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Five statistics that must change for Ravens in second half of season

Five statistics that must change for Ravens in second half of season

The Ravens have returned to their Owings Mills practice facility after the four-day bye week holiday, and now they are focusing on beating the Steelers Sunday and ending a four-game losing streak that has threatened to scuttle their season just as it reaches the midway point.

Although the season technically won’t be half over until after the Steelers game Sunday, with the bye week it’s logical to look at the coming nine games as the second half of the season.

If the Ravens want to right this ship and contend for a playoff spot, here are five numbers that simply must change:

2: Sacks by linebackers not named Terrell Suggs.

And this number was zero before rookie Matt Judon recorded a pair of sacks against the Jets. Suggs is expected to return from his biceps injury, but it remains unclear how effective he will be. Elvis Dumervil missed the first three games, returned to play in two, but he showed no explosiveness and was back on the sideline until further notice.

The Ravens pass rush from the edge has been nonexistent for long stretches this season. Judon, Za’Darius Smith and Kamalei Correa have to make an impact.


5.58 – The Ravens average gain per pass play, which ranks 30th in the league and represents the lowest total in Joe Flacco’s nine-year career.

Much of the criticism was directed at departed offensive coordinator Marc Trestman and his preference for dink-and-dunk passing. Flacco aired the ball out more in the past two games under new offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg, and that should continue.

Breshad Perriman needs to be better, and getting Steve Smith back from injury should help. He piles up a lot of yardage after the catch.


11: The Ravens rank last in the league with 11 touchdowns – 10 on offense plus a fumble recovery touchdown on special teams by Chris Moore.

The Ravens have relied far too often on Justin Tucker’s foot for their scoring – he leads the league with 18 field goals.  

The Ravens must do a better job of reaching the red zone – they never even got inside the Jets’ 25-yard line – and then they must do a better job of finishing drives in the end zone. They rank 19th in red zone efficiency.


13: Catches through seven games for Kamar Aiken.

After making 75 catches for 944 yards last season, Aiken clearly became the odd man out in a revamped receiving corps that featured arrival of Mike Wallace and the return of Steve Smith and Breshad Perriman from injury.

Aiken should be a larger part of the offense moving forward, particulary on short and intermediate routes. 


56: Penalties committed by the Ravens through seven games.

Time and again this season, penalties have taken the air out of a Ravens drive, leaving them with first-and-20 or third-and-14. The Ravens are on pace for 128 penalties this season, which would be the second-most in team history.


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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?