesting, to say the least.
Game On: Ravens vs. Texans
Can Joe Flacco and the Ravens knock off Houston and advance to the AFC Championship Game? Joe Platania breaks down the Texans and spotlights five key matchups to watch. Plus, check out "expert" predictions.
The Picks Are In: Ravens vs. Texans
PressBox "experts" and friends, including Gov. Martin O'Malley, Dan Duquetter, actor Josh Charles of CBS' "The Good Wife," former Raven Wally Williams and more, share their predictions for Sunday's game.
• Plus: A Houston Texans Fan Shares His Pick
Matchup: Ravens D vs. Arian Foster
The Ravens have held opponents to less than 4 yards per carry for an NFL-record 16 consecutive seasons, but Baltimore will be facing one of their most formidable ground-game challenges Sunday in third-year Texans running back Arian Foster.
Divisional Round NFL Playoff Picks
Stan "The Fan" Charles and Andrew Primrose share their picks for all four of this weekend's NFL playoff games. Which lower seed has the best shot of pulling off an upset?
Matchup: Ray Rice vs. Texans OLBs
Even though the Texans' linebacking corps is young and fast enough to contribute to the league's second-ranked defense, it will have to be especially on its game to keep up with Ravens running back Ray Rice.
Matchup: Brian Cushing vs. Matt Birk
If Matt Birk can stymie Brian Cushing even for a half-second, the Texans linebacker -- and 2009 Defensive Rookie of the Year -- will likely be unable to get back outside in time to run down Ray Rice or Ricky Williams.
Ravens Opponent Preview: Houston Texans
With an 0-5 lifetime mark against Baltimore, Houston is one of only two NFL teams to have never beaten the Ravens.
Jets' Implosion Should Leave Ravens Fans Grateful
Four years ago, the Ravens named John Harbaugh head coach and one year later, Rex Ryan left to take the lead job with the Jets. But while Baltimore fans are gearing up for Sunday's AFC Divisional Round, Jets fans are enduring a seemingly never-ending implosion.
Divisional Playoff Rule Change Altered History
Joe Platania considers how the Ravens' recent playoff history would have been different under a previous set of NFL postseason rules.
Matchup: Ravens' Tackles vs. J.J. Watt
Michael Oher and Bryant McKinnie will face a tough challenge Sunday as they look to minimize the impact of J.J. Watt, Houston's rookie defensive end.
Does Mason Belong In Ring Of Honor?
With the news of Derrick Mason's retirement announcement, the Baltimore Sports Blog wants to know: Does No. 85 belong in the Ravens' Ring of Honor?
2011 Fantasy Football All-Fantasy and All-Injured Teams
Every football -- and fantasy football -- season has its winners and its losers. With that said, Ken Zalis presents some year-end awards.
This Week In Baltimore Football History
With a 20-3 win against the Dolphins on this week in 2002, the Ravens became the first team in NFL history to win its first five postseason games. Joe Platania takes a look back at this week in Baltimore football history.
Coaching Carousel Could Sweep Up Ravens' Assistants
Houston defensive coordinator Wade Phillips is set for a Friday interview for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers head-coaching job. No Ravens assistant is believed to be engaging in such activity this week, but given the team's four straight playoff appearances, there are sure to be a few attractive candidates for out-of-town jobs.
How Important Is Super Bowl Experience?
Linebacker Ray Lewis is one of only three players on the current Ravens' squad who has has played in a Super Bowl. For their part, the Texans have four, but how important is Super Bowl experience for a successful playoff run?
Key Matchup: Andre Johnson vs. Ravens' CBs
Wide receiver Andre Johnson did not play in the Texans' October loss to the Ravens, but he does have 20 receptions for 276 yards in three career games against Baltimore. Can Baltimore's cornerbacks shut him down on Sunday?
Ray, Ed And Old Man Time
There's been a lot written in the last few days about Ray Lewis and Ed Reed and the effects of age... So, what does Phil Jackman think about all this?
• The B.S. Blog: Paul Mittermeier, Ed Reed, Ray Lewis and Mike Preston
DeCosta Turns Down Overtures, Will Be Staying Here
Ravens player personnel director Eric DeCosta will not entertain offers from other teams and will remain with the team.
Wild Card Weekend Matchups & Picks
Joe Platania shares a few storylines he thinks Jarret Johnson, Joe Flacco and all Ravens fans should be looking for during Wild Card Weekend.
NFL Wild-Card Weekend Preview
Stan "The Fan" Charles makes his early picks for this weekend's NFL wild-card matchups and who he thinks the Ravens will be hosting Jan. 15.
Ed Block Courage Award Foundation Unveils Recipients
The Ed Block Courage Award Foundation has announced the 32 recipients of this year's Ed Block Courage Awards, including Ravens long snapper Morgan Cox.
Nearly Two Dozen In Ravens' 2012 Free-Agent Class
There are currently 22 Ravens players in the final years of their contracts that will be heading for various forms of free agency, with Ray Rice, Matt Birk and Jarret Johnson among the 13 players set to become unrestricted free agents.
2011 Fantasy Football Rankings
Ken Zalis ranks the year's top fantasy football players at each position.
What Did Ravens Accomplish In 2011?
With the Ravens' 16th regular season in the books, it's time to look back at the many things the team accomplished in 2011.
Ravens Earn AFC's No. 2 Seed
• 2011 Archive: Nov/Dec | Sept/Oct | July/Aug | May/June | March/April | Jan/Feb
Ray Rice had a 70-yard touchdown run in the first quarter and a 51-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter, as the Ravens defeated the Bengals, 24-16, to win the AFC North division title. Baltimore is now the No. 2 seed in the AFC, with a first-round bye and the team's first home postseason game since 2006.
• Week 17 Photo Gallery | Monday-Morning Leftovers: A Home Playoff Pleasure
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