Baltimore Ravens: Justin Forsett

Ravens' report card at the Texans

December, 22, 2014
Dec 22
Grading the Baltimore Ravens in their 25-13 loss to the Houston Texans:

Quarterback: How bad of a day was it for Joe Flacco? He completed 42 percent of his throws (21 of 50). Only one starting quarterback was worse Sunday, and it was Johnny Manziel (37.5 percent). Flacco threw a season-high three interceptions and recorded a season-worst 41.7 passer rating. The Texans' heavy pressure affected Flacco, who threw two of his interceptions while under duress. There were times early in the game when Flacco had time to hit the opener receiver, and he either overthrew them, threw behind them or threw it too low that it got batted down at the line. Grade: F.

Running backs: Running back Justin Forsett finished with season lows in rushing yards (19) and average (1.9 yards per carry) after not playing the final nine minutes of the game with an ankle injury. There wasn't much running room, but he didn't show any burst for the second straight week. Not what you would expect out of a top-five rusher in the NFL. Fitzgerald Toussaint was the No. 2 back (and not Bernard Pierce), and the undrafted rookie didn't fare much better than Forsett. He had a 12-yard run, but he managed minus-1 yard on his other three carries. Grade: F.

Wide receivers/tight ends: Torrey Smith scored both of the Ravens' touchdowns, and the 8-yard touchdown grab was the result of the Texans not covering him. That's the end of the highlights. Smith dropped one pass over the middle, and he slipped on another throw that led to an interception. Steve Smith also dropped a pass and didn't make a catch over 16 yards. Tight end Owen Daniels was a non-factor in his return to Houston with one catch for 7 yards. Grade: D.

Offensive line: This was the worst game of the year for the most improved position on the team. The Ravens struggled to recognize the blitzes, and Flacco was hit 10 times. There wasn't much room created for the running backs, and Forsett had a total of three yards before contact. The Texans lived in the Ravens' backfield all game and had six tackles for loss. If the players could vote for NFL Most Valuable Player, defensive end J.J. Watt would get all of the votes from Ravens' linemen. Grade: F.

Defensive line: Nose tackle Brandon Williams was a one-man wrecking crew. His ability to penetrate up the middle wreaked havoc on the Texans' run game, which averaged 3.2 yards per carry. Defensive tackle Timmy Jernigan had four tackles and a couple of quarterback hits. Defensive end Chris Canty, who didn't practice all week, didn't make an impact. The Ravens held Arian Foster to 96 yards rushing, which extended their NFL-best streak of not allowing a 100-yard rusher to 25 games. This is the very definition of a small victory. Grade: C-plus.

Linebackers: Pernell McPhee was the best linebacker on the field for the Ravens with six tackles (including two for loss) and two quarterback hits. Daryl Smith finished with a team-best 11 tackles, and Terrell Suggs was solid with seven sacks. But where was the pass rush? The Ravens recorded no sacks and failed to hurry Case Keenum into mistakes. Elvis Dumervil, who was battling an illness, had the best hit on Keenum and nearly forced a game-turning fumble. C.J. Mosley had his worst moment of his rookie season when he got faked out by Foster on a third-down slant. Grade: C.

Secondary: In his first start, Rashaan Melvin recovered nicely after allowing a 35-yard reception to Andre Johnson on the first play from scrimamge. Strong safety Darian Stewart got his first interception of the season, picking off an overthrown Keenum pass. The Ravens held Keenum to 5-of-13 (38.5 percent) in the red zone, where the defense excelled Sunday. Matt Elam was benched at nickelback after getting picked on by the Texans and was replaced by Anthony Levine. Grade: C.

Special teams: The first spark of the game came when Jacoby Jones produced a season-best 45-yard kickoff return. He made the first tackler miss and quickly recognized a wall of blockers was set up on the right side. Sam Koch averaged 50.4 yards on eight punts. Justin Tucker had touchbacks on both of his kickoffs. The coverage teams limited punt returner Keshawn Martin to an average of six yards on four returns. Grade: B.
OWINGS MILLS, Md. -- One of the major storylines this week is offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak and tight end Owen Daniels getting some payback when they reunite with the Houston Texans on Sunday.

