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McPhee manages to smile through injuries and tragedies


McPhee manages to smile through injuries and tragedies

By looking at Pernell McPhee’s expressions, it wasn't easy to detect his troubles.

His leg stayed in bandages because of knee and groin issues. He couldn't win his battles at the line of scrimmage to get pressure on opposing quarterbacks. But his smile never disappeared. 

After getting 6 sacks as a rookie a year ago as a reserve defensive end, this was supposed to be a breakout for McPhee, who won the starting job.

The Ravens rushed out to win nine of their first 11 games, but each week McPhee faced the questions about his lackluster play. He voiced disappointment in himself, but never lashed out. Understanding his physical and personal battles, however, put his travails into clearer focus.

“I had a couple of losses early this year, dealing with my sister, my dad, cousin,” McPhee said of  their deaths. “It was just like I was home when I came back in. Guys put smiles on my face. That’s the most important thing when you got guys who love you besides just football.  They love you off the field and try to help you out the best way they can.”

Coach John Harbaugh held him out for a month as he missed five games. McPhee said at the time he could play, creating an awkward situation where the player and coach disagreed publicly. Looking back, McPhee agrees it was the best decision.

“Hands down because now I’m healthier and I got a chance to help the team out on 3rd-and-long and come out and show some of them pass rushing skills I got,” he said of being used almost exclusively in pass situations. 

That he did. McPhee returned in December, getting his first full sack in a Week 15 loss to the Denver Broncos.

Going into the Super Bowl vs. the San Francisco 49ers on Feb. 3, McPhee has been replaced in the starting lineup by Arthur Jones, who had a career-high 4.5 sacks in his third season.

“Coach is doing a good job with how he rotates me in as far as certain packages. That’s keeping me fresh, keeping me healthy,” McPhee said. “I just got this routine I’m sticking with and it’s just helping me out a lot.”

McPhee has played a major role in the Ravens’ last two playoff games. He sacked Peyton Manning late in the third quarter, forcing a fumble that was recovered by Paul Kruger at the Broncos’ 37. Five plays later, Ray Rice ran in the ball from 1 yard out to tie the score at 28 in what eventually became a 38-35 double-overtime victory.

With Tom Brady trying to lead the New England Patriots to a fourth-quarter comeback in the AFC championship last week, McPhee deflected a pass that was intercepted by Dannell Ellerbe to seal a 28-13 victory.

“This guy plays with a lot of injuries. He’s one of the toughest people that I've ever been around in my life. And then now, at the end of the year, he had these two huge plays in these two huge games that really made the difference. It’s just so rewarding,” Harbaugh said. “And as a teacher, as a coach, that’s what makes it for you. … When you see these guys fight through that and have that kind of success, that’s everything.”

McPhee never doubted his ability to bounce back.

“It’s all about your personality,” he said. “I’m built Ford tough.”

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Ravens lower concession prices at M&T Bank Stadium ahead of 2018 season


Ravens lower concession prices at M&T Bank Stadium ahead of 2018 season

Enjoying a game at M&T Bank Stadium just became a little more affordable.

On Thursday, the Ravens introduced their new "Flock Friendly Fare," reducing the price of 21 of their most popular food and beverage items.  

The change comes as the organization focuses on revamping the fan experience in 2018. Fans will see an average of 33 percent in total savings and up to 53 percent savings on a single item.  

"As a lot of you probably know, after every game we survey fans to see how we're doing; what have we done well and what have we not done well. Over the years, one of the biggest criticisms we received was for the gameday concessions prices," Ravens President Dick Cass said on the team's website

Alcoholic beverages were all reduced by $1 with the addition of domestic 12 ounce beer for $5.

Chicken tenders with fries went from $11 to $7, while a slice of pizza went from $8.50 to $6. No single item will cost above $9.

On average, you will now be able to feed a family of four for $44 compared to $66.75 in years past. To see all of the reductions, click the arrow in the post below. 

In 2017, the Atlanta Falcons reduced their concession prices upon opening their brand new Mercedes-Benz Stadium. The Ravens, however, are expecting to lose $1.5 million in concession revenue due to the change. 

Introducing our new Flock Friendly Fare!

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Vegas odds against Lamar Jackson starting for Ravens in 2018

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Vegas odds against Lamar Jackson starting for Ravens in 2018

Vegas has spoken and they are not optimistic about rookie Lamar Jackson starting under center for the Ravens in 2018.

Bovado, an online gambling site, has set the odds on how the top 2018 rookies will perform and they have Jackson getting 0.5 starts this season.

That number will come as a surprise considering the popular narrative that Lamar Jackson will be the Ravens' starter in no time. The team made it clear they are planning for life after Flacco when they traded back into the first-round of the 2018 draft to select the quarterback out of Louisville at No. 32

Flacco - who is entering his 11th season with the organization - is experiencing a decline in his performance of late, one that can not be put entirely on his shoulders as the team has failed in finding him valuable weapons to throw to. Nonetheless, Flacco's projected 2018 season is very much up in the air and it appears Vegas is betting on the one-time Super Bowl MVP to bounce back. 

However, the Ravens have failed to make the playoffs four of the last five seasons, and if that trend continues into 2018, the rookie could get his shot at flipping the script.

If you're a betting man, it could payoff to bet the over on Jackson. Low risk, seemingly high reward.