Ravens beat writer Jeff Zrebiec:
He's caught balls underneath, he's caught deep passes, he's drawn pass interference penalties. Nobody on the Ravens has been able to match up. If Matthews stays healthy, I'd be shocked if he didn't have a big year.
The offseason buzz has been strong. With Jeremy Maclin gone, Matthews will have to play more than the 65% of the snaps that he played as a rookie. He was the #24 WR in standard formats, so increased playing time should lead to a better finish. He won't be limited to the slot in 2015.
Ravens beat writer Jeff Zrebiec:
I’ve been saying for months that Marlon Brown is a lock for one of the wide receiver spots in what has been the most-scrutinized position competition of training camp. But now, I’m not so sure.
Brown, to no fault of his own, missed most of the first couple of weeks of training camp with back and hamstring injuries. But since his return, he hasn’t looked right.
He isn’t getting a ton of reps and he’s been extremely tentative, failing to get much separation on defensive backs. I’m sure the injuries have a lot to do with it, but Brown may be playing himself onto the roster bubble, especially if Michael Campanaro stays healthy and Jeremy Butler and Darren Waller have good preseasons.
Two weeks ago, I would have predicted with some confidence that the Ravens’ regular-season roster would include seven receivers: Steve Smith, Kamar Aiken, Brown, Campanaro, Breshad Perriman, Waller and Jeremy Butler. Now, I’m not so sure.
Campanaro is making a push to be the team's slot receiver, and if Perriman returns and takes over as the WR2, then Brown will be vying with Aiken for snaps as the team's WR4. If Perriman remains sidelined, then Aiken/Brown could be battling for a starting job.
A sprained PCL usually requires 2-6 weeks of recovery, and Perriman has been out since July 31, when he injured the knee. If he can get healthy, he'll have a tremendous opportunity to make a splash as a rookie in Marc Trestman's offense, but he continues to miss valuable practice reps. He should be ready for Week 1, but may get off to a slow start.
The Ravens didn’t seem to have any answer for Eagles WR Jordan Matthews over the middle, be it shallow crosses or intermediate seam passes, and his touchdown grab was a thing of beauty, beating his man clean to the outside and extending to make the catch. Of course, this is nothing altogether new—Matthews has been tearing it up all camp. Regardless, it was nice to see him as a focal point of the Eagles offense while going up against another team. Big things appear to be in store for Matthews this season.
With Jeremy Maclin gone, Matthews will have to play more than the 65% of the snaps that he played as a rookie. He was the #24 WR in standard formats, so increased playing time should lead to a better finish. He won't be limited to the slot in 2015. He's primed to build on a strong rookie season.
Murray suiting up in Week 1 is clearly the goal for the Eagles as well, as head coach Chip Kelly has admitted he is the reason the running back hasn't been taking part in many team drills.
"The only thing holding back DeMarco is me," Kelly said last week.
Murray increased his workload on Wednesday, taking first-team reps throughout the day against the Ravens. He looked sharp doing so, running hard and not having to spend anytime with trainers.
Murray had a career year in his fourth season, racking up 2,261 total yards and 13 touchdowns on 449 touches. He should get plenty of work in Philadelphia, though the signing of Ryan Mathews and the presence of Darren Sproles make it very unlikely that he’ll approach 450 touches in 2015. LeSean McCoy averaged 353 touches over the past two seasons, so that’s probably Murray’s ceiling if everyone stays healthy. He’ll hold low-end RB1 value, though the presence of Mathews and Sproles may make even that a stretch. The local beat writers are predicting a 50-30-15 split in carries among Murray, Mathews and Sproles. The history of 380-carry running backs isn't pretty when we look at the next season, but those players didn't have Chip Kelly's sports science program to lean on.
Bradford, who sat out the Eagles preseason opener last Sunday, faced a good Ravens' defense in both 7-on-7 drills and full 11-on-11 team drills and showed the same velocity and accuracy on his passes that he showed practicing against his teammates the first two weeks of training camp.
Over the last two seasons, Philadelphia quarterbacks have averaged 16.7 passing game-only fantasy points. Bradford isn’t much of a runner, but he adds about 0.7 FP per game as a rusher. That adds up to 17.4 FP, or about what Eli Manning averaged as the #10 QB in 2014. The Eagles’ offense has lost their top receiver – DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin – in each of the last two seasons, but Jordan Matthews and Zach Ertz are emerging and the team added Nelson Agholor in the draft. If Bradford ends up starting for the Eagles, we wouldn’t expect anything more than high-end QB2 numbers, but this is a definite system upgrade due to the overall effectiveness of Chip Kelly’s offense.
Pitta will remain on the physically-unable-to-perform list as he recovers from a second surgery on his hip. Harbaugh revealed Tuesday that the best-case scenario is a midseason return for Pitta, who has played just seven games the last two seasons after dislocating the same hip twice.
"There's no urgency at this time," Harbaugh said via ESPN.com. "We'll be talking about a midseason type of thing if he did it. We just have to see where it goes."
Crockett Gillmore is currently atop of the Ravens' depth chart at tight end, with second-round rookie Maxx Williams looking like a solid No. 2 so far. Fifth-round pick Nick Boyle will also be in the mix for playing time. As we said about Gillmore, he's improving as a pass-catcher but is more of a blocker while Williams could be the team's long-term solution at the position.
Perriman underwent a precautionary MRI on his nagging knee injury on Monday and the results were normal.
