AFC North: Baltimore Ravens

OWINGS MILLS, Md. -- Baltimore Ravens cornerback Asa Jackson practiced for the first time since injuring his toe in October, and coach John Harbaugh is hopeful that Jackson will be ready to play in the team's Dec. 7 game at Miami.

Jackson
Jackson had started four games before he severely sprained his toe in a loss at Indianapolis in Week 5. He was put on the short-term injured reserve list, and this week was the first time he was eligible to return to practice.

With Jackson practicing Friday, it starts a 21-day window when the Ravens must decide to activate him to the 53-man roster or shut him down for the season. Harbaugh said it was an encouraging sign.

"It's good to see him out there," Harbaugh said. "It's good to know he's now basically been activated to prepare."

Getting back Jackson would be a boost for a Ravens secondary that lost its best cornerback, Jimmy Smith, for the season. But Jackson is considered the Ravens' third-worst player on defense this season, according to Pro Football Focus. In five games, he allowed 22 catches and missed five tackles.

"I'm not sure how he looked [Friday]. We didn't have him in to many of the main drills today," Harbaugh said. "So I'll have to watch the tape and talk to the some of the guys that worked with him in more of the individual drills."
OWINGS MILLS, Md. -- Baltimore Ravens coach John Harbaugh didn't criticize the NFL's discipline of Chase Coffman after the Tennessee Titans' tight end was fined $30,000 for leveling a Ravens assistant coach.

Harbaugh
"It's really difficult to have a response to the level of punishment," Harbaugh said Monday. "I know the league, they have protocols and they have standards and histories and things like that they look really hard at. We don't really ever question that part of it. That's in their purview."

This doesn't come as a surprise. It does Harbaugh no good to take a shot at the NFL at this point. The league isn't going to change its punishment based on Harbaugh creating headlines. In fact, he could be subject to a fine from the NFL if he criticized the league. So, it was probably a smart financial move for Harbaugh to take the same "let's move forward" stance from last year, when Pittsburgh Steelers coach Mike Tomlin interfered with Jacoby Jones on a kickoff return.

But Harbaugh has to be seething about what transpired. One of his assistants was blindsided by a 6-foot-6, 250-pound player. Remember it was four years ago when Harbaugh was fined $15,000 for making contact with a line judge in the chest while demonstrating a hit on a quarterback. And Coffman received just $15,000 more for knocking a defenseless coach to the ground. There's just not a level playing field in the league's fines system.

"I was told that it wasn't intentional, so I'll take them at their word on that and we'll move forward," Harbaugh said.
Baltimore Ravens offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak was asked how he felt a little over a year removed from suffering a mini-stroke.

Kubiak
"I think I’m all right. Do I look all right?," Kubiak responded. "This league will give you some health issues."

It was last Nov. 3 when Kubiak collapsed on the field as the head coach of the Houston Texans. He missed one game and returned to work eight days later on a modified schedule.

Now, more than halfway into his season as the Baltimore Ravens' offensive coordinator, Kubiak looks like he's had some long days but he said he feels fine.

"It’s Week 10 in the NFL. I think everybody is a little tired right now," Kubiak said. "We have the bye week this week, so I know I’m looking forward to it just like everybody else, getting a little rest and getting fresh for these last six weeks. But I’ve really enjoyed myself."

Even though the Ravens haven't been as productive lately in moving the ball, the offense ranks No. 11 in total yards and No. 8 in scoring (26.1). This is a major upgrade from last season, when the Ravens were No. 29 in yards and No. 25 in points scored.

"I’ve been very challenged, trying to put in a new offense and do it really quickly," Kubiak said. "I told the players [on Monday], I know I’m asking a lot of them and a lot of the coaches for the first time around, but I’m in a hurry to get there, and I know they are, too. But I’ve enjoyed myself. I’m really looking forward to this run we have coming. [We have] some big games to play in and we need to play well.”
The surprising season continued for Baltimore Ravens running back Justin Forsett, who was named AFC offensive player of the week on Wednesday.

