Ravens RB Kenneth Dixon Suffers Torn Meniscus


It’s not been a good start to the career of Ravens running back Kenneth Dixon.

Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reported today that Dixon suffered a tear in his meniscus, and that he will have surgery today.

The report says that the team is hopeful that the tear is just a trim of the meniscus and not more invasive. More information will come out once the surgery is done.

Dixon wasn’t going to be around for the first four games of 2017 as he was suspended for violating the league’s performance enhancing drug policy.

Reports say that Meniscus tears usually take anywhere from six to eight weeks to heal.

Ravens Add Veteran WR Giff Whalen and Rookie CB Reggie Porter

Photo by IndyStar

The Ravens signed veteran receiver Griff Whalen and undrafted rookie cornerback Reggie Porter Friday afternoon, Garrett Downing of Baltimoreravens.com reports.

Rookies, quarterbacks and injured players have already reported to Baltimore, but the rest of the team arrives for training camp on Wednesday.

Whalen, 27, has played for four other teams over the course of his five seasons in the NFL. He was most recently on the New England Patriots before getting released in mid-December. He’s also played for the San Diego Chargers, Miami Dolphins and Indianapolis Colts.

Whalen has played in 41 NFL games, catching 47 passes for 509 yards and three touchdowns.

The 5-foot-11, 190-pound receiver also has good experience as a returner. He has averaged 24.2 yards per kickoff return and 8.2 yards per punt return. The Ravens are in the market for a starting returner to emerge during training camp.

2017 Should Be an Interesting Season in Fantasy Football for the Ravens

The Baltimore Ravens had a very up and down 2016, with the final straw of what could have been a playoff season being Steelers wide out Antonio Brown putting up the ball over the goal line on a Christmas Day letdown in Pittsburgh.

The team still had a pretty solid offense in the 2016 season, with many fantasy football players took advantage of it.

If you look at a Fantasy football for beginners for the upcoming season, you will see that many experts still have the Ravens having a ton of firepower, and a team that minus a few mistakes here and there should be able to get back to the playoff hunt of what they were in a season ago.

Here’s a quick breakdown of a couple of players that will for sure help your fantasy team, and some that you had better take a long look at for the season that is fast approaching come in about eight weeks.

Quarterback Joe Flacco

The man under center for the Ravens will again be the best offensive player on the team – Joe Flacco. The QB since his rookie season has been very good and very consistent, last season throwing for 4317 with 20 touchdowns. He was good for most of the season, and while he had some moments he’d rather want to forget, he’s still a solid number two quarterback or any fantasy team. Don’t go picking him too early (nothing before round 5-6), but if you do take him he can provide solid firepower for any fantasy team out there.

Wide Receiver Jeremy Maclin

The newest addition to the Ravens this offseason, Maclin should be able to give Flacco another outlet, one that he should like very much once the veteran gets use to the Baltimore offense. Maclin last season in Kansas City, where it never seems he was a real fit, still had 44 catches for 536 yards and a pair of touchdowns. One would think that this season those numbers should just about double for the veteran, and with it look for him to be a mid-round pick in most fantasy football leagues.

Running Back Danny Woodhead

The signing of Danny Woodhead to the roster should give them a very strong weapon out of the backfield as well as on third downs. He’s a player who won’t rack up a ton of fantasy points on a weekly basis, but if you can catch him in the right matchups, he can be a very good asset to a team picked late. With over 1,000 total yards and eight-plus scores in his last two seasons when he was healthy, it’s not a bad idea to take a flier on Woodhead and study matchups of when he will have teams that don’t defend third down backs very well.

Ravens Release Tight End Dennis Pitta

The Ravens have released tight end Dennis Pitta with an injury waiver after he re-injured his hip in an Organized Team Activities practice last week, sadly ending his time in Baltimore, Ryan Mink of Baltimoreravens.com reports.

It’s Pitta’s third hip injury, leading to questions about whether he will call it a career.

According to NFL Media’s Mike Garafolo, doctors confirmed that it’s a dislocated hip.

The injury happened when Pitta reached for a pass during practice. There was no contact on the play, but he fell to the ground and couldn’t put weight on his leg when he got up.

