The Baltimore Ravens made a change at backup tight end, signing Phillip Supernaw from the practice squad on Saturday and waiving Ryan Taylor.

With Owen Daniels out with a knee injury, Supernaw will back up new starter Crockett Gillmore, a rookie third-round pick.

Supernaw was on the Ravens' 53-man roster for two weeks earlier this season and was active for the Week 4 game against Carolina. He didn't have a catch.

He has experience in Gary Kubiak's offense having played in Houston last season.
It's time to click open our weekly Baltimore Ravens mailbag ...

@jamisonhensley: Will Hill looked like the best safety out on the field for the Ravens, and it was his first game for them. He played 22 snaps, which was half of what starting free safety Darian Stewart received. Stewart hasn't played as poorly in his last three games, but he's a backup-type player. He's given up 16 receptions (tied for eighth most among safeties) and he's missed five tackles, including one in each of his past three games. Hill is an impact player who has the best coverage skills of all of the Ravens' safeties. I would expect the Ravens to expand Hill's role each week. It should be a matter of time before he is a starter.

@jamisonhensley: Jacoby Jones will remain the Ravens' returner Sunday, according to special teams coordinator Jerry Rosburg. But the Ravens' patience and confidence has to be wearing thin after Jones' second mishap in three weeks as the punt returner. If the Ravens were to bench Jones, there are three options: Lardarius Webb, rookie seventh-round pick Michael Campanaro or practice squad player Deonte Thompson. Given Webb's injury history and lack of depth at corner, I'm not sure if the Ravens would want to risk putting Webb in that position. With Thompson, the Ravens would have to cut someone to get him on the 53-man roster. So, it would seem like Campanaro would be the next man up. You can see him being the long-term slot receiver and returner. But there is hesitation to put a rookie in such a high-pressure job like returner.

@jamisonhensley: Darian Stewart signed a one-year, $1.3 million deal with the Ravens this offseason, so he will be an unrestricted free agent after this season. It's highly unlikely he'll return as a starter. The Ravens will go with either Terrence Brooks or Will Hill (who will also be a UFA) at free safety in 2015. Stewart was considered a safety net in case a young safety (which turned out to be Brooks) wasn't ready to start immediately. The Ravens felt Stewart was a better fit for their defense than James Ihedigbo, who went to the Detroit Lions in free agency. Stewart, who has history with secondary coach Steve Spagnuolo, may want to return but he'll probably have to accept a reduced role.

@jamisonhensley: Joe Flacco has to be considered in the second tier of the upper echelon of current quarterbacks. Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers and Drew Brees have clearly separated themselves with their wins, passing numbers and control of the offense. They elevate the play of everyone around them. Flacco would be in the next group that would include Andrew Luck, Ben Roethlisberger, Philip Rivers, Matt Ryan and Russell Wilson. Where he falls in that tier is up for debate. I would have him near the top of that group because he's the winningest quarterback since he entered the league in 2008 and he's won a Super Bowl. But of all those quarterbacks, Luck is the one who seems closest to take that next step. 

By the numbers: Ravens-Bengals

October, 25, 2014
Oct 25
A look at some interesting numbers heading into Sunday's game between the Baltimore Ravens and Cincinnati Bengals:

1 -- Wins by the Ravens in their last five road games in the AFC North. Their last win in Cincinnati was 2011.

2 -- Sacks by Terrell Suggs in his last nine games against the Cincinnati Bengals. His last one came in 2011.

4 -- Touchdowns by Torrey Smith in his past four games after going seven games without one.

6.4 -- Yards per carry by Justin Forsett in the season opener against the Bengals. He leads the NFL with a 5.8-yard average.

8 -- Touchdowns by the Ravens in their last five trips to Cincinnati.

9 -- Three-and-outs by the Ravens offense in 76 series. That rate of 11.8 percent is the second-best in the NFL (the Miami Dolphins rank first at 9.6 percent).

