Category Archives: Baltimore Ravens Jerseys Sale

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OWINGS MILLS, Md. — This wasn’t the trade many anticipated the Baltimore Ravens and the Jacksonville Jaguars would make, but it’s one that could go down as the biggest steal in Ravens history.

Baltimore acquired Jacksonville defensive end Authentic Calais Campbell Jersey on Sunday for a 2020 fifth-round pick they got from Minnesota for Kaare Vedvik, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported. Basically, the Ravens added a five-time Pro Bowl defender and one of the NFL’s most consistent pass-rushers for a draft pick they received for a backup kicker who lasted three weeks with the Vikings.

The bigger splash, of course, would’ve been if Baltimore somehow pried away young edge rusher Yannick Ngakoue from Jacksonville, something for which many Ravens fans had hoped. But that shouldn’t diminish the Ravens filling a massive need with a massive game-wrecker in Campbell, who represents a better value and overall fit.

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Last season, the Ravens had virtually no pass rush on the interior of the defensive line. Baltimore’s defensive linemen totaled four sacks in 2019, the fewest by any team.

So, Ravens general manager Eric DeCosta called one of his best friends in the business, Jaguars counterpart Dave Caldwell. Baltimore allowed Jacksonville to unload $15 million in salary and got a monster in the middle in return.

When it’s a passing down in the AFC North, Baker Mayfield, Ben Roethlisberger and perhaps Joe Burrow will line up and see 6-foot-8, 300-pound Campbell staring back at them. Campbell is one of four players with at least 80 sacks and 30 batted passes over the past 10 seasons.

The last time the Ravens had someone with Campbell’s size, athleticism and proven production was Trevor Pryce. Since Pryce’s departure a decade ago, no Baltimore defensive lineman has totaled more than six sacks in a season.

How much respect does Campbell command? An hour after the news of the trade broke, Ravens left tackle Authentic Ronnie Stanley Jersey tweeted: “I smell a dynasty.”

The biggest concerns with Campbell are his age and a decline in sacks production. Campbell will be 34 when the season starts, and his sacks have gone from 14.5 to 10.5 to 6.5 over the past three seasons.

But this is exactly the short-term deal you make for a big-name talent when you’re a team like the Ravens, who have quarterback Authentic Lamar Jackson Jersey under a rookie contract for a few more years.

Durability has been one of Campbell’s strengths, even in his 30s. He has started 90 consecutive games, and his 3,859 snaps is the seventh most by a defensive lineman over the past five seasons.

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Campbell was effective last season, even though he recorded his fewest sacks since 2015. He ranked fourth in best pass rush win rate (16.4%) among players with 200-plus double-teams. The only others who fared better were Aaron Donald (23.5%), Grady Jarrett (21.3%) and Chris Jones (18.4%).

Upgrading the pass rush is Baltimore’s top priority this offseason. The Ravens managed a league-low nine sacks from their four-man rush in 2019, which is why defensive coordinator Don “Wink” Martindale had to creatively manufacture pressure with the most blitzes in the NFL. Baltimore was blitzing defensive backs so frequently that cornerback Brandon Carr finished fourth on the team in quarterback hits.

The Ravens see Campbell complementing Jackson in a way. As DeCosta noted at the NFL combine, Jackson and the NFL’s highest-scoring offense repeatedly jumped out to big leads, which forced teams to go into catch-up mode and pass the ball. If the Ravens face similar scenarios in 2020, they can attack quarterbacks with Campbell in the middle, newly franchise-tagged Matthew Judon off the edge and a secondary with as much talent as any team in the league.

The addition of Campbell is an essential piece for Baltimore’s front seven this offseason, but it’s certainly not the last. The Ravens will look to find a starting middle linebacker, another edge rusher and interior defensive lineman through free agency, their eight draft picks or perhaps even another trade.

In his 14 months as GM, DeCosta has differentiated himself the most from Ozzie Newsome with his wheelings and dealings, taking more of a baseball mentally when it comes to acquiring and moving talent. DeCosta has made six player trades — from sending Super Bowl-winning quarterback Authentic Joe Flacco Jersey to the Broncos for a fourth-round pick to acquiring cornerback Authentic Marcus Peters Jersey from the Rams for a fifth-rounder and reserve linebacker Kenny Young — and he has appeared to come out on top of all of them, including his latest one with Campbell.