What Can We Expect From The Baltimore Ravens In 2017?

Since winning the Super Bowl in 2012, the Baltimore Ravens have struggled to inspire confidence in the National Football League. One playoff appearance in four years just isn’t good enough – especially considering they reached the Divisional weekend five years in a row prior to that Super Bowl triumph over the San Francisco 49ers.

Bouncing Back

However, 2017 could be Baltimore’s year to get back to the top and they are a strong outside punt to go deep into the new season. The Ravens, led by iconic head coach John Harbaugh, went 8-8 last season and fans will be expecting the franchise to finish with a winning record this time around. With favourable games against the AFC South and NFC North on the schedule, the Ravens should be targeting 10 victories, if not more.

As always, their chances of glory lie on the AFC North. Regarded as one of the toughest and most competitive divisions in football, Baltimore will once again go up against the Cleveland Browns, Cincinnati Bengals and divisional champions Pittsburgh Steelers. While the Browns won’t pose too much of a threat, Cincinnati and Pittsburgh are both solid football teams.

Baltimore, priced at 40/1 to win the Super Bowl next season, will be confident of a better campaign this year but it is hard to take anything for granted. Defensively, the Ravens got stronger during the offseason and General Manager Ozzie Newsome used his first four picks on bulking up Baltimore’s defence – a decision that could prove to be a stroke of genius.

New Blood

There’s an old adage in sport; defence wins championships and Ravens fans will be hoping that their young rookies can step up to the plate. Despite acquiring Brandon Carr in free agency, Baltimore went for Alabama cornerback Marlon Humphrey in the first round. Some were quick to slate the pick, especially with OJ Howard still available, but Humphrey can be Baltimore’s “shutdown” corner for the next decade or so.

With Elvis Dumervil out of contract and Terrell Suggs coming to the end of his career, the Ravens needed to pick up some young talent at line-backer. In Tyus Bowser and Alabama product Tim Williams, they did just that. Although both men have their limitations, this Ravens defensive front is looking very feisty ahead of the 2017 campaign.

Baltimore opted to go for defensive talent and offensive line help rather than acquire a skilful running back or rapid wide receiver – and that could turn out to be a good decision in the long term. The Ravens are fully committed to their defensive-minded approach and Joe Flacco may lean on kicker Justin Tucker’s massive boot again this year.

Key Player

Last season, Tucker was simply sublime – connecting on 38 of his 38 field goal attempts. In addition, he was successful with all 10 of his efforts from the 50-yard mark; nobody else had more than seven scoring attempts. Knowing that the Baltimore man is reliable from distance is handy, Flacco and the Ravens offense just need to get within Tucker’s range.

And that is fortunate because this Ravens offensive unit is weak. With Steve Smith Jr now retired, Breshad Perriman and Mike Wallace are now their top two receiving options. On another note, they have plenty of talent at running back but Harbaugh will do well to get Danny Woodhead, Terrance West and Lorenzo Taliaferro involved on a regular basis.

It may seem a little clichéd but the Baltimore Ravens really are going ‘all in’ on their defence this season. Flacco has enough experience and talent to lead this Ravens unit down the field and they won’t need to score too many points if their defence stands up. John Harbaugh has built a potential Super Bowl-winning unit and Baltimore fans should be very excited at what the future holds…

Sports Illustrated Gives a Lot of Love to the Ravens for Their 2017 Draft Picks

While it could take years for the Ravens and the rest of the NFL to be able to give a grade to the teams’ draft class this year, it’s never early to start throwing out how teams did last week in the annual picking of players.

Chris Burke of SI has thrown out his grades – and he has the following to say about how he felt the Ravens did last week.

