Monthly Archives: December 2017

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OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Baltimore Ravens running back Alex Collins was a surprise no-show for Wednesday’s practice with a calf injury.

Collins, the Ravens’ leading rusher, was an unexpected absence because he was on the field for the final plays in Monday night’s 23-16 win over the Houston Texans. He briefly left early in the game while holding his hand or wrist but quickly returned.
Alex Collins left Sunday’s game against the Texans briefly, but his absence from Wednesday’s practice was a surprise. Rob Carr/Getty Images
Depending on the severity of the injury, it could mean Javorius Allen receives more carries and Terrance West becomes active for the first time since Oct. 8.

Collins, who has started the last six games, is the 13th-leading rusher in the NFL. He ranks sixth with a 4.9-yard per carry average.

The Ravens’ running game will be key on Sunday, when they face the Detroit Lions and the NFL’s No. 24 run defense.

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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

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
141 141 Replies 406 406 Retweets 3,010 3,010 likes
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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:
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.”