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Emphasis is on better start in 2nd preseason game


Emphasis is on better start in 2nd preseason game

Going into the second preseason game Friday night vs. the Detroit Lions, the Ravens likely will be keyed up to make a big impression.

The same goes for the Lions as neither team's first unit appeared in sync in their openers last week.

In a come-from-behind 31-17 win at the Atlanta Falcons, the Ravens fell behind 17-7 at the half. The Lions' first-team offense failed to register a point in a 19-17 loss to the Cleveland Browns.

Both teams are determined to get off to a better start. After two fights broke out at the Ravens' training camp earlier this week, all signs point to a team that's eager to hit someone in another jersey:

Key matchup: The Lions already have established they can throw the with a 5,000-yard passing quarterback Matthew Stafford, but their backfield is in disarray. They won't have Jahvid Best, who might be forced to retire because of concussions. Their No. 1 back hasn't played since October and will miss at least the first six games of the regular season. The Ravens' vaunted defense instead will face the likes of the unproven Kevin Smith, Keiland Williams, Joique Bell and Stefan Logan.

Musical chairs: Where will Bryant McKinnie end up? The starting left tackle last season has been listed No. 1 at the position on the depth chart all week but practiced with the second team Wednesday. Harbaugh hinted that he's still experimenting with different lineups. Michael Oher, usually the right tackle, practiced with the first team there while rookie Kelechi Osemele occupied Oher's former spot.

In this corner: Jimmy Smith, who injured is back earlier in the month and has yet to play in the preseason, is expected to see his first action at cornerback. Just how good and deep is this secondary that already has Ed Reed, Lardarius Webb, Asa Jackson, Cary Williams and Christian Thompson? Lions receiver Calvin Johnson led the NFL with more than 1,600 yards last season. He'll certainly test it.

Who's No. 3?: Without Ed Dickson (right shoulder sprain) or Dennis Pitta (broken right hand), rookies Matt Balasavage and Bruce Figgins, Davon Drew and Billy Bajema have a chance to solidify a roster spot. Bajema, 30, is by far the most experienced.

Prediction: Ravens 28, Lions 10

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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?