OWINGS MILLS, Md. -- Baltimore Ravens cornerback Jimmy Smith has been ruled out for Saturday's preseason game against the Washington Redskins, according to coach John Harbaugh.

Smith bruised his chest on the opening drive of Saturday's 37-30 preseason win at the Dallas Cowboys. Harbaugh said earlier in the week that he anticipated Smith playing in the third preseason game. But the Ravens are taking the cautious route with Smith.


"He probably could play if it was a regular-season game," Harbaugh said.

Harbaugh also ruled out cornerbacks Lardarius Webb (back) and Asa Jackson (ankle). It's interesting to note that Harbaugh said his top three cornerbacks wouldn't play, which insinuates that Jackson is above Chykie Brown on the depth chart.

With all of those cornerbacks sidelined, the Ravens will start Brown and Dominique Franks and use Terrence Brooks as the nickelback. They'll have to match up against the Redskins wide receivers DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garcon.

"It's going to be an opportunity for those guys to go against the best for a long period of time," Harbaugh said. "It's going to be a good chance to evaluate where we're at and give those guys an opportunity to prove they can play with the best."

Ravens' Thursday practice report

August, 21, 2014
Aug 21
OWINGS MILLS, Md. -- Baltimore Ravens cornerback Jimmy Smith was not present for Thursday's practice, which increases his chances of sitting out Saturday's preseason game against the Washington Redskins.

Ravens coach John Harbaugh said earlier this week that he anticipated Smith playing in the third preseason game. Smith bruised his chest in last week's game at Dallas.

Here is the complete attendance report ...

Injured, not practicing

CB Jimmy Smith (chest)

CB Lardarius Webb (back)

CB Asa Jackson (ankle)

OT Jah Reid (head)

NT Terrence Cody (hip)

G Will Rackley (head)

OT Brett Van Sloten (knee)

DE Kapron Lewis-Moore (season-ending Achilles)

DE Brent Urban (season-ending ACL)

CB Aaron Ross (Achilles, injured reserve)

Not practicing, likely day off

TE Owen Daniels (fatigue)

Not practicing, reason undisclosed

FB Shaun Chapas
OWINGS MILLS, Md. -- Defensive coordinator Dean Pees was asked whether he thought the Baltimore Ravens' defense could still be a top-five unit this season.

"I think we can be higher than that," Pees replied without any hesitation. "The sky is the limit."

The defense hasn't been as good as expected this preseason. There have been missed tackles, sloppy coverage and poor pursuit angles.

In three possessions against starting offenses this preseason, the Ravens have allowed two long drives that resulted in 10 points.

Part of the Ravens' problems have come from experimenting. Pees is calling some plays to see if defenders can hold up in certain situations.

Last week in Dallas, the Ravens blitzed safety Darian Stewart, which left cornerback Dominique Franks in one-on-one coverage with Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant. The Ravens watched Stewart get blocked and Bryant leapt high for a 31-yard touchdown catch.

Pees plans to continue to feel out what his players can and can't do in Saturday's preseason game against the Washington Redskins.

"I told [the media] last week that I’m going to call stuff -- I’m going to do it this game, too -- to see where we are in certain situations. That’s what [preseason] is all about," Pees said. "It’s not to prep so much for Washington -- it’s to prep us for Cincinnati and Pittsburgh and Cleveland."

What aggravated Pees the most was big plays, especially in the run game. Stopping the run has long been a source of pride for the Ravens. Last season, the Ravens gave up five runs longer than 20 yards, tied for the fewest in the NFL.

Against Dallas, the Ravens did well for the most part, holding the Cowboys to two yards or less on 15 runs.

"Unfortunately, there’s an asterisk to that, though, because there were four plays for over 10 yards, which you can’t have," Pees said. "We just have to eliminate that, and they’re easily eliminated. We just have to do it. But I really feel like we can be as good as we want to be."
OWINGS MILLS, Md. -- Long before the ALS ice bucket challenges dominated social media, the Baltimore Ravens have been reminded of the courage it takes to fight the devastating disease every time linebacker C.J. Mosley steps onto the field.

