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Mallett shines as Ravens starter, impresses teammates


Mallett shines as Ravens starter, impresses teammates

BALTIMORE -- Quarterback Ryan Mallett hardly looked like a player whose career appeared derailed two months ago and who has been wearing a Ravens uniform for less than two weeks.

Named the team’s starting quarterback just 10 days after joining the Ravens, Mallett made quite the first impression. On his first drive as a Raven, Mallett marched his team 75 yards in 15 plays, capping it with an 8-yard touchdown pass to Chris Matthews. From then on, Mallett played efficient, error-free football and helped the undermanned Ravens to a stunning 20-17 win over the Steelers in the home finale at M&T Bank Stadium.

Mallett finished 28-for-41 for a career-high 274 yards and became the fourth different quarterback to start this year for the Ravens – something that had not happened in the Ravens’ 20-year history.

“We thought he could win the game for us,” coach John Harbaugh said in explaining the decision to start Mallett over Jimmy Clausen, who had started the previous two games, or Matt Schaub.

“To operate the way he did, change plays at the line the way he did, I think that says a lot about him, but it says a lot about our coaches, too,” Harbaugh said. “Just a great effort. This kid was in there 24/7. This kid was in the staff meetings at night.”

Mallett and the Ravens kept things fairly simple, but he did take some chances and aired out a beautiful 39-yard throw to Chris Givens that was right on the money. He was also very effective with third-down throws; overall, the Ravens were 9-for-18 on third down.

“He’s been relaxed all week,” receiver Kamar Aiken said. “He kind of came in here and acted like he’s been here since OTAs. He was very comfortable the whole day and the whole week, and he was the same way in the huddle today.”

“He definitely had total command of the offense today,” Aiken added.

No one has ever doubted the physical tools of the 6-foot-6, 245-pound Mallett, a former third-round pick of the Patriots who started four games for the Texans earlier this season. But maturity issues have clouded his career; Mallett, 27, had frequent problems with tardiness with the Texans and was released in October after missing a team flight.

The Ravens signed him Dec. 15 after a workout.

“I want to thank the Ravens organization for bringing me in and giving me a shot,” Mallett said. “Just being here, I don’t even know what to say right now. It’s an emotional time but it’s fun.”

Harbaugh said after the game that Mallett will start the season-finale next week at Cincinnati. That will give the Ravens a good two-week look at him as they project forward toward 2016. The Ravens figure to be in the market for a backup for Joe Flacco, who is likely to be sidelined at least into training camp by after having season-ending knee surgery.

“Having a chance is something I don’t take lightly,” Mallett said.

“Getting the start, it was awesome,” he said. “To get a win was even better, so now it’s on to Cincinnati and we’ve got to get ready for them.”

[RELATED: Ravens upset Steelers: Five things we learned]

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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?