10 -- Touchdowns allowed by the Ravens this season, tied with the Detroit Lions for the fewest in the NFL.

15 -- Passes defensed by Lardarius Webb in nine games against the Cincinnati Bengals.

16.5 -- Sacks by Elvis Dumervil since joining the Ravens in 2013. That's the fifth-most in the NFL over the past 23 games.

71.8 -- Joe Flacco's passer rating in 13 games against the Bengals. It's his lowest rating against AFC North teams.

Union: NFL, Ravens not cooperating

October, 24, 2014
Oct 24

The attorney leading the NFL players' union investigation into the Ray Rice domestic violence case told The Associated Press the league and the Baltimore Ravens have not been cooperating.

Richard Craig Smith told the AP on Friday night that the NFL has not provided documents and witnesses requested by the NFL Players Association's investigators, while the Ravens have refused any cooperation with similar requests.

"I am interested in the facts, and if we get cooperation from all the parties that were involved, we will have an understanding of what happened," Smith said. "We cannot accept public statements that call for transparency, candor and openness, and then not allow the investigators to do their jobs."

The union's investigation, like a similar probe organized by the NFL, isn't a law enforcement inquiry, and the parties involved aren't under any legal obligation to comply with requests. The league and the union, however, have each said separately that they want answers in the case.

A spokesman for the NFL couldn't comment immediately when reached Friday night, while a spokesman for the Ravens didn't immediately return a phone message.

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell suspended Rice indefinitely Sept. 8 for violating the league's personal conduct policy, once video of Rice hitting his then-fiancee was released publicly. The Ravens also released Rice at that point.

(Read full post)

OWINGS MILLS, Md. -- The loss of tight end Owen Daniels couldn't have come at a more inopportune time.

 The Baltimore Ravens are playing for first place in the AFC North and are going against a Cincinnati Bengals defense that has been repeatedly beaten by tight ends.

Over the past three weeks, the Bengals have allowed tight ends to average 121 yards receiving and score four touchdowns. In the season opener, Daniels and Dennis Pitta combined for 14 catches for 117 yards against the Bengals.

So, with Daniels out at least one game, who steps up in his absence? Crockett Gillmore will become the third Ravens rookie to start a game on offense this season, but he doesn't come across as a player who wants to become the next Jimmy Graham.

"I'm going to do what I can in the pass game, but I know why I'm here, and I'm going to continue to block," Gillmore said earlier this week.

The Ravens seem to have more confidence in him in the passing game than Gillmore himself. After not getting a pass thrown his way for the first five games, Gillmore has caught all three passes thrown in his direction the past two weeks.

"He gets better every day as a receiver," coach John Harbaugh said. "He’s not the fastest guy in the world -- not to be confused with a speed merchant -- but he has good hands. He has very good body control. The big tight ends are really valuable in this league because they have catch radius and they can get away from a defender. It’s hard to cover them one-on-one. That’d be a big asset for us if he could keep growing that way.”

Still, no one should be surprised if fullback Kyle Juszczyk is the Ravens player who fills Daniels' void in the passing game.

He hasn't made the impact as many expected (eight catches for 95 yards and one touchdown), but he is a more polished receiver than Gillmore and he can stretch defenses down the seam. A fourth-round pick in 2013, Juszczyk led the Ravens with 10 catches for 90 yards in the preseason.

The other option for the Ravens is to use more three-wide receiver sets. But teams haven't fared well when trying to spread out the Bengals' defense. Cincinnati has held quarterbacks to the fifth-worst passer rating (73.7) when offenses line up three or more wide receivers.

Tight ends such as Rob Gronkowski, Greg Olsen, Dwayne Allen and Coby Fleener have had a great deal of success going against the Bengals' linebackers. The Ravens can only hope Juszczyk and Gillmore will continue that trend.
OWINGS MILLS, Md. -- On the day the Baltimore Ravens announced that tight end Owen Daniels is out for Sunday's game, they essentially revealed that the starting left side of their offensive line will return.

