Rap Sheet Rundown: The Week 7 Edition

Of all the things that came out of the ugly loss on Sunday by the Ravens, it’s that they have some issues that need to be fixed. Ravens coach John Harbaugh was pretty blunt with how everything should be looked at after the Texans beat them down. And as DT Haloti Ngata told me about the defense, “Right now, we’re at the bottom.” They’ve lost LB Ray Lewis, they’ve lost CB Lardarius Webb, Ed Reed has a torn labrum, and Ngata pointed out, “Today I was… I wasn’t 100 percent.” Duh. And so, Baltimore looked like the worst 5-2 team you can imagine. And yet… they are still in prime position. With the bye coming up, with some top-notch coaches, […]

An unexpected use of the short-term Injured Reserve rule has emerged…

Earlier this year, the NFL passed a new rule that allowed teams to place a player on Injured Reserve but not necessarily lose him for the season. Officially, they “designate him for return,” though it’s come to be called “Short-term IR.” It’s a good rule. I like it. If a player gets hurt in Week 1 and can come back by Week 10, why would a team be forced to lose him for the season just to have his roster spot? For the Patriots in the Super Bowl last year, for instance, they could’ve used Dan Koppen, but he’d already been declared out. Yet, he was healthy. So, anyway, it’s worked out. Coaches and teams often find unexpected loopholes or uses […]

With the Patriots looming, Ravens S Bernard Pollard discusses his response when fans call him “The Brady Killer”

For years, major Patriots injuries have had one constant — Bernard Pollard was either involved or had a front-row seat for them. Think about it. When Tom Brady tore his ACL, it was Pollard with the Chiefs who slammed into his left knee. When Wes Welker tore his ACL, Pollard with the Texans was inches away from drilling him. And last year, when TE Rob Gronkowski suffered a brutal high-ankle sprain leading up to the Super Bowl, it was Pollard with the Ravens who brought him down (left). Three different teams for Pollard, three different injuries to Patriots. Yikes. It’s no wonder that he’s considered one of the all-time Patriots villains by fans. There are even T-Shirts honoring, um, his […]

The Ravens’ no-huddle offense and Joe Flacco are walking hand-in-hand to a new contract…

As you might have read a time or 1,000 during the offseason, Joe Flacco is up for a new contract. The Ravens QB is in the final year of a five-year deal that is paying him $12 million, and no one denies that a new deal will get done. But when? And wouldn’t the Ravens be smart if they did it sooner rather than later? I talked about this some in my hit for Total Access yesterday, before I headed out to Philadelphia. That’s where I am now, and where I’ll stay the rest of the week. But that no-huddle offense might be driving up Flacco’s price for the Ravens. And I’m not alone in thinking that. As effective as Flacco […]

What in the world went on with the Ravens and (still) LT Bryant McKinnie today?

As the Bryant McKinnie turns… OK, maybe that’s not catchiest name of a soap opera of all time. But that’s what it’s felt like today. As you may have read on NFL.com — or all over Twitter — the Ravens starting left tackle was battling the team on a contract renegotiation. They wanted him to take a reduction, and he was willing to. Just, not as much as they wanted. At one point, he thought he was being released, and said so publicly. Now? I’m told McKinnie is remaining a Raven, thanks to an agreement in principle. Before today, my favorite experience involving McKinnie was that he was kicked off the Pro Bowl team following the 2009 season because of excessive […]

It’s time for teams to stop caring whether their players are playing offseason hoops…

Earlier in the offseason, Ravens LB Terrell Suggs tore his Achilles. That, we know. How it happened? Well… that’s up for debate. An ESPN report seems to indicate the All-Pro injured himself playing in a basketball tournament, while Suggs has denied it adamantly. I hate to say it, but with so many eyewitnesses, it makes Suggs’ denial seem… slightly far-fetched. But here’s my real question: Who cares?  So what if he injured his Achilles playing basketball? Who cares whether it popped because he was breaking down a defender off the bounce (hip hoops term alert!) or if he was doing a three-cone drill on a field? Is it actually worse to injure yourself playing basketball on a court than under the […]

My story: How Ravens GM Ozzie Newsome and his scouts find passionate players and fill the team with them

I arrived in Owings Mills, Md., with a simple goal for my impending story. Understand why the Ravens select the players they do in the draft. I came away with a lot more than that. After an insightful conversation with ultra-respected GM Ozzie Newsome, I think I get it. I think I understand why they are always competitive and why their players look like they’d play for free. The Ravens scout passion. As Newsome told me, while watching tape they take their eye off the ball and watch how players move when they are not involved in a play — and they learn whether a guy is going through the motions or just lives it. For those with supreme passion, […]

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