Mosley, the team's first-round pick, is wearing No. 57, a privilege not bestowed upon a Ravens player for the past six years.

It's more than a uniform number for the Ravens organization. It has become a symbol of O.J. Brigance, a member of the 2000 Super Bowl champions and the team's senior adviser of player development who has been battling amyotrophic lateral sclerosis for seven years.

[+] EnlargeO.J. Brigance
AP Photo/Steve RuarkO.J. Brigance, senior adviser of player development, shown Feb. 5, 2013, at a celebration for the Ravens' latest Super Bowl win.
Ravens coach John Harbaugh came up with the idea of letting Mosley wear No. 57 after the team selected him with the No. 17 overall pick in the draft.

"The time is right now because of what O.J. has meant to us here," Harbaugh said. "The timing was right to bring his legacy -- and he's living it still -- back to the forefront."

Harbaugh would only give that jersey number with Brigance's blessing and asked him about it in an email.

Wheelchair-bound and unable to use his voice, Brigance communicates through eye-recognition software, which allows him to choose a letter when he blinks at it.

"I was initially surprised when Coach Harbaugh asked about C. J. wearing 57," Brigance wrote. "It was such a great honor that he removed the number from circulation. Once he explained the character and tenacity of the man that he would like to wear it, I was honored to have him wear 57."

Brigance was an undersized but overachieving linebacker and special-teams player in the CFL and NFL. Wearing No. 57, he charged down the field on the opening kickoff to make first tackle in the Ravens' 2000 Super Bowl win.

In May 2007, when he was the team's director of player development, he was diagnosed with ALS, a progressive and fatal disease that shuts down nerve cells responsible for movement but doesn't impair the brain or any of the senses.

Told he had five years to live, Brigance is outliving the prognosis with each passing day.

Brigance, who will celebrate his 45th birthday next month, frequently comes to the Ravens' facility. He attends the linebacker meetings, watches practice and remains connected with the organization.

He has dedicated himself to being a guiding hand to the Ravens' players, preaching to them that adversity makes you stronger.

"I think we can all learn something from O.J.," said linebacker Bart Scott when he wore No. 57 for the Ravens from 2002 to 2008. "If I can be half the man, player and husband he is, I think I will accomplish a lot in my life."

No Ravens player had worn No. 57 after Scott left the Ravens. Like three others -- Ray Lewis' No. 52, Jonathan Ogden's No. 75 and Ed Reed's No. 20 -- Brigance's jersey number had unofficially been retired.

Though all those numbers are associated with greatness, the No. 57 is an inspirational touchstone. It's important for everyone to see it, a tribute to Brigance and his ongoing work through his ALS research foundation, the Brigance Brigade.

It was also important that the number was given to the right person.

"It makes me very proud to see not just someone wearing 57, but somebody wearing 57 who is a humble leader, who will strive for excellence in all he does," Brigance wrote. "Being a NFL player is a difficult undertaking. Talent might get you in the door, but character, discipline and fortitude will keep you there. From what I have seen and heard of C.J., he will have a bright future and will honor the 5-7."

Mosley, a starting inside linebacker for the Ravens, immediately tweeted that it was an honor when he was given Brigance's number in May.

"When I realized what this number meant to this community and to this team, it made me feel special," said Mosley, who knew he wouldn't be allowed to wear his college No. 32 as an NFL linebacker. "It's keeping his legacy going on. It's my job to keep that legacy going up."
It was expected to see many of the Baltimore Ravens take a tumble in ESPN.com's player rankings. That's what happens when a team goes from being Super Bowl champions to finishing 8-8.

The Ravens placed four players in the ranking of the 71st to 80th-best players on offense and defense. Three of them -- quarterback Joe Flacco, cornerback Lardarius Webb and wide receiver Torrey Smith -- fell an average of 25 spots.

Let's take a look at where the four Ravens players landed in the rankings ....


