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Ravens hope special teams return to form


Ravens hope special teams return to form

The Ravensspecial teams unit, greatly improved this year after an offseason ofupgrades, ran into its first blips against Cleveland. The Ravensbotched a snap on an extra-point attempt, had an ill-advised fair catchinterference penalty on Anthony Allen and yielded a season-long 40-yard puntreturn. Special teamscoordinator Jerry Rosburg explained that on the failed extra-point attempt, theRavens alignment was "too tight," and the snap from Morgan Coxdeflected off the foot of right guard Bobbie Williams.On the long puntreturn by the Browns' Travis Benjamin, "We just squeezed too much to theshort side of the field and he beat us to the edge," Rosburg explained."And our ultimate contain player got knocked down, so it was one of thoseinadvertent collisions that lost the edge for us. Those are things we have toclean up. After ranking31st in kick coverage last season (allowing 29.2 yards a return) and tying afranchise record by giving up three return touchdowns, the Ravens made severalacquisitions in the offseason designed to strengthen special teams, signingCorey Graham, Sean Considine, James Ihedigbo and re-signing Brendon Ayanbadejo.Those moves havepaid dividends. Other than the40-yarder, the Ravens have allowed 7.7 yards per punt return, a significantimprovement over the 11.9 average last season. The Ravens rank fifth in kickcoverage in 2012, yielding 20.4 yards per return.They face anothermajor test on Sunday at Kansas City, though, in Javier Arenas.Arenas, theChiefs' second-round pick out of Alabama in 2010, ranks sixth in the league inpunt return average (13.3). He ranked third in the league last season (12.8)and has averaged 21.0 yards per kick return in his career. "We reallyliked him as a player coming out of college," Rosburg said. "Hes gotsuch good vision and good strength and makes good decisions, and he can cut. Heputs his foot in the ground and changes directions like you want your returnerto do.""Hes thekind of guy that you really do respect after watching him on tape,"Rosburg added, "and we have to do a really good job on our coverage tocontain this man.

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It's Friday and the Ravens still haven't announced who their starting quarterback is for Sunday

It's Friday and the Ravens still haven't announced who their starting quarterback is for Sunday

The suspense is killing us.

Will it be Lamar Jackson, Robert Griffin III or actually Joe Flacco starting for the Baltimore Ravens Sunday in the most important game of the season, in Week 11 against the Cincinnati Bengals?

Well, it's almost time for happy hour on a Friday and we still don't have a definite answer.

Flacco, who is nursing a right hip injury, did not practice this week and was listed as doubtful on the team's Friday injury report.

But the good news is that Jackson, who missed Thursday's practice with an illness, was a full participant Friday. When asked whether Jackson missing the most crucial day of practice is concerning, head coach John Harbaugh had us scratching our heads.

“It’s not ideal,” Harbaugh said. “Was it part of the plan? Apparently, it was.”

Jackson admitted that the possibility of his first NFL start Sunday would bring on a few butterflies but that once the ball was snapped,"it's on."

"You have to have trust with your guys," Jackson said Wednesday. "You have to have them believing in you to put points on the board. So, that’ll be my job if I’m out there.”

And in the latest version of 'The NFL is wild,' Robert Griffin III was the only Ravens quarterback who participated in a full week of practice.

The 2012 Offensive Rookie of the Year hasn't started an NFL game since January 1, 2017, but has stayed up to speed in case a moment like this occurred. 

"That's my job. That's why they brought me here," Griffin III said Wednesday. "They brought me here to be a pro. They brought me here to help this team if need be. I try to help the defense every week on scout team and then do those [reps], and if my number's called I'll be able to go out there and lead this team."

Prior to this week, Flacco had only been on the team's injury report eight times and had missed only three regular-season practices. In 11 years, Flacco has missed just six games, starting the last 41. 

Guard/tackle James Hurst (back) has been ruled out for the fourth week as well as Tim Williams (ankle).

Cornerback Tavon Young (ankle), tackle Ronnie Stanley (ankle) and safety Tony Jefferson (thigh) are listed as questionable. 


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Steelers players plunder Le'Veon Bell's locker a day after missed deadline


Steelers players plunder Le'Veon Bell's locker a day after missed deadline

Le'Veon Bell decided not to return to the Steelers this season, and his former teammates have apparently decided they can have his belongings. 

The All-Pro running back didn't sign his $14.5 million franchise tag by Tuesday's deadline, and thus is ineligible to play this season.

Steelers player were seen plundering his locker Wednesday in front of reporters. Defensive end Bud Dupree went right for Bell's cleats, thanking him for the Jordan brand shoes and saying he wishes Bell success.

Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger told reporters he sent Bell his well-wishes, but got no response from his former backfield mate. 

It's unclear what Bell plans to do next, but it's crystal clear the Steelers have moved on, with his shoes in tow.