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Will Painter stay or go?


Will Painter stay or go?

The Ravens gameat St. Louis on Thursday represented the last chance for bubble players to maketheir case they belong on the team's 53-man roster, which must be set by Fridayat 9 p.m.With a fewexceptions, players did not make a strong case for themselves in the Ravens'31-17 loss, a performance that overall was sluggish from start to finish.
Joe Flacco, likemost of the Ravens starters, sat this one out. The Ravens used both theirbackup quarterbacks equally -- with Tyrod Taylor playing the first half andCurtis Painter the second half. Taylor is assured of making the team as theRavens No. 2 quarterback, but Painter was playing for his future tonight. After the game,Ravens coach John Harbaugh said that no decision has been made yet on whether tokeep two quarterbacks or three. What he is really saying is they haven'tdecided whether to keep Painter. The Ravens have not kept three quarterbackssince 2009. Painter wasuneven against St. Louis, as he has been at other times in the preseason. Hefinished 19-for-31 for 193 yards, with two touchdowns and three interceptions.One of the interceptions was airmailed over the head of rookie receiver DorianGraham, but the other two went off the hands of receivers -- one off BobbyRainey and the other off Tandon Doss.
In his corner,Painter has Ravens quarterbacks coach Jim Caldwell, the coach in Indianapolislast season who gave Painter the Colts' starting job in their post-PeytonManning world. The Ravens wouldalso like to work the mobile Taylor into their offense in other ways a la theWildcat, so the risk of injury increases. That would seem to argue for keepinga third quarterback. The worst-case scenario would be Taylor going out with aninjury on a Wildcat-type play, and then Joe Flacco being injured later in thesame game.But workingagainst Painter are Flacco's durability and the Ravens' needs elsewhere. Flaccohas proven to be one of the most durable quarterbacks in the league, startingevery game the Ravens have played since he was drafted in 2008. By keepingPainter, the Ravens would need to part with someone else -- likely a reservedefensive back or linebacker who sees action on special teams. Those specialteamers will contribute -- whether it be punt team, kickoff coverage, kickreturn -- every game. Keeping a thirdquarterback is, essentially, a luxury, and judging by the Rams game, it's aluxury the Ravens just don't have right now.
Does Painter stay or go? We'll know for sure by Friday night.

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

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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.


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Youth movement leads Ravens’ list of MVPs of 2018 season

Youth movement leads Ravens’ list of MVPs of 2018 season

The Baltimore Ravens' 2018-19 season certainly wasn't boring.

A change at starting quarterback while displaying the NFL's No. 1 defense for just the second time in team history en route to a playoff run highlighted their campaign. 

With rookies on the rise and veterans still at the top of their game, who on the Ravens' roster had MVP performances in 2018?

Offensive MVP: QB Lamar Jackson

Coming in for an injured Joe Flacco in Week 11, Jackson pulled the Ravens out of a four-game losing streak and led the team to a 6-1 record down the stretch. His 695 rushing yards is the most by all NFL quarterbacks in 2018 and also ranks 11th most by a quarterback in NFL single-season-history. 

The Ravens' leader for the foreseeable future, Jackson landed the team in their first postseason appearance in three seasons and rekindled fandom in the city of Baltimore. 

Defensive MVP: CB Marlon Humphrey

Humphrey followed up his strong rookie season with an even stronger sophomore season. Nursing a groin injury for part of it, Humphrey led the team with 15 passes defended, 37 total tackles, two interceptions and one forced fumble. 

Against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 15, the cornerback produced a career-high four passes defended and one interception in the 20-12 win. Through 14 games, Humphrey proved he can matchup with some of the best receivers in the league while slowly emerging as a leader of the defense.

Special Teams MVP: Justin Tucker

He's the most reliable guy in Baltimore, finishing the 2018 season with a franchise-record 141 points for the third-consecutive season.

Named AFC Special Teams Player of the Month in September and November, Tucker was snubbed from a Pro Bowl appearance after making 36 of 39 field goal attempts. 

Unsung Hero: RB Gus Edwards

Beep, beep. Make way for Gus 'the bus'' Edwards. 

Alongside Jackson, the undrafted rookie out of Rutgers emerged in their Week 11 matchup against the Bengals rushing for 115 yards on 17 carries and his first-career touchdown. Through seven weeks, Edwards helped take the Ravens' 27th ranked run game to No. 2 in the league. An introvert in the locker room but an extrovert on the field, Edwards became the Ravens' second rookie in franchise history to post back-to-back 100-yard rushing games in Week 11 and Week 12.

With Greg Roman being promoted to offensive coordinator, expect to see Gus 'the bus' pounding the field in 2019.