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Banged-up Dickson, Ellerbe held out of practice

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Banged-up Dickson, Ellerbe held out of practice

Linebacker Dannell Ellerbe, cornerback Corey Graham, and tight end Ed Dickson and receiver/returner Jacoby Jones didn’t practice with the Ravens on Wednesday, but defensive end Pernell McPhee and cornerback Chris Johnson had limited action.

They were among 14 players listed on the injury report going into Sunday’s game vs. the Pittsburgh Steelers. Receiver Torrey Smith (thigh) had limited participation, too.

Johnson (hamstring) and McPhee (knee) didn’t play in last week’s 16-13 win at the San Diego Chargers.

Ellerbe, already playing with casts on both thumbs, went down in the second quarter of that game while in coverage with an ankle and knee injury. He wasn’t touched on the play and didn’t return against San Diego.

“We’ll take it by ear tomorrow to see if he can go,” coach John Harbaugh said. “We are day-by-day with Dannell.”

Dickson (knee) was hurt when blocking on a kick return. He was engaged in a block and teammate Anthony Allen crashed into him. He left the game with the Chargers and didn’t return.

Dickson didn’t have any structural damage, but he favored the leg heavily as he walked out of the locker room to get treatment.

“Whatever I can do to be out there, I’m going to be out there,” Dickson said. “I’m going to be out there Sunday.

“You see the play on film, it looks pretty bad. It swelled up pretty good.”

Johnson played in his first game with the Ravens two weeks ago, when he was signed as a free agent. He played only six snaps against the Pittsburgh Steelers, the Ravens’ opponent this week, but caused a fumble on his first play.

It was his first game of the 2012 season while he sat on the shelf and he contends it was just a lack of conditioning that was the problem.

“It’s looking positive. I’m just waiting to see where I fit in this week and go out there and play,” said Johnson, a ninth-year player who the Ravens use in nickel packages ahead of Chykie Brown. “I don’t like sitting on the sidelines. I did everything last week to get out there but they wanted to take precautions and get me ready for this week.

“Sitting out eight months, you got to get back in football shape even though you work out daily. … I’m treating it like a training camp, pushing myself harder to get back where I need to be.”

McPhee has missed four consecutive games for Baltimore and declared himself 100% recently. Harbaugh disputed that, but McPhee was elusive on where he stood for this week’s game.

He had been playing through injury all season, wasn’t productive and was visibly frustrated by it.

“It all boils down to coach. I have to talk to coach about that situation right now,” said McPhee, who wouldn’t divulge if he was still wearing a knee brace after saying he’d discarded it a few weeks ago. “Rest, that’s the only difference.”

With only a one-half sack after six last season, McPhee would’ve liked to have played in San Diego. The Ravens had a season-high six sacks of Philip Rivers.

“My boys were out there having fun and I missed it,” McPhee said. “I can cut, I can do whatever. But coach knows what’s best for me.”

Safeties Ed Reed (shoulder) and Bernard Pollard (chest) only took limited snaps Wednesday. Graham (illness) wasn't feeling well.

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Baltimore Ravens Roundup: Ravens rank higher than expected in preseason rankings

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Baltimore Ravens Roundup: Ravens rank higher than expected in preseason rankings

Kick off your Wednesday with the latest Baltimore Ravens news including a high preseason ranking for the Ravens.

Player/Team Notes: 

1. The Ravens ranked higher than expected in Peter King's preseason rankings. King ranked the Ravens at No. 12, surprising for a defense that is working on development during this offseason. However, with the Ravens' signing of All-Pro safety Earl Thomas, maybe he will bring the fire the Ravens need on defense.

2. With day 2 of OTAs in the books, the focus has been on quarterback Lamar Jackson. Ravens writer, Kevin Eck noted that during the offseason, Jackson had been working out with Ravens quarterbacks coach, Joshua Harris along with receivers Jordan Lasley and Jaylen Smith, so it remains to be seen throughout the summer on whether or not he has improved namely his passing game. 

Looking Ahead:

July 15: 4 p.m. deadline to get a long-term deal done with designated franchise tag players.

The 2019 NFL schedule is set! See the Baltimore Ravens defend the AFC North at M&T Bank Stadium this season. Get your tickets now at www.BaltimoreRavens.com/tickets.

Credit: Baltimore Ravens for news points.

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Reaction: Peter King picks Ravens 12th in 2019 Power Rankings

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Reaction: Peter King picks Ravens 12th in 2019 Power Rankings

With OTAs underway, Peter King has released his 2019 NFL preseason power rankings and of the biggest surprises is the Baltimore Ravens landing at No. 12 on the list. Although stud Lamar Jackson surprised people last season, given the substandard state of their defense and the burden on Jackson to shoulder the load offensively, King may have the Ravens ranked a few spots too high. 

Let's start with the defense; it's got more holes than a slice of swiss cheese. Most notably they lost linebacker Terrell Suggs, the heart and soul of their defense for the past decade. Although past his prime, Suggs is still a productive player and they will undoubtedly miss his leadership. They released defensive back Eric Weddle, who was coming off two straight Pro-Bowl appearances. Their justification was that he's 34 and by releasing him, they could allocate the money to re-signing All-Pro linebacker C.J. Mosley. Solid reasoning, if Mosley didn't sign with the New York Jets in the offseason.

Credit must be given, however, to the four-year, $55 million contract given to former Seattle Seahawks All-Pro safety Earl Thomas. Coming off a broken leg, he is easily the biggest X-factor for this defense. If he produces like the Earl Thomas of old, it'll more than makeup for the loss of the Weddle. They'll also be getting back defensive tackle Willie Henry from injury, who's young and hungry.

Although last years' defense was one of, if not the top unit in the NFL, all anyone could manage to talk about was the dynamic offense led by rookie quarterback Lamar Jackson. Coach John Harbaugh threw caution to the wind and handed the reins to Jackson in Week 10, and the Ravens proceeded to win six of their next seven games behind a run-dominated offense.

It's a toss-up if they'll be able to replicate that success this season. On the one hand, the unconventional attack took the league by storm last year and one could argue the league just needed time to adapt to this new-look offense. On the other hand, the Ravens did add some electric new pieces to the offense to replace the losses of wide receivers Michael Crabtree and John Brown. 

They added Mark Ingram who is one of the best dual-threat running backs in the league when healthy. Their first-round pick, wide receiver Marquise Brown, is one of the fastest players Todd McShay has ever evaluated. Third-round pick wide receiver Miles Boykin was one of the 20 fastest players at the draft and fourth-round pick  Justice Hill registered the fastest 40 time for running backs at the combine. Adding young, electric talent will enhance Jackson's already stellar playmaking ability. 

At tight end, they're one of the deepest teams in the NFL, headed up by Nick Boyle and Hayden Hurst. Keep in mind, however, that this is the NFL: it all starts with the quarterback. Jackson completed passes at a 58.2% clip last season. If the Ravens are serious about building around him, he'll have to improve as a passer. 

Taking the defensive deficiencies and questions on offense into account, and 12 is too high for the preseason power rankings; 16 is more appropriate. In his article, King writes about the Ravens saying, "They could win 11. They could win six." If I had to choose one outcome I'd take the latter. 

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