Baltimore Ravens: Josh Bynes

The Baltimore Ravens' team page continues to a take a position-by-position review of the team's 2013 season and give a sneak peek of what lies ahead:

LINEBACKERS

Under contract (2014 salary-cap number): OLB Terrell Suggs ($12.4 million), ILB Jameel McClain ($4.4M), OLB Elvis Dumervil ($3.375M), OLB Courtney Upshaw ($1.444M), OLB Arthur Brown ($807,780), OLB John Simon ($591,413), OLB Pernell McPhee ($681,140).

2014 free agents: ILB Daryl Smith (unrestricted), ILB Albert McClellan (restricted), ILB Josh Bynes (exclusive rights), OLB Adrian Hamilton (exclusive rights), OLB D.J. Bryant (exclusive rights).

Smith
The good: Smith made everyone forget that Ray Lewis was gone. He led the Ravens with 123 tackles and finished with five sacks, three interceptions, 19 passes defensed and two forced fumbles. Suggs and Dumervil combined for 19.5 sacks, which was nearly half of the team's total. McClain made an admirable comeback from a spinal cord contusion and recorded 52 tackles in 10 games.

The bad: Suggs disappeared in the second half of the season, contributing 20 tackles and one sack in his final eight games. Dumervil was equally non-effective with nine tackles and one sack in his last six games. Brown was projected to start as a rookie, but he was limited to passing downs.

The money: The Ravens want to sign Suggs to an extension to reduce his $12.4 million cap hit and increase his chances of retiring as a Raven. It'll be interesting to see whether the Ravens can re-sign Smith. He exceeded expectations but he'll turn 32 in March. The Ravens are expected to cut McClain because they can free up $3.2 million in cap space.

Draft priority: Low, at this point. If the Ravens can't reach an extension with Suggs and decide to release him, the need for an edge rusher increases significantly. But right now, linebacker is a low priority. The Ravens are banking on Brown to step up and fill McClain's starting spot. There is solid depth (and quality special teams play) from the likes of Bynes, McClellan and Simon.
OWINGS MILLS, Md. -- It took 10 months for Jameel McClain to get back on the field. It took only one game to convince the Baltimore Ravens that he's their best option at weakside linebacker.

McClain
McClain will start over Josh Bynes for Sunday's game at the Cleveland Browns, defensive coordinator Dean Pees said Thursday.

When Bynes was out with a finger infection, McClain started in his place on Oct. 20, his first game since suffering a spinal cord contusion last December. Now that Bynes is healthy enough to play again, the Ravens made the decision to stick with McClain, who had started the past three seasons.

"It's just a chance for me to go out there and prove myself," McClain said.

In his first game back, McClain was the team's third-leading tackler with five and played just over half of the defensive snaps (30). He didn't have a missed tackle.

Pees said McClain is "close" to playing at the same level he did last season.

"He was tentative I think sometimes because he hadn't hit anybody," Pees said. "I would guess it's going to take him a couple of weeks. But he'll be even better this week."

The move means Bynes will have a bigger role on special teams. He made the biggest stop on coverage teams last season when he tackled returner Ted Ginn on the last play of the Super Bowl.

McClain's impact will come in run defense, which has been a problem area for the Ravens recently. The Ravens have allowed 140 or more rushing yards in three of their past four games.

Baltimore's run defense has been a barometer of the team's success this season. In three wins, the Ravens have held teams to 60.3 yards rushing. In four losses, they have been gashed for 137.2 yards on the ground.
OWINGS MILLS, Md. -- Eight years after watching New England Patriots linebacker Tedy Bruschi return from a minor stroke in the same year, Baltimore Ravens defensive coordinator Dean Pees watched another one of his players make what he described as an "amazing" comeback.

McClain
Jameel McClain was the Ravens' starting inside linebacker Sunday in his first game back since suffering a spinal cord contusion 10 months ago. He finished as the team's third-leading tackler in Pittsburgh with five on defense and one on special teams.

"For a guy to be out 10 months and come back and practice three days and play 28 plays in that game, amazing," Pees said. "This guy had been told a few months back he was never going to play football again. So, to mentally stay that into it and that in tune and have no missed assignments in that game whatsoever ... You could tell he was a little tentative maybe in taking on some blocks at times, but I don't think it was because he was scared. He just hadn't been out there doing it. It was more that than I didn't see anything backing off. That's an amazing feat to me.”