There’s a possibility the Jaguars would’ve cut Campbell and Baltimore could’ve signed him in free agency. But it wasn’t worth the risk, especially not when the cost was a pick the Ravens got for a backup kicker.

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Former Vanderbilt edge defender Stephen Weatherly will sign a two-year, $12.5 million deal with the Carolina Panthers, his agent Blake Baratz announced Monday on Twitter. Weatherly played four seasons for the Minnesota Vikings after they selected him in the seventh round of the 2016 NFL Draft.

Weatherly, 25 years old, played in 49 games over his tenure with the Vikings, starting seven. He has six sacks, 13 tackles for loss and 67 tackles over that span. The 6-foot-5, 265-pounder will join a Carolina defense that ranked 23rd in the NFL in yards per play allowed a year ago. Baratz didn’t announce how much of the contract will be guaranteed.

At Vanderbilt, Weatherly started as a 4-3 defensive end under former coach James Franklin before transitioning to a 3-4 outside starting in 2014 when Derek Mason took over. He has 11 1/2 sacks and 26 tackles for loss in 30 career games, entering the draft after his redshirt junior season in 2015. Weatherly was a 3-star prospect in the 2012 class, ranking No. 815 nationally by the 247Sports Composite. Vanderbilt’s 2012 class also included current New England Patriots defensive tackle Adam Butler and Baltimore Ravens offensive lineman Authentic Will Holden Jersey — Holden was originally selected by the Arizona Cardinals in the fifth round of the 2017 draft.

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“Congratulations Stephen,” Baratz wrote on Twitter. “I am proud of you and I know the best is yet to come. Charlotte, @Panthers fans, you got a great one. You have a huge heart and will have an instant impact on that community. Minnesota will miss you dearly.”

The NFL’s legal tampering period opened Monday, and many free agents have already reportedly agreed to deals. Wednesday marks the first day when free agents can actually sign their contracts.

Wide receiver Jordan Matthews is another Vanderbilt alum on the market this offseason. Houston Texans linebacker Zach Cunningham and Los Angeles Chargers cornerback Casey Hayward, Vanderbilt’s two most prominent alums currently in the league, aren’t free agents until 2021 and 2022, respectively.

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Marquise Brown Plans to Make Big Plays For Ravens Offense

Ravens first-round draft pick Marquise “Hollywood” Brown was born two weeks before his due date weighing five pounds, six ounces.

Being the biggest guy in class growing up wasn’t Brown’s destiny. But in football, he has consistently measured up.

One of college football’s most explosive wide receivers at Oklahoma, Brown excelled with speed, change-of-direction, toughness, and smarts. His penchant for playmaking endeared him to the Ravens, who were undeterred by his smallish 5-foot-9, 166-pound frame. The Ravens believe Brown will bring some Hollywood to their offense as a quick-strike weapon, and they acted on that belief by selecting him 25th overall Thursday night, the first wide receiver taken in the NFL Draft.

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At his introductory press conference Friday, Brown made it clear he wasn’t concerned with being the first wide receiver drafted. He is more concerned with getting to the end zone, as often as he can.

“I’ve been watching the Ravens growing up,” Brown said. “I know the tradition here. I know the standard here, and I’m ready to come in and make a difference right away. Playoff run last year, I’m looking to help this team make it farther than that. So, I’m just glad to be here, glad to be a Raven, and glad to get started.”
Brown had gaudy numbers at Oklahoma last season, 75 catches for 1,318 yards and 10 touchdowns, averaging 17.1 yards per catch. As much as the Ravens talk about running the football next season, they also want an offense that is less methodical and more explosive. New Offensive Coordinator Greg Roman believes Brown will be a key piece in the Ravens’ attack. Brown has tremendous speed, not just straight-line speed, but elusive moves that allow him to evade tacklers after making the catch.

What was Roman’s reaction when Ravens General Manager Eric DeCosta made the Brown pick official?

“I was accused of having a beaming smile on my face,” Roman said.

“We can play him inside, outside, short, deep, all kinds of things, and we’re really only limited by our imagination. He brings that kind of versatility to the Ravens. So, very thrilled. I would just close in saying that on his visit, I got an incredible feel, I think, as did a lot of people, about just the grit and toughness and competitiveness that really emanated from him and what you’re looking for. So, can’t wait to get to work with him.”

