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WR Jacoby Jones Visits Ravens
The Ravens continue their search for a veteran return man.
Jones, who was reportedly due $3 million next season in the second year of a three-year deal, was a post-draft roster casualty after the Texans took receivers in the third and fourth rounds.
“I can see the Ravens being very interested in Jones,” wrote ESPN’s Jamison Hensley. “The Ravens have been looking at wide receivers who can also be the team’s primary returner, so Jones fits their profile.”
Jones averaged 10.6 yards per punt return with three touchdowns in 2011, but didn’t return kickoffs. That doesn’t mean he can’t do it. He has a career average of 23.3 yards per kickoff on 64 returns.
As a receiver, Jones reeled in 31 catches for 512 yards and two touchdowns last season, upping his career total to 127 for 1,731 and 11 touchdowns in 75 games.
Of course, the Ravens have also never shied away from bringing in competition.
“Baltimore needs a third receiver behind Anquan Boldin and Torrey Smith,” Hensley wrote. “The team has also been searching for someone to take the punt return duties away from cornerback Lardarius Webb.”
Ravens fans may remember Jones from that AFC divisional playoff game at M&T Bank in January when he fumbled twice, giving one muffed punt to Baltimore that led to a touchdown in the 20-13 loss.
Baltimore is not Jones’ only possible destination.
La Canfora reports the speedster has also visited with the Carolina Panthers. The Ravens reportedly have less than $2 million in salary-cap space.
Ravens Should ‘Jump At Chance’ To Get Osi Umenyiora
Even with a healthy Terrell Suggs, the Ravens reportedly inquired about disgruntled Giants defensive end Osi Umenyiora last offseason.
Now that the Defensive Player of the Year’s 2012 season is in jeopardy, and the price for 30-year-old Umenyiora could be cheaper than a year ago, CBSSports.com’s Clark Judge believes the Ravens should “jump at the chance” to snag Umenyiora.
“Yep, if I were General Manager Ozzie Newsome I’d be on speed dial with the New York Giants’ Jerry Reese, making him an offer he couldn’t refuse,” Judge wrote.
“Tell the Giants why peddling Umenyiora could be addition by subtraction and make them motivated sellers. Not only would they gain a draft pick for an unhappy camper who’s a short-timer anyway; they’d be rid of a potential headache. And the Ravens? They’d find what they need. They’d find an ideal replacement for Terrell Suggs.”
Despite Umenyiora’s complaints (he recently ripped Reese in a letter to the New York Daily News) and request for an extension entering the last year of his contract, the Giants haven’t given him one. Instead, the club gave an extension to linebacker Mathias Kiwanuka. Thus, Umenyiora doesn’t appear to be in its long-term future.
Umenyiora notched 40.5 sacks in his last 57 games. His average of .71 sacks per game from 2007-11 is tied for fifth best in the NFL. In 2010, he set a league record with 10 forced fumbles.
Reese recently said that all options are always open to the Giants.
“If I’m Newsome, I find out what that means, and I find out now,” wrote Judge.
Last year the Giants’ asking price for Umenyiora was a first-round pick, with rumors that it temporarily dropped to a second-rounder.
“One year later, the price can only go down, basically because everyone knows Umenyiora is unhappy and isn’t going back to Big Blue in 2013,” Judge wrote.
While Umenyiora is an intriguing possibility, it may not be a realistic move considering the number of young Ravens who could step up at a less expensive price. Plus, the Ravens reportedly have very little room under the salary cap and would have to do some reshuffling to make Umenyiora work.
That’s why CSNBaltimore.com’s John Eisenberg wrote the “overwhelming likelihood” is that either Paul Kruger, rookie Courtney Upshaw or Sergio Kindle will win the job.
“Umenyiora is due to make $3.975 million in 2012, which is more than double the cap space the Ravens currently have available,” Eisenberg wrote. “They would have to cut players to bring him in, which they’re certainly not inclined to do.
“The chances of him wearing purple instead of blue in 2012 are slim, very slim. But let’s just say it’s not entirely impossible.”
Harbaugh: Suggs Will Be Back
John Harbaugh publicly spoke for the first time about losing his feared pass rusher.
The head coach had one message: Suggs will be back.
Harbs just doesn’t know when.
“He will be okay, Terrell Suggs will be fine. He will be back,” Harbaugh told WJZ’s Mark Viviano. “He will go to work on that rehab like no other. He will continue to be a huge part of what we are doing, continue to be a leader and then the young guys will step up. They will step forward, and you are a football team first, you are a team, team is not one guy.”
