The Grapevine

RAVENS CRAB BAG: Week 2 v. Eagles

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QUOTES OF THE WEEK “It would be foolish to say Lewis is the same as he was a decade ago, but it would be equally silly not to be impressed with what he’s doing. The ability to play his position at such a high level all these years later after having long reached his status as the best middle linebacker of all time remains a remarkable feat. … Maybe this defense will continue to be dominant because its still-quick leader continues to beat down running backs. And time.” ~ CBS SPORTS’...

RAVENS CRAB BAG: Week 1 v. Bengals

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QUOTE OF THE WEEK Torrey Smith on identify coverage… “The corner lies, safeties don’t. You don’t really play the corners in your mind; it’s the safeties that tell you what’s going on.” DID YOU KNOW? Monday’s game against Cincinnati is the first of four in 18 days for the Ravens. Baltimore is at Philadelphia on Sept. 16, hosts the Patriots in a Sunday night special on Sept. 23 and plays the Browns on Sept. 27 at M&T Bank Stadium. THERE’S NO PLACE LIKE HOME ~ The Ravens have won 10-consecutive...

Ravens Crab Bag: Preseason Week 4

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QUOTE OF THE WEEK “My responsibilities are not only to my family and the people who work for the Ravens. There are over a million stakeholders in the Baltimore area that we have an obligation to. They’re the fans who invest more than three hours on Sunday to watch, listen to, or attend our games. That’s a big difference from owning a nonsports company.” ~ Steve Bisciotti on owning the Ravens 5 ALIVE! In the Ravens’ three preseason games, QB Joe Flacco completed 43 of 60 passes for 433 yards, with...

Say sayonara to hopes of Umenyiora

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Bernard Pierce was an interesting choice for the Ravens in the 2012 NFL Draft. Granted the Ravens have always practiced what they’ve preached on draft day and that is to trust in their board and select the best player available. But moving up 7 spots to get Pierce and foregoing a fifth round pick to do so while Anthony Allen and Damien Berry wait in the wings is no less than intriguing. A message to the franchised Ray Rice? At the very least thoughts of veterans with John Harbaugh connectivity...

GRAPEVINE: Torrey Smith to donate a dread for every TD?

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Ravens fans have grown frustrated with the team’s inability to make much of an impact during the free agency signing period. Some have even taken to criticizing one of the league’s best GM’s, Ozzie Newsome. What fans aren’t aware of is that there’s more to the Ravens’ penny-pinching than limited cap space. Word is the club’s cash flow has slowed to a drip. Insiders have suggested that while the team’s stadium deal was once a very good one, by today’s standards it’s a bit obsolete and there is talk of...

Ravens Spiderman is going nowhere!

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The New England Patriots have a glaring hole(s) to fill at cornerback. After Tom Brady recently re-structured his contract it left the Patriots with about $18M in cap space to play with. The Patriots have 2 first round picks – one of which they acquired from the Saints during a draft day deal in 2011 and their own, the 31st overall. Lardarius Webb is a rapidly developing corner, a restricted free agent whose current team has less than $4M in cap space. Signing him to an offer sheet would cost the...

Ravens Rumors & The Inside Skinny

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Like the spring every offseason spawns a new season and along with that newness comes change. NFL rosters generally churn and burn at the rate of 25% from one NFL calendar year to the next. Teams look to get younger and create value on their rosters in order to manage the cap effectively. As Steve Bisciotti once told us, “If I can get an Ed Dickson who performs at 80% of a Todd Heap but costs a fraction of what Heap does, I have to make that move.” You can...

Press Conference Observations & an extra draft pick(s)?

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The Ravens lost Dawan Landry, Chris Chester, Josh Wilson and Le’Ron McClain to free agency but signed Vonte Leach, Bernard Pollard and Ricky Williams. They did lose a few others: Donte Stallworth, Fabian Washington, Jared Gaither & Tony Moll but they all signed minimum deals and probably won’t factor into the compensatory pick equation. So according to our capologist Brian McFarland, the Ravens will more than likely receive only 1 comp pick, probably a 4th or 5th rounder. That said one Ravens’ source has indicated that the team could receive...

Top 10 Ravens Moments of 2011

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Every year when the calendar winds down to its end, reminiscing runs rampant. So why should we be any different, right? Earlier this week I posted a thread on our message board (which by the way if you haven’t seen the new one, check it out – without a doubt the finest Ravens community on the planet and I’m allowed to say it because I had nothing to do with it) polling asking our members their thoughts on the Top 10 Ravens Moments in 2011. And they delivered. Now I...

Drama Queen!

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Ben Roethlisberger is a pretty tough dude. Even his teammates think so. He’s also a very dramatic one. After his heroic return to the game during the second half of the Steelers’ game against the Browns on Thursday Night, Roethlisberger stood at his locker, presumably on a swollen ankle, and addressed the media. He said things like, “[my ankle felt like] it was about to explode.” “I thought my leg was broken.” “I felt like my foot was outside my leg.” Whatever that means… QUESTION: If all those things Ben...

