Sunday, August 17, 2014, 10:18am
The competition for the Ravens’ final receiver spots may be closer than any other position on the team.
Offensive Coordinator Gary Kubiak said it’s the tightest receiver battle he’s ever seen. Head Coach John Harbaugh told reporters this week that the preseason games will be critical in determining which receivers play their way onto the team.
Perhaps no player made a better case for himself Saturday against the Cowbys than third-year wideout Deonte Thompson. The speedy receiver delivered the games’ biggest play when he ran back a kickoff for a 108-yard touchdown.
Thompson is battling behind Torrey Smith, Steve Smith Sr., Jacoby Jones and Marlon Brown for a receiver spot. He’s competing with Kamar Aiken, Michael Campanaro and undrafted rookie Jeremy Butler. The Ravens typically keep five or six receivers on the 53-man roster.
Ravens RB Ray Rice didn't start but finally got in early in the second quarter and he immediately reeled off an 18-yard run. However, after just two carries, he went back to the sideline to have X-rays taken on his shoulder.
The X-rays were negative but Rice wasn’t expected to return to the game.
Bernard Pierce got the start, one would assume because he'll start Weeks 1 and 2 while Rice is suspended. We'll have to wait to see more about Rice's shoulder but it's at least a good sign the X-rays were negative. There was no need to put Rice back in the game at that point.
Friday, August 15, 2014, 12:07pm
There's no skill-position battle for the Ravens right now, but there could be one by the middle of September. That's when running back Ray Rice comes off his two-game suspension. The one-cut style of backup Bernard Pierce seems to be a more natural fit to Gary Kubiak stretch running scheme. If Pierce has a fast start, the Ravens may have a decision to make by Week 3.
The coaches make it sound like Rice will return to a starter's role after his suspension, and we're not so sure that Pierce will be able to change their minds in two games against the Bengals and Steelers.
Dennis Pitta's snaps and targets are safe. Draft him with confidence as a solid TE1. Gary Kubiak has a long history of featuring the tight end in his offense.
Friday, August 15, 2014, 11:17am
Jamison Hensley named Ravens wide receiver Deonte Thompson "Most Disappointing Player" of camp. He never resembled a player who had made the Ravens the past two seasons. His continual drops have pushed him on the wrong side of the bubble.
Thursday, August 14, 2014, 5:20pm
Veteran tight end Owen Daniels missed his second straight day of practice Thursday for the Ravens, despite offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak saying Wednesday that he was “fine” and just getting a break.
Coach John Harbaugh said after Thursday’s practice that the team “decided to rest his legs a little bit.”
“He’d been going pretty hard so [we wanted to] get him down a little bit,” Harbaugh said.
“That’s coach’s call,” offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak said. “John has talked about that, but we’re still early in camp. I’m sure it’s something John will address as we get to next week. Obviously, there comes a point where somebody else is probably going to have to work as a starter as we move forward.
“But you still have to get Ray ready to play because come Week Three, he’s going to bounce right back in there. It’s a tough dynamic, and coach will work us through it. He’ll tell us what he wants us to do.”
This makes it sound as if Rice is slated to be the starter upon his return from suspension, which is a concern in the fantasy community. At just 26 years old, it was surprising to see Rice's production fall off the way it did, but he was dealing with hip and quad injuries throughout the season. He was also coming off of a Super Bowl run the previous year, which likely wore him down. GM Ozzie Newsome said he expects Rice to return to Pro Bowl form, but HC John Harbaugh said after the season that the team could take more of a committee approach at running back, which would limit Rice's upside. Still, assuming his offseason legal issues don't impact his availability, he is a bounceback candidate in Gary Kubiak's offense.
Wednesday, August 13, 2014, 6:41pm
Romo will start for the Cowboys in Saturday's exhibition game against the Baltimore Ravens. Romo missed Dallas' exhibition opener against San Diego as the Cowboys are easing him back into things after his second back surgery in the past two years.
Romo said he gave no thought to skipping the preseason to make sure he stayed healthy, saying the only way to get better at football is to play football. It will be his first chance to play in a game under new play caller Scott Linehan.
"I think you have to play in the preseason," Romo said. "Obviously, some people can't, but I do know from my perspective, this game is not something where you can show up and think that you can do it. I think it's been proven far too many times that if you take too long of a break or don't get reps under you that you will be exposed in certain areas."
Much has been written about how Romo will thrive under new “Passing Game Coordinator” Scott Linehan. Under Linehan, the Lions threw the ball 62.2% of the time in the last two seasons. Over the same span, the Cowboys threw it 64.3% of the time, so the Cowboys may not be that much more "pass happy" under Linehan, though the number of plays they run could increase, helping the offense as a whole. The Lions have averaged 1,105 plays in the last two seasons, while the Cowboys averaged just 968 plays, so Detroit ran 14% more plays than Dallas over that span. This bodes well for Romo and Co. Hopefully that back holds up.
Monday, August 11, 2014, 10:59am
Sunday, August 10, 2014, 1:22pm
Pitta did not appear to be injured Saturday, though he was involved in some particularly physical pass blocking plays with the 49ers defense.
Saturday, August 9, 2014, 5:16pm
Only a scaled-down version of new offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak's playbook was revealed Thursday night, but the Ravens' overhauled offense got positive reviews.
Based on the limited sample of 10 plays during the Ravens' opening drive against the San Francisco 49ers, quarterback Joe Flacco is upbeat about the potential of the offense.
Flacco orchestrated an 80-yard drive that lasted nearly five minutes and was capped by running back Bernard Pierce's pounding 2-yard touchdown run behind blocks from right guard Marshal Yanda and right tackle Bill Wagner.
"We ran the ball really well and protected really well," Flacco said Saturday before a joint practice with the 49ers at the Ravens' training complex. "There is a lot to build on. I think we built a good foundation there. I think each week from here on out, we have to keep showing that improvement and building off what we did.”
During that drive, Flacco completed 4 of 5 passes for 52 yards. He had a long completion of 17 yards to versatile fullback Kyle Juszczyk and connected with tight end Dennis Pitta on a 14-yard screen. Flacco also had a 12-yard throw to wide receiver Jacoby Jones and a 9-yard pass to new wide receiver Steve Smith.
Saturday, August 9, 2014, 10:00am
A corresponding roster move is unknown at this time.
Lewis’ addition makes sense in that Chuck Jacobs hyperextending his right knee late in Thursday night’s 23-3 exhibition loss to the Ravens.
The 49ers have practiced for a week without Michael Crabtree and Brandon Lloyd because of what’s believed to be leg injuries.
As the new offensive coordinator for the Baltimore Ravens, Gary Kubiak is envisioning shorter passes, quicker releases from his quarterbacks and a play that has been used infrequently in team history.
"I was telling John [Harbaugh] the other night: ‘You know, I think we’ve got a chance to be a pretty good screen team,'" Kubiak said. "Our guards not only are big and physical, but they can get out and run."
This could benefit Ray Rice and Bernard Pierce, especially in PPR formats.
We normally take positive training reports with a grain of salt, but this is the third or fourth beat reporter who has lauded Rice's weight loss and quickness. He'll serve a two-game suspension and have to deal with Bernard Pierce when he gets back, but he should settle into the RB1 job and be a good third running back for fantasy owners.