80. Joe Flacco, quarterback: His free-fall of 40 spots is no surprise. Flacco was the reigning Super Bowl Most Valuable Player last year, and he's coming off a season in which he was picked off 22 times. To be honest, I didn't expect him to make the top 100 list. Flacco, however, was ranked No. 1 on a recent ranking of the Ravens' players by local media.

78. Marshal Yanda, guard: This ranking is way too low for Yanda. He's one of the best guards in the NFL, and ESPN.com's rankings has him behind guards Ben Grubbs and Josh Sitton. At least Yanda was ranked this year. It's crazy that he was left off the list in 2013.

74. Torrey Smith, wide receiver: This is a little higher than where I thought Smith would land. He's one of the best deep threats in the game, but he struggles with consistency. There shouldn't be a 23-spot gap between Torrey Smith and Steve Smith, who is ranked No. 97.


75. Lardarius Webb, cornerback: He dropped 25 spots from a year ago. Webb is one of the better all-around corners in the game, and he doesn't get enough credit for his physical run support despite only being 5-foot-10, 182 pounds. If he stays healthy, Webb will bounce back into the top 50 next year.
The Baltimore Ravens are worth $1.5 billion according to Forbes, which puts them at No. 10 among NFL franchises.

The Ravens' worth increased 22 percent from last year, which kept them in the top 10 on the list for a second consecutive season. The Ravens ranked No. 9 last season but were surpassed this year by the San Francisco 49ers, who are opening a new privately financed stadium this season.

The Ravens' value was boosted by the team signing a 10-year, $60 million stadium naming rights extension with M&T Bank. The Ravens rank ahead of the Denver Broncos ($1.45 billion).

Here are where the other AFC North franchises rank: the Pittsburgh Steelers (14th, $1.35 billion), Cleveland Browns (22nd, $1.12 billion) and Cincinnati Bengals (27th, $990 million).

Forbes estimates the average value of an NFL franchise at $1.4 billion. The Dallas Cowboys lead all NFL franchises at $3.2 billion.
OWINGS MILLS, Md. -- As far as team-building activities go, the Baltimore Ravens went from visiting Gettysburg last year to seeing ScarJo on the big screen this year.

Ravens coach John Harbaugh surprised his team by shortening Wednesday's practice and taking the players to see the Scarlett Johansson flick, "Lucy."

Harbaugh said the movie was a unanimous choice by the leadership council, which is comprised of quarterback Joe Flacco, guard Marshal Yanda, linebackers Terrell Suggs and Daryl Smith, defensive tackle Haloti Ngata, wide receivers Torrey Smith and Steve Smith and punter Sam Koch.

"To be honest with you, I can't remember the name of what we're going to see," Harbaugh said after Wednesday's practice.

The Ravens began the day with a walk-through, where they focused on the mental part of the game. Then, Harbaugh rewarded his players by taking them to a nearby theater to see a movie that is described by IMDB.com as "a woman, accidentally caught in a dark deal, turns the tables on her captors and transforms into a merciless warrior evolved beyond human logic."

Hey, it's got to be better than "Let's Be Cops," right?
Let's take a look at how some players from the 2013 Baltimore Ravens team are faring with their new teams ...


New team: Indianapolis Colts. Position: Defensive tackle.

Contract: Five years, $33 million ($16 million guaranteed)

Comment: Jones is being lauded as a big reason why the Colts' first-team defense has held teams to 46 rushing yards on 16 carries (10 of which came on a quarterback scramble). He is starting up front alongside nose tackle Josh Chapman and defensive end Cory Redding.


New team: Tennessee Titans. Position: Offensive tackle.

Contract: Four years, $20 million ($9.35 million guaranteed)

Comment: Oher has been "very solid" at starting right tackle, according to ESPN.com Titans reporter Paul Kuharsky. Even though the Titans drafted Taylor Lewan in the first round, Oher has played so well that a battle for the starting job never emerged.


New team: Buffalo Bills. Position: Defensive back.

