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Money to spare


Money to spare

The Ravens ranked last in the NFL in available salary cap space until earlier this week, when they signed Ray Rice to a five-year deal that lowered his 2012 cap number by 2.7 million.

Now they reportedly have some 3.3 million of room under the cap, more than a handful of teams.

How will they spend it?

Theres no clear-cut answer as the organizational clock ticks toward the start of training camp next week in Owings Mills. The Ravens depth chart is pretty well stocked with the players theyre expecting to contribute this season. In other words, there is no immediate, glaring need.

Against that backdrop, the 3.3 million is more of a luxury, essentially an emergency fund. If a glaring need develops between now and the start of the season because of an injury or performance issues during camp, the Ravens have the wherewithal to address it.

Theres no telling where such a need could develop, but here are some possibilities:

Backup running back -- When the Ravens invested a 2012 third-round draft pick in Bernard Pierce, they obviously hoped he could step in for Ricky Williams, who rushed for more than 400 yards in 2011. But can a rookie handle the load and produce at the level the Ravens want? If they decide Pierce needs a year of seasoning, their only other options are a seventh-round pick (Anthony Allen) and an undrafted free agent (Damien Berry) from 2011. Meanwhile, Cedric Benson, who rushed for more than a thousand yards for the Bengals in 2011, is just sitting on the open market.

Linebackerpass rush With Terrell Suggs out indefinitely, building and sustaining a quality pass rush is the Ravens biggest issue on defense. Between Suggs and other players no longer on the team, the Ravens are missing almost half of their sacks (23 of 48) from 2011. If they feel they arent going to get enough pressure from those on hand, they could bring in a designated pass rusher to play on third downs.

No. 3 receiver The Ravens hope they addressed this need with the addition of Jacoby Jones, and they have a handful of other possibilities such as LaQuan Williams and Tandon Doss. But Jones dropped a few balls in the spring and the others have done little in their brief pro careers, and the Ravens want dangerous targets for Joe Flacco. Theyve passed on a slew of veterans so far, but who knows?

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Ravens not counting on having LB C.J. Mosley vs. Broncos on Sunday

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Ravens not counting on having LB C.J. Mosley vs. Broncos on Sunday

BALTIMORE -- Coming off a long weekend following their first loss of the season, the Baltimore Ravens have implemented a contingency plan for moving forward without three-time Pro Bowl linebacker C.J. Mosley.

Mosley bruised his left knee Thursday night in a 34-23 defeat at Cincinnati. Although the fifth-year standout receives a few extra days to recover, it's unlikely he will ready for Sunday's game against unbeaten Denver.

"It isn't a structural issue. That's good news," coach John Harbaugh said Monday. "We'll just see how that thing comes along and keep our fingers crossed."

Rookie linebacker Kenny Young and Patrick Onwuasor played the position after Mosley left in the first quarter. Though the Ravens tightened up defensively in the second half, they yielded touchdowns on four straight series after Mosley's departure.

"It definitely seemed like things were a little bit scrambled when you lose a guy like that," cornerback Marlon Humphrey said. "Just him being out there makes everything smoother."

To help fill the void, the Ravens on Monday signed Albert McClellan , who played six years for Baltimore before being cut on Sept. 1.

McClellan missed all of last year with a knee injury but has 90 games of NFL experience, all with the Ravens.

"Albert is a very good football player. He knows everything we do," Harbaugh said. "He gives us a lot on special teams and can play middle linebacker. I would say he kind of solidifies in there a little bit, having so many young players in the group."

To make room for McClellan, the Ravens placed cornerback Maurice Canady on injured reserve with a thigh injury. Harbaugh said it's not a season-ending injury, and it's possible that Canady could return later in the season.

Mosley led the Ravens last year with a career-high 132 tackles and is in charge of calling the plays on defense. That role has been handed to safety Eric Weddle.

Young appears in position to make his first NFL start. Selected out of UCLA in the fourth round of the NFL draft, the 23-year-old Young made a favorable impression before his making seven tackles last week in Cincinnati.

"He's going a great job. We're real happy with him," Harbaugh said. "He's very smart, very studious, very conscientious. I think his learning curb is steep."

After beating Buffalo 47-3 in the opener, the Ravens (1-1) took a huge step back last week. The Bengals led 28-7 in the second quarter and cruised to the finish.

Following a short week, the Ravens enjoyed a rare weekend that did not involve playing football.

"Yeah, that's valuable to have that, as far as recovery and things like that, and study," Harbaugh said.

It also provided the team some extra time to get over the Cincinnati game.

"You just can't beat yourself up too much because if you do, that just takes you in a downward path," Harbaugh said. "What it's going to boil down to in the end is, who's mentally tougher over the long haul? You've got to keep grinding."

There are plenty of unbeaten teams remaining, including the Broncos, but Harbaugh believes it's way too early to start identifying the best clubs in the league.

"Nobody in the NFL is a good football team yet," he said. "It remains to be seen who the good football teams are, and that's what we've got to try to become."

Harbaugh said tight end Hayden Hurst (foot) and defensive tackle Willie Henry (abdomen) won't practice this week.


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Ravens Week 2 Player of the Game: WR John Brown


Ravens Week 2 Player of the Game: WR John Brown

Coming off a strong Week 1 performance, the Ravens marched into Cincinnati for Week 2 and put up a dud.

The defense struggled immediately without C.J. Mosley, and Joe Flacco and the offense saw their share of unfortunate turnovers. 

While there was much to be concerned about in their 34-23 loss, one Raven that brought a high to a mainly low night was offseason addition John Brown.

Brown's night was highlighted by an insane 21-yard touchdown that put the Ravens within five in the fourth quarter. Prior to that, Flacco connected with the wide receiver for a 45-yard completion on third down. 'Smoke' also drew a 30-yard penalty that helped set up a touchdown, finishing his night with four catches for 92 yards.

The connection between Flacco and Brown was apparent throughout training camp, and in two games, the 28-year-old has become a trusted target. He currently leads the Ravens with 136 yards and two touchdowns and his 19.43-yard average is well above his fellow receivers. The speed he possess makes it difficult for defenses to keep up, and if Brown can stay healthy, he could be the consistent deep-threat the team's been looking for for years. 

 “I’m satisfied, and I did pretty good," Brown said after the Ravens' Week 1 win. "But it doesn’t stop right here.”