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Ravens remaining schedule full of top RBs


Ravens remaining schedule full of top RBs

Five of the Ravens' remaining games are on the road, and the NFL's No. 27 team against the run has a host of solid running backs to contend with in the final stretch:

Nov. 4 at Cleveland Browns: The rematch likely will look different. Flacco threw 46 times for 356 yards against a secondary that was missing CB Joe Haden (suspension). Browns rookie QB Brandon Weeden threw 52 times for 320 yards passing. Both teams will be better off relying on their RBs a bit more. But the Ravens contained rookie Trent Richardson to 47 yards on 14 carries, and he's now slowed by a rib injury this week. If the Ravens can't get their run defense on track for this one, they're in serious trouble.

Nov. 11 vs. Oakland Raiders: The good news is RB Darren McFadden is only averaging 3.1 yards per carry going into Sunday's game vs. the Kansas City Chiefs. As a team, the Raiders are  31st in the NFL at 76.8 yards rushing per game. The bad news is the Dallas Cowboys were in the cellar averaging less than 68 going into their game with the Ravens in Week 6 but posted 227.

Nov. 18 at/Dec. 2 vs. Pittsburgh Steelers: May have found a spark in RB Jonathan Dwyer, who exploded for 122 yards last week. The backfield here has been decimated by injuries to Rashard Mendenhall and Isaac Redman, but the Steelers still are by far the best team at converting third downs in the NFL at better than 52%. They can keep drives alive with QB Ben Roethlisberger and wear out a Ravens defense that has had trouble getting off the field.

Nov. 25 at San Diego Chargers: With RB Ryan Matthews getting back into the mix, and QB Phillip Rivers' struggles, the ground may be the way to go. Matthews only has 58 carries coming into Sunday vs. the Cleveland Browns. He injured his collarbone during the preseason and wasn't active to start, but he's now averaging 4.5 yards per carry and his workload is expected to increase.

Dec. 9 at Washington Redskins: There's a dual threat here for the NFL's top rushing team. Aside from RB Alfred Morris, QB Robert Griffin runs the read-option which makes them double-tough to defend. Griffin has 6 TDs on the ground entering Sunday vs. Pittsburgh. Morris has 5. They've combined for more than 1,000 yards already.

Dec. 16 vs. Denver Broncos: They're only 23rd in rushing, but Willis McGahee is a dual-threat as a receiver out of the backfield as QB Peyton Manning uses short passes to diversify the attack. McGahee only had 51 yards rushing vs. the Patriots, but he had 51 yards receiving, too.

Dec. 23 vs. N.Y. Giants: Out of nowhere, Ahmad Bradshaw has emerged as a force running the ball, an identity the Giants had seemingly lost over the last few years. He's a speedy, diminutive RB for the league's 12th-best running team. Bradshaw ran for 116 yards at the San Francisco 49ers, who have the No. 1 defense. He posted 200 yards vs. the Browns.

Dec. 30 at Cincinnati Bengals: BenJarvus Green-Ellis first exposed the weaknesses in the Ravens' defense by going for 91 yards and averaging 5.1 per carry in the season opener vs. Baltimore with a sore toe. But the Bengals had to abandon the run because they fell so far behind. That was Green-Ellis' best game as he's failed to do better than 3.9 yards per rush in any game since then. Depending on the weather, this could be the game he breaks 100. And the Bengals should have other runners healthy, too.

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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?