Contract: Four years, $16 million ($6 million guaranteed).

Comment: The Bills have so much depth at cornerback that Graham worked at safety with the first-team defense on Monday. Graham was the starting cornerback for the Ravens in the Super Bowl, and he is sorely missed in Baltimore with all the injuries at corner. "The Bills said in the spring that Graham could see time at safety and it may finally be coming to fruition," wrote ESPN.com Bills reporter Mike Rodak.


New team: Detroit Lions. Position: Safety.

Contract: Two years, $3.15 million ($750,000 guaranteed).

Comment: Ihedigbo is starting at safety alongside Glover Quin. "Ihedigbo has been one of the harder hitters during camp and that is part of why the Lions brought him in to replace Louis Delmas in the offseason," wrote ESPN.com Lions reporter Michael Rothstein.


New team: New York Giants. Position: Middle linebacker.

Contract: Two years, $4.5 million ($600,000 signing bonus)

Comment: McClain has been handling the starting middle linebacker job while Jon Beason works his way back from a foot injury suffered in the spring. "Once Beason returns, the most likely result is that McClain moves back to the strong side, but it's not out of the question to think [rookie Devon] Kennard could hold him off," wrote ESPN.com Giants reporter Dan Graziano.


New team: Carolina Panthers. Position: Tight end.

Contract: One year, $795,000 ($65,000 signing bonus)

Comment: Dickson hasn't done much this preseason, catching one pass for six yards. He is in the Panthers' offensive plans this season. "Putting him opposite Greg Olsen, the team's leading receiver in 2013, in a two-tight end set has opened possibilities that offensive coordinator Mike Shula didn't have last season," wrote ESPN.com Panthers reporter David Newton.

Case Keenum as Ravens' backup QB?

August, 20, 2014
Aug 20
Baltimore Ravens reporter Jamison Hensley discusses who will be the backup QB in Baltimore.
OWINGS MILLS, Md. -- The Baltimore Ravens have gone from the worst rushing team in franchise history to the NFL's top rushing team in the preseason.

Does this mean the Ravens' ground game is suddenly fixed? Are the Ravens going to be a top-10 rushing attack? Even coach John Harbaugh cautioned about jumping to such conclusions.

The Ravens have averaged an impressive 194 yards rushing -- 69 more than any other team in the league -- in what amounts to two meaningless games. What is real, however, is the Ravens' growing confidence.

Last season, the Ravens lost faith in their offensive line to open holes and their running backs to accelerate through them. It led to the Ravens running the pistol offense and spreading out teams with three wide receivers.

There is a different mindset this season. Harbaugh and offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak want this to be a run-first team again.

There is a different attitude so far this preseason. The offensive line, which has three different starters since the end of last season, has pushed defenders off the line. Running backs Ray Rice and Bernard Pierce are lighter and, as a result, more explosive.

"Obviously, with last year not running the ball as much -- and that being on the offensive line -- [it] is something that we take pride in," said left guard Kelechi Osemele, who missed the final seven games last season after having back surgery. "So if we can run the ball early this year, that should continue to build our confidence throughout the season.”

Skeptics will point to the fact that the Ravens gained all of these yards against a beat-up 49ers front and an unproven Cowboys defense. But the numbers are still gaudy when compared to how the Ravens struggled last season.

The Ravens have gained 388 yards rushing in two preseason games. It took the Ravens until the fifth regular-season game last season to produce that number of rushing yards.

The biggest difference from last season can be summed up on Rice's first carry in Dallas. The offensive line got the Cowboys' front moving too hard to the left side of the field, and Rice made one cut to go untouched for 18 yards. It's difficult to remember many runs last year when the backs broke the line of scrimmage without being hit.

It's not just Rice who's having success. Pierce is averaging 5.4 yards per carry, and rookie Lorenzo Taliaferro is leading the NFL in rushing with 130 yards.