Suggs reportedly tore his Achilles tendon during a conditioning drill, he says, in his home state of Arizona, but it is unclear whether it was a full or partial tear. Ravens officials will have a better of idea of the extent of the injury and possible recovery time after Suggs sees a specialist Tuesday.
The determined 10-year veteran, who has the leagues’ fourth-most sacks (30) since 2010, believes he can return in October or November.
While Suggs is moving forward with confidence, Harbaugh shared details of their initial conversation in which Suggs was sad about the injury.
“My heart went out to Terrell because he was so down about it, it was so hard for him to actually spit out what had happened,” Harbaugh said. “He didn’t want to tell me because he felt so bad about it. Once we got past that, then I felt bad about it. Once I got past feeling bad about how he felt bad about it, then I felt bad about it.
“We are going to be fine. I got a chance to talk to Ray [Lewis, Ravens linebacker] and a lot of the players and you move forward, that’s what it’s all about, you just move forward and the next guy steps in.”
In a radio interview Friday, Reed seemed to be at peace with his current circumstances and says he is enjoying the offseason.
“My offseason is going great,” Reed told 105.7 The Fan. “I’m just getting myself physically able to live my life. I’m not even worried about what comes in the next couple months because that’s part of life. That’s something that could be done in my sleep. I dream about doing special things when it comes to football, so that’s something that’s been embedded in me for a long time. I’m feeling good. I’m able to do the things that I’ve been doing all offseason since I’ve been playing football.”
Reed has endured painful injuries in recent years, including a nerve impingement in his neck and shoulder and reconstructive hip surgery during the 2010 offseason. The toll the injuries had on his body made the future Hall of Famer consider retirement.
Now, he believes the hip injury is behind him and the nerve impingement won’t stand in the way from accomplishing his goals, even if critics say otherwise. Reed has said that he thinks he can play another four or five years.
“God has blessed me to 10 years to not have anything truly serious that has affected me or affected my game,” Reed said. “Yeah I had hip surgery or whatnot, but that’s 100 percent repaired. Yeah I have my nerve impingement, but I’ve been playing with that for the last four to five years, and I’ve been performing, outside of what the critics say, but that’s always going to be there.”
Rex Compares Jets Rookie To Lewis
Former Ravens Defensive Coordinator Rex Ryan paid the ultimate compliment to his third-round pick linebacker Demario Davis.
After seeing Davis for the first time in practice, Ryan compared the rookie’s leadership skills to his former Ravens player and all-time great Ray Lewis.
“Ray Lewis motivated me as a coach,” Ryan said. “That’s rare for a player to do that [and] have that kind of ability. I’m not saying Demario is that guy, but … and there’s only one Ray Lewis … but it’s interesting.
“His face. His mannerisms. Passion. I see some things. … You either have it or you don’t and it seems like he has it.”
The biggest questions are the left guard and the outside linebacker positions. Hensley sees Ravens’ second-round draft pick Kelechi Osemele winning the spot vacated by Pro Bowler Ben Grubbs. Meanwhile, Paul Kruger is the predicted replacement for Suggs.
Additionally, Art Jones wins Redding’s old defensive end spot, Upshaw becomes the left outside linebacker opposite Kruger and Jimmy Smith pries the starting corner position away from Cary Williams.
Below is Hensley’s full starting lineup:
DE – Arthur Jones
NT – Terrence Cody
DT – Haloti Ngata
LOLB – Courtney Upshaw
LILB – Ray Lewis
RILB – Jameel McClain
ROLB – Paul Kruger
LCB – Lardarius Webb
SS – Bernard Pollard
FS – Ed Reed
RCB – Jimmy Smith
QB - Joe Flacco
RB – Ray Rice
FB – Vonta Leach
WR – Anquan Boldin
TE – Ed Dickson
LT – Bryant McKinnie
LG – Kelechi Osemele
C – Matt Birk
RG – Marhsal Yanda
RT – Michael Oher
WR – Torrey Smith
The Ravens tipped off how much they liked last year’s undrafted rookie free agent Michael McAdoo by putting him on injured reserve. Hensley says it was Ravens brass’ way of redshirting the pass rusher and not letting other teams take a shot at signing him while trying to sneak him on the practice squad. He’s another candidate to help the pass rush with Suggs’ season in jeopardy. [ESPN]