Brown was accompanied at the press conference by his sister Shanice and his mother, Shannon James, who said Brown was always fueled on the football field by talk about his lack of size.
“Maybe he used it to show people you can’t just a book by its cover,” James said. “That fuel drives him. Those are just words people are saying but his talent speaks for itself.”

Brown grew up in Hollywood, Fla., hence his nickname. However, he began his college career at a junior college, College of the Canyons in Santa Clarita, Calif., after drawing little interest from Division I schools.

His mother wasn’t surprised when Brown cried Thursday night after hearing his named called.

“Just thinking about the whole struggle to get here where he is today,” James said. “I think it just all hit him at one time.”

James said she could never keep Brown away from football. At two years old, he had a Dan Marino Miami Dolphins jersey that he often refused to take off. Now Brown is looking to take off with the Ravens. He is still recovering from Lisfranc foot surgery, but he has already started running, and Brown and the Ravens feel he will be on the field for training camp.
David Culley, Ravens Wide Receivers/Assistant Head Coach, thinks Brown will be up to speed when the regular season begins.

“He’ll still be with us doing everything that we do in the classroom,” Culley said. “He’ll be on the field watching and watching our guys that are already here doing certain things, and just learning the playbook. I have no doubt that when it comes time for him to be ready to go, he’ll be ready to go.”

Brown sounds ready. He was no longer emotional Friday, just excited to get started.

“I told myself, ‘I’m not going to cry up there,’ but I don’t know how that happened,” Brown said. “It’s just a testament to everything I’ve been through and just all the hard work, but I know it’s just the beginning.”

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I’m not here to write a pretty introduction; it’s game time.

Benjamin Watson is gone; the 37-year old tight end signed with the New Orleans Saints. Now, the Ravens are banking on the youth movement, whether it be the brand new roster additions of first-round pick Hayden Hurst or the third-round selection Mark Andrews, or, if not these men, the ‘veterans’ Maxx Williams, Nick Boyle and Darren Waller hopefully put this damn game together. Either way, somebody, please, step up.

Most times when I write, I attempt to come off as a ‘professional’, but now, I write as a fan pleading for at least one Baltimore Raven to become the tight end of the future, here in the present.

Fans are out of patience; no more are the excuses. Fans are done with the Joe Flacco excuses, done with the injury excuses, done with the coaching excuses. We’re exhausted with the word, ‘potential’, and are craving the word ‘production.’ But this article is tight end oriented, and I’m going to stick with the message.

The stat-line of Benjamin Watson last season:

16 games | 12 starts | 79 targets | 61 catches | 522 yards | four touchdowns

Due to the dump-off offense of Joe Flacco and Marty Mornhinweg, Watson led the team in receptions. I know many of you shuddered from this, and I’m only going to evoke more frustration cause teams are strategizing explicitly for this. I can no longer watch a 3rd & 8 without throwing money at my television and shouting into the void, “Bet it’s going to a tight end on a drag route!”

The previous seasons cannot simply be replicated, they must be more. For once, somebody, step up.

“Absolutely. You got it right, I promise you.”
As my grandfather taught me for years now, a man’s word is bond, and until proven wrong, I put my faith in Hayden Hurst. His absolute loyalty in the phone call with Ozzie screams determination:
(This begins at 0:15)

Ozzie Newsome: “Hey, you’ve worked hard to get to this point and I got about ten guys and a couple of young ladies in this room just excited that we’re bringing you to Baltimore to be a part of what we’re going to do.”

Hayden Hurst: “I couldn’t be happier, it’s a perfect fit. You got your guy. You got the best tight end and I’m going to come in and prove it.”

Oz: “I got the best tight end and you’re going to come in and prove it?”

HH: “Absolutely.”

Ravens fans know passion and they also know the lack thereof; from Ray Lewis and Ed Reed to players cashing a paycheck and leaning back on the bench to not catch their coaches eye. But Hayden, within a moment of speaking to the Hall of Fame tight end and General Manager, resigns complete loyalty to the Ravens:

Oz: “From the first time I saw you on tape, I go, ‘this is a guy that can come go on our football team.’”

HH: “Absolutely. You got it right, I promise you.”

Oz: “You promise me?”

HH: “Yessir.”

At this point, I’m resigned to Williams, Boyle and Waller not becoming a number one option. They’re capable number two’s, but they cannot lead this unit in receptions. I appreciate Ozzie, John Harbaugh and Eric DeCosta re-vamping this unit with Hurst and Andrews. Now, it’s for the delivery.