"I feel good about the run game so far, and we temper it with the fact that it’s two games in the preseason, and what matters is what you do when it counts," Harbaugh said. "[There is] a long way to go to be where we need to be to have the kind of success that we’re hoping to have.”
OWINGS MILLS, Md. -- Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco wasn't shocked when Cleveland Browns rookie Johnny Manziel extended his middle finger toward the Washington Redskins' bench in Monday night's preseason game. Actually, he's surprised by the attention it's received.

"I think we've all seen the middle finger before and we should get over it," Flacco said Tuesday.

Manziel may have been reacting to what he heard from the Redskins' bench, because he extended his middle finger over his right shoulder and into the direction of the Washington sideline.

Flacco said he never got harassed to the point where he lashed out like Manziel. But Flacco also said he never dealt with the amount of pressure that's been placed on the Browns' first-round pick.

Instead of criticizing Manziel, Flacco was more empathetic toward him.

"When people say stuff to you, what do you do? You react," Flacco said. "And you usually react in a way that you might not necessarily want to or not necessarily always react that way. I hate to say it, and you don't want to make it that way. But a football field is a place where there is a lot of emotion. Sometimes, those things happen. Obviously, you want to limit to the point where no one else sees it."

Flacco said he's surprised that these types of incidents don't happen more often in football.

"When bullets are flying, it can be pretty crazy out there," he said. "When you watch it on TV and even when we got back and watch it on film, you don't account for all the things that are actually going on out there. Guys are tired as can be. People are saying things to each other. So, that kind of stuff can happen. You don't want it to, obviously. But I always think those things are blown out of proportion and they want something to talk about. This is it today."

Flacco is known for his low-key demeanor. That's why he's known as Joe Cool in Baltimore.

When asked if he had ever extended the middle finger on a football field, Flacco said, "Yeah, I flipped [linebacker Terrell] Suggs off the other day in practice."
OWINGS MILLS, Md. -- Baltimore Ravens cornerback Chykie Brown has struggled mightily at times during training camp. But coach John Harbaugh sees progress from Brown, especially how he finished Saturday's preseason game at Dallas.

"Chykie acquitted himself very well," Harbaugh said.

Brown, who is filling in for injured the Lardarius Webb (back) with the first-team defense, is ranked 136th by Pro Football Focus. His low rating is mainly due to the two penalties called on him early in the preseason opener.

Brown, though, has held up well in coverage since those miscues. Only two of seven passes thrown in his direction have been completed (28.5 percent). The longest pass completed against him has been 7 yards.

He even showed some ball skills in Dallas when he knocked away an underthrown Brandon Weeden pass along the sideline.

The biggest problem for Brown is being overanxious, which often puts him out of position.

"So that’s something he has to learn, just [to] calm down," Harbaugh said. "He’s long. He doesn’t need to overreact. But the good thing that we saw him do is come back there and play the ball so well and get it out. That’s something that is a big step for him."

With Webb ruled out the rest of the preseason, Brown gets the opportunity to show continued improvement. The Ravens are still hoping that Webb and Jimmy Smith will be healthy enough to start the regular-season opener. The team would then need to decide whether Brown or Asa Jackson will be the No. 3 cornerback.
Offensive tackle Jah Reid joins the Baltimore Ravens' list of no-shows during the media viewing portion of Tuesday's practice.

Reid wasn't on the field a day after coach John Harbaugh said he had earned the backup tackle job. He missed most of the offseason workouts with a calf injury.

The Ravens won't address injuries until after practice.

Here is the complete attendance report ...

Injured, not practicing

CB Jimmy Smith (chest)

CB Lardarius Webb (back)

CB Asa Jackson (ankle)

NT Terrence Cody (hip)

G Will Rackley (head)

OT Brett Van Sloten (knee)

DE Kapron Lewis-Moore (season-ending Achilles)

DE Brent Urban (season-ending ACL)

CB Aaron Ross (season-ending Achilles)

Not practicing, likely day off

WR Torrey Smith

WR Steve Smith

DE Chris Canty

TE Owen Daniels (fatigue)

Not practicing, reason undisclosed

OT Jah Reid

FB Shaun Chapas
A look at how the Baltimore Ravens' 2014 draft class has fared halfway through the preseason:

C.J. Mosley, inside linebacker: After an impressive preseason opener, the first-round pick took a step back in Week 2. Mosley was sluggish in coverage and missed a couple of tackles while defending the run. For the most part, Mosley has been strong in training camp, showing athleticism and good instincts. He leads the Ravens with 10 tackles this preseason.

