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Ravens special teams enjoying kick-blocking binge


Ravens special teams enjoying kick-blocking binge

During Monday night’s improbable victory, the Ravens became the first NFL team to block a punt, field goal, or extra point in five consecutive games since the 1983 Falcons.

Simply put, the Ravens’ special teams have been special. Monday night, defensive end Brent Urban and safety Will Hill combined to make the game-winning play as time expired - a walk-off blocked field goal. Urban made the block on Travis Coons’ 51-yard field goal attempt, and Hill scooped up the loose ball and ran 64 yards for a 33-27 Ravens victory.

That wasn’t even the Ravens’ only touchdown on special teams Monday. Wide receiver Kaelin Clay opened the scoring with an 82-yard punt return that featured excellent downfield blocking, and Clay making the proper reads and cuts.

The Ravens’ prowess on special teams is a testimony to their coaches spotting weaknesses in opponents, and their players executing. Ravens coach John Harbaugh praised Ravens special teams coordinator Jerry Rosburg following Monday’s win.

“To score two touchdowns on special teams, that’s an incredible thing,” Harbaugh said. “I don’t think you can say that’s something you plan on, to think you’re going to have five straight games with some kind of a kick block. Start with coach Rosburg and Chris Horton, our assistant special teams coach. They do an amazing job of coaching.

“Then go to the leadership in the (special teams) room, guys like (linebacker) Albert McClellan, (cornerback) Anthony Levine, and others, who do a great job in there of just taking that room and making it something that they’re proud of and believe in. We play hard on special teams.”

Harbaugh was a special teams coach for nine seasons with the Eagles, and that experience has also helped the Ravens. Many games are lost, or won, on special teams. The Ravens’  special teams made the difference Monday night.

“Five games in a row with a block,” Harbaugh said smiling. “Who ever heard of that?”

RELATED: This time, Ravens may have benefited from final play non-call

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Ravens sign Michael Crabtree to three-year deal

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Ravens sign Michael Crabtree to three-year deal

The Baltimore Ravens have signed wide receiver 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 Schefter.

After being released by the Raiders on 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 wide receiver 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?