As I mentioned, simply replicating Watson’s numbers is not enough, though. At least one of these five must over-achieve. I’m certain zero fans would be upset if it was Waller, Boyle or Andrews. They’d also love Hurst or Williams becoming a threat. It’s only the frustration of witnessing nobody step up and deliver, which clenches the fists of upset fans as they raise fists to the sky in confusion.

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It’s far too early to get a definitive read on the 2018 draft, which doesn’t start until April 26. But I’m already sensing an obvious storyline for the Ravens who have the 16th overall pick in the first round.

Will they be able to fill their primary need — a reliable target for quarterback Joe Flacco — if they stand pat in the first round?

A look at various mock drafts will show a good many quarterbacks and offensive linemen going in the first half of the first round, but only one or two wide receivers and no tight ends. ESPN draft guru and Baltimore native Mel Kiper Jr. projected the Ravens last week to select Pittsburgh offensive tackle Brian O’Neill with the 16th pick.

On a conference call after his first mock draft was published, Kiper acknowledged that, after projecting Alabama receiver Calvin Ridley to go eighth overall to the Chicago Bears, he didn’t see another offensive playmaker worthy of going 16th to the Ravens. So he went with O’Neill, who is a converted tight end.

“That was the problem I ran into. Nobody,” Kiper said according to BaltimoreRavens.com. “I just didn’t see anybody worthy of being the 16th pick at wide receiver to give them, or at tight end.”

Highly respected NFL Network draft analyst Daniel Jeremiah, a former Ravens scout, ranked the top-50 prospects in the 2018 draft class. His top 30 included four quarterbacks, four running backs and four offensive linemen, but just two receivers (Ridley and Texas A&M’s Christian Kirk) and no tight ends. His highest-ranked tight end is South Carolina’s Hayden Hurst, who he has as the 34th best prospect in the draft.

Again, it’s very early in the draft process. The Senior Bowl is going on now. The NFL scouting combine is over a month away. Then, there will be pro days and pre-draft visits. Receivers such as Kirk, Southern Methodist’s Courtland Sutton and Oklahoma State’s James Washington could have dynamic workouts to put them into the conversation to be picked in the upper half of the first round. There is seemingly always a freakish tight end who garners a lot of pre-draft hype and becomes a first-round candidate.

However, if the first half of the first round plays out like some of the mock drafts and rankings suggest it might, the Ravens could be facing a difficult choice come late April. Do they trade up at the cost of multiple picks to make sure they’re in a position to grab Ridley or do they opt instead to fill one of their secondary needs, such as right tackle or inside linebacker?

In on Landry?

The Ravens spoke to the Miami Dolphins last offseason about a potential trade for wide receiver Jarvis Landry, but they found the asking price to be prohibitive. Landry is now a pending free agent, so he could be available to all bidders when the market opens in mid-March. The price, though, still figures to be extremely high.

If Landry is not the best potential free agent receiver available in what’s expected to be a weak class, he’s certainly in the top three along with Sammy Watkins and Allen Robinson. Landry, 25, has averaged 100 catches for 1,010 yards over the past four seasons. He also has 23 touchdowns over that span. He’s not a deep threat, averaging 10.1 yards per reception over his career, but it’s hard to quibble with much else.

His agent made it clear in an interview last week with The Palm Beach Post that Landry won’t come cheap. He brought up previous contracts for wide receivers T.Y. Hilton ($13 million per season) and Doug Baldwin ($11.5 million), but also remarked that those deals were two or three years old. Frankly, I cannot imagine the cash-strapped Ravens paying north of $13 million per year for Landry, but they do like the player and they seem to understand that they need to do something significant to get more offensive talent on the field.

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Ten quick thoughts

1) Given the success of Nick Foles and Case Keenum this year, along with the perennial injuries at the quarterback position, you’d have to think the price of bringing in quality backup QBs will be pretty high this offseason. That doesn’t bode well for the Ravens who will need a veteran backup if they don’t draft a quarterback early. I’d be a bit surprised if pending free agent Ryan Mallett is back, even on the cheap.

2) The latest statistic that shows just how difficult of a time the Ravens had getting big plays in 2017: According to the statistical site Inside Edge NFL, the Ravens got a first down when they needed 10 yards or more on just nine of 110 opportunities. That’s just over 8 percent. Only the Green Bay Packers, New York Giants and Denver Broncos were worse.