Forsett
Forsett gained 112 yards rushing -- the most in the AFC in Week 10 -- and scored two touchdowns in the Ravens' 21-7 victory over the Tennessee Titans. He tied the game with a 9-yard run in the second quarter and put the Ravens ahead with an 11-yard burst in the third quarter.

The journeyman running back also set a career-high for rushing yards in a season with 721 yards, which ranks No. 4 in the NFL.

"When you watch him on tape, he has always been a playmaker, and now he’s getting an opportunity to prove that," coach John Harbaugh said. "He’s doing a great job with it.”

Forsett is the third Ravens player to win a weekly player of the week award, joining kicker Justin Tucker (Week 3 against Cleveland) and quarterback Joe Flacco (Week 6 against Tampa Bay). He is the first Ravens running back to earn this honor since the end of the 2012 season, when Ray Rice won the award.
The first successful replay challenge this season by Baltimore Ravens coach John Harbaugh came at a critical time in Sunday's 21-7 win against the Tennessee Titans.

John Harbaugh
With the game tied at 7 in the second quarter, Harbaugh threw the red flag when the officials ruled that Titans tight end Delanie Walker had made a catch before rookie safety Terrence Brooks' hard hit.

If Harbaugh hadn't challenged, the Titans would've had a first down at their own 33-yard line (following the personal foul on Leon Washington). Instead, the Titans had to punt the ball.

Harbaugh credited Matt Weiss, the defensive quality control coach and linebackers assistant who is also his right-hand man in terms of studying the rules and challenges.

"I thought he did a great job of seeing that [play]," Harbaugh said. "He saw the bobble first on the first step, which gave us a chance to understand that it wasn’t a completed catch. Once we saw that, it was clear cut that it was going to be overturned. You never know, obviously, but we felt like that was pretty certainly going to be overturned."

Harbaugh had been unsuccessful on his first four challenges of the season, including the spot on Ben Roethlisberger's third-and-one quarterback sneak in Pittsburgh the previous week.

This had been Harbaugh's roughest season with replay challenges. In his first six seasons as the Ravens coach, he had challenged an NFL-best 28 plays reversed on a league-high 57 challenges. Last season, seven of his NFL-high 12 challenges were overturned in the Ravens' favor. That 58 percent success rate ranked 14th in the NFL.
There are plenty of instances in the first 10 weeks of the season that still bother the Baltimore Ravens.

The Ravens were swept by the Cincinnati Bengals. They were routed by the Pittsburgh Steelers on national television. They failed to show up offensively in Indianapolis, down to the final dropped pass by Torrey Smith.

"We realize that we would like to be a lot better, but we’re just going to take it," linebacker Terrell Suggs said as the Ravens begin their bye week. "After 10 games, we’ve won six of them. We’ve lost four games to four teams with winning records. There’s a lot to be said about that."

Suggs is exactly right. There is something to be said about a team taking care of business. That's the reason why the Ravens (6-4) are in the thick of the AFC North race.

The Ravens are a half game out of first place in the division because they've beaten the lesser teams and the other teams have not.
  • The Cleveland Browns (6-3) lost to the last-place Jacksonville Jaguars by 18 points. It's the only win for the Jaguars this season.
  • The Bengals (5-3-1) tied the Carolina Panthers at home on Oct. 12. That's the last time the Panthers (3-6-1) didn't lose.
  • The Steelers (6-4) lost at home to Tampa Bay and at the New York Jets. The Buccaneers and Jets are a combined 1-16 against the rest of the league.

The combined record of the teams who have beaten the Ravens is 22-13-2 (.621). That's been an enduring trend under coach John Harbaugh -- beat the teams you're supposed to beat. Since Harbaugh took over as Ravens coach in 2008, the Ravens are 34-8 (.809) against teams with losing records, including Sunday's 21-7 win over the Tennessee Titans. The only coach with a better mark since 2008 is the Patriots' Bill Belichick, who is 37-7 (.840).

