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Jimmy Smith gets another crack at it


Jimmy Smith gets another crack at it

All eyes again will be on cornerback Jimmy Smith, especially those of Cleveland Browns quarterback Brandon Weeden who reached 300 yards passing in the first meeting between the AFC North foes in Week 4.

Smith, who started his first game of the season two weeks ago to mixed reviews from Ravens coach John Harbaugh, gets another chance to prove himself Sunday.

The second-year player proved vulnerable to double-moves as he was beaten badly by Kevin Walter of the Houston Texans in a 30-point loss going into the Ravens' bye week.

That's something Smith has to remedy with Browns receiving corp that's emerging behind unheralded rookie Josh Morgan, who surely will test Smith's discipline.

“The biggest thing here is what affects you is usually your eyes. What happens is on the double move you take your eyes off of the receiver and take them back to the quarterback, and it’s at that point in time when the guy gives you the double move," Ravens defensive coordinator Dean Pees said as he explained a glaring weakness in Smith's coverage. "You have to spot the drive for on the up-field shoulder of the receiver. If you drive for that spot -- I used to tell guys that when I coached the secondary –-- the only way I’m looking back to the quarterback now is through the ear hole of the receiver. So, if I’m looking through his ear hole, I can see him, and I can see the quarterback. … It’s eye discipline.”

The Ravens need Smith to perform in place of Lardarius Webb, who went out with a season-ending knee ligament tear Oct. 14. Weeden threw for 320 yards with Webb in the lineup for the Browns' 23-16 loss in Baltimore.

"We're coming off a big loss. In order to put ourselves where we want to be, we have to win this game," Smith said.

He spent the Ravens' bye week looking in the mirror.

"In the bye week your focus is rest. I took that time to look at what I was doing personally. I wasn't too much focusing on anybody else," Smith said. "I studied my techniques and what the other teams might be seeing. Critiquing myself. I don't grade myself.

"I've been playing OK. I gave up some plays, but who hasn't?

When Smith played at Colorado he faced Weeden, who is in his rookie season, when the signal-caller was at Oklahoma State.

Even though Smith didn't start for the first meeting with the Browns, he played against Weeden then, too.

"He can get the ball downfield. I think he's a pretty good quarterback," Smith said.

If he gives up another big play, Smith won't sweat it too much. The other starting cornerback for the Ravens, Cary Williams, had a rough start to the season as he was targeted successfully by Tom Brady of the New England Patriots.

But Williams got his first interception of his career against Weeden, a 63-yard return for a touchdown, that proved to be the winning margin for Baltimore.

"That's just how it is. Certain positions in the league, corner, quarterback are two positions that can make or break games with one play," Smith said. "We have so much responsibility.

"If you're doing your job no one cares. But if you get beat one time everybody in the world thinks you're the worst. It's just part of the job."

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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?