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Ravens report card: Defense, special teams

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Ravens report card: Defense, special teams

We’ve already graded the offense after the Ravens wild ‘kick six’ win at Cleveland on Monday night. Now it’s time to hand out the report cards to the defense and special teams:

DEFENSIVE LINE: B

The Ravens limited the Browns to 63 yards on 18 carries, and the defensive line generally made life miserable for Browns quarterback Josh McCown. Timmy Jernigan was credited with three quarterback hits, including the one that flattened McCown and knocked him out of the game. Chris Canty had perhaps his best game of the season. He didn’t have any sacks, but he had a pair of quarterback hits and had kept the heat up throughout. Canty was a major reason the Browns struggled in the red zone.

LINEBACKER: C-

Elvis Dumervil had 1 ½ sacks, but no other linebackers applied much pressure. And the Ravens linebackers continue to have all sorts of trouble in coverage. Tight end Gary Barndige (7-91) had another big day, and the Browns had a lot of success throwing against Ravens linebackers in the middle of the field. C.J. Mosley had seven tackles but also had a potential interception bounce off his hands.

SECONDARY: C-

The Ravens had another bad breakdown in the secondary, allowing Travis Benjamin to get wide open for a game-tying, 42-yard touchdown when Will Hill bit hard on the tight end underneath. Overall, the Ravens were again very soft in the middle of the field. Lardarius Webb led the Ravens with seven tackles, and Shareece Wright had another good night as an outside corner. Since being torched in his Ravens debut, Wright has been perhaps the team's most improved player. The Ravens again failed to come up with an interception, in part because both Webb and Wright had balls bounce off their hands. Jimmy Smith had another quiet night.

SPECIAL TEAMS: A -

What can you say? This unit delivered two touchdowns, including the game-winning blocked field goal by Brent Urban that was returned for a score by Will Hill. The Ravens have now blocked a kick in five straight games. Kaelin Clay also showed why the Ravens were high on him with an 82-yard punt return touchdown. Sam Koch didn't have a great night punting (39.8 net), but he did limit the dangerous return ability of Benjamin. Justin Tucker made his only two field-goal tries, but one hugged the upright and the other was a low line drive. Penalties, though, continue to be a problem for this unit, which has been outstanding in almost all other facets.

RELATED: Ravens report card: Offense

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Dez Bryant turned down multi-year deal from Ravens, is banking on himself in 2018

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USA TODAY Sports

Dez Bryant turned down multi-year deal from Ravens, is banking on himself in 2018

If you want to sign Dez Bryant in 2018, it will have to be on a one-year deal.

The 29 year-old wide receiver turned down a multi-year offer from the Baltimore Ravens in hopes of finding a one-year deal that enables him to test the open market again in 2019, Ed Werder of The Doomsday Podcast first reported.

Bryant - who finished 2017 with 69 receptions, 838 yards and six touchdowns -  is predicating a bounce back season in 2018 with hopes of a big money, long-term contract in 2019.

The offer was similar to that of Michael Crabtree's three-year, $21 million deal, according to NFL Insider Ian Rapoport. The Ravens had to offer Bryant a multi-year deal in order to fit his number under the salary cap.

Since turning down their offer, the Ravens signed former Saints WR Willie Snead to a two-year, $10.4 million contract. 

Bryant will now have to wait until after the 2018 NFL Draft to work out a deal with an organization, if one is still searching for a wide receiver going in to the tail end of his career. 

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Ahead of NFL Draft, Ravens add to wide receiver corps with Willie Snead

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USA TODAY Sports

Ahead of NFL Draft, Ravens add to wide receiver corps with Willie Snead

OWINGS MILLS, Md. -- Receiver Willie Snead has bid farewell to the Saints, which means New Orleans apparently won't match the contract the Baltimore Ravens offered the restricted free agent.

Eager to add a target for quarterback Joe Flacco, the Ravens on Friday offered Snead a two-year, $10.4 million contract. The Saints had five days to match the deal. Snead indicated Monday on Twitter that he's headed out of New Orleans.

Snead tweeted: "What I'm going to miss most is the men in the locker room & the coaches."

He added: "Even though I'm sad to go, I'm even more excited for the next chapter in my life. I can't wait to strap it on as a Baltimore Raven."

Hampered by a three-game suspension and a hamstring injury, Snead was limited to eight catches for 92 yards last year.

In 2015, he had 69 receptions for 984 yards. He caught 72 passes for 895 yards in 2016.

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