Of the Ravens' six remaining games, half are currently against teams with losing records: New Orleans Saints (4-5), Jaguars (1-9) and Houston Texans (4-5). The Ravens know they are going to need every win possible in the only division in football where every team has a winning record.

"I feel the same way I felt about it when the season opened -- it's the best division in football," Harbaugh said. "It's going to be a dogfight right to the end. We just need to do our part. We understand how good the other three teams are in our division and how well they're going to play down the stretch. That should just serve further notice to us in terms of how well we need to play."
Observed and heard in the locker room after the Baltimore Ravens' 21-7 victory over the Tennessee Titans:

Brooks
Brooks stands by his hit: The biggest collision of the game occurred late in the second quarter when rookie safety Terrence Brooks delivered a violent hit on Delanie Walker on third down, causing the Titans tight end to drop the ball. Walker was knocked out of the game with a concussion, and some Titans players took exception to the hit. Brooks believes it was a legal blow, saying he made sure he hit with his shoulder in the strike zone. "I just knew I broke on the ball and delivered a good hit," he said. "I definitely tried not to hit him in the head. I'm sure they'll review it. But for the most part, I'm just glad that I made the play and I was able to make the play on third down."

Unexpected result on fourth down: The Ravens tied the game at 7 in the second quarter with Justin Forsett's 9-yard touchdown run on fourth-and-1. While coach John Harbaugh always expects to convert when he goes for it on fourth down, the result was a bonus. "You don't expect it go for a touchdown," said Harbaugh, who hadn't converted a fourth down in the red zone this year. "With our history, I was happy to see that it was going to get a first down, and it was close because their end played it really well. To me, it was Justin Forsett making a play. Justin Forsett made a really good play to get around the edge there, and it was huge for us."

Surprise starter: Anthony Levine, a reserve safety, didn't get the news that he was going to start at cornerback until Sunday. "I've been waiting for this for a long time," Levine said. "To call myself a starting something in the NFL -- whether it was a safety or corner -- I was happy to say that I was starting." Levine replaced Jimmy Smith, who is out for the season with a foot injury. Harbaugh said it's time to call Levine a corner because he deserves it.
Baltimore Ravens guard Marshal Yanda and center Jeremy Zuttah are both listed as probable for Sunday after missing practice earlier this week.

Both had full participation Friday after being sidelined Wednesday. Yanda is dealing with a knee injury and Zuttah has an ankle injury.

Slot receiver Michael Campanaro is out for a second straight game. He didn't practice all week because of a hamstring injury.

Reserve offensive lineman Jah Reid is out with a hand injury.
OWINGS MILLS, Md. -- One of the Baltimore Ravens' worst fears came to light Thursday when it was announced that cornerback Jimmy Smith underwent season-ending foot surgery.

Other than quarterback Joe Flacco, the player the Ravens could least afford to lose this season was Smith. The Ravens' secondary went from being depleted to downright depressing.

There is no player on the Ravens who can match Smith's size, speed and playmaking ability. That's why the loss of Smith represents the undoing of the Ravens' championship aspirations.

Two weeks ago, the Ravens were tied for the second-best record in the AFC. Now they are reeling after two road losses to division rivals and the loss of one of their best defensive players.

[+] EnlargeJimmy Smith
AP Photo/Darron CummingsThe loss of Jimmy Smith to a season-ending foot injury will be tough to overcome for the Ravens.
This is reminiscent of the 2001 season, when the Ravens' hopes of repeating as Super Bowl champions were dashed with the season-ending injury to running back Jamal Lewis. The Ravens didn't have an answer at running back that season, and they don't have one at cornerback this year.

Given the Ravens' weak remaining schedule, the AFC North's last-place team can still reach the playoffs by winning their last four home games and stealing a game on the road. And, other than Drew Brees and Philip Rivers, the Ravens don't face another top-10 passer this season.

The Ravens are still solid enough in their front seven that they can beat the likes of Zach Mettenberger, Blake Bortles and Ryan Mallett. So making the postseason for the sixth time in seven seasons isn't out of the question for the Ravens (5-4).

