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Ravens won't sleep on Cribbs


Ravens won't sleep on Cribbs

The Ravensspecial teams unit, which struggled at times last season, has been muchimproved this season. Through three games, the Ravens rank sixth in the leaguein kick coverage, allowing 19.6 yards per return. Yes, it's early, but that's asignificant improvement over last year, when the Ravens ranked 31st (29.2avg.). The Ravens rankninth in punt return defense (6.7 yards per return), also an improvement fromlast season (11.9). Both those unitsfigure to get a major test on Thursday night from Cleveland's Josh Cribbs. Theeight-year veteran holds the NFL record with eight career kickoff returntouchdowns, including a 92-yard score against the Ravens in 2008. He had an 84-yardpunt return touchdown last season at M&T Bank Stadium, one of three puntreturn touchdowns in his career. It was also one of the three return touchdownsallowed by the Ravens last year, tying the team record.Ravens specialteams coordinator Jerry Rosburg said on Tuesday that Cribbs "can change agame in a hurry. ... You have to make sure you go in and make sure that hedoesnt do that to your team. Our focus is being sound in our coverage lanesand being good tacklers, and its going to take a team effort by all involved,including our specialists.Cribbs, 29, hasbeen limited in practice this week by a knee injury but is expected to play.Thus far this season, Cribbs ranks tied for fourth in kickoff returns (mininum2 returns) with an average runback of 28.3 yards. His punt return average(14.5) ranks fifth. Rosburg actuallyhelped groom Cribbs. Rosburg was the Browns special teams coordinator from2001-06, so he was there when Cribbs broke into the league as a return threatafter a career as a do-it-allquarterback at Kent State. After spending two seasons helping Cribbs develop,Rosburg has spent the past six trying to stop him.One way, ofcourse, is to deny him the ball. Ravens rookie kicker Justin Tucker leads theNFL with 13 touchbacks through three weeks. "Any timeyou kick the ball out of the end zone, thats a plus when youre facing a guylike Joshua," Rosburg said. "Thatll beour aim again this week, but thats not always going to happen. ... We have toprepare like every kick is coming out. Cribbs will jump up and catch it withone hand and bring it down from nine yards deep if he has to. He wants the ballin his hands hes an aggressive returner so were going to cover every kicklike hes bringing it out."

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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?