3) It sure would be a cool story if the Ravens used a middle-round pick on Texas Christian defensive back Nick Orr, the younger brother of their former linebacker, Zachary Orr. It wouldn’t just be a sentimental move either. Nick Orr was an All-Big 12 first-team selection who had 66 tackles and three interceptions this past season. He can play both cornerback and safety.

4) I’m skeptical that the Ravens would win a bidding war for prized free-agent tight end Jimmy Graham. I know that Tyler Eifert has missed a lot of time in recent seasons, but he might be worth taking a flier on in free agency given the Ravens’ glaring need for a pass-catching tight end.

5) It’s interesting to see Ravens wide receivers coach Bobby Engram getting an opportunity to call some plays at the recent East-West Shrine Game. Engram’s name is coming up quite a bit for the wide receivers coach opening at his alma mater, Penn State.

6) Fans are already asking about whether the Ravens could be interested in veteran wide receivers such as Emmanuel Sanders or Michael Crabtree, who reportedly could be cut in salary cap-related moves by the Broncos and Oakland Raiders, respectively. The Ravens will explore every option at wide receiver. They have no choice. However, at some point, they need to break from this habit of signing and then relying heavily on veteran receivers who have been let go elsewhere. They don’t need Band-Aids. They need long-term solutions.

7) The more playoff games I watched, the more I became convinced that either a middle linebacker or safety who can cover or work in the middle of the field is the Ravens’ third-biggest need behind a wide receiver and tight end. There are too many good tight ends around the league not to have that piece. Plus, it’s clearly the area the Pittsburgh Steelers have most exploited in games against the Ravens in recent meetings.

8) I can’t imagine any Ravens fan not being happy for Philadelphia Eagles receiver Torrey Smith, who gets another shot a Super Bowl ring. Remember, Smith didn’t want to leave the Ravens after the 2014 season. He was devastated that the Ravens never tried to get him to stay. Also remember that Smith still does a ton of charity work in the area.

9) Yahoo’s Charles Robinson reported Tuesday night that the Ravens have spent quite a bit of time at the Senior Bowl with Alabama defensive end Da’Shawn Hand. Hand didn’t have big sack numbers at ‘Bama, but I do think one of the Ravens’ underrated needs is an interior pass rusher.

10) If I’m the Ravens and I can get a middle-round 2018 pick for outside linebacker Za’Darius Smith, I’d pull the trigger. Smith is a quality player, but the Ravens really needed to get Tyus Bowser and Tim Williams more snaps, and that’s going to be tough to do with Terrell Suggs returning and team officials believing Matthew Judon will develop into a star. Plus, the Ravens need more picks, even if it’s just to have additional inventory to move up in earlier rounds.

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OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Baltimore Ravens special-teams coach Jerry Rosburg received some national acclaim Monday night, when he was selected as a “Gruden Grinder” after the 23-16 win over the Houston Texans.

The award, which is given by ESPN analyst Jon Gruden, applauds a behind-the-scenes person (usually a player) who plays a pivotal role in helping the team win. Special teams made a major impact for the Ravens, from the fake punt to Sam Koch’s five punts downed inside the 20-yard line to Justin Tucker’s three field goals.

“It is an honor, I must say, coming from a Super Bowl champion football coach who understands the role of special teams and the big picture of things and how important it is to have good special teams to win,” Rosburg said Thursday. “We take it as a whole special-teams honor. We take it as a high compliment.”

The recognition on national television brought some well-deserved notoriety and plenty of text messages for Rosburg, who didn’t know about the Gruden Grinder award until after the game.

“I knew something was up when I got my phone after the game and my phone had blown up,” Rosburg said. “I figured something bad happened or something good happened. It was one or the other. I’m glad it was something good.”

One message came from a guy who had lost track of Rosburg and thought he might’ve been in the witness protection program. Another text read: “If this doesn’t stop soon, I’m going to have to shut my TV off before I vomit.”

“These are really good friends that I have,” Rosburg said.

Rosburg’s was the first of the awards given to the Ravens’ special teams this week. Koch was named AFC special teams player of the week on Wednesday, and Tucker received AFC special teams player of the month on Thursday.

“We like to have these things because it means we’re playing well,” Rosburg said. “If the trend continues, [long-snapper] Morgan [Cox] should be player of the year.”