But any thoughts of making a run in January ended with Smith's surgery. With a depleted secondary, nobody can realistically say the Ravens can upset Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, Andrew Luck or Ben Roethlisberger in the playoffs. Not with the Ravens' current cornerbacks. Not with Lardarius Webb, who is rated No. 101 out of 109 cornerbacks by Pro Football Focus. Not with Danny Gorrer, who is on his fourth team in four years. And not with Tramain Jacobs, an undrafted rookie who was just promoted from the practice squad.

The Ravens had given up the 27th-most passing yards this season before Smith went down with an injury. How many will they give up when quarterbacks don't have to worry about Smith breaking up a pass? In the Ravens' first full game without Smith, they allowed six touchdown passes to Roethlisberger. The Ravens are expected to get back cornerback Asa Jackson, who is on short-term injured reserve with a toe injury, sometime in December. Jackson, though, is a first-year starter as well. How the Ravens let their depth at cornerback get to this troubling state is a legitimate question.

The players and coaches can cling to the hope that they've already been able to overcome losses to key players. The Ravens won two games with two rookies starting on the left side of the offensive line when tackle Eugene Monroe and guard Kelechi Osemele went down with injuries. They were able to withstand the season-ending injury to tight end Dennis Pitta as well as the abrupt release of running back Ray Rice.

The loss of Smith is on another level. He was playing as well as any cornerback in the NFL. Smith was a game-changer on the Ravens' defense. And not having him on the field changes the Ravens' season completely.
OWINGS MILLS, Md. -- There's a good chance that Danny Gorrer will go from joining the Baltimore Ravens on Tuesday to lining up as a starting cornerback five days later. And it won't take much of a cram session.

Gordon
Gorrer
Gorrer not only played for the Ravens a couple of seasons ago, but he played in their system this season in Detroit, where former Ravens secondary coach Teryl Austin is the defensive coordinator. Coach John Harbaugh believes there will be a lot of recall for Gorrer.

"A few things are called differently, but he knows the defense and we'll get him up to speed on the things that are different," Harbaugh said. "It's pretty unique that way and it's a good situation for us."

Gorrer will likely become the sixth starting cornerback this season for a Ravens team heading into its 10th game. It's been a revolving door at cornerback because of injury and ineffectiveness.

The Ravens released Dominique Franks, who made his first start for the Ravens last Sunday, and Chykie Brown on Tuesday before claiming Gorrer off waivers. According to Gorrer, the Lions were hoping he wouldn't get claimed because they wanted to re-sign him next week.

But the Ravens saw him as part of their revamped secondary. With Jimmy Smith (foot) and Asa Jackson (toe) injured, Gorrer could start alongside Lardarius Webb. The only other healthy cornerback on the roster is Tramain Jacobs, an undrafted rookie who was just promoted from the practice squad.

It's a great opportunity for Gorrer, who has two career starts and played nickelback for the Lions.

"I definitely enjoyed my ride in Detroit and now I've got unfinished business here, really," Gorrer said. "That's my mindset -- unfinished business."

Gorrer survived the Ravens' final major cutdown in 2012, but he was cut a few days later when the team signed safety James Ihedigbo. The Ravens went on to win the Super Bowl that season, and Gorrer went on to play for three teams over the next three seasons.

Now he wants to help a secondary that is reeling after allowing six touchdown passes to Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.

"It takes one game to turn things around," Gorrer said. "Win this weekend [and] nobody will even talk about what's going on. That's my job and that's the team focus right now -- to get back on track to winning football and playing Baltimore football. That's everybody's main goal, and that's everything everybody has been talking about in meetings right now."
OWINGS MILLS, Md. -- Baltimore Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs said he's heard "a little something" from the NFL about his hit on Pittsburgh Steelers running back LeGarrette Blount.

Suggs
"But we're going to see," Suggs said Wednesday. "We're going to look into it."

He wouldn't elaborate any further on what the league communicated to him, but it wouldn't be surprising if he received a fine for his low shot. The NFL usually announces its disciplinary action each Friday.