THE GRAPEVINE: Sergio Kindle mystery deepens

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Many in Owings Mills breathed a sigh of relief during the offseason when Sergio Kindle was medically cleared to play after his unfortunate tumble down a flight of stairs a year earlier left him with a fractured skull. Kindle, a second round pick who is said to have first round measurables, was viewed as a bonus 2011 draft pick and he was expected to be a situational pass rusher. But it hasn’t quite worked out that way. So far during the 2011 season Kindle has been on the active roster...

THE GRAPEVINE: Rumors, Opinion & a Conspiracy Theory

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For the life of me I don’t get all the hate and bile directed towards Derrick Mason from Baltimore Ravens fans. All Mason did during his 6 seasons in Baltimore was to give all that he had. Sure he yapped when things weren’t going well offensively and ok, I get that the needle leaned towards the selfish side but from his arrival in B’more to his departure, no one was a more consistent or more reliable starter than Derrick Mason. No one! Mason never missed a game as a Raven,...

RAVENS INSIDE SKINNY: Next man up? Next man out?

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Torrey Smith made a huge splash in his first start collecting 5 catches for 152 yards and 3 TD’s plus a 10 yard run to boot.  The Ravens coaching staff was confident that they could exploit a suspect Rams secondary even without Lee Evans. The plan couldn’t have been executed with more precision. Not only did the vertical presence of Smith open up the intermediate routes and the running game, the rookie’s performance is now on tape and that forces opposing defensive coordinators to account for him, possibly with more...

THE GRAPEVINE: Inside Skinny from Owings Mills

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Each year Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti joins us on the Ravens Rap in Ocean City, a momentary lapse from his vow of silence during the season. Bisciotti is always candid and engaging both during and after the show when he mingles with the enthusiastic crowd on hand. Last year during his appearance I asked him about re-signing Haloti Ngata and added that he better be prepared to back up the Brinks Truck. Bisciotti promised that Ngata would be going nowhere because he represents all that the Ravens want in a...

Ravens agree to terms with 5-time Pro Bowl C Gurode

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The Ravens today agreed to a deal with Cowboys 5-time Pro Bowl center Andre Gurode (pronounced jer-ODD). The 1 year deal has a maximum value of $3 million. Gurode underwent surgery on his right knee and according Shan Shariff from 105.3 The Fan’s New School in Dallas, the Cowboys weren’t thrilled with his conditioning when he reported to camp. Mix in his $5 million plus salary and the belief that backup Phil Costa, an undrafted player out of the University of Maryland, was playing just as effectively, and Gurode’s days...

THE GRAPEVINE: Ravens Rumors & The Inside Skinny

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According to Aaron Wilson Ravens offensive coordinator Cam Cameron recently reached out to retired NFL quarterback and former Raven Marc Bulger to gauge his interest in returning to the team. We’re told that Bulger would consider it if Joe Flacco goes down with an injury. Smart move by the Ravens! They have a battle tested QB familiar with their offense ready to go at a moment’s notice. In essence the team gets to carry a 3rd quarterback without: 1) paying him; and 2) accounting for him on the 53 man...

THE GRAPEVINE: One team’s trash is another’s treasure

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Some teams get excited about new players that join their teams after leaving other teams. The Chiefs and their fans are happy with the additions of Kelly Gregg and Le’Ron McClain. And now they’ve added Jared Gaither. Judging from the performances of their offensive tackles during the Thursday night preseason game in Philadelphia, the Ravens could use some reinforcements at offensive tackle. It would seem that they’ve given up on Oniel Cousins as a tackle (and rightly so) and they are now giving him a shot at guard. That leaves...

Ravens “news” is sometimes a byproduct of agent spin

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To those who believe that the Ravens suddenly have some of the Orioles’ stink on them and teams no longer want to play here STOP! The Ravens are generally viewed as one of the best teams to play for by the players. There’s no stink on the team. No Syd Thrift Confederate Money. Here’s the inside skinny… The Ravens have about $2M left under the cap. Malcom Floyd wasn’t coming here unless they extended Haloti, ASSUMING THE RAVENS WERE GENUINELY INTERESTED. Secondly, contrary to what has been reported, Mason was...

THE GRAPEVINE: Ravens have nada without Ngata extension

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Many of the Ravens’ faithful are holding out hope that Derrick Mason returns to Baltimore. Word is he is mulling over offers from the Jets, Titans and the Ravens. I only hope he returns to Baltimore if the Ravens genuinely have no other options OR he joins Malcom Floyd in the Ravens receiving corps. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t dislike Mason. Truth be told he’s one of my favorite players. I admire his work ethic, toughness and his consistency. But he’s just not the right fit for the Ravens...

The Buzz From 1 Winning Drive: Ngata closing in on new deal?

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Defensive coordinator Chuck Pagano’s style is a far better match for the defensive DNA of the Ravens. Judging from the collective enthusiasm of the defense during camp, particularly Ray Lewis, Ed Reed, Terrell Suggs and Jarret Johnson, they prefer Pagano’s version of organized chaos to the conservative style of former DC Greg Mattison. It’s early but at least for the moment, Ray Lewis & Company have their swagger back. Discussions about Osi Umenyiora are likely to die down now that the Giants will no longer allow the disgruntled DE to...