Quick Links

Ravens' Jimmy Smith won't make excuses after tough two weeks


Ravens' Jimmy Smith won't make excuses after tough two weeks

OWINGS MILLS – Expect the Steelers to test Ravens cornerback Jimmy Smith on Thursday night.

After a stellar Week 1 in Denver, including a pick-six for a touchdown against Peyton Manning, Smith has been victimized the past two weeks. On Sunday, A. J. Green of the Bengals beat Smith for the game-winning touchdown. Against the Raiders in Week 2, Amari Cooper burned Smith badly for a 68-yard touchdown.

Those plays have raised concerns about Smith’s confidence, and his health. Smith had season-ending foot surgery last season, and it’s understandable to wonder if he can change direction and accelerate as quickly as he wants to.

Smith faced the media following Monday’s night practice, after apologizing for being too upset to speak following Sunday’s game. Smith refused to use his foot, or anything else, as a crutch.

“People come back from injuries, they play,” Smith said. “Until this season is over, I’ll never talk about my foot.”

Asked about his confidence, Smith said, “I don’t think my confidence is shaken, because obviously, I still go down and I try to play the game I want to play. Obviously, you don’t want to give up big plays, but my confidence comes in my preparation, and I prepare. I study harder than most people, I would say. So my confidence isn’t going to shake just because a play has been made on me.”

But on Thursday, Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown will be waiting. Brown led the NFL in receptions and receiving yards last season, and only Julio Jones of the Falcons has more receiving yards (440) than Brown (436) through Week 3.

Brown will remain dangerous with Michael Vick at quarterback for the Steelers in place of the injured Ben Roethlisberger. Vick has the arm strength to throw deep, and Brown does much of his damage on short passes that he turns into big plays with his running ability.

“Antonio Brown, he’s a very, very tough competitor,” Smith said. “They give him the ball all the time. You watch film and they wait until he gets open to throw him the ball. We’re going to have our hands full chasing that jackrabbit around.”

For Smith, Thursday night is a chance for redemption in prime time. Not making excuses is fine. But the Ravens need Smith to make more plays.

MORE RAVENS: Injury report: Ravens latest with Pittsburgh on Thursday

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?