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Ravens roster preview: Offensive line — Will Osemele stay or go?


Ravens roster preview: Offensive line — Will Osemele stay or go?

It's clear that coming off a 5-11 season, the Ravens have some tough decisions to make regarding their 2016 roster. To be sure, injuries were a huge part of the story this past season, but there figures to be significant roster turnover after one of the worst seasons in team history. And as always, the salary cap figures to have a major influence on how the Ravens go about constructing their 2016 roster.

Over the next two weeks, we'll be examining each Ravens position group with an eye toward 2016. Who stays? Who goes? We'll begin with the offensive line. (Note: For the purpose of this discussion, we will limit the roster to just those players on the final 53-man roster and injured reserve.)

First, for a bit of terminology:

Unrestricted free agents are no longer under contract and are free to sign with any team when the new league year begins March 9.

Restricted free agents are players whose contracts have expired but they have at least three years of service time. The Ravens can tender a restricted free agent at one of three levels -- 1st round, 2nd round or low tender. Another team can then sign a Ravens restricted free agent to an offer sheet, but the Ravens would reserve the right to match the offer and keep the player. If they choose not to do that, the Ravens would receive draft-pick compensation based on the tender assigned.

Exclusive-rights free agents have two or fewer years in the league. If the Ravens tender an offer, the player must accept it. He cannot negotiate with other teams unless the Ravens choose not to tender a contract.

Under contract: James Hurst, Eugene Monroe, John Urschel, Rick Wagner, Marshal Yanda, Jeremy Zuttah

Unrestricted free agents: Kelechi Osemele

Restricted free agents: None

Exclusive rights free agents: Ryan Jensen, De'Ondre Wesley

The left side of the offensive line is one huge question mark right now. Will the Ravens try to re-sign left guard Kelechi Osemele? Could they even afford it? And if so, would the Ravens cut ties with Eugene Monroe and move Osemele to left tackle? Osemele essentially auditioned there over the final month of the season.

Cutting Monroe would save the Ravens about $2.1 million against the cap, and he has frequently been mentioned as a possible cap casualty. But if the Ravens cut Monroe, they would have to eat more than $6 million in dead money -- and then still find a left tackle if Osemele takes the money and runs. Trading away Haloti Ngata and eating that dead money was more palatable knowing there were strong successors waiting along the defensive line. That isn't the case here if Osemele leaves; James Hurst did not show himself to be a viable left tackle starter.

The Ravens might just need to bank on the hope that Monroe, 29, can stay healthy and finally begin to live up to the five-year, $37.5 million deal he signed before the 2014 season. He simply hasn't been healthy enough to do it to this point, missing half of the Ravens 34 games over the past two years. The bet here is that Monroe stays and Osemele gets a big payday elsewhere.

The rest of the line should be strong with Jeremy Zuttah at center, Marshal Yanda at right guard and Rick Wagner at right tackle. John Urschel saw plenty of action at center with Zuttah hurt, and he could become the starter at left guard if Osemele leaves or moves to tackle.

However this line is configured, the Ravens need to improve their running game; that was expected to be a strength in 2015 but the Ravens ranked 24th in rushing yards per play (3.86). 

MORE RAVENS: Will Suggs, Dumervil be dynamic sack duo in 2016?

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What you need to know from the Ravens' 27-14 win over the Broncos


What you need to know from the Ravens' 27-14 win over the Broncos

The Ravens got a 27-14 win over the Denver Broncos in Week 3.

It was an interesting game for many reasons including Broncos star rookie running back, Phillip Lindsay, getting ejected in the first half for throwing a punch.

Here's what you need to know from Sunday's win:

— Rookie linebacker Kenny Young stepped in for injured C.J. Mosley and showed he will be a starter. Young had a critical sack on Broncos quarterback Case Keenum on a third down in the second and finished the day with 10 tackles. The Ravens defense as a whole was impressive. While they gave up a lot of short third downs, they stopped their fair share as well. Most importantly was the late fourth quarter interception from Patrick Onwuasor, while the Broncos were threatening in Ravens territory. 

— The Ravens are continuing to work on the run game, as something offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg emphasized after the team was averaging just 3.3-yards-per-carry heading into Week 3. Against the Broncos, the team averaged just 2.8 yard-per-carry, but put up two rushing touchdowns from Buck Allen and Alex Collins.

— It was a strange day for the Ravens' special teams when the Broncos blocked a punt and returned it for a touchdown on the first drive of the game. The day became even stranger when safety Justin Simmons, (illegally) leaped over long snapper Morgan Cox to block a field goal and the penalty went uncalled. Kicker Justin Tucker made up for it by hitting not one, but two 52-yard field goals, his eighth straight from beyond 50. 

Joe Flacco finished the day 25 of 40 for 277 yards and one touchdown, while helping improve the team to 12-12 in the red zone. The QBs most impressive play came late in the fourth on a third down hitting the gas pedal, to not only get the first down but stayed in-bounds to keep the clock running and sealing the team's victory. His connection with John Brown continues to be strong after finding the receiver for a 44-yard gain, too.

The Ravens are now 2-1 and head to Pittsburgh for a Sunday night matchup in Week 4. 


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Ravens vs. Broncos Week 3 inactives: C.J. Mosley not in action

Ravens vs. Broncos Week 3 inactives: C.J. Mosley not in action

The Ravens will have to battle with the Broncos in Week 3 without the services of linebacker C.J. Mosely, who was ruled out of action prior to the game.

Mosley exited the Ravens' Week 2 matchup vs. the Bengals in the first quarter and was later diagnosed with a bone bruise. With 10 days of rest, the three-time Pro Bowler was limited in Thursday's practice but did not practice Friday.

Also ruled out for Sunday's game is cornerback Anthony Averett (hamstring), defensive tackle Willie Henry (abdomen), tight end Hayden Hurst (foot), 


— CB Anthony Averett
— QB Robert Griffin III
— DT Willie Henry
— TE Hayden Hurst
— WR Jordan Lasley
— LB C.J. Mosley
— DT Michael Pierce

— QB Kevin Hogan
— LB Alexander Johnson
— CB Adam Jones
— G Sam Jones
— S Dymonte Thomas
— DE Demarcus Walker
— T Elijah Wilkinson