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OWINGS MILLS, Md. — After capping the Baltimore Ravens’ 44-20 victory Sunday with a 45-yard interception return for a touchdown, safety Eric Weddle channeled his inner Kobe Bryant and used the football to shoot a jumper through linebacker Patrick Onwuasor’s arms, formed into a hoop.

That didn’t even come close to Weddle’s grandest celebration of the day.

Hours after his best performance of the season — one which earned him his first-ever AFC defensive player of the week award — he continued his tradition of crushing an unbelievable amount of ice cream with a concoction that included cinnamon-swirl ice cream, crumbled cinnamon-bun Oreos, pieces of mini crumb cake, Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal and caramel.

Weddle, who ranks second in the NFL with five interceptions, estimates that he eats about a gallon of ice cream throughout the evening following a victory. It’s a sugar-filled tradition that began when he joined the Ravens last season.

“I always used to eat ice cream throughout the week, in season, out of season, any season,” Weddle said. “So, I thought maybe I should start sacrificing something for my team and my play. I decided I wouldn’t eat ice cream throughout the week. If we win, I go to town. If I lose, I don’t get it. It’s extra incentive to play great.”

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Eric Weddle

@weddlesbeard
Got a bigger bowl tonight. Cinnamon swirl ice cream, cruched up cinnabun oreos, pieces of mini crumb cake, cinnamon toast crunch cereal and caramel to top it off. Can u say amazing.
10:05 AM – Dec 4, 2017
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Weddle justifies receiving his just desserts by pointing out that he just played an entire NFL game and this is his entire dinner. He starts off by eating some ice cream when he gets home. He goes for Round 2 after the kids go to bed. Rounds 3 and 4 will come when he’s sitting with his wife, Chanel, while watching television.

How many calories does Weddle devour after a win?

“That’s a good question,” Weddle said, while putting another spoonful of ice cream in his mouth. “I would think for sure over 3,000 or 4,000.”

For those counting at home, the Ravens have won seven games this season. That’s close to 30,000 calories of ice cream.

His ice-cream celebrations have taken off with fans because he posts pics of his victory desserts on Twitter. His last snapshot drew more than 3,000 likes.

“The fans look forward to his ice cream,” Chanel Weddle said. “When we’re in the stands and he scores a touchdown, all the fans yell out ‘Ice cream!’ They don’t even say, ‘Eric’s doing a great job.’ They’re asking what kind of ice cream are we going to have.”

Apparently not everyone is as ecstatic about Weddle’s ice-cream euphoria. Steve Saunders, the Ravens’ director of performance, tweeted Weddle to stop earlier this season.

Weddle’s response: “Neverrrrrrrr”

Eating an unreal amount of ice cream hasn’t affected Weddle’s play. The 32-year-old appears to be on his way to a fifth Pro Bowl, leading the way for a defense that tops the NFL in takeaways.
Eric Weddle (32) gets his hoop on to celebrate his interception-return touchdown in the Ravens’ victory over Detroit. Patrick Smith/Getty Images
Weddle has totaled 52 tackles, five interceptions, two forced fumbles and a sack for Baltimore (7-5). He’s the only player in the league with at least five interceptions and a sack.

Last Sunday, Weddle’s game-changing forced fumble was the result of an audible. He checked into a blitz and came off the edge untouched before hitting Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford and dislodging the ball.

On Sunday night, he’ll try to be just as disruptive to quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers (10-2). If he’s successful, he will tear into some ice cream no matter what time of night (or morning) he gets back from Pittsburgh.

“You really have to know where he is all the time,” Roethlisberger said. “I have played against another safety there in Baltimore for many years in Ed Reed that was a lot the same way, all over the football field. If the ball touched his [Reed’s] hands, it was going to be intercepted, and every once in a while, he is going to blitz and try and get you down.”

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OWINGS MILLS, Md. — The Baltimore Ravens have given up the second-fewest passing yards in the NFL while picking off the most passes.

Some will say the Ravens are getting an immediate return in their offseason investment in their secondary. Others will point to the fact that Baltimore has taken advantage of playing two rookie quarterbacks (DeShone Kizer and Mitchell Trubisky) and five backups (EJ Manuel, Case Keenum, Matt Moore, Brett Hundley and Tom Savage).

The Ravens will find out where they really stand Sunday, when their high-priced secondary goes against the NFL’s highest-paid player in Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford.

“People are giving us all kinds of flak like it’s our fault we had to play against the second-string quarterbacks,” Ravens cornerback Jimmy Smith said, “but we’ll get to go out and play against a really good one and hopefully show you what we’re capable of doing.”

