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#pounditFriday, January 22, 2021

Articles tagged: Baltimore Ravens

Report: Ravens’ leading players want Earl Thomas gone

Earl Thomas

A practice spat on Friday could reportedly be the beginning of the end of Earl Thomas’ time with the Baltimore Ravens.

According to multiple reports, the veteran safety was sent home from Friday’s practice after an on-field confrontation with teammate Chuck Clark. Both Thomas and Clark had to be restrained, and according to Jonas Shaffer of the Baltimore Sun, Thomas balled his fists at one point.

Thomas did not practice on Saturday either. According to Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports, the team’s player leadership council has made clear that they would like to see Thomas gone.

This suggests that Thomas’ conduct may not be new. He also confronted a teammate after a game last year.

Thomas appeared in 15 games for Baltimore last season, with 49 total tackles, two sacks, and two interceptions. Headlines about his conduct aren’t what the Ravens will want this early in camp. That’s especially true when they’re pursuing a Super Bowl in 2020.

Dez Bryant will reportedly work out for Ravens

Dez Bryant

The Baltimore Ravens have been exploring options to potentially add a veteran wide receiver before the start of the season, and Dez Bryant is next up on their list.

Bryant will travel to Baltimore this week to work out with the Ravens, according to Tom Pelissero and Jane Slater of NFL Network.

Bryant has not appeared in an NFL game since 2017, but he has continued to remain in shape and campaign for another shot. He said earlier this offseason that he thinks he would be a perfect fit to return to the Dallas Cowboys. The 31-year-old also worked out with Dak Prescott and boasted about it.

Antonio Brown is another veteran receiver the Ravens have looked at, though he has been suspended for the first eight games of the season. Lamar Jackson has been open about wanting Baltimore to sign Brown, and the reigning NFL MVP would likely welcome the addition of Bryant as well.

Report: Ravens have interest in Jordan Reed, Delanie Walker

Jordan Reed

The Baltimore Ravens are still exploring ways to improve their passing game with a month to go until the start of the season, and they reportedly have interest in the two biggest names on the tight end market.

The Ravens are keeping tabs on both Delanie Walker and Jordan Reed, accoridng to ESPN’s Josina Anderson.

Reed was released by Washington earlier in the offseason. The 30-year-old caught 54 passes for 558 yards and two touchdowns in 2018. Reed did not play in 2019 after suffering a concussion in the preseason, and health is clearly the biggest concern with him.

Walker, 35, spent the last seven seasons with the Tennessee Titans. He played in just seven games last year before being placed on injured reserve due to a lingering ankle injury. Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports reports that Walker is 100 percent healthy and will be making a decision in the coming weeks.

Baltimore could make an even bigger splash on offense prior to Week 1, but either Reed or Walker would be a low-risk, high-upside signing at this point.

Report: Ravens have not seriously discussed signing Antonio Brown

Antonio Brown

The Antonio Brown rumor mill is heating up again, but it sounds like one team isn’t as interested as initially rumored.

According to NFL reporter Josina Anderson, the Baltimore Ravens have not had recent internal talks about signing Brown, and should not be counted as a serious suitor for his services.

The Ravens were one of two teams linked to Brown in a recent report, though another team was linked a bit more prominently. It sounds like there’s a reason for that: the Ravens aren’t really strongly pursuing the opportunity.

Brown’s offseason has been a rocky one, and he’s also still facing sexual misconduct allegations that the NFL is investigating. An offseason workout with some key Ravens players also led to speculation that he might play in Baltimore, but it doesn’t appear to be a realistic possibility at the moment.

Lamar Jackson says Ravens underestimated Titans before playoff loss

Lamar Jackson

Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson made a rather surprising admission this week: his team simply didn’t take the Tennessee Titans seriously enough prior to their playoff loss in January.

Jackson said on Complex’s “Load Management” podcast that the Ravens were caught looking past the Titans, and that it would be a lesson learned for 2020.

“That’s what happened in the playoffs, and we end up losing to the team people had us favored over,” Jackson said, via Nick Shook of NFL.com. “It’s any given Sunday. You can’t underestimate no team, no opponent and that’s what we did.

“So I’m looking forward to this 2020 season playing the Browns first. … Don’t underestimate your opponents. They caught us by surprise. That’s all it was.”

The Ravens were 14-2 and 7-1 at home before losing by two scores to a 9-7 Titans team. It was one of the more shocking playoff upsets in recent NFL memory, and Jackson makes it sound like it was entirely avoidable if his team had simply had a better mentality.

John Harbaugh has said he wants the Ravens to learn from that upset and use it to be better in 2020. Based on Jackson’s comments, it sounds like the players are doing just that.

Ray Lewis warns Ravens to get in weight room to handle Derrick Henry

Derrick Henry Earl Thomas

The Baltimore Ravens entered their playoff game against the Tennessee Titans last year as a huge favorite, but Derrick Henry clearly was not intimidated. The star running back’s dominant performance was the primary reason the Titans pulled off an upset, and Ray Lewis is urging his former team to keep that in mind heading into 2020.

Lewis said on “The Lounge Podcast” recently that he would be dedicating his offseason to stopping Henry if he were still a linebacker with the Ravens.