Josh Bynes, who had replaced McClain, couldn't play against the Steelers because he had surgery on his infected finger. So, McClain replaced Bynes last Sunday and played 30 of the Ravens' 59 snaps.

Bynes is expected to return to practice after the bye, so the Ravens have to decide whether to stick with McClain or go back to Bynes as the starting inside linebacker.

"I thought he played a good game," coach John Harbaugh said of McClain. "Given the circumstances, [he] probably played really well. [He] hadn't played for a long time, hadn't practiced much, was throw into a situation because of Josh's [Bynes] situation where he had to play quite a few snaps. He did a solid job, and he's only going to get better from here on out. He came out of it healthy, so that's important. He'll really benefit from the next couple days of work.”
OWINGS MILLS, Md. -- The Baltimore Ravens could address depth at running back during their bye week.

While starting running back Ray Rice says he has fully recovered from a hip injury, the same cannot be said about backup Bernard Pierce. He is dealing with a hamstring injury and didn't practice Wednesday, the last workout before the players receive four days off.

The Ravens didn't have Pierce toward the end of Sunday's game in Pittsburgh, which is why fullback Vonta Leach spelled Rice at times. Free agent Beanie Wells had a tryout with the Ravens on Tuesday, but the team isn't expected to sign him. Former Cincinnati Bengals running back Bernard Scott worked out for the Ravens last week.

The Ravens have a roster spot open after trading offensive tackle Bryant McKinnie to the Miami Dolphins.

"We're still working ourselves through that," coach John Harbaugh said. "It could be a practice-squad promotion. It could be somebody off a practice-squad roster or somebody who's available right now as a free agent."

Pierce has shown some flashes during his two seasons with the Ravens, but he tends to get banged-up. The Ravens are averaging 2.8 yards per rush, which is last in the NFL.

Here are some other injury updates:
  • Inside linebacker Josh Bynes, who missed his first game with a finger infection, said he expects to return for the Nov. 3 game at the Cleveland Browns. "I don't if 'expected' is the right word," Harbaugh said. "I guess I probably feel that way, but I don't want to speak, because you never know with an infection. But there's a good chance that he would be [ready]."
  • Left guard Kelechi Osemele confirmed he will have surgery on his back this offseason. He didn't practice Wednesday and said the back acts up on him "off and on" throughout the year. "They feel like I'm the best chance to win games at my position. So, I'm going to deal with it," Osemele said. "How much affected? The back is a big thing. It's connected to your legs and everything from that point down. It's affected my power. I'm an offensive lineman. I need to have strong legs. Obviously, it's affecting me."
OWINGS MILLS, Md. -- Three Baltimore Ravens linebackers are on the injury report for Sunday's game at the Pittsburgh Steelers, including two at inside linebacker.

Bynes
The Ravens officially ruled out starting inside linebacker Josh Bynes after he had surgery on his infected finger. Rookie second-round pick Arthur Brown is expected to make his first career start.

Outside linebacker Courtney Upshaw (foot) and inside linebacker Albert McClellan (shoulder) are both listed as questionable. Upshaw has been limited all week, and McClellan played last Sunday with the same injury.

Without Bynes, the Ravens may consider activating Jameel McClain from the physically unable to perform list. McClain, who suffered a spinal cord contusion 10 months ago, is listed as probable after practicing all week.

Defensive tackle Haloti Ngata is listed as questionable, but he returned to the game last Sunday after straining his elbow.

Here is the Ravens' official injury report:

OUT: ILB Josh Bynes (finger, thigh).

DOUBTFUL: WR Brandon Stokley (groin), C Ryan Jensen (foot).

QUESTIONABLE: CB Chykie Brown (thigh), DT Terrence Cody (knee), LB Albert McClellan (shoulder), DT Haloti Ngata (elbow), LB Courtney Upshaw (foot), CB Lardarius Webb (hamstring).

PROBABLE: DE Chris Canty (groin), LB Jameel McClain (neck), DT Marcus Spears (knee).
OWINGS MILLS, Md. -- Baltimore Ravens starting inside linebacker Josh Bynes was ruled out for Sunday's game against the Pittsburgh Steelers after he needed surgery on an infected finger, coach John Harbaugh announced Friday.

Bynes cut his finger last week, and it got infected after he played in last Sunday's game. He was hospitalized Tuesday night but returned to the team the next day. There was hope Bynes would play in Sunday's game in Pittsburgh, but he didn't practice Wednesday or Thursday.

