Marc Trestman’s leadership abilities have come under fire in the wake of his two-year stint in Chicago, something that tight end Martellus Bennett didn’t do much to argue against in an appearance on NFL Network on Friday. Bennett did say that he thinks a move to the offensive coordinator role with the Ravens will work out well for coach and team.
“Trestman, I think, first off, the issue that he had, probably, was managing us all, all the different personalities,” Bennett said. “There’s a lot of big personalities. And I think, for a first-time head coach in the NFL, dealing with all the personalities that you have, I think that’s hard when you got guys like me, you know, [Brandon] Marshall … Lance Briggs on defense, (Charles) Tillman … Calling plays, he was excellent. I think he’s going to be an excellent coordinator for the Ravens. Strategically, he was great. But on the field, guys just weren’t executing.”
We generally agree, though Trestman takes a very pass-heavy approach, and that will impact the strong running game that Gary Kubiak built in 2014.
The first order of business will be to re-sign Forsett, who should see his PPR upside increase due to Trestman's tendency to use his running backs in the passing game. Under Trestman, Matt Forte caught 176 passes in the last two seasons, including 102 catches in 2014. Forsett caught 44 passes last season, and could potentially see that number double if he's the RB1 for the Ravens in 2015. Depending on his asking price, re-signing the 29-year-old Forsett isn't a no-brainer for the Ravens, though he's not likely to garner a huge contract in free agency. As the #8 RB in both standard and PPR formats in 2014, he'll likely hold RB2-type draft value if he stays in Baltimore.
Pitta, who has suffered serious hip injuries in each of the past two seasons, saw a couple of specialists last week, and Harbaugh said he couldn't give any updates right now.
"I did get kind of an overview of that report from our trainer that I wouldn’t really want to share until Dennis has had a chance to kind of consider all of the ramifications of it," Harbaugh said. "But I think we’ll have something on that in a couple of weeks, kind of on Dennis’ time frame. We’ll see where that goes.”
Harbaugh indicated in early December that he expects Pitta to make a full recovery, and he said at the end of the season that he was "cautiously optimistic" about his return in 2015.
The Buffalo Bills are putting the finishing touches on a five-year deal that will make Rex Ryan their next head coach, sources told ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter.
Ryan and the Bills are expected to hire 49ers offensive coordinator Greg Roman to the same position in Buffalo, sources told ESPN. Ryan and Roman previously worked together as assistant coaches with the Ravens.
The Bills also have said they would like to keep Jim Schwartz as defensive coordinator and pair him with the best head coach possible. Ryan already has spoken to Schwartz about staying as Buffalo's defensive coordinator, a league source told ESPN. But Schwartz runs a 4-3 defensive scheme with a wide-9 front -- used consistently this year only by the Bills and Lions, according to a source -- while Ryan prefers a hybrid 3-4 scheme.
Somewhat surprisingly, Ryan stays in the AFC East. He inherits a great defense and a suspect offense with major QB issues. Roman's offense was somewhat disappointing given the weapons in San Francisco.
Saturday, January 10, 2015, 3:48pm
CB Chris Greenwood
DE Steven Means
DT Terrence Cody
OL Ryan Jensen
DT Casey Walker
TE Phillip Supernaw
DE DeAngelo Tyson
Friday, January 9, 2015, 6:47pm
Ravens TE Owen Daniels (not injury related, probable) took full practice reps again Friday and is probable for Week 19. Daniels should be fine to face New England. He has scored one touchdown in his last nine games.
The Ravens have only allowed five touchdowns to tight ends in the regular season, and they held Jimmy Graham to 47 yards receiving. Do the Ravens have a chance of slowing down Rob Gronkowski, or do you throw out those numbers because he is on a different level?
Patriots beat writer Mike Reiss: They can definitely slow Gronkowski, but it will come at a cost. One of the most impressive things about Gronkowski’s season to me is how his 82 catches for 1,124 yards and 12 touchdowns hardly tell the whole story. It’s plays like touchdown catches by Julian Edelman and Shane Vereen against the Broncos on Nov. 2 that highlight his true value because there were three to four defenders swarming around Gronkowski in the end zone, creating those one-on-one opportunities for Julian Edelman and Shane Vereen. That was pretty commonplace this season with Gronkowski, who is a pure combination tight end in the sense that he can also dominate as a blocker when he wants; it's not just catching the ball. So I’d be surprised if the Ravens can slow Gronkowski consistently with just one player like safety Will Hill. But if they want to devote extra resources to it, they can probably dictate the ball going elsewhere, and the Patriots have shown the ability to capitalize when that happens.
