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Five observations from Ravens' win over Saints

Five observations from Ravens' win over Saints

NEW ORLEANS – Five things we learned watching the Ravens cap an undefeated preseason by beating the Saints, 23-14, Thursday night at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome:

• Wide receiver Breshad Perriman had a successful debut.

Perriman wasted no time, making his two catches (nine yards and 16 yards) on the first two plays from scrimmage. He played into the second quarter, and considering Perriman had not played a game since December of 2014.

• Defensive tackle Michael Pierce could be the undrafted rookie who makes this team.

Pierce made the biggest defensive play of the game – strip sack and a recovery in the end zone for a touchdown. That put the Ravens in the lead for good, 13-6, and was the kind of dramatic play that could Pierce from the bubble to the 53-man roster. The Ravens have kept at least one undrafted free agent in all eight seasons that John Harbaugh has been head coach. Pierce could keep that streak alive.

• Defensive tackle Carl Davis left the game with what appeared to be an ankle injury.

This could be another development that leads to Pierce making the team. There was no immediate word on the severity of Davis’ injury, but Pierce would add defensive line depth if Davis were to miss games.

• Stephen Houston got most of the work at running back, but Buck Allen looks safe.

Justin Forsett and Terrance West didn’t touch the football, because the Ravens wanted to keep them safe. With Kenneth Dixon injured, pencil in Forsett and West as the top two backs heading into the season. Allen has not been impressive during the preseason, but he’s a better blocker and receiver than Houston. This was Houston’s opportunity to put some carries on tape, but the Ravens will need Allen if another back is injured before Dixon returns.

• Several Ravens with tenure will be nervous waiting for Saturday’s 53-man roster deadline.

Linebacker Arthur Brown, offensive lineman James Hurst, and defensive end Kapron Lewis-Moore can’t be feeling very comfortable. Their phones could be ringing with some bad news.

MORE RAVENS: Brooks making strides in third season as Ravens safety

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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?