Offensive tackle Eugene Monroe and guard Kelechi Osemele are both considered probable for the first-place battle at Cincinnati. They haven't been on the field together for the past four weeks.

Monroe and Osemele, both of whom are dealing with knee injuries, had full participation in every practice this week.

Defensive end Chris Canty, who is out for Sunday's game, has been cleared "to start training heavily," coach John Harbaugh said. "It's a matter of how fast he can get back in shape." Canty will miss his fourth straight game.

As for the Cincinnati Bengals, wide receiver A.J. Green is doubtful with a toe injury. The rest of the injury report:

Out: TE Owen Daniels (knee, did not practice Friday), DE Chris Canty (wrist, did not practice Friday).

Probable: OT Eugene Monroe (knee, full participation), G Kelechi Osemele (knee, full participation).

Owen Daniels has knee procedure

October, 24, 2014
Oct 24

OWINGS MILLS, Md. -- Baltimore Ravens tight end Owen Daniels will miss at least one game after undergoing a clean-up procedure on his left knee, coach John Harbaugh said Friday.

Daniels, the Ravens' second-leading receiver, hadn't practiced all week. The news was surprising, though, because it came one day after offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak said Daniels was fine.

"As the week went on, his knee was not really progressing the way we wanted it to," Harbaugh said.

Harbaugh declared Daniels out for Sunday's first-place showdown against the Cincinnati Bengals.

"After that, he has a chance to come back," Harbaugh said. "So, it'll be week to week after that and it won't be many weeks at all. It could actually be next week. That's an optimistic approach, but it could happen."

The Ravens will start their third tight end, and it's only the eighth game of the season. Dennis Pitta went down with a season-ending hip injury in Week 3.

Rookie third-round pick Crockett Gillmore is expected to replace Daniels. He is known more as a blocking tight end, but the Ravens have been impressed with his progression as a receiver. In his last two games, Gillmore has three catches for 29 yards.

"I've prepared to be the guy from the first day I was here, following Owen and Dennis around," Gillmore said. "They've given me a great opportunity to step into their shoes."

Daniels is the sixth starter to miss a game with an injury for the Ravens, joining Pitta, left tackle Eugene Monroe

(Read full post)

The first-place Baltimore Ravens are the better team on paper than the Cincinnati Bengals. They’re the hotter team and they’re the healthier one. But the X-factor is Cincinnati’s Paul Brown Stadium.

While Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco has played and won in tougher atmospheres, he has repeatedly struggled in Cincinnati. He has a 2-4 record there, which are as many losses as he’s had in Pittsburgh and Cleveland combined. Flacco has thrown five touchdowns and nine interceptions in Cincinnati for a 62.0 passer rating.

The Bengals certainly do not have the dominant defense it has had in recent seasons. They're 30th against the run and 27th against the pass. Where the Bengals remain strong is in the red zone, where their defense is ranked No. 10. The Ravens' inability to punch the ball in the end zone will be the difference.

My prediction: Bengals 20, Ravens 16

My record this year (straight up): 6-1
OWINGS MILLS, Md. -- One of the more underrated reasons why the Baltimore Ravens are in first place in the AFC North is the immediate contributions made by their young players.

The Ravens' rookies have played a total of 1,295 snaps in the first seven games of the season. That ranks as the eighth-most in the NFL, according to ESPN Stats & Information. Of those seven teams ahead of the Ravens, only two (the Green Bay Packers and Carolina Panthers) drafted after the Ravens in the 2014 draft.

Inside linebacker C.J. Mosley, a first-round pick, is a leading candidate for NFL defensive rookie of the year and is the only defender in the league to record at least 60 tackles, an interception, a fumble recovery and a forced fumble. Defensive tackle Timmy Jernigan (second round), safety Terrence Brooks (third round) and tight end Crockett Gillmore (third round) are playing at least 20 snaps each in supporting roles.

