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The Brees effect?


The Brees effect?

Now that quarterback Drew Brees has finally landed an eye-popping longterm deal with the New Orleans Saints, could running back Ray Rice and the Ravens become the next parties to agree to contract terms?

They have until July 16 (Monday) at 4 p.m. to make a deal or Rice will play the 2012 season as the Ravens franchise-tag designee, meaning he will earn 7.7 million on a one-year tender,

Thats a lot of money, but Rice, who led the NFL in yards from scrimmage in 2011, obviously understands now more than ever that a whole lot more could be squeezed from his situation; Brees five-year, 100 million deal includes an astounding 37 million signing bonus, according to Pro Football Talk.

Rice isnt going to get anywhere close to that, but with other running backs such as Houstons Arian Foster (five years, 43.5 million) and Philadelphias LeSean McCoy (five years, 45.6) having signed big deals this offseason, he is angling for a big payday of his own as the clock ticks toward Mondays deadline.

Unfortunately for both sides, the fact that Brees signed Friday really has no impact on Rices situation. Its a different player, a different team, a different position, a different wage scale, a different agent pretty much a different everything.

The only similarity between the situations is, of course, the Monday deadline, which is bearing down on all of the players around the league who received the franchise-tag designation but havent signed a list that includes Chicago running back Matt Forte, Oakland safety Tyvon Branch, New England receiver Wes Welker, Kansas City receiver Dwayne Bowe and a handful of others as well as Rice.

While it's encouraging for the Ravens that Brees was also on that list but now isn't, there has been nothing out of either camp indicating that the Ravens and Rice are getting close as the deadline nears. The Carroll County Times reported earlier this week that no deal is imminent and CBSSports.coms NFL insider, Jason La Canfora, spun the situation negatively.

Sources said there is still a stalemate between Baltimore and its star runner, Ray Rice, wrote La Canfora. It would take a major reversal over the weekend to get this kick-started.

Theres still time, and a big deal such as the one Brees signed can have a domino effect on other partiess, but at this point, theres no reason to believe one good deal will lead to another.

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Ravens' John Harbaugh credits early offensive success to Joe Flacco

Ravens' John Harbaugh credits early offensive success to Joe Flacco

OWINGS MILLS, Md. (AP) -- John Harbaugh has seen Joe Flacco play in more than 170 games for the Ravens, including 15 in the postseason with an MVP effort in the Super Bowl.

Though Baltimore's coach is hard-pressed to remember them all, Harbaugh ranks Flacco's performance against Denver on Sunday among the best.

Flacco went 25 for 40 for 277 yards with one touchdown and no interceptions in Baltimore's 27-14 victory . He's put up better numbers during his 11-year career, but this outing stood out because of the fashion in which Flacco zipped the ball short, long and in between.

"He's had a lot of good throwing days, right? But definitely ... it's in the top category," Harbaugh said Monday. "That's what you'd like to see Joe do. I just think it's a combination of a lot of things, including confidence in the guys that he's throwing to."

Harbaugh became Baltimore's head coach in 2008, the same year Flacco entered the NFL. The pair has gone through a lot together, most recently three straight seasons without a playoff appearance.

The Ravens (2-1) hope an improved offense will turn things around.

It's been a long time since Flacco has had so many capable receivers to choose from. Offseason acquisitions Willie Snead, Michael Crabtree and John Brown have been excellent, and Mark Andrews got into the mix Sunday with 59 yards receiving, a Ravens record for a rookie tight end.

"I'm really pleased with all those guys. They're playing really well and they've made big plays," Harbaugh said.

With Flacco leading the way, the Ravens went 8 for 16 on third down against a team that stopped 17 of 22 attempts in its first two games.

"All the receivers have a good chemistry with Joe," Brown said. "It's all about trust, starting with practice and talking with him to see if we're seeing the same thing. That plays a big part of it."

The Ravens have long been known for their defense, and that unit has played well. But, at least for now, the offense is doing its part, too.

After Denver bolted to a 7-0 lead, Baltimore went the distance on a soothing touchdown drive.

"That was the tone setter for us as a team, to have them answer for us and really get us back to even," safety Eric Weddle said. "And, once we settled down, shoot, defense played lights out."

As did the offense -- again. The Ravens are averaging 32 points per game, and Flacco has completed 82 of 129 passes for 889 yards and six TDs with just two interceptions.

Most impressive of all is Baltimore's performance in the red zone: 12 trips, 12 touchdowns, including 3 for 3 against Denver.

"We've had a good mix. I think we've probably thrown the ball in six times and run the ball in six times," Flacco said. "If you can do both of those things, especially when you get down tight inside the 5-yard line, that helps a lot. We've got good playmakers, and we put a lot of pressure on the defense with the guys that we have out there."

Give credit to the receivers, along with the running back tandem of Alex Collins and Javorius Allen, but Harbaugh knows the real reason why Baltimore has been unstoppable inside the 20.

"It probably starts with Joe," Harbaugh said. "I think Joe has done a great job making plays, making throws, trusting his guys and also extending some plays. That's been big."

The Ravens escaped the Denver game without any serious injuries, and Harbaugh hopes middle linebacker C.J. Mosley (knee) can return for an AFC North showdown Sunday night with the Pittsburgh Steelers.


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Ravens Week 3 Player of the Game: LB Kenny Young


Ravens Week 3 Player of the Game: LB Kenny Young

What the Ravens have lost in three-time Pro Bowl linebacker C.J. Mosley due to injury, they've gained in rookie Kenny Young.

Week 2 against the Bengals, Young stepped in for Mosley and put up five solo tackles and three assists. Then when Week 3 came around and Mosley was still too injured to play, Young got the start and logged 44 snaps. He finished with eight solo tackles, two assists and a critical third-down sack on Broncos quarterback Case Keenum in the second quarter. Young's stingy performance helped fuel a stellar defensive effort in the Ravens' 27-14 victory.

A fourth-round draft pick out of UCLA, Young has the maturity needed to succeed in this league.

Obsessed with perfection, as noted in a profile done via the Ravens' website, Young is already impressing his coaches and veteran teammates. 

He’s a smart guy, so he doesn’t get overwhelmed by a mistake,” Ravens Head Coach John Harbaugh said. “He’s not scared to make a mistake. He’s willing to play fast even if he does make a mistake. And sometimes, some of the plays you see him making? He might not be perfectly where he’s supposed to be, but that willingness to play fast overcomes it, and you go make a good football play.

While the timetable for Mosely's return is unknown, the Ravens can find solace in knowing their young replacement is a steady hand.

The 23-year-old currently leads the team in tackles (17), followed by Tony Jefferson (12).