Ravens Coach Wants Returners To Catch The Ball

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Before becoming the head coach of the Baltimore Ravens, John Harbaugh was a special teams coach with the Philadelphia Eagles, which is why his team is always the best or among the best at returning kicks. After an injury-plagued season that saw the team finish with one of the worst records in the league, the Ravens are hoping to bounce back this season and become NFL football lines favorites once again.

Over the past three seasons, the Ravens have used seven different players to return punts, yet the team averages 11.7-yards per return, which is the best in the league during the span. The fact that the team can lead the league in punt return yards despite the revolving door situation they have had at the position in recent years is a testament that Harbaugh is still one of the best special teams coaches in the NFL.

In Thursday’s preseason opener, the Ravens used Keenan Reynolds and Kaelin Clay as their punt returners, and both of them dropped punts. As expected, Harbaugh was not happy with their performance and told reporters afterwards that the team is looking for returners that can catch the ball.

Harbaugh’s comments serve two purposes, the first one being he tried to light a fire under his punt returners, and the second was a message that if they do not improve soon, the team will make changes at the position.

During training camp, the Ravens tried to help their returners secure the ball better using different drills. The returners have been asked to hold three balls while trying to catch a punt, and they have had to throw the ball in the air while receiving a punt and catch both balls.

The drills did not seem to make much of a difference on Thursday, as both men dropped a punt each.

According to reports, Michael Campanaro has been the team’s most sure-handed punt returner, but he has been unable to stay healthy. Campanaro missed the offseason due to a calf injury and hasn’t been able to participate in training camp for the past two seasons.

The Ravens are very high on Reynolds, who was a sixth-round pick and a former college quarterback turned receiver. The team understands that it will take some time before he gets to the level they expect him to play at, but they need him to protect the ball better than he did against the Carolina Panthers on Thursday.

Reynolds, who had a very successful career at Navy, was called a work in progress by Harbaugh. The head coach said he liked what he saw from Reynolds, but he still has a lot of work to do. Harbaugh said he expects Reynolds to learn fast, but that the team was not giving up on him.

Clay was productive as a punt returner for the Ravens last season and returned a punt for an 82-yard touchdown against the Cleveland Browns. However, his inability to field a punt on Thursday led to a touchdown for the Panthers, which is something the team cannot afford to have happened once the season starts.

Long Time Special Team Vet Albert McClellan Looking Like a Starter at LB for the Ravens

Albert McClellan

In a twist for the Ravens defense, a new face has emerged for a starter at the SAM linebacker spot, as Albert McClellan is making the most of his chances, and he’s right now penciled in as the starter for the preseason opener.

Longtime special teams ace Albert McClellan is lining up as the starting SAM linebacker, stepping into the vacancy left by Courtney Upshaw’s departure in free agency.

And according to Head Coach John Harbaugh, it’s McClellan’s job to lose.

“Albert has started here at times, and he’s never disappointed,” Harbaugh said Thursday. “He’s battling for the spot. The spot is certainly up for grabs, just like a lot of spots are, but he’s the leader right now, and he’s doing a good job.”

McClellan has been one of the Ravens’ best special teams players over the past several years. He’s a captain on the unit and notched six tackles last year, tied for the second-most on the team.

In his growing role, he would likely continue playing special teams and share the starting outside linebacker gig opposite Terrell Suggs with Elvis Dumervil.

It will be fun to see the intensity that McClellan brings to the Ravens D, and if he can continue to make the most of his chances with a Ravens defense that will look for a spark from him in 2016.

RB Terrance West Pursues His Dream of Starting for the Ravens

Terrance West

No one could have ever thought about Terence West in the same way as the events happening around him have begun to unfold in 2016. The strategic position that the running back has already catapulted himself to could enable him to live the reality of appearing on the starting lineup for the Baltimore Ravens. The depth chart for the Ravens ranks him at No. 3; however, he has maintained the No. 1 position as a playmaker for their offense in training camp. He has displayed exceptional skills while making cuts, hitting holes, evading tackles to improve the Raven’s Super Bowl betting odds.

West has shown constant improvement in the offense with his style of play in training camp practice, making him reflect the potential-filled player from the 2014 third-round pick. According to West, his game has improved because of his deep concentration in the match and the fact that Baltimore is his hometown so he has to give back to his community he came from to ensure everyone appreciates him as much as he appreciates them.

John Harbaugh, Ravens head coach, is yet to pick a name for 2016 officially starting running back. Meanwhile, it looks like the players have relaxed in the backfield waiting for Harbaugh call. In the history of the Ravens, they currently have the most cordial running back group, and this gives them the opportunity to win back-to-back games every week this season if the Harbaugh makes the right choice for a starter.

Nearly one week of practice has passed in the camp, with Buck Allen and Justin Forsett unsurprisingly representing the first two teams, solidifying their presence in the team. For two seasons, Baltimore has depended on Forsett in rushing, while last season, Allen started in the last six games. However, with West’s outstanding performance in the camp, even the coaching staff are already discussing him. Coach Harbaugh expressed his sentiments saying, as a football player, West looks impressive. From a physical point of view, he shows urgency with his running, cuts, and good reads, which makes him fast through the hole.