One the NFL’s most-penalized defenders, New England Patriots cornerback Brandon Browner, could cross paths Saturday with the league’s most prolific receiver in terms of drawing pass interference penalties, Torrey Smith.
Smith led the NFL with 11 defensive pass interference penalties drawn for 229 yards during the regular season, according to Football Outsiders, and added a 12th for 29 yards against the Steelers in the wild-card game. The next closest receiver, Green Bay Packers star Jordy Nelson, drew six flags for 129 yards.
“It’s definitely frustrating, but again, it’s part of the game,” Smith said this week. “I don’t want to be known for a guy that’s just getting held all the time, but it just happens. If I knew why it kept happening … I guess most times it’s because I’m moving pretty good, and it kind of surprises them a little bit, so they grab you.”
Browner, a physical corner signed from the Seattle Seahawks in the offseason, has played just nine games for the Patriots. He was called for five defensive pass interference penalties this season, and 15 penalties overall.
Unfortunately, pass interference penalties don't count in fantasy football.
When New England Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman takes the field in Saturday’s divisional-round playoff game against the Baltimore Ravens, it will mark his first game in almost a month. No one is more excited about that than Edelman, although quarterback Tom Brady probably isn’t far behind.
The two are working overtime to re-establish and fine-tune the connection that helped Edelman produce a team-high 92 receptions before he was shut down during the final games of the season with a concussion.
“We’ve been practicing the last week and a half or something; I know Tom a little bit here now, these last few years. He knows me. There’s a foundation,” Edelman relayed in his first remarks to the press since Dec. 14 following a victory over the Dolphins. "But even if whatever happened didn’t happen, we still have to continue to try to get better. That’s what we’re trying to do -- staying after, throwing a couple extra routes, bouncing ideas off each other. Like any other week, I guess, but the stakes are a little higher.”
Edelman should hit the ground the running against a shaky Baltimore secondary. He was the #13 WR in PPR formats before missing the final two games with a concussion.
Browner is one of the biggest and most physical corners in the NFL at 6-feet-4, 221 pounds. His style is based on roughing up wide receivers.
And Torrey Smith expects to see plenty of Browner during an AFC divisional round playoff game at Gillette Stadium instead of Pro Bowl cornerback Darrelle Revis. Revis is expected to line up against Steve L Smith most of the time.
Revis has been significantly better in coverage than Browner this season, so this is good news for those owners hoping to use him this week. He has been the #13 WR since Week 6, and has scored 11 touchdowns in his last 12 games.
The Ravens are one of the tougher run defenses in the NFL, ranking fourth this season in holding opponents to an average of 88.3 yards per game and not allowing a 100-yard rusher in the past 27 games. They are a sturdy front seven and with this in mind, it's hard to imagine the Patriots go with a heavy diet of bigger personnel and a power-running approach. Instead, a more likely scenario is that the Patriots attempt to manipulate matchups in hopes of lightening the box and getting the Ravens into sub packages to test their overall quality and depth in the defensive backfield, which is their primary area of vulnerability. For the Patriots to do this, adding a second tight end with more of a pass-catching profile, third receiver, or second running back makes sense. This is where Wright, a "move" tight end, could be a bigger factor. When blocking-based tight end Michael Hoomanawanui is paired with Rob Gronkowski, it usually results in opponents playing base defense. But when Wright is paired with Gronkowski, it has sometimes been sub because he's more of a pass-catching threat. The Patriots have had success going up-tempo with that grouping as well, so we could envision Wright being a bigger part of the plan Saturday, with receiver Danny Amendola and running back Brandon Bolden (in a two-back set with Shane Vereen) as other options.
Wright's production has been spotty, but when the Patriots have called his number, he has usually delivered.
Saturday, January 3, 2015, 7:04pm
Friday, January 2, 2015, 5:04pm
Harris had just nine carries for 16 yards in five regular-season games, but the 5-11, 210-pounder ripped off a 59-yard run last Sunday night against the Cincinnati Bengals.
"Josh is ready," said Bell, who did some light running and rode a stationary bike on Wednesday. "I’ve been watching him all year and I know what he’s capable of. You got a little glimpse of him (in) the Bengals game. He’s explosive. He knows all of his assignments. He’s not out there thinking any more. He’s just playing football. He’s only going to get better."
The Ravens are tough to run on, so we have Harris projected for about 74 yards on 18.7 touches.
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