Tuesday, August 18, 2015, 12:58pm
In return, the 49ers acquired offensive lineman Jordan Devy, according to ESPN. The trade was first reported by Comcast SportsNet Bay Area’s Matt Maiocco.
Devy (6-foot-6, 320 pounds) played both left guard and right guard last season for the New England Patriots, who employed the Memphis product on their 2013 practice squad after he was cut out of training camp by the Baltimore Ravens. He also has experience playing tackle, and that versatility is what the 49ers’ makeshift line covets.
Cleveland, a Sacramento native, led all 49ers receivers in Saturday night’s exhibition-opening loss at Houston, totaling three receptions for 10 yards. Two of those catches came on third down, and each was a yard short of the first-down marker.
Monday, August 17, 2015, 6:21pm
Ravens first-round pick Breshad Perriman missed his 12th straight practice Monday with a knee injury. The No. 26 overall pick has been out since landing hard after a reception on July 30, but head coach John Harbaugh recently acknowledged that Perriman's injury might be more than just a bruise, according to The Baltimore Sun.
"He's got whatever they want to call it with his knee situation there," Harbaugh said. "It’s not something that’s going to keep him out for a long period of time, they tell me. If I was a doctor, I’d give you more. … We come out here, and we expect definitive answers on injuries from coaches. I didn’t take those classes in college. I wasn’t interested."
Harbaugh is still optimistic that Perriman will return during the preseason.
"He’ll be back sometime here in training camp, hopefully soon,” Harbaugh added. "I hate that he’s missing it, hate that he’s not out here. I’ve got a knot in the pit of my stomach, in some ways, about it. In other ways, I know it’s out of our control and I put it in God’s hands and let him take care of it. To me, that’s the best strategy right there."
Sunday, August 16, 2015, 1:56pm
Browns quarterback Connor Shaw will undergo surgery on his right thumb.
Shaw got hurt during Thursday's exhibition opener against Washington. The second-year QB completed 5 of 10 passes for 64 yards in the 20-17 loss.
The Browns said Shaw, who started Cleveland's season finale last season, will miss "an extended period of time." Shaw was listed behind Josh McCown and Johnny Manziel on the team's depth chart, but the Browns are high on the former South Carolina star, who showed toughness and potential in the final game last season against Baltimore.
Filling in for an injured Manziel, Shaw completed 14 of 28 passes for 177 yards against the playoff-bound Ravens. He finished the game despite a dislocated finger and bruised kidney.
Saturday, August 15, 2015, 11:07pm
Perriman, who hurt his knee in the Ravens’ first full-team practice on July 30, has missed 11 consecutive workouts and the team’s first preseason game.
“He’ll be back sometime here in training camp, hopefully soon,” Harbaugh said. “I hate that he’s missing it, hate that he’s not out here. I’ve got a knot in the pit of my stomach, in some ways, about it. In other ways, I know it’s out of our control and I put it in God’s hands and let him take care of it. To me, that’s the best strategy right there.”
Harbaugh initially said after Perriman went down that the rookie had a bruised knee and might return to practice the next day. However, he has since acknowledged that there’s more to the injury than just a bruise, alluding to a strain and potential tendon damage.
Saturday, August 15, 2015, 11:05am
WR Michael Campanaro's electric 45-yard touchdown in the Baltimore Ravens' preseason opener was the result of great route-running, determination after the catch and hard work to stay healthy this summer.
Campanaro is standing out in the Ravens' wide receiver competition because of his ability to make big plays and stay on the field. It shouldn't go unnoticed that Campanaro is the only returning receiver from last year's team to participate in every training camp practice this year.
Steve Smith received a veteran day off. Kamar Aiken sat out a day because of fatigue. Marlon Brown missed time with back and hamstring injuries. Plus, first-round pick Breshad Perriman injured his knee on the first day of camp and hasn't returned.
Suiting up every day is as much of a statement for Campanaro as his first touchdown in Baltimore.
"It feels great just being healthy, out there playing," Campanaro said. "I’m not even thinking about it. Just out there playing free.”
Durability was one of the reasons why he lasted until the seventh round in 2014. Injuries curtailed his impact as a rookie. There's no one questioning his talent. Campanaro is a savvy pass catcher with great hands. In limited action last year, he was Joe Flacco's surest target, catching a team-best 84.6 percent of the the passes thrown his direction in the regular season and playoffs.
"Sam will not play. That was my decision. Sam is not happy about it,'' Kelly said. "I just felt he's only been out here a couple of weeks.''
Kelly went on to say that Bradford is fine — and the fact is he has not missed one day of practice, or even one drill in practice says volumes— it was just his decision to give him another week.
"It's just my call,'' Kelly said. "There's a fine line. You watch (Washington tight end) Niles Paul, who's a good player, go down last night. He's done for the year. We went back and forth about it, but it was my decision.''
Kelly did say Bradford would go against the Ravens all week in practice next week and play against them, Saturday, Aug. 22.
Bradford has not missed a rep in practice, so it sounds like Kelly -- who invoked the name of Niles Paul, lost for the season with a dislocated ankle -- is just being careful with his quarterback.
Tuesday, August 11, 2015, 6:43pm
Spiller was on the field for limited work on Sunday and Monday. But he hasn’t returned to full-team work since missing last Friday’s scrimmage. A source described Friday’s absence as a minor issue and just a "day of rest." It’s unclear if Tuesday’s absence is related to the same issue.
Veteran receiver Marques Colston watched from the side Tuesday, according to reports -- which could have been a routine day of rest. He, too, might be limited in the preseason opener since the Saints typically take it easy with Colston in the preseason.