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Bengals fast start puts Ravens in deep AFC North hole


Bengals fast start puts Ravens in deep AFC North hole

The Bengals’ fast start is making the Ravens’ slow start seem even more costly. 

One of the Ravens’ primary goals heading into the season was to win the AFC North. But at 4-0 after Sunday’s victory over the Chiefs, the Bengals are clearly the team to beat in the AFC North, and they have already beaten the Ravens (1-3) at M&T Bank Stadium.

Even if the Ravens start stringing wins together, the Bengals will be tough to catch. Their failure to win playoff games during the tenure of coach Marvin Lewis and quarterback Andy Dalton is well-documented. But their consistency during the first month of the season has been impressive. Dalton has been one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL this season with nine touchdown passes, one interception, and a 123.0 quarterback rating. Wide receiver A. J. Green had a sensational performance against the Ravens (10 catches, 227 yards, two touchdowns), as Dalton’s main weapon.

Meanwhile, the Ravens are scrambling to find healthy wide receivers, losing Michael Campanaro (back injury) for the season last week, and losing Steve Smith (small back fractures) for at least Week 5, if not longer. As for rookie wide receiver Breshad Perriman (knee), his Ravens debut remains very uncertain after having an arthroscopic procedure last week. The Ravens hope newly-acquired wide receiver Chris Givens can provide the deep threat void left by Perriman’s absence.

Nobody in the AFC South or NFC East is better than 2-2, and those divisions are clearly up for grabs. But the talented and healthy Bengals are setting a torrid pace in the AFC North, making the hole the Ravens have dug even deeper.

RELATED: Ravens secondary hopes to build on Pittsburgh performance

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Ravens' Eric DCosta not ruling out taking a quarterback at No. 16

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Ravens' Eric DCosta not ruling out taking a quarterback at No. 16

And with the No. 16 overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, the Baltimore Ravens select.... a quarterback?

Assistant general manager, and soon to be general manager, Eric DeCosta isn't ruling out the possibility that the Ravens use their first-round pick on drafting a quarterback to eventually replace Joe Flacco. 

"I feel like if there is a guy there that we think is really too good to pass up, we're going to take him," DeCosta told the team's website on the chance of draft a quarterback in the first-round. 

Quarterback is just one of many offensive needs for the team. Joe Flacco's stats have been trending downward as the 33-year old is entering his 11th season.


Owner Steve Bisciotti though may disagree with DeCosta.

At his annual State of the Ravens press conference, Bisciotti said, "That’s not really something that we’re worried about right now. We’ve got bigger fish to fry, I guess. I don’t consider that a big worry," in regards to looking at life after Joe. Bisciotti also noted the team would be looking at all options in free agency and the draft for weapons for their QB.

From the sound of that, it appears the team's first choice would be a wideout, but the Ravens haven't drafted a quarterback since Joe Flacco back in 2008. 

The 2018 NFL Draft class has a handful of strong quarterbacks to choose from and not a ton of first-round wide receivers. 

Former Ravens scout, Daniel Jeremiah of NFL.com has predicted the team with take Oklahoma's Baker Mayfield in the first-round. 

"It basically depends on our evaluation and how we feel about the guy, what we think he can become as a player and what we think his upside is and if he's there," DeCosta said

Backup Ryan Mallet is a free agent so the organization will have to find someone to fill the role, whether it's someone on a one year-deal, or the future QB of the franchise. 


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Ravens sign Michael Crabtree to three-year deal

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Ravens sign Michael Crabtree to three-year deal

The Baltimore Ravens have signed wide receiver Michael Crabtree to a three-year deal on Friday according to general manager and executive vice president Ozzie Newsome.

The deal is apparently worth $21 million, according to Adam Schefter.

After being released by the Raiders on Thursday following the signing of Jordy Nelson, Crabtree heads to the Ravens less than 24 hours later.


The 31-year-old is coming off a 2017 season when he recorded 58 receptions for 618 yards and eight touchdowns. In 2016 he posted 89 receptions for 1,003 yards and eight touchdowns.

Since 2015, the Texas Tech product has scored 25 receiving touchdowns, the fifth-most in the NFL. Crabtree and Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown are the only NFL players to post at least eight touchdown catches in each of the past three seasons.


In all, Crabtree has played nine NFL seasons – six of them with San Francisco (2009-14) and three with Oakland (2015-17). The former first-round draft pick (10th overall, Texas Tech) has registered 579 receptions for 6,870 yards (11.9 avg.) and 51 touchdowns in 125 career games (122 starts).

“Michael has played very well against the Ravens, so we know firsthand the attributes he brings to the game,” Newsome said in a team statement. “He is a smart, tough, physical receiver who battles for the ball. We like his temperament and believe he is a good fit for our football team, on and off the field.”

Since he entered the NFL in 2009, Crabtree’s 51 receiving scores rank 10th among active wide receivers, while his receptions (579) are seventh, and his receiving yards (6,870) are 12th.