Timmy Jernigan, defensive tackle: The second-round pick has been among the top rookies in camp. He has repeatedly broken through the line and got penetration up the middle. That hasn't translated to the two preseason games. Jernigan doesn't have a tackle in 47 snaps.

Terrence Brooks, safety: The third-round pick has moved up the depth chart, playing nickelback with the starters and free safety with the second-team defense. Brooks hasn't broken up a pass in the preseason, but he has a quarterback hit off a blitz.

Crockett Gillmore, tight end: The third-round pick hasn't stood out in training camp. He has just one catch for three yards in the preseason. Gillmore's role could be expanded if Owen Daniels' legs can't hold up for the season.

Brent Urban, defensive end: The fourth-round pick tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee on July 30 and is out for the season. Urban was expected to back up defensive end Chris Canty.

Lorenzo Taliaferro, running back: The fourth-round pick leads the Ravens with 130 yards rushing this preseason. His physical style of running has caught the coaching staff's attention. Taliaferro is looking to be the primary backup to Bernard Pierce when Ray Rice is serving his two-game suspension.

John Urschel, guard: The fifth-round pick delivered a key block in Taliaferro's touchdown run Saturday in Dallas. Urschel has moved up to the second-team offense, replacing Ryan Jensen at right guard and increasing his chances of landing one of the final spots on the 53-man roster.

Keith Wenning, quarterback: The sixth-round pick has improved in camp, although it was hard to tell by his performance in the second preseason game. He was 2 of 4 for 23 yards, fumbling on his first pass attempt (which led to a touchdown). Wenning is expected to go on the practice squad as the No. 3 quarterback.

Michael Campanaro, wide receiver: The seventh-round pick finished camp strong and is in position to make the final roster. His quickness and route-running make him perfectly suited for slot receiver. Campanaro could develop into a productive returner as well.
In Saturday's preseason game, Joe Flacco's perfectly placed, 19-yard toss to wide receiver Torrey Smith in the end zone proved what a difference a year can make.

One of the worst red zone offenses last season, the Baltimore Ravens have shown great efficiency inside the 20-yard line this preseason. While it's too early to make any definitive statements about Gary Kubiak's new-look offense, the numbers suggest a reversal of fortune might be in store in the red zone.

In two preseason games, the Ravens have scored four touchdowns in six red zone trips, a 66.6 percent success rate. Flacco and the first-team offense are perfect, reaching the end zone on both of their possessions inside the 20.

This is a drastic shift from last season, when the Ravens scored touchdowns on 46.2 percent of their red zone trips. Only the Jacksonville Jaguars were worse at 43.9 percent.

"It’s easy to say you’re getting better in practice or even in the preseason, but you have to go out there and make it happen," Smith said. "There is one week you might go perfect; the next week you might need [kicker Justin] Tucker the whole time. So, you have to go out there and get it done.”

Kubiak's offense has a track record of being efficient in the red zone. In his eight seasons in Houston, the Texans ranked No. 11 in red zone efficiency (53.6 percent).

The touchdown pass to Smith was a little unusual for a Kubiak offense. A majority of the Texans' scoring throws have gone to tight ends since 2011.

Over the past three seasons, 23 of the Texans' 39 red zone touchdown passes have went to Owen Daniels (9), Garrett Graham (6), Joel Dreessen (4), James Casey (3), Ryan Griffin (1). That's a 58.9 percent clip.

In other words, Ravens tight end Dennis Pitta should draw interest from fantasy football owners.