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Running backs: Who's No. 2?


Running backs: Who's No. 2?

There's a heated battle for the No. 2 running back spot behind Ray Rice.

Although running backs coach Wilbert Montgomery couldn't nail down who's in first place, it appears that rookie Bernard Pierce, who the Ravens moved up into the third round to select this summer, could be the favorite if incumbent Anthony Allen is unseated.

In Friday's 27-12 loss to the Detroit Lions, Pierce opened some eyes with his speed and ability to run between the tackles.

"When he got out there he showed that reckless abandon that we wanted ... what he showed in college. That kind of excited everyone because up to that point we hadn't seen it," Montgomery said. " We knew he had it in him, he had the potential ... but we saw it on game day. That's what you want to see. How do you bring something from the practice field to game day and be a little bit better at doing what we ask you to do."

Montgomery on the rest of the RB field:

-- Anthony Allen: "He's not a very fast guy but he has the size, he has the strength and I'd like to see him run the ball a little bit more when hes in the ballgame. He has great hands, he has great route ability. We seem to be throwing it most of the times when he's in the game."

-- Bobby Rainey (rookie): "I'm stunned he wasn't drafted because the guy has punt return, kick return ability ... can run routes out of the backfield, catch the ball out of the backfield and people say he is a third-down back. We don't look for just specialty guys. We look for a guy that can do it all."

-- Damien Berry: "He is a phenom with his foot speed, his strength, his size. He's very explosive, can hit holes quick, can probably take it the distance from anywhere on the field. Damien has improved more than any back I have ever coached since I've been in the league because he's catching the ball very well, he's blocking now and he's running his routes better."

In the AFC North, the Ravens are looking for other qualities, too.

"In this division, when you're playing against Cleveland, Cincinnati and Pittsburgh, you have to be physical, which is what we pride ourselves on," Montgomery said. "You have to be tough ... we'd like to have a big back if we can get a big back, because in the wintertime you like to give it to that kind of guy."

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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?