“If I’m anybody that’s playing linebacker right now, I’m saying, ‘Listen here man, Derrick Henry got to deal with me,’” Lewis said, as transcribed by Mark Inabinett of AL.com. “That’s a personal thing for me. I don’t like the way it went down, and I got to see him, so I’m going to dedicate this whole offseason to the person that ended my dreams.”

Henry gutted Baltimore’s defense in the divisional round last year, rushing for 195 yards on 30 carries in the Titans’ 28-12 win. The Ravens had Super Bowl aspirations after Lamar Jackson’s MVP season, but their inability to stop the run killed them. Lewis said his Ravens teams dedicated some of their offseasons to stopping Tom Brady and the New England Patriots. He was also motivated by wanting to stop former Titans running back Eddie George.

“I paid attention to Eddie George so much that I realized that my physical side of life and my mental side of life needed to change,” Lewis said. “I had to physically become stronger, I had to mentally become way smarter than I would have ever imagined to deal with an animal like that. That man’s 6-4, 245 pounds.

“I’m telling you, I lived it. I know what’s going on, so somebody’s going to have to get in that weight room because Derrick Henry’s coming downhill again.”

Toughness was certainly an issue for the Ravens in the loss to Tennessee. Their players seemed to have no interest in trying to tackle Henry at certain points, and the running back subtly trolled them over it after the game.

Lewis is right that the Ravens need to physically prepare for a possible rematch against Henry, but changes to their mindset wouldn’t hurt, either.

H/T AllTitans

John Harbaugh wants Ravens to learn from early playoff exit

John Harbaugh

The Baltimore Ravens went 14-2 last season, only to get trounced at home in their playoff opener. That bitter pill should serve them well in 2020, according to their coach.

John Harbaugh said Thursday that his players are “pissed” about how their season ended, and that they should learn from that experience.

“They are just pissed about it,” Harbaugh said, via Clifton Brown of the team’s official website. “They are not happy about it. I expect our guys to learn from that and understand what it takes to beat an opponent that is determined to beat you.”

Harbaugh warned, however, that the Ravens will have a similar target on their backs throughout 2020 and will need to be ready to embrace the heightened expectations.

“Going into our season last year, we were the iceberg,” Harbaugh said. “Ninety percent of what we were going to be capable of was still under water and people hadn’t seen it yet. Starting next year, we’re not going to be the iceberg. People are going to see us. We’re going to be everybody’s most important game.”

Harbaugh is right. The Ravens will be treated as Super Bowl contenders, and teams will be preparing for them that way. On the other hand, there’s a clear expectation that the team has even more room to grow despite their 14-win season last year. If that happens, Baltimore should meet expectations.

Ravens envision four-way running back committee in 2020

John Harbaugh

The Baltimore Ravens pushed the envelope in inventive ways in 2019. It sounds like they want to do it again in 2020.

The Ravens’ selection of running back J.K. Dobbins in the second round won praise, but also led some to wonder how the team planned to employ him alongside Mark Ingram, Gus Edwards, and Justice Hill. According to general manager Eric DeCosta, the idea is a four-way running back committee.

“I would equate it to us last year having the tight ends that we had – the three tight ends,” DeCosta said, via Ryan Mink of the team’s official website.

“[Offensive Coordinator] Greg [Roman] did an amazing job of taking those tight ends and really creating something special that made us very tough for defenses to play. And now we’ve got the four running backs and they all do different things well. It just makes us, I think, a really, really well-rounded team that’s tough to defend.”

From a fantasy value perspective, this won’t make people happy. In terms of inventive offense, though, it could be a lot of fun. Combine this with Lamar Jackson’s ability — and the team’s expectations on defense — and they could be a lot of fun to follow in 2020.

DJ Fluker agrees to deal with Ravens

DJ Fluker was released by the Seattle Seahawks not long after the conclusion of the NFL Draft, but the veteran offensive lineman did not spend much time looking for a new job.

Fluker has agreed to a deal with the Baltimore Ravens, Ian Rapoport of NFL Media reports.

Fluker, 29, was drafted by the San Diego Chargers with the 11th overall pick in 2013. He has since played for the New York Giants and Seahawks, starting 14 games for Seattle at right guard last season. Fluker likely became expendable to the Seahawks after they drafted former LSU offensive lineman Damien Lewis in the third round.

The Ravens should be a good fit for Fluker, as they have a need for a starting guard after eight-time Pro Bowler Marshal Yanda announced his retirement earlier this offseason.

Report: Ravens tried to trade for DeAndre Hopkins

DeAndre Hopkins

The Arizona Cardinals were not the only team in the DeAndre Hopkins sweepstakes.

According to Michael Silver of NFL Media, the Baltimore Ravens tried to trade for Hopkins before the Cardinals ultimately made a deal with the Houston Texans last month.

This is a fun what-if scenario. Hopkins probably would have been dynamite with Lamar Jackson, and the Baltimore offense would have become even better.

Ultimately, the Texans opted to take on David Johnson’s contract in a deal with Arizona. The Ravens will have to look elsewhere for receiving help. A draft pick seems likely, but there was also a lot of chatter about a certain star receiver who was spotted working out with some Ravens players.