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#pounditWednesday, February 24, 2021

Articles tagged: Baltimore Ravens

Ravens-Steelers postponed to Tuesday night amid COVID-19 outbreak

Roger Goodell

The Baltimore Ravens have been dealing with a COVID-19 outbreak this week, and their game against the Pittsburgh Steelers has now been rescheduled a second time.

The Ravens-Steelers game has been moved from Sunday to Tuesday night, as first reported by ESPN’s Adam Schefter and Dianna Russini and later confirmed by the NFL. The game was initially supposed to be held on Thanksgiving, but it has now been pushed back twice after several Baltimore players and staffers tested positive for COVID-19.

Further complicating matters is that the Ravens are also scheduled to face the Dallas Cowboys next Thursday night, but that game will be moved now as well.

Lamar Jackson is among the Ravens players who have tested positive for the coronavirus, and there is reportedly concern among the organization over the outbreak.

Several Steelers players expressed frustration over the way the NFL has handled the situation earlier in the week.

Ravens reportedly ‘rattled’ by COVID outbreak, have closed facility

John Harbaugh

The Baltimore Ravens are struggling with a COVID-19 outbreak this week and said to be “rattled” by it.

Four more players and one staff member reportedly tested positive, the team learned Thursday, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter. Quarterback Lamar Jackson reportedly was among those who tested positive.

Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio reported Thursday that the organization is “rattled.”

Schefter says the organization has shut down its practice facility until Monday at the earliest.

The Ravens’ game against the Pittsburgh Steelers was originally scheduled for Thursday night but got postponed until Sunday. Now that game is in danger of taking place this weekend due to the increased amount of people to test positive.

Photo: Maryland National Guard

Ravens discipline coach who failed to report COVID symptoms

Baltimore Ravens logo

The Baltimore Ravens may have identified the source of their ongoing COVID-19 outbreak and have taken disciplinary action accordingly.

The Ravens announced Wednesday that they disciplined an unnamed staffer for unspecified conduct relating to the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak within the team. The type of discipline was not announced, nor were any further details.

According to Tom Pelissero of NFL.com, the Ravens disciplined an unnamed strength and conditioning coach for failing to report symptoms of COVID-19. The coach also failed to consistently wear a mask or a mandated tracking device. There is some belief that this individual may be the source of the outbreak that has led to seven players landing on the COVID/Reserve list.

The outbreak also led to the postponement of Baltimore’s scheduled Thanksgiving night game against Pittsburgh. That decision left Steelers players fuming on social media.

Pelissero notes that the Ravens are hopeful that this discipline could reduce any possible punishment from the NFL. The league has already made clear how seriously they take violations, and the Ravens will want to avoid their wrath.

Derek Wolfe seemingly criticizes NFL for not canceling Ravens-Steelers

Derek Wolfe

The Baltimore Ravens have had several positive COVID-19 tests this week among players and staff members, but the plan is for their game against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Thursday to still be held as scheduled. Veteran defensive lineman Derek Wolfe does not seem pleased about that.

Wolfe took to Twitter on Wednesday morning to mock the NFL for saying “player safety” is always the top concern.

Baltimore and Pittsburgh are supposed to play on Thursday night. There have been at least 10 positive COVID-19 tests within the Ravens organization since Sunday’s game against the Tennessee Titans, but the game was still on as of Wednesday morning.

Since Thursday’s game is scheduled to kick off at 8:20 local time, Ian Rapoport of NFL Media reports that the Ravens flying to Pittsburgh on Thursday morning is an option.

Wolfe is not the first player who has criticized the NFL over the handling of the coronavirus pandemic. Other players have been frustrated with schedule changes and aired their grievances on social media as well.

Video: John Harbaugh, Malcolm Butler get into it during pregame argument

Malcolm Butler John Harbaugh

Sunday’s game between the Tennessee Titans and Baltimore Ravens was an important one for the AFC playoff picture, and tempers boiled over before the opening kickoff.

Ravens head coach John Harbaugh appeared to take exception to a group of Titans players gathering on Baltimore’s midfield logo at M&T Bank Stadium before the game. When Harbaugh walked over to seemingly confront the Titans, Malcolm Butler became animated and started shouting at him. The two were quickly separated.

The photo below shows how the Titans gathered on the Ravens’ logo:

As Jeff Zrebiec of The Athletic explained, the Titans are known for gathering on their opponent’s logo before the game. They did the same thing before their playoff game against Baltimore at M&T Bank Stadium back in January. Harbaugh apparently felt it was disrespectful, and he and Titans head coach Mike Vrabel had a brief discussion about it after the confrontation.

Gathering or celebrating on an opposing team’s logo is generally viewed a sign of disrespect in football. That’s why we saw one player stopped from doing so in Dallas (see the video) earlier this season.

Randy Moss identifies Ravens’ biggest issue on offense

Randy Moss

Randy Moss thinks he knows what the biggest problem is for the Baltimore Ravens’ offense.

The Ravens went an NFL-best 14-2 last season before losing in the divisional round of the playoffs. They’re 6-3 this season, have lost two of three, and haven’t scored more than 24 points in their last three games.