Guard John Urschel (fifth round) has started the past two games in place of the injured Kelechi Osemele, and others have had their moments as well. Running back Lorenzo Taliaferro (fourth round) gained 91 yards rushing in Week 3, and wide receiver Michael Campanaro (seventh round) scored a touchdown on his first career catch two weeks ago.

The only players from this year's draft class who haven't played a down for the Ravens are defensive end Brent Urban (fourth round), who is on injured reserve, and quarterback Keith Wenning (sixth round), who is on the practice squad.

It's not just the draft class that is making an impact. Two undrafted rookies -- offensive tackle James Hurst and linebacker Zachary Orr -- have stepped up for the Ravens, too.

Hurst became the first undrafted rookie to start at left tackle in Ravens history, filling in for the injured Eugene Monroe for the past four weeks. Orr has been one of the Ravens' core special-teams players. Of the Ravens' 18 special-teams tackles this season, seven have come from rookies. The Ravens have had an undrafted rookie make their season-opening roster in 11 consecutive years, which is tied for the third-longest current streak in the NFL.

In last Sunday's victory over the Atlanta Falcons, nine of the 46 players who suited up for the Ravens were rookies. In comparison, there were a combined nine players from the 2012 and 2013 draft classes who played last Sunday.

For the season, rookies have accounted for 12.9 percent of the snaps on offense and defense.
Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco has gone from posting his worst passer rating for a season (73.1) to his best (97.2) in a matter of one season.

Some of Flacco's turnaround is the result of the new system installed by offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak. The other factor is the quality of the players around him.

Flacco's supporting cast was rated as the fourth-best in the NFL by Pro Football Focus. A case could be made for the Ravens' having the most improved supporting cast.

This is what Pro Football Focus had on the Ravens:
Steve Smith has brought a nasty streak to the offense and is a legitimate No. 1 receiver, which has helped make Joe Flacco look a little more like the quarterback who won the Super Bowl two seasons ago and a little less like the guy we have seen most of the rest of his career.

Flacco's offensive line -- which featured three different starters since the end of last season -- has given up eight sacks (compared to 20 at this point last season). Justin Forsett has been the surprising spark plug for the league's No. 7 rushing attack (it ranked No. 30 last season).

Plus, there's more viable targets in the passing game. Of Flacco's 156 completions, 104 have gone to players who weren't on last season's roster. In fact, the top three receivers (Smith, Owen Daniels and Forsett) are all newcomers.
The Baltimore Ravens are going to extend their first-place lead in the AFC North over the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday, according to most of the ESPN prognosticators.

Of the 13 experts, 10 picked the Ravens to beat the slumping Bengals. The point spread for this game is even. The Ravens are looking to start the season 6-2 for the fourth time under coach John Harbaugh (2010, 2011 and 2012).

Here are the official ESPN predictions (with their prediction record for the Ravens in parentheses):

Eric Allen (6-1): Ravens
Mike Golic (6-1): Ravens
Merril Hoge (4-3): Bengals
Ron Jaworski (5-2): Ravens
KC Joyner (6-1): Bengals
Chris Mortensen (5-2): Ravens
Adam Schefter (5-2): Bengals
Mark Schlereth (4-3): Ravens
Seth Wickersham (5-2): Ravens
Tom Jackson (6-1): Ravens
Keyshawn Johnson (5-2): Ravens
Mike Ditka (4-3): Ravens
Cris Carter (6-1): Ravens

NFL Cold Hard Facts

October, 23, 2014
Oct 23


Mark Schlereth on DeMarco Murray's season, the Eagles vs. the Cardinals matchup and the key to the Ravens' success.
OWINGS MILLS, Md. -- Baltimore Ravens returner Jacoby Jones continues to get support from his coaching staff even though he has made two critical mistakes on punts in the past three weeks.

"The reason we have him back there is we really feel confident he's going to make a play for us if we block it well," special teams coordinator Jerry Rosburg said. "And our players feel the same way. So, based on that, we look forward to blocking for him again."

