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Five things to watch: Ravens-Falcons


Five things to watch: Ravens-Falcons

Pre-season games dont mean squat in terms of wins and losses, but they give coaches a good look at who can do what in at the professional level. So, theres many things weve been talking about on this site with offense and defense and special teams and what could be seen in this game.
So, with major apologies to Peter King, heres five things I Know I Know when it comes to what Im interested in seeing in this game.
--Who does what in the kicking game? Looks like theres some kind of battle here between veteran Billy Cundiff and rookie Justin Tucker. The kid is holding his ground although Cundiffs still likely got the inside track at this point. But Tucker is certainly opening some eyes.
--Who does what on the offensive line? The Ravens moved a lot of people around after Bryant McKinnies late start in camp. How can Michael Oher do at left tacke with Bobbie Williams next to him at guard. Could be a powerful combination. And on the right side, how does rookie Kelechi Osemele do at tackle.?
--Who contributes on the pass rush? Someone needs to, and it will be interesting to see just how much of a look we get since a lot of banged-up guys will either be sitting or not playing much, if at all.
--Who plays on defense and where? Its going to be interesting to see whos actually in the game. Will some of the veteran leaders like Ray Lewis and Ed Reed get in much?
--How do the special teams play? The Ravens added some major parts to improve both their return and coverage units. That was a major problem at times last year. How will they fare against a good Atlanta team in a road game?

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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?