When everythingis going right, long-snappers live in anonymity. Ask Ravens fans who the team'slong-snapper is, and many won't be able to tell you.That only provesthat Morgan Cox has done his job very well for the past two seasons.Cox's value as areliable, consistent long-snapper can be appreciated by anyone who saw whathappened to the Oakland Raiders on Monday night. The Raiders have a Pro Bowllong snapper in Jon Condo, but he sustained a concussion when he took a knee tothe head while covering a punt against San Diego. So Condo had to leave thegame.Teams don't carrytwo long-snappers, so with Condo out, linebacker Travis Goethel was thrust into the role of emergencylong-snapper. The results weredisastrous. Goethel sent not one, but two, grounders back toward punter ShaneLechler, and he didn't get the punt away either time. Another time, Goethel'ssnap was OK, but the protection broke down and the punt was blocked.You can bet everyspecial teams coach in the league took notice and is having a backuplong-snapper take extra reps this week."itcertainly gets your attention," Ravens special teams coach Jerry Rosburgsaid on Thursday. "Yesterday, we had a few more reps than we normallyprobably would have, because it brings it to mind. But you always have that inmind; you have to have a backup plan, so to speak. You hope it neverhappens."Rosburg wouldn'tsay who the Ravens backup long-snapper is, adding, "Hopefully, well neverfind out.The Ravens nearlyfaced the Raiders' predicament late in the 2010 season. Cox, then a rookie, sustained a tornanterior cruciate ligament in the second quarter against the Browns, but stayedin the game and snapped on seven more plays in that game on his torn ACL. That, Rosburgsaid, "is unheard of just a courageous effort." In fact, primarilyfor that effort Cox was named the Ravens 2011 winner of the Ed Block CourageAward.Cox, 26, signedwith the Ravens as a rookie free agent in 2010 after being the startinglong-snapper for three years at Tennessee. He played in every game but one overthe past two years; after tearing his ACL, Cox was placed on injured reserveand replaced for the final game of the 2010 season by Kevin Houser. Afterrehabbing his knee, Cox won the starting job again last season. If all goes accordingto plan this week, Cox (No. 46 in your program) will trot out for every fieldgoal, extra-point try and punt and deliver a tight spiral right on target toSam Koch, who serves as the Ravens' punter as well as the holder on kicks. Andhardly anyone will notice, which will suit Morgan Cox just fine. Such is thelife of a long-snapper.
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.
Ravens giving WR Michael Crabtree a three-year, $21 million deal, including $15 million in first two years and $11 million guaranteed ($7M signing bonus), per source. Deal could be worth up to $20 million in first two years.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 16, 2018
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.
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.
WR Ryan Grant, who reached agreement with Baltimore on a $29 million deal, failed his physical and his Ravens deal is null and void, per sources. Grant will have to find another deal with another team willing to pass him on his physical.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 15, 2018
Baltimore failed former Washington WR Ryan Grant on his physical over an ankle injury that dated back to the Redskins' final regular-season game, per source. Grant's time in Baltimore is over before it began. He remains a free agent.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 15, 2018
At a press conference Friday morning, GM Ozzie Newsome called the void a "medical decision" that Newsome had no control over.
Newsome: "I did not get the results of Ryan's physical until about 4 o clock yesterday." Said team consulted with many doctors around the country. "It's not a football decision. It's a medical decision that I had no control over."— Jeff Zrebiec (@jeffzrebiecsun) March 16, 2018
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.
Former Raiders' WR Michael Crabtree is scheduled to visit Friday with the Baltimore Ravens, per source.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 15, 2018
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?
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