Monday, May 7, 2012
Wake-up: Ravens meet WR Jacoby Jones
By Jamison Hensley
Every morning, grab a cup of coffee and get your AFC North wake-up call here:
The Baltimore Ravens met with free-agent wide receiver Jacoby Jones on Sunday, according to the NFL Network.
Jones, 27, has also visited with the Carolina Panthers since being released by the Houston Texans on May 1. He was due $3 million this season.
A third-round pick in 2007, Jones caught 31 passes for 512 yards and two touchdowns last season. He was also Houston's punt returner and averaged 10.2 yards on 179 career returns for the Texans. A fumbled punt by Jones set up a Baltimore touchdown in the playoffs last season.
Hensley's slant: I can see the Ravens being very interested in Jones. The Ravens have been looking at wide receivers who can also be the team's primary returner, so Jones fits their profile. Baltimore needs a third receiver behind Anquan Boldin and Torrey Smith. The team has also been searching for someone to take the punt return duties away from cornerback Lardarius Webb.
BENGALS: Linebacker Keith Rivers filed a grievance against the team last year, seeking his salary after being sidelined all last season with a wrist injury, according to National Football Post. The Bengals eventually traded Rivers to the New York Giants on April 11 for a fifth-round pick. Rivers, a former first-round pick, had surgery on his wrist near the end of the lockout last summer, and the Bengals thought he could have had it earlier in the offseason. The team put him on the non-football injury list, which meant Cincinnati got to withhold River's salary. Hensley's slant: These hard feelings represent another reason the Bengals were motivated to move Rivers. Cincinnati used that fifth-round pick from the Giants on Boise State safety George Iloka.
BROWNS: Two college defensive coordinators who beat new Browns quarterback Brandon Weeden say he got rattled when pressured. "He got quick feet. He got nervous," Iowa State defensive coordinator Wally Burnham told the Cleveland Plain Dealer. "He really threw the ball away in a hurry. I'm not saying he was scared, he just wanted to get the ball out to his hot receiver." Former Oklahoma defensive coordinator Brent Venables echoed that sentiment. "The challenge in the NFL," he said, "will be when the pocket's collapsing." Hensley's slant: In two games against those coordinators, Weeden combined for five touchdowns and six interceptions. But these comments aren't exactly a news flash. The biggest challenge for all rookie quarterbacks is adjusting to the increased pass rush and the smaller throwing windows to receivers.
STEELERS: Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger graduated from Miami (Ohio) about nine years after leaving for the NFL, and I'll give my take on that accomplishment later today. Pittsburgh also signed two of its nine draft picks during its weekend rookie camp, the team announced. The Steelers reached four-year agreements with nose tackle Alameda Ta'amu (fourth round) and running back Chris Rainey (fifth round). Hensley's slant: Take notice to the fact that these rookies are getting signed to four-year deals and not three-year ones. Under the new CBA, rookies who are drafted receive four-year contracts (teams can exercise a fifth-year option for players selected in the first round). That means drafted rookies will no longer become restricted free agents, like Mike Wallace, because they'll still be under contract.