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Is Weeden the next Flacco ... or Boller?


Is Weeden the next Flacco ... or Boller?

Much like the Ravens five years ago, the Browns handed the keys of their offense to a rookie quarterback drafted in the first round.

Unfortunately for the Browns, at this point that rookie quarterback, Brandon Weeden, looks a lot less like Joe Flacco and a lot more like a different Ravens first-round quarterback: Kyle Boller.

To be fair, Flacco didn't set the world on fire immediately. In Flacco's first five games, he threw one touchdown and seven interceptions, but by season's end, he (and the defense) had led the Ravens to an 11-5 record and a playoff berth.

After the Ravens' 25-15 win at Cleveland on Sunday, Weeden still looks to be a long way from a playoff quarterback. He certainly isn't helped by his supporting cast; his receivers frequently drop catchable balls. They run third-down pass patterns that leave them a couple of yards short of the first down.

The coaching staff doesn't help with its decision-making at times, either. On the Browns' first possession, Trent Richardson barged ahead for 9 yards on second down, and then facing third-and-1, rather than run Richardson for the first down, the Browns called a pass play, which Weeden threw incomplete.

No decision, though, was more questionable than the fourth-and-2 call from Cleveland's 28-yard line with 3:53 left in the game. The Ravens had  trouble making first downs much of the game, but rather than punt and make the Ravens get another first down or two, the Browns went for the first down. Weeden threw high on a quick slant that never had a chance.

It was one of many poor throws or misreads by Weeden. He had nervous feet, bailing out with inaccurate dump-offs at times or throws behind receivers. At times he failed to see open receivers, and at other times he made poor, back-foot throws. On the pass that Cary Williams intercepted -- which came one play after Ed Reed should have had an interception -- tight end Jordan Cameron had no idea the ball was coming.

Maybe these are growing pains for a rookie quarterback. The Browns have done a lot right in the draft lately and have some impressive young players. But Weeden isn't young. He is a 29-year-old rookie whose college (and pro) career started late because of a minor league baseball career.

The Browns are hoping he can be the one to lead this franchise out of the depths of the AFC North. But on Sunday, he looked a lot more like Kyle Boller than Joe Flacco, and that isn't exactly the Ravens quarterback to emulate.

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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?