Perhaps, such an urgency originates from the fact that he started playing football in his hometown while in high school and college, and coming back to Baltimore brings back the good memories of his career foundation. Even though in the 2014 draft he was the 94th selected player selected, 17 months later, he was traded to the Tennessee Titans from the Cleveland Browns for a conditional 7th-rounnd pick. Seven weeks later, he left the Titans.

Inconsistency, maturity issues, along with his ability to create offensives are the most devastating setbacks. Since the Ravens picked him last year, West has played tremendously well in practice to become the backup in the final 6 games, and averaging 3.9 yards per carry. He lost 15 pounds between the last game of last season and the fixture at Ravens headquarters. When interrogated about the possibility of becoming a starter with Baltimore this season, West responded saying that would be the reality of his dream, and since most of his hometown fans depend on him, the city would be happy for him.

Ravens Third-Round Pick FB Bronson Kaufusi Suffers Broken Ankle; Likely Done for Season

Bronson Kaufusi

The Ravens, who were destroyed all season long by injuries in 2015, got bad news on the injury front on Thursday, as they lost on of their draft picks likely for the season.

The pick is third round selection Bronson Kaufusi, who suffered a broken ankle and will have to undergo surgery.

Kaufusi was expected to have a rotational role this season, helping revamp the pass rush from last season. He’s a goliath of a man, coming in at 6’7? and 285 lbs. He’s also a rather mature rookie at 25 years old and this setback isn’t the way he wanted to start out his NFL career.

Luckily, the Ravens have good depth along the defensive line. Brent Urban, Kapron Lewis-Moore, Carl Davis and Lawrence Guy are returning defensive lineman who played well last season. Urban may have the most potential out of the bunch, as he has a similar frame and style of play as Kaufusi.

Kaufusi now has time to heal and add some add some weight and muscle to his frame, as Coach John Harbaugh alluded to. His lower body could use some strengthening and flexibility.

Ravens Waive Running Back Trent Richardson

Trent-Richardson

It didn’t take long for the Ravens to see enough of former third overall pick in the draft Trent Richardson, as today the team waived him just a few days into camp.

Richardson inked with the Ravens this offseason with the hopes of getting his career back on track, but missed some time due to a hamstring issue which basically once again proved he could not stay healthy.

He was drafted by the Browns, and then was traded to the Colts early in the 2013 season, and from there as done little. He averaged 3.0 yards per carry in 2013 and 3.3 in 2014 and was cut by the Raiders last summer.

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New Ravens WR Mike Wallace Working with First-Team Offense

Mike-Wallace

Ravens wide receiver Mike Wallace worked with the first-team offense on Sunday according to Jamison Hensley of ESPN.

Wallace made headlines by flunking his conditioning test on the first day of camp, but he passed on Friday and has already begun working with the starters. That feat would be more impressive if both Steve Smith Sr. and Breshad Perriman were not absent with injuries. Wallace, who turns 30 years old today, is expected to see a lot of snaps at least early in the season as there is no guarantee either Smith or Perriman will be ready by Week 1 and the Ravens are not exactly brimming with talent at wideout beyond those three and Kamar Aiken.

Wallace had four stellar years with the Pittsburgh Steelers after the team drafted him in the third round out of Ole Miss in 2009 but has struggled to find much success since. He signed a gigantic free agent deal with the Miami Dolphins in 2013 but was mediocre on the field and a disruptive force in the locker room, leading to his release after only two seasons. He caught just 39 passes for 473 yards and two scores in his lone season with the Minnesota Vikings in 2015 before signing a two-year, $11.5 million deal with the Ravens this offseason.

Wallace will look to have a big season with the Ravens, and for a good webcome offer make sure you click the link, as the Ravens will be tough to deal with in 2016.

Ravens Fans: Bud Light Has Created A Can Just For You

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With the football season set to kick off in only a few weeks, Bud Light – the Official Beer of the NFL – is once again helping devout fans showcase their team pride by introducing all-new custom cans for its 27 NFL team partners, including ones for the Ravens!

The cans – which are available now through the 2016-17 NFL season – are draped in Ravens colors, feature its logo and will be brought to life through localized, signature sayings that every team’s fans will recognize and embrace.

The distinct packaging is part of Bud Light’s “Beer With Your Team On It” campaign, which will celebrate NFL fandom and passion for Bud Light throughout the season.

What do you think of the Bud Light Ravens can?

Former First Overall NFL Draft Pick Jake Long Won’t Be Joining the Ravens

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The deal that the Ravens were trying to get down with OT Jake Long’s is officially dead after the former 2008 No.1-overall pick declined to sign an injury waiver.

ESPN’s Adam Schefter broke the news today that Long won’t be joining the team after he wouldn’t sign the waiver.

The Ravens reportedly requested the waiver after his team physical raised red flags about his surgically-repaired knee. The now 31-year-old Long looked like a surefire Hall-of-Famer his first few years with the Miami Dolphins but his career has been derailed by injuries and his desire has also been questioned.

He spent the 2015 season sitting on the Atlanta Falcons’ bench. It should be noted that Long passed his exit physical with Atlanta last season and was deemed healthy by Dr. James Andrews last week.

Even if he had stayed in Baltimore, Long was at best competing to be the Ravens No.3 tackle behind first-round rookie Ronnie Stanley and Rich Wagner. Some other team may take a flyer on him in training camp but Long’s days of relevance have long since passed.

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