Clearly, it was a focus of GM Ozzie Newsome to upgrade the Ravens’ defense through this draft. He spent each of his first four picks on that side of the ball, even doubling down at OLB on Day 2 (Tyus Bowser, pick No. 47; Tim Williams, No. 78). Defensive lineman Chris Wormley was Newsome’s other score on Day 2—he’s a player who appears custom-made to be a 3–4 end on that Baltimore depth chart. I wasn’t as high on first-round CB Marlon Humphrey as others, but he has unquestionable upside. Day 3 did bring a pair of offensive linemen: power guard Nico Siragusa, who could start in 2017, and long-term project Jermaine Eluemunor. A little surprised Newsome did not find a pass catcher somewhere. GRADE A-

A Rundown of All the Baltimore Ravens 2017 NFL Draft Picks

Sports Illustrated has a complete rundown of all of the Ravens 2017 Draft Picks and some commentary as well.

Round 1, Pick 16 (No. 16 overall)

Marlon Humphrey, CB, Alabama: Cornerback was a need for the Ravens, even after they signed Brandon Carr this off-season. Was it more of a need than other spots on the field, like offensive tackle or pass rusher? Was Humprey a better value than, say, a tumbling O.J. Howard? It doesn’t feel like it right away. Humphrey fits the physical prototype at cornerback, but he has a lot of technique clean-up to do before he can be trusted by his lonesome vs. premier NFL receivers. The ceiling is high, without question, but how long will it take him to get there? Ozzie Newsome has been known as a staunch best-player-available GM come draft time. Not sure he hit that mark here.? GRADE: C

Round 2, Pick 15 (No. 47)

Tyus Bowser, OLB, Houston: The Ravens had the chance to nab a pass rusher in Round 1, but went with CB Marlon Humphrey instead. They addressed their edge situation well here, as Bowser has the potential to be an explosive OLB in Baltimore’s system. He only just now appears to be starting to unlock his capabilities, so the future should be very bright.? Grade: A-

Round 3, Pick 10 (No. 74)

Chris Wormley, DE, Michigan: There are times when players just look like they belong on a certain roster. That’s the case here with Wormley, a hard-nosed defender who can make noise inside or outside. Maybe not necessarily a steal here, but certainly a strong value—Wormley is a top-50 player in this class.? Grade: A-

Round 3, Pick 14 (No. 78)

Tim Williams, OLB, Alabama: Four picks, four defensive players for Baltimore GM Ozzie Newsome. Certainly can’t blame him for doubling down at OLB—Terrell Suggs is nearing the end of his career and Elvis Dumervil’s contract ran out after the ‘16 season. Williams was a pass rush-only player for much of his Alabama career and might be again, but he’s exceptional in that role.? Grade: A-

Round 4, Pick 15 (No. 122) Nico Siragusa, G, San Diego State

Round 5, Pick 15 (No. 159) Jermaine Eluemunor, OT, Texas A&M

Round 6, Pick 2 (No. 186) Chuck Clark, S, Virginia Tech

Ravens Take Alabama Cornerback Marlon Humphrey with Pick 16 in the 2017 NFL Draft

The Ravens had plenty of choices of what to do with the 16th overall pick in Thursday’s NFL Draft, but instead of going in a different direction or trading the pick, the team decided to go with defense, taking Alabama cornerback Marlon Humphrey.

After all, it was defense that led the Ravens to a Super Bowl win in 2001, and hopefully with Humphrey as a standout player on defense they can start to build that type of defense again.

It seemed to be falling perfectly for the Ravens. A draft expected to be dominated by defense featured an early run on offensive players. The three top receivers went off the board in the top 10 picks, taking away that option for the Ravens.

However, everything else was in play. Two Alabama defensive standouts, defensive tackle Jonathan Allen and inside linebacker Reuben Foster, were still available despite both being projected to go within the first dozen picks. Alabama tight end O.J. Howard, seen as a virtual lock for the top 10, also was sitting there.

But after listening to trade offers, Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome decided to stand pat and pulled off a significant draft surprise, taking Alabama cornerback Marlon Humphrey with the 16th overall pick. Humphrey was considered the second or third best cornerback in the draft, but even he acknowledged that he was surprised to be selected by the Ravens because he hadn’t visited Baltimore in the predraft process.

“To be honest, I wasn’t even paying attention to what was on the screen really,” said Humphrey, who watched the draft with family and friends in Birmingham, Ala. “That’s how surprised I was because my name got called.”