Baltimore has held teams to 190 yards passing per game. Only the Jacksonville Jaguars (169 per game) allow fewer. The Ravens also have intercepted 18 passes, two more than any other team in the league.

This is the type of secondary the Ravens envisioned when they signed safety Tony Jefferson and cornerback Brandon Carr in free agency and used their first-round pick on cornerback Marlon Humphrey. In total, Baltimore has spent $45 million in signing bonuses and salary this year to improve its defensive backfield. This ranks second only to the New England Patriots ($49.6 million).

Catching a break
The Ravens have faced only three quarterbacks whose passer rating is currently over 80.0:
QUARTERBACK, TEAM RATING NFL RANK
Andy Dalton, CIN 92.5 15th
DeShone Kizer, CLE 57.2 36th
Blake Bortles, JAX 79.5 27th
Ben Roethlisberger, PIT 89.9 18th
EJ Manuel, OAK 72.3 Doesn’t qualify
Mitchell Trubisky, CHI 70.8 33rd
Case Keenum, MIN 96.2 11th
Matt Moore, MIA 75.6 Doesn’t qualify
Marcus Mariota, TEN 79.1 29th
Brett Hundley, GB 73.3 32nd
Tom Savage, HOU 68.0 35th
The Ravens see this Sunday as a measuring stick in going against Stafford, who struck an NFL record deal three months ago: a five-year, $135 million contract with the Lions.

“He runs the show,” Ravens defensive coordinator Dean Pees said. “It is similar to New England — not the scheme necessarily, but he runs the show, which means that the coaching staff and everybody feel that they have enough faith in him that he can go out and audible to anything, see the big picture [and] check everything at the line of scrimmage if he needs to. When you have a quarterback with his physical skills and also, obviously, his mental skills, then you have a complete quarterback.”

For most of the season, Baltimore has capitalized on injuries to opposing teams’ quarterbacks. Only three of the 11 QBs who have started against the Ravens currently have a passer rating over 80. The past two quarterbacks Baltimore has faced — Hundley and Savage — are ranked 32nd and 35th in rating, respectively.

The Ravens limited the two rookie starters to a total of 295 yards passing, with one touchdown and three interceptions. Baltimore did more damage against the five backups, recording eight interceptions and allowing one touchdown pass.

Stafford will be the first quarterback the Ravens have faced this season who currently has a passer rating (97.3) in the top 10 in the league.
“It’s going to be a good challenge for us in the back end,” Carr said. “This is why we play the game. It’s a great opportunity to play some December football at home again against a high-powered pass attack and see what we can do.”

Stafford is on pace for his seventh straight 4,000-yard season. He ranks fifth in passing yards, throwing 21 touchdowns and six interceptions.

With receivers Golden Tate and Marvin Jones Jr., Stafford has connected on 12 passes that have traveled at least 25 yards in the air. That’s tied for the third-most in the NFL.

“He can make every throw. Every throw,” Pees said. “There are some guys that just throw hard and can’t put a touch on it. There are some guys that can put a touch on it and can’t throw hard. He can do them all. He really, to me, is a complete quarterback, physically.”

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OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Baltimore Ravens coach John Harbaugh said Monday that the number of injuries on offense has taken the team to “unchartered territory.”

It’s also brought the NFL’s 31st-ranked offense to a popular fitness center.

“I was out there in pregame [Sunday in Minnesota], the stadium is filling up, it’s a big game, there’s a lot of energy,” Harbaugh said, “and I see ol’ Griff [Whalen] warming up like, ‘Man, this guy was at Gold’s Gym a couple days ago,’ and here he is!”

In a matter of three days, the receiver Whalen went from catching passes from former small college and high school quarterbacks to reeling in four from Joe Flacco and playing 58 snaps for the Ravens.

That’s the state of Baltimore’s banged-up offense, which is seemingly being held together by trainer’s tape.
John Harbaugh has had difficulty creating Ravens game plans, he said, with so many players out injured. Brace Hemmelgarn/USA TODAY Sports
Through seven weeks of the regular season, the Ravens (3-4) have nearly as many offensive players on injured reserve (nine) as offensive touchdowns scored (10). That injured reserve list includes Pro Bowl guard Marshal Yanda, running backs Danny Woodhead and Kenneth Dixon and starting left guard Alex Lewis.

