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Ravens struggle to tackle pass rush


Ravens struggle to tackle pass rush

The Ravensoffensive line figured to have some growing pains this season, with rookieKelechi Osemele at right tackle and a first-year player, Ramon Harewood, atleft guard.Those pains wereevident on Sunday in Kansas City, as quarterback Joe Flacco was sacked fourtimes, matching a season high set in the previous game against Cleveland. Osemele andMichael Oher, moved to left tackle this season, both struggled to keep pacewith the Chiefs outside speed rushers, Justin Houston and Tambi Hali. Each hada pair of sacks. In addition, Osemele was whistled for two false startpenalties as he jumped the gun to drop into pass protection.Ravens coach JohnHarbaugh described the play of his two tackles as "inconsistent.""Its goingto happen sometimes on the road against two excellent pass rushers," hesaid.
"We gotedged once or twice one-on-one," Harbaugh added. "We got beat insideonce or twice one time on what we call a me-game where the end goes firstand the tackle comes around second. So, those are the things we are goingto definitely have to work on.The Ravens,though, obviously like the lineup with Oher on the left side and Osemele on theright side more than last year's lineup, which featured McKinnie on the leftand Oher on the right. McKinnie, after an eventful summer, is still with thesquad but has hardly seen the field. Swapping outMcKinnie for Osemele makes the Ravens younger and quicker, a plus for their no-huddle offense, but the Ravens stillwere beaten to the edge a few times. They can expect asimilar test this week, as they stare across the line at Cowboys All-Prolinebacker DeMarcus Ware, who has twice led the NFL in sacks.Ware, afirst-round pick out of Troy in 2005, ranked second in the league with 19.5sacks last season after recording an NFL-best 15.5 sacks in 2010 and 20 in2008. So far this season, Ware ranks eighth in the league with five sacks,which puts him on pace for 20 more.Osemele, Oher andthe rest of the line will have their hands full.

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The Ravens' future isn't Joe Flacco - but they don't want to face him in the AFC

The Ravens' future isn't Joe Flacco - but they don't want to face him in the AFC

The Baltimore Ravens made it clear after their Wild Card loss that Lamar Jackson would be their quarterback going forward, bringing the somewhat official end to Joe Flacco's 11-year career with the team.

So what's next for the Super Bowl MVP?

Retirement after a fruitful NFL career is an option, but in a league where teams are desperate for a seasoned veteran, Flacco could find himself with another affluent contract. The Ravens, too, could get something nice in return.

"Let's start with a second-round pick," former Redskins GM Charley Casserly said. "It's negotiable, we're going to keep him in pencil. Who am I not going to trade him to? Well, I may not have a choice. I may only have one trade pick. I don't want him in the AFC. I don't want this guy costing me a playoff position next year."

There are several AFC teams in need of a QB, too. The Miami Dolphins and Jacksonville Jaguars would jump at the chance to get Flacco under center.

But it may not be that easy for the Ravens.

"If the team wants to renegotiate his contract, Flacco controls the trade," Casserly adds. "He can simply say, 'no' [and the] Ravens may have to just release him and let Joe go his own way." 

The former GM adds that he expects something to be settled come March. Why? Casserly places Teddy Bridgewater and Nick Foles as hotter free agency pickups for QB needy teams, and with the 2019 NFL Draft not offering a ton in terms of first-round quarterbacks, the Ravens may have to act fast in order to get a return on their investment. 

One team that is definitely in need of a QB1 is the Washington Redskins. The idea could interest Flacco as his family of seven could stay put in the DMV area. But can the Redskins afford Flacco? 

The team is facing a huge cap charge with Alex Smith, whose career is in question after suffering a catastrophic leg injury, and a rookie they can mold could make more sense than a 34-year-old Flacco.


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Ravens reportedly agree to a deal keeping John Harbaugh in Baltimore long term

USA Today Sports

Ravens reportedly agree to a deal keeping John Harbaugh in Baltimore long term

The Ravens have reportedly agreed in principle to a new contract extension with head coach John Harbaugh, a move already being praised by national pundits everywhere. 

It was nearly a month ago that the Ravens announced Harbaugh would be returning as the team’s head coach in 2019, which was noteworthy considering his status as a potential lame duck head coach.

In the same release, the team announced they were working towards a contract extension with Harbaugh, whose current deal was set to expire next year.

Despite reports from national NFL insiders, including Jason La Canfora and Peter King, that Harbaugh might prefer to hit free agency as a highly sought-after head coach after the 2019 season, it appears the Ravens will keep him in Baltimore for the foreseeable future. 

This news comes on the heels of a busier-than-usual coaching carousel, with a quarter of the 32 NFL teams changing head coaches in the last month, including two AFC North rivals. Harbaugh almost certainly would have been the cream of the crop among coaching free agents no matter when he became available, so the Ravens were looking to lock him up long term.

After a tough November home loss to the Steelers that put the team at 4-5, Harbaugh was asked about his job security, and he remained steadfast and confident.

"I've never been someone who's worried about keeping a job," Harbaugh said. "It's always been, for me, [about] doing the job. I've got a bunch of great coaches and a bunch of great players that bust their tails every day to do the best job they can. I feel really good about the way this team has been coached for the last 11 years, and for the last number of weeks we've been in the season. So, there are no regrets. Never been any regrets here with me."

After that game, the Ravens rattled off six wins in seven games to make the playoffs, and many players credited Harbaugh with keeping the team together. It was prior to Week 16 when the front office announced Harbaugh would be returning no matter how the season ended, but the strong finish and AFC North title certainly made the decision easier.

A coach with a special teams background, Harbaugh is an anomaly in the current era of young, offensive-minded head coaches. He won Super Bowl XLVII in 2013, and holds a 104-72 career record in Baltimore.

The terms of the new deal have not yet been released, but it will be interesting how many years the team is committing to Harbaugh.