"Then last night, the infection kind of beat the antibiotics," Harbaugh said. "So he had to get surgery on that finger to get that cleaned out."

Harbaugh indicated Bynes is "doing fine" and it's not major surgery.

"(But) that will preclude him from playing in this game," Harbaugh said.

With Bynes being ruled out, rookie second-round pick Arthur Brown is expected to make his first career start. He's primarily been limited to playing on passing downs.

"I put in the preparation this week and I'm definitely confident," Brown said. "I'm ready to go."

The other factor is the potential return of inside linebacker Jameel McClain, who practiced this week for the first time since suffering a spinal cord contusion 10 months ago. He has had full practices all week, and the team has until Saturday at 4 p.m. to decide whether to activate him from the physically unable to perform list and put him on the 53-man roster.

McClain started the previous three seasons for the Ravens.

Asked if there is any chance of McClain playing against the Steelers, Harbaugh said, "Why don't we just wait and see on that. I'm not prepared to make an announcement on that right now."
Baltimore Ravens starting defensive lineman Chris Canty returned to have a full practice Thursday after sitting out the day before. He is dealing with a groin injury.

Canty
That means inside linebacker Josh Bynes (finger, thigh) was the only starter who didn't practice Thursday. Wide receiver Brandon Stokley (groin) missed practice after having a full participation the previous day.

Defensive tackle Haloti Ngata (elbow) and cornerback Lardarius Webb (hamstring) were limited for a second straight day.

Inside linebacker Jameel McClain, who remains on the physically unable to perform list, had his second full practice. Before this week, he hadn't practiced for the Ravens since suffering a spinal-cord contusion 10 months ago.

Is there a possibility McClain could play Sunday?

“I’d hate to speculate, because again, I don’t want to say yes, don’t want to say no, and then I’m wrong," defensive coordinator Dean Pees said. "So, I don’t know. We’ll take it day-to-day. We’ll see how it goes. That’s a decision for better minds to make than me.”

Here's the Ravens' complete injury report:

Did not practice: LB Josh Bynes (thigh, finger), WR Brandon Stokley (groin) and LB Albert McClellan (shoulder).

Limited participation: CB Chykie Brown (thigh), DT Terrence Cody (knee), C Ryan Jensen (foot), DT Haloti Ngata (elbow), LB Courtney Upshaw (foot), CB Lardarius Webb (hamstring).

Full participation: DL Chris Canty (groin), LB Jameel McClain (neck), DT Marcus Spears (knee).
The Baltimore Ravens' injury report will come out Friday afternoon. My guess is running back Ray Rice won't practice for a third consecutive day and be listed as questionable for Sunday's game against Houston. Coach John Harbaugh, who is usually tight-lipped when it comes to injuries, will likely say Rice is a game-time decision. We'll see if this is how it shake out in a few hours. For now, here's your Wake-up caw ...
  • Despite not practicing the past two days, defensive lineman Chris Canty hopes to play Sunday. He is dealing with a groin injury. “I’m very optimistic, it feels pretty good," Canty told Comcast SportsNet. "So I’ll continue to go about the process and hopefully be able to play." Canty missed seven games last season because of a knee injury.
  • Safety Ed Reed said he holds no bitterness toward the Ravens. "I always will be a Raven," Reed said in a conference call, via The Baltimore Sun. "That's where I was kind of raised in the NFL. I did a lot of growing and we did a lot of special things. That's something that can never be taken away and it never will. There's a lot of love there."
  • There is no need to worry about kicker Justin Tucker, according to The Baltimore Sun's Mike Preston. Tucker missed two field goals last Sunday.
  • Safety James Ihedigbo and inside linebacker Josh Bynes weren't projected to be starters when training camp began. But Pro Football Focus has Ihedigbo as the fourth-highest-graded player on Baltimore’s defense through the first two games. It has Bynes sixth. "They’re doing really well,” defensive coordinator Dean Pees said, via The Carroll County (Md.) Times. “Josh, that guy is an overachiever. I think he’s done very, very well. The thing that Josh is, like I always say, he’s very smart. Same thing with Ihedigbo.”
  • Shaun Draughn might have to be the Ravens' top backup at running back if Rice is sidelined with a hip injury. Draughn was signed a week ago. "It was a good thing I was inactive the first week for me to pick things up," Draughn told The Baltimore Sun. "I met with [running backs coach Wilbert Montgomery] and Joe [Flacco] on Tuesday. I'm in my playbook a lot. I got to stay prepared, man."

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