Baltimore’s seven inactives Sunday featured three wide receivers (Jeremy Maclin, Breshad Perriman and Chris Matthews), running back Terrance West, guard Matt Skura and tight end Maxx Williams. After Mike Wallace was knocked out of the game in the first quarter and Michael Campanaro was briefly sidelined with a shoulder injury, the Ravens couldn’t go three wide because they had only two healthy wide receivers.

“This is a little uncharted territory for — I don’t know how many teams have had this many injuries on offense,” Harbaugh said. “We have a lot of tough guys. We talked to them just now. It’s about mental toughness. It’s about just going out there, and you have to put everything aside and ignore the noise and go out there and fight. We have a bunch of guys that I know will do that. I’m looking forward to see how it plays out.”

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The injuries have taken a toll on the Ravens’ depth. They’ve also exasperated Harbaugh, who threw up his arms at one point when talking about the number of hurt players.
“We’ve had Jeremy [Maclin] out [at practice] the last two weeks, and he was unable to play,” Harbaugh said. “So I guess right now I’m just like, ‘I don’t know.’ The way it’s been going with all that — we’ll see. Whoever you see jogging out there at kickoff, they’ll be playing. Up until that point, I don’t know. I probably would like to be coy with you and say, ‘I’m not going to talk about it,’ but at this point it’s just like, ‘We’ll see.'”

It’s going to be a quick turnaround for the shorthanded Ravens, who host the Miami Dolphins on Thursday night. For Monday’s walkthrough, three offensive players didn’t practice (West, Williams and Campanaro) and five were limited (Wallace, Maclin, Perriman, Skura and tight end Ben Watson).

Harbaugh acknowledged that this number of injuries makes it more uncertain when trying to put together a game plan.

“We will have 11 on the field. I promise you that. That much we can guarantee,” Harbaugh said.

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OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Wide receiver Breshad Perriman looked up to the ceiling and tilted his head to the side when asked whether he understood why he was benched last Sunday by the Baltimore Ravens.

“Yeah, I understand. I do understand,” Perriman said Wednesday. “I don’t totally agree with it. But I understand why it happened. All I can control is me working hard every week and throughout practice and having it roll over to the game.”

Perriman was a healthy scratch on Sunday after he managed just seven catches for 54 yards and no touchdowns in eight games. The No. 26 overall pick in the 2015 draft, Perriman could be on his way to being among the franchise’s biggest draft busts.

For Perriman’s career, passes thrown his way have resulted in twice as many interceptions (six) as touchdowns (three). Perriman has never eclipsed 64 yards receiving in a game.
Breshad Perriman has been known to lack confidence when he has gone through adversity in the past. John Grieshop/Getty Images
Ravens coach John Harbaugh said making Perriman inactive for a game could be a way for the struggling receiver to reset and catch his breath.

“I’m hoping,” Perriman said. “It’s definitely going to be used as motivation. Any time you’re out there, it’s got to be some type of motivation.”

With Perriman a healthy inactive for the first time in his career, the Ravens went with Michael Campanaro and Chris Moore as the No. 3 receiver behind starters Mike Wallace and Jeremy Maclin on Sunday.

Harbaugh wouldn’t say when Perriman would be active for a game again, but he did offer his support.

“I do believe in Breshad,” Harbaugh said. “I do believe he is going to play well, and he will be back up just as soon as it makes the most sense for us to win the game, and it could be this week. We have not decided that yet.”

Perriman has been known to lack confidence when he has gone through adversity in the past. A season-ending knee injury in his rookie season left Perriman in a self-described “dark hole” in which he “shut everyone out.”

Do the Ravens need to make sure they keep Perriman’s spirits up?
“That’s a struggle throughout the year that you deal with on both sides of the ball, and with multiple players — not just him,” quarterback Joe Flacco said. “Everybody deals with that. I think more than that I, and his teammates, can rally around him and remind him of those things — then yes, it’s definitely going to pay benefits in the future, and it starts with me.”

The Ravens have some questions on how they’ll handle Perriman after the season. Baltimore isn’t expected to pick up his fifth-year option, which means Perriman would have one year remaining on his rookie deal.

If the Ravens cut Perriman in 2018, it would free up $1.622 million in cap space and create $1.147 in dead money.

“It’s definitely a test,” Perriman said. “I’ve been through a lot of tests throughout my career, my life in general. I’m not worrying too much about it. I know I’ll overcome it. I’ll come back from this test better.”