Print and Go Back ESPN.com: Baltimore Ravens [Print without images]

Monday, March 31, 2014
Wake-up caw: Ravens' news and opinions

By Jamison Hensley

For this edition of our wake-up caw, I'll give you my take on some Baltimore Ravens news items over the weekend ...

Headline: Running back Ray Rice and Janay Palmer were married Friday, a day after Rice was indicted by a grand jury on third-degree aggravated assault for allegedly striking Palmer unconscious.
Opinion: A Ravens source told me that Rice and Palmer had the ceremony planned for weeks, so the timing of the indictment and marriage is coincidental. Even though Palmer may not have to testify against Rice because of spousal privilege, prosecutors could still have a case against him if there is video evidence of the assault.

Headline: Backup running back Bernard Pierce said he will be ready "definitely by training camp" after having offseason shoulder surgery.
Opinion: It's not the best situation for the Ravens to have their backup running back sidelined this spring when Rice's future is uncertain. Still, there's less of a concern when a running back is dealing with an injury above the waist. Teams worry more about running backs when the surgeries are with knees and ankles.

Headline: Anquan Boldin, an ex-Ravens wide receiver, believes he's a different player from Steve Smith, the Ravens' newest receiver.
Opinion: Boldin and Smith do fill the same role for the Ravens. They're both experienced receivers who excel at making clutch catches and bring an attitude as well as toughness to the offense. These similarities are hard to overlook.

Headline: Tyrod Taylor expects to face competition for the Ravens' backup quarterback job.
Opinion: Taylor has had to beat out Curtis Painter and Caleb Hanie for the No. 2 position the past couple of years, so this is nothing new to him. The remaining free-agent quarterbacks are an unspectacular bunch: Matt Flynn, Josh Freeman, Rex Grossman, Jimmy Clausen, Colt McCoy, Brady Quinn and Dan Orlovsky. But, with Taylor heading into his contract year, the Ravens could draft a quarterback and groom him to replace Taylor next season.

Headline: Tom Zbikowski, a former third-round pick by the Ravens, is on the waiting list to join the Chicago Fire Department and serves as the defensive coordinator for the Chicago Blaze, the fire department football team.
Opinion: Life after football can be tough on players, and Zbikowski acknowledged he had a drinking problem during his playing days. Let's hope everything is back on track for him.