So what is there issue? Moss identified it while talking on “Monday Night Countdown.”

“I’ve been critical all season about the Baltimore Ravens. They have no big-play wide receiver on the outside for Lamar Jackson. Mark Andrews is a big factor in that offense, but he only works the middle of the field. Lamar Jackson needs a big-play wide receiver on the outside. Why? Because the defense has to respect that, and that’s going to open up lanes in the running game, that’s going to open up lanes in the passing game,” Moss said.

“Until the Baltimore Ravens get a No. 1 wide receiver with a big catch radius that Lamar Jackson needs, they’re going to remain a running team.”

The Ravens drafted Hollywood Brown in the first round last year to be a big-play threat. He had seven touchdowns last season but only has two this year. He’s averaging 47.9 receiving yards per game, which leads the team. That’s not very much.

The Ravens probably knew that was a weakness, which likely inspired them to add this man. But with the trade deadline already passed, Baltimore’s ability to add a big receiver is limited.

Ravens’ Matt Skura says family received hate messages from fans

Baltimore Ravens logo

Baltimore Ravens center Matt Skura had a tough time snapping the ball in inclement weather on Sunday night, and that was one of the main reasons his team lost to the New England Patriots. Unfortunately, Skura’s bad game brought out the ugly side of the Ravens’ fan base.

Skura apologized for his mistakes in an Instagram post on Monday and said he wants to “take ownership” for Baltimore’s 23-17 loss. He thanked fans who sent him words of encouragement but revealed that some sent “hateful and threatening messages” to him and his family.

One of Skura’s bad snaps came on 4th-and-1 in the third quarter with the Ravens in the Wildcat formation. Mark Ingram was unable to corral the ball, which resulted in a turnover on downs. Another bad snap came with Baltimore trailing by six and seven minutes remaining in the game. That snap led to a 12-yard loss and killed the drive.

The mistakes were critical, but no one deserves to have threatening messages sent to their family over a sporting event. Unfortunately, this is hardly the first time we have seen that happen.

Ravens leave Dez Bryant on practice squad for Week 10

Dez Bryant

Anyone who envisioned a big role for Dez Bryant with the Baltimore Ravens is quickly being proven wrong.

The Ravens announced Saturday that safety Geno Stone would be the only player elevated from the practice squad for Sunday’s game against New England. That means Bryant, who played just two snaps last week, won’t be on the active roster at all.

Bryant’s role is coming into focus, and it isn’t much of one. The wide receiver wasn’t even targeted in his Week 9 debut, though it didn’t seem to dampen his enthusiasm for playing again. Maybe the Ravens want Bryant up to speed more before involving him more in the offense, but that seems increasingly unlikely.

The 32-year-old receiver had gone three years between games before his debut last week. In 2017, his last full season, he racked up 838 receiving yards and six touchdowns.

Lamar Jackson says opponents have called out Ravens’ offensive plays

Lamar Jackson

The Baltimore Ravens have struggled offensively in 2020, and Lamar Jackson may have offered a clue as to why on Wednesday.

In an interview on “The Rich Eisen Show,” Jackson admitted that he had heard opponents call out specifics of the Ravens’ offense prior to the snap, raising questions about the team’s scheme.

“It’s a lot with schemes,” Jackson said when asked about the team’s offensive issues. “We’re going to get defenses calling out our plays, stuff like that. They know what we’re doing, so a lot of that.

“Run, stuff like that, or watch out for this, watch out for that. Sometimes that’s what’s going on.”

That’s a bad look for a Baltimore offense that was so exciting last year. They have failed to reach the same heights in 2020, ranking just 23rd in the league in total yards per game. It shows that the Ravens need to disguise their signals better, and perhaps are too predictable offensively.

This is reminiscent of a problem that another team has had in recent seasons as well.

Ravens benefit from controversial call on Marcus Peters interception

Marcus Peters INT

The Baltimore Ravens appeared to catch a huge break during the second half of their game against the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday.

Ravens cornerback Marcus Peters made a great play on the ball to break up a deep pass from Philip Rivers. It appeared Peters had a shot at the interception, but Colts wide receiver Marcus Johnson turned into a defender and broke up the pass — or so we thought. Here’s the play in real time:

Officials ruled that the pass was incomplete, as it appeared Peters did not control the ball for long enough. Ravens coach John Harbaugh challenged the play, and the call was overturned. Peters was somehow awarded an interception.

The NFL quickly posted a video in which senior vice president of officiating explained that the call was overturned because there was “clear and obvious visual evidence” that Peters secured the interception. Riveron cited the multiple steps Peters took. Here’s a better look at the play:

Peters may have taken several steps with the ball in his hands, but it looked fairly obvious that he did not complete the process of the catch. At most, it was a 50-50 call. Officials almost always go with the call on the field in a situation like that, but for whatever reason they felt there was sufficient evidence to change the ruling.

Baltimore went on to score a touchdown and take a 14-10 lead on the ensuing drive.

That wasn’t the first controversial catch we have seen this week (see this video), but you can understand why the Colts were unhappy with the call.