Suggs was flagged 15 yards for unnecessary roughness and drew some critical comments from the Steelers. Linebacker James Harrison indicated it looked like Suggs was trying to hurt Blount, and Blount said Suggs is known for being "a dirty player."

"I don't expect different coming out of there. I think my reputation speaks for itself," Suggs said. "Everybody is entitled to their own opinion. I'm just continuing to play football and play physical football the way I know how to."
The Baltimore Ravens were without three starters at Wednesday's practice as they begin preparations for the Tennessee Titans.

Cornerback Jimmy Smith (foot), guard Marshal Yanda (knee) and center Jeremy Zuttah (undisclosed) were not suited up during the media viewing portion of practice. Zuttah was on the field, but he was observing off to the side.

Smith is the only one who is not expected to play Sunday. When he sprained his left foot on Oct. 26, coach John Harbaugh said Smith would miss a few weeks.

Yanda was on the injury report last week with a knee injury, but he still started last Sunday. Zuttah hasn't missed a game since 2011.

Slot receiver Michael Campanaro (hamstring) wasn't at practice after not playing Sunday. He is considered questionable for Sunday's game.

Roger Goodell still scheduled to testify in Ray Rice appeal

November, 4, 2014
Nov 4
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Both Ray Rice and Roger Goodell are scheduled to testify at the former Baltimore Ravens running back's appeal hearing, which begins Wednesday, and a source tells ESPN's Ed Werder that there has been no significant negotiations on a settlement that would allow the NFL commissioner to avoid testifying.

Rice contends the league's indefinite suspension constitutes a second punishment for a single violation of the personal conduct penalty and thus violates the CBA. He is seeking immediate reinstatement.

He has also filed a separate grievance against the Ravens, challenging their right to terminate his contract and will seek repayment for the games he has missed.

The hearing is scheduled to last for two days, ending Thursday.
PITTSBURGH -- The line between physical and dirty football gets blurred when the Pittsburgh Steelers and Baltimore Ravens lock up in what is the NFL’s most contentious rivalry.

It happened again on Sunday night when the AFC North rivals combined for four penalties that were for unnecessary roughness or roughing the passer and two more that were for a personal foul and a horse-collar tackle.

Suggs
Williams
Blount
The Ravens drew five of those penalties, all of which were called after the first quarter, and outside linebacker Terrell Suggs is among those who can expect a FedEx envelope containing a fine notification from the NFL.

Suggs made a dangerous tackle in the third quarter when he dived at the lower body of Steelers running back LeGarrette Blount at the end of a 6-yard run, causing Blount’s body to get bent back at an awkward angle.

Suggs was penalized for unnecessary roughness, and his hit touched off pushing and shoving in a game that had plenty of both.

Suggs said after the Ravens’ 43-23 loss that he was only trying to get the 6-foot, 250-pound Blount on the ground. Even if the NFL doesn’t agree with Steelers outside linebacker James Harrison that it looked like Suggs was trying to injure Blount on the play, it has little choice but to fine the 12-year veteran.

The NFL has gone to considerable lengths to protect players it deems defenseless. Blount was the definition of that when Suggs took aim at his lower body from behind with several Ravens tacklers already driving him back.

Suggs has long epitomized what makes the Ravens-Steelers rivalry such a special one. The six-time Pro Bowler seems to play his best against the Steelers, and his 16.5 career sacks of Ben Roethlisberger are the most any player has sacked the Steelers quarterback.

Few players have moved the needle in the rivalry more than the player known as “T Sizzle.”

Brash and opinionated, Suggs embraces the villain role when the Ravens visit the Steelers, and he loves it when Pittsburgh fans shower him with boos.

He cemented his status as a Ravens player whom Steelers love to hate on Sunday night, but he went about it the wrong way with his hit on Blount. Suggs could have hurt Blount and himself on the play.

He figures to pay for it after the NFL reviews what was not one of Suggs' finer moments in the ongoing Ravens-Steelers border feud.

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