Quick Links

Ravens defense keeps bending


Ravens defense keeps bending

On one play, Jamaal Charles can turn the tide for the Kansas City Chiefs.

The running back went wide left vs. the New Orleans Saints, found a seam and ran 91 yards down the sideline for a touchdown en route to a 233-yard performance in a comeback victory. Both are NFL highs this season.

While the Ravens haven't given up any plays that big, it underscores the importance of improving on their defensive play and not allowing game-changers. The Chiefs trailed 24-6 late in the third quarter when Charles made that run and beat the Saints in overtime 27-24.

The Ravens are just 23rd in overall defense, allowing 390.3 total yards per game. The only teams that are worse don't have winning records.

In a 23-16 win vs. the Cleveland Browns, the Ravens held them to three field goals on their four scores though receiver Greg Little dropped a touchdown pass. They've got eight takeaways and are plus-4 overall which is tied for sixth in the league.

"You can move the ball down the field all you want to," linebacker Dannell Ellerbe said. "If you can't get in, that's all that matters. We don't want to play a bend-no-break defense but it's still early in the season. We still got a lot of improving to do."

Safety Bernard Pollard, however, isn't pleased. Defense has always been a staple of the Ravens, who have improved against the run but not vs. the pass.

Rookie quarterback Brandon Weeden threw for 320 yards in the Browns game. Michael Vick of the Philadelphia Eagles almost reached 400.

The Ravens allow 295.8 yards through the air. By comparison, even the winless Cleveland Browns (286) and New Orleans Saints (276.5) are better.

"This is something that we're not proud about. We play hard," Pollard said. "Teams are going to get their passing yards against you. It's a lot of plays that we wish we could take back.

"We got to stop the big gains. If they catch the ball for seven yards we got to tackle him now. We can't allow him to run for 28, 31 yards. That's what's killing us right now."

Quick Links

Ravens sign Crabtree to three-year deal

USA Today Sports Images

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.

Quick Links

Ryan Grant's health issue and why the Ravens couldn't control voiding his contract

USA TODAY Sports Images

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?