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Brown: Season is young, but getting late for Ravens


Brown: Season is young, but getting late for Ravens

OWINGS MILLS – Yankees legend Yogi Berra, who passed away Tuesday, once said, “It gets late early out here.”

It has gotten late early for the Ravens (0-2). Too much of their young season has been about losing. Losing close games. Losing linebacker Terrell Suggs for the season. Quickly losing ground in the AFC North to the Bengals (2-0), who visit M&T Bank Stadium on Sunday.

The Ravens need to reboot their season, and it needs to start Sunday. Win this game, and the Ravens can travel to Pittsburgh next Thursday night and face the Steelers carrying a little swagger. But lose Sunday, and the Ravens will be 0-3 and desperate.

“We all understand the situation,” said Ravens coach John Harbaugh. “We’ve lost two games in a row before, we’ve lost three games in a row before, and we’ve overcome it. But we’ve never done it at the beginning of the season, so it feels a lot tougher. Until you win your first game, you always have in the back of your mind, ‘Can we win a game?’ Of course you can, but you have to win one.”

The Bengals are coming to town confident, playing well, and owning a three-game winning streak against the Ravens. Nothing about the Ravens, or their home crowd, intimidates the Bengals, who sense a chance to demoralize a division rival.

“It’s not often there an opportunity to go up - after three games to be up by three games on a team in your division,” said Bengals tight end Tyler Eifert during a conference call. “We’ve definitely noticed that, and we want to go in there and play well and get a win.”

It’s too early to panic about the Ravens, not when they haven’t played a home game. But if they lose Sunday, Ravens’ fans can panic. The last NFL team to make the playoffs after starting 0-3 was the 1998 Buffalo Bills. Joe Flacco was 13 years old.

Flacco is 30 years old now, and while he wouldn’t call Sunday a must win, the Ravens’ quarterback didn’t dance around the importance of the game.

“I know we don’t want to be in a situation where I’m sitting up here next week talking about the same stuff,” Flacco said.

Stuff like the Ravens’ offense being unable to score a touchdown in Week 1. Stuff like the Ravens’ defense giving up 37 points to the Raiders (the Raiders?) in Week 2.

Are the Ravens really contenders? Or was Suggs’ season-ending injury an indication that this just isn’t their year?

We’ll find out plenty on Sunday. As Berra would say, it has gotten late early for the Ravens.








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Ravens sign Crabtree to three-year deal

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Ravens sign Crabtree to three-year deal

The Baltimore Ravens have signed WR 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 Shefter.

After being released by the Raiders 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 WR 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.

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Ryan Grant's health issue and why the Ravens couldn't control voiding his contract

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Ryan Grant's health issue and why the Ravens couldn't control voiding his contract

The most obvious move in the NFL this offseason was the Ravens signing a new wide receiver (or three). It was less obvious why the team decided to commit so much money to former Redskins receiver Ryan Grant.

Grant has long been beloved by his coaches and teammates, but the results have never been there on game day. He has some potential to improve if given a larger role in a team's offense, which he likely would have had in Baltimore, but it never made much sense to offer him a 4-year contract worth nearly 30 million, with $14.5 million guaranteed.

Thankfully for fans who were uninspired by the reported agreement, Grant was unable to pass his physical and will not be joining the team.


At a press conference Friday morning, GM Ozzie Newsome called the void a "medical decision" that Newsome had no control over. 

NFL insider Ian Rapoport reported that Grant is recovering from a Grade 2 sprained ankle that would need two months rest.

You have to feel for Grant, who by all accounts has worked his tail off for many years just waiting for his chance. It's never easy missing out on nearly $15 million dollars guaranteed, but Grant should be able to find work with another team.

The timing of this news, coming so soon after former Raider Michael Crabtree became available, seemed fishy to some.

At Friday's press conference, Newsome also said the team would have still pursued Crabtree if they signed Grant. 

It's probably not fair to suggest that an NFL franchise would actually so publicly back out of a deal just because another option came along, as any team with that reputation would struggle to attract future free agents. That said, it could end up working out splendidly for the team.

Besides, if all else is equal, shouldn't a team located in Baltimore be going after a guy named CRABtree?