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Pollard: Defense improved when coaches lightened up


Pollard: Defense improved when coaches lightened up

The Ravens went undefeated in November and allowed the fewest points in the NFL during that span.

Despite being ranked 24th overall, the defense appears rejuvenated despite myriad injuries to the front line (Pernell McPhee, Haloti Ngata, Terrence Cody, Ma’ake Kemoeatu), secondary (Lardarius Webb, Jimmy Smith, Chris Johnson) and linebackers (Ray Lewis, Courtney Upshaw, Dannell Ellerbe).

Safety Bernard Pollard made a telling remark Wednesday that the turning point came when coach John Harbaugh backed off on heavy mid-week practices after the bye week. The Ravens were pounded 43-13 at the Houston Texans going into the bye. They haven’t lost since.

"We got some guys back. We’re feeling a lot healthier. The coaches are doing a great job as far as getting us rest. That’s what this game is about," Pollard said. "We play a very tough, physical football game. We beat each other up on Sundays and we cannot take time beating each other up during the week to go out there and expect to play 100% on Sunday."

While careful to not blame the previous poor defensive play on the practice schedule, Pollard credited Harbaugh with making the adjustment and listening to players’ concerns to keep them fresh.

"A lot of teams pull off the pads. I think Coach Harbaugh, he’s done a great job as far as tapering down practice and doing some things with us to get us out of here. That’s what we need. This thing is about rest. …  We have to get off our feet. We’re spending a lot of a time at the facility, a lot of time running around during the week and to go out there and expect guys to be 100% on Sunday is just not going to happen."

Pollard was flagged for a helmet-to-helmet hit in Sunday’s 16-13 win at the San Diego Chargers. Replays showed that Pollard did not strike the receiver with his helmet and a fine appears unlikely.

"I haven’t heard from the NFL. I don’t know what they’re doing," he said. "I haven’t been fined yet. It was a clean hit."

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Ravens' Eric DCosta not ruling out taking a quarterback at No. 16

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Ravens' Eric DCosta not ruling out taking a quarterback at No. 16

And with the No. 16 overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, the Baltimore Ravens select.... a quarterback?

Assistant general manager, and soon to be general manager, Eric DeCosta isn't ruling out the possibility that the Ravens use their first-round pick on drafting a quarterback to eventually replace Joe Flacco. 

"I feel like if there is a guy there that we think is really too good to pass up, we're going to take him," DeCosta told the team's website on the chance of draft a quarterback in the first-round. 

Quarterback is just one of many offensive needs for the team. Joe Flacco's stats have been trending downward as the 33-year old is entering his 11th season.


Owner Steve Bisciotti though may disagree with DeCosta.

At his annual State of the Ravens press conference, Bisciotti said, "That’s not really something that we’re worried about right now. We’ve got bigger fish to fry, I guess. I don’t consider that a big worry," in regards to looking at life after Joe. Bisciotti also noted the team would be looking at all options in free agency and the draft for weapons for their QB.

From the sound of that, it appears the team's first choice would be a wideout, but the Ravens haven't drafted a quarterback since Joe Flacco back in 2008. 

The 2018 NFL Draft class has a handful of strong quarterbacks to choose from and not a ton of first-round wide receivers. 

Former Ravens scout, Daniel Jeremiah of NFL.com has predicted the team with take Oklahoma's Baker Mayfield in the first-round. 

"It basically depends on our evaluation and how we feel about the guy, what we think he can become as a player and what we think his upside is and if he's there," DeCosta said

Backup Ryan Mallet is a free agent so the organization will have to find someone to fill the role, whether it's someone on a one year-deal, or the future QB of the franchise. 


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Ravens sign Michael Crabtree to three-year deal

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Ravens sign Michael Crabtree to three-year deal

The Baltimore Ravens have signed wide receiver 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 Schefter.

After being released by the Raiders on 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 wide receiver 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.