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Ravens' O-line under scrutiny


Ravens' O-line under scrutiny

Heading into training camp, the Ravens biggest issues are pretty evident.

On defense, they have to find a way to pressure opposing quarterbacks without Terrell Suggs, who is out indefinitely with a torn Achilles.

Offensively, all eyes are on their offensive line, which is not getting any younger with center Matt Birk (36), guard Bobbie Williams (35) and tackle Bryant McKinnie (32) expected to populate the left side.

Throw in right-siders Marshall Yanda (27) and Michael Oher (26) and the units total age is 156, for an average of more than 31 years per person. Thats a violation of ESPNs John Claytons Theory of 150, which holds that anytime a lines total age surpasses 150 years, trouble is lurking.

With that in mind, the lines performance in 2011 bears a closer inspection. The people at Pro Football Focus looked at the films of every game, pulled out their abacus and ranked the Ravens line as the NFLs eighth best, which isnt bad.

There were times when the Ravens line looked a lot worse than this, but thanks to a strong interior, they stayed in the Top 10 for a third year running, Pro Football Focus wrote. The obvious problem spots occurred at tackle and whenever Andre Gurode got on the field. It really showed up in the playoffs against some motivated defensive lines.

According to the article, the teams best lineman last season was not the departed Ben Grubbs, but Marshal Yanda, who just so happens to be the best right guard in the NFL.

As for the worst player, according to the article, it would be Gurode, but given that he was depth thrust into the lineup because of injury (and he was playing an unfamiliar position), well cut him some slack and instead turn to Bryant McKinnie. For such a big guy you feel like he should do more when he gets his hands on defenders.

Gurode is gone after the Ravens elected not to re-sign him, and Grubbs, last years starting left tackle, also is gone, having signed with the New Orleans Saints as a free agent. Bobbie Williams is his replacement.

Its a veteran group that played fairly well at times in 2011 before struggling in the playoffs. How it holds up in 2012 could have a major impact on the arc of the Ravens season.

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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?