Jones muffed a punt three weeks ago in Indianapolis, where he got a late start breaking on the ball and then couldn't get out of the way of it. But Ravens defensive tackle Haloti Ngata intercepted a pass three plays later.

Last Sunday, Jones attempted a catch a punt with an Atlanta Falcons defender on top off him instead of signaling fair catch, and he gave the ball to Atlanta at the Ravens' 37-yard line. Then, after an Elvis Dumervil sack, Falcons kicker Matt Bryant hit a 57-yard attempt off the crossbar.

While it has probably helped Jones that teams haven't converted his mistakes into points, there is something else working in his favor.

"Jacoby's got a track record that is really important to us," Rosburg said. "He's been an impact player for as long as he's been here. His picture is on the wall in a lot of different places [in the team facility]."

Since Jones joined the Ravens in 2012, he has scored five touchdowns off returns (four off kickoffs and one off a punt). Only one returner (Trindon Holliday, six touchdowns) has reached the end zone more.

But Jones hasn't made the same impact this year, especially on punts. He'll look to get on track against a Cincinnati Bengals team that ranks third in punt coverage and 25th on kickoffs. His priority, though, has to be keeping his hands on the ball.

"We have a phrase in our meeting room: Ball security is everybody's responsibility," Rosburg said, "those guys who are blocking for the returner, and of course, the returner making good decisions and securing the ball."
OWINGS MILLS, Md. -- The starting left side of the Baltimore Ravens' offensive line -- tackle Eugene Monroe and guard Kelechi Osemele -- fully participated in practice for a second straight day, another indication that they'll play in Sunday's game at Cincinnati.

Monroe and Osemele have started side by side since Week 3, and the Ravens have gone with rookies James Hurst and John Urschel in their absence.

"It's very important to get them back," offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak said. "They've had a good week. But we'll continue to get James and John ready to play. I think offensively right now, you guys can see it's almost like everybody gets a chance to contribute. So, I think we stay the course right there and hopefully Eugene and K.O. are ready for a full day's work."

Ravens injury report

Did not participate: DE Chris Canty (wrist), TE Owen Daniels (knee), LB Daryl Smith (not injury related), WR Steve Smith (not injury related).

Full participation: OT Eugene Monroe (knee), G Kelechi Osemele (knee).
OWINGS MILLS, Md. -- Baltimore Ravens tight end Owen Daniels missed his second straight practice on Thursday, and he had his left knee heavily wrapped in the locker room.

But offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak sounded like he had no doubts that the Ravens' second-leading receiver will be lining up Sunday at the Cincinnati Bengals.

"Oh, he's fine. Owen's fine," Kubiak said after Thursday's practice. "John [Harbaugh] has got a plan for these veteran guys, and I know he's had a plan for O.D. and how he keeps him fresh and ready to go. But, as far as what we're doing game plan and those types of things, O.D. will be fine."

That's bad news for the Bengals, based on Daniels' track record against them. Since 2011 (including playoffs), Daniels has the fifth-most receiving yards (254) of any player in the NFL against the Bengals. He has averaged 5 1/2 catches in four meetings, as Bengals linebackers have had trouble covering him in the middle of the field.

Daniels has certainly come through for the Ravens in his first season, filling the void left after Dennis Pitta sustained a season-ending hip injury. Among NFL tight ends, he ranks in the top 10 in receptions (27, tied for eighth), touchdowns (three, tied for ninth) and targets (36, tied for ninth). He has as many touchdowns as New Orleans Saints tight end Jimmy Graham.

“He’s a big target, but the big thing is he’s very defined in where he’s going and what he’s doing," quarterback Joe Flacco said of Daniels. "You can see just by how he runs routes and pushes on people and gains the leverage and all that. He does a good job, and that’s why he gets open. Obviously, he’s caught the ball when he has gotten open. He’s been big for us, and he’s going to have to be big for us down the line.”