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Ravens backup QB Taylor ready for action


Ravens backup QB Taylor ready for action

NEW ORLEANS (AP) Tyrod Taylor is the forgotten quarterback at the Super Bowl.

Everyone knows the starters, of course, Baltimore's Joe Flacco and San Francisco's Colin Kaepernick.

They even know about Alex Smith, who started for the 49ers until he was sidelined with a concussion in November and Kaepernick stepped in.

And Taylor? His resume can be summed up on the top half of an index card: Two years, no starts and 30 passes - 25 of them in the Ravens' meaningless regular-season finale against Cincinnati last month.

That's because Flacco has started every game during the past five seasons and never has missed a down because of injury or ineffectiveness.

Still, Taylor knows he's only one play away from getting into the Super Bowl, and for that reason he's practicing hard this week as Sunday's championship game draws near.

``There are so many situations throughout the league where the next guy is called in, so you can't look at how many straight games Joe has played without being injured,'' Taylor said. ``You never know what can happen at any second of the game. I have to be ready to take over if that happens.''

The 49ers are preparing for that situation, too. While Flacco is a traditional pocket passer, Taylor is just as likely to scoot downfield as throw the ball. He ran for 65 yards in that game against the Bengals, and at Virginia Tech he set a school record for rushing yards by a quarterback (2,196).

``Actually, we're working on (stopping) the pistol and option in case he gets in and in case they have him in certain packages,'' San Francisco defensive tackle Justin Smith said. ``We worked on what we do and how to stop him. I think we'll be prepared for him if he gets in.''

Taylor smiled when told that San Francisco was taking his skill set into account.

``It definitely adds a little extra to the game,'' he said. ``For them to be prepared shows me it's definitely something they have in the back of their minds. I played against (San Francisco) coach (Jim) Harbaugh my last game at Virginia Tech, so he knows what I'm capable of doing. My job this week is to prepare the defense and also to prepare myself so if I have to go into the game, I'm ready.''

That, essentially, is the job description of a backup quarterback - whether he was once a starter or has never been anything but a second-stringer.

``I don't know which situation is better or worse,'' Alex Smith said. ``We're just at different points in a career. What's this, his second year? He's been on a good team, obviously. He's there for a reason. Your job as a backup is to be ready to go. That's no different for him or I. That's our job.''

It is a role Taylor takes seriously. He isn't in the Big Easy this week to take a stroll on Bourbon Street or munch on beignets.

``You have to be ready to play,'' Taylor said. ``That's how you have to carry yourself throughout the week as far preparation. You have to be physically prepared and mentally prepared because you never know when the opportunity may come.''

For now, Taylor is fine with his role. The former sixth-round draft pick is playing on a winner, earning a decent paycheck and is appreciated by his teammates.

``He's a great quarterback, man,'' Ravens receiver Torrey Smith said. ``I think a lot of people underestimated him coming out of the draft. You think, how did he even fall this far? Obviously, it's tough for him because of Joe, but Tyrod can play. We're both from Virginia, and I've known him since high school. I'm happy he's on our team, because he can definitely do some damage. But he understands how it works. It's a business, and you have to wait your turn.''

The 24-year-old Taylor is willing to be patient.

``Of course I want to start, but my job is to continue to stay prepared,'' he said. ``When the opportunity does come or whatever playing time I get, I have to continue to showcase my talent because other eyes are looking. But right now, it's all about whatever it takes to win this game right here, this Super Bowl. So that's my job this week.''

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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.