Just don't include running back Justin Forsett in that group.

"As far as revenge, for me personally, I've been on so many teams, I'd be going crazy thinking about getting revenge on everybody," Forsett said with a laugh. "That's out of the question for me."

Forsett played one season for the Texans, but that was only one of his four stops in the NFL. In the past four seasons, he's bounced from Seattle to Houston to Jacksonville to Baltimore.

He played one of his former teams last Sunday, and the Jacksonville Jaguars held him to one of his worst games of the season. Forsett averaged a season-worst three yards per carry and didn't break a run longer than six yards.

The biggest problem was execution, according to Forsett.

"We have to be consistent, and we have been for most of the year," said Forsett, who ranks fifth in the NFL with 1,128 yards rushing. "They gave us a challenge. They have a great front seven and had some guys in the box against us. Give credit to them."

Forsett has been battling a knee injury recently, but he doesn't see health being a factor Sunday in Houston.

"I feel good," he said. "This is actually one of the best Wednesdays I've had in a while. Body is feeling good."
Baltimore Ravens left tackle Eugene Monroe endured 46 losses, six different starting quarterbacks and three head coaching changes during his four-plus years with the Jacksonville Jaguars.

When he plays his former team for the first time Sunday, he can accomplish something he never did with the Jaguars -- a winning season.

"I try not to let emotion get in the way of the task at hand," said Monroe, the No. 8 overall pick of the 2009 draft who was traded to the Ravens in October 2013. "Obviously it’s something that I think about, especially how the scenario played out with me getting here. But they’re in the way of us making a run to the playoffs, so I’ll treat them with the same respect I treat any other opponent.”

Monroe, who is in his second season of protecting Joe Flacco's blind side, is one of three former Jaguars who will play major roles for the Ravens on Sunday. Running back Justin Forsett is the NFL's third-leading rusher just nine months after being cut by the Jaguars, and inside linebacker Daryl Smith ranks 10th in the league in tackles after not being re-signed by Jacksonville in 2013.

Smith said the ex-Jaguars talk about the tough times in Jacksonville and how fortunate they are to be with the Ravens. The Jaguars (2-11) haven't been to the postseason since 2007 while the Ravens (8-5) have reached the postseason in five of the previous six seasons.

"I had a good nine years down there and I'm in Baltimore now," Smith said. "I'm definitely thankful I got an opportunity and I love being here. I'm happy here. At the end of the day, we're here to win games. I'm just happy to have these games mean something at this time of the year."

The reunion with the Jaguars is different for Forsett. Monroe and Smith were long-time starters for Jacksonville. Forsett was a little-used backup who received six carries in his only season with the Jaguars, which ended with him being placed on injured reserve.

"No resentment, because all of the pain and the hurt I may have felt during that time, it made me a better man," Forsett said. "Those dark moments, those times of frustration -- they happen for a reason. Those times really molded me.”
OWINGS MILLS, Md. -- It was only last year when running back Justin Forsett was going to speak at an elementary school in Jacksonville, Florida, and he heard that the football players there weren't going to show up because he wasn't a starter.

Now, Forsett not only ranks third in the NFL in rushing but he is beginning to gain a loyal fan following. They're starting to call themselves the Band-Aid Gang.

The name is a nod to Forsett wearing a bandage over the bridge of his nose. He's worn it since the first month of the season to cover up a bloody cut that doesn't heal because the wound gets reopened every time his helmet crashes down onto his face.

Fans have begun using #BandAidGang on Twitter to support the Ravens' surprising leading rusher, and one admirer tweeted Forsett a picture of him wearing a Band Aid just like the running back.

"It's cool that some fans are taking a liking to it," Forsett said.

While fans are liking it, Forsett said earlier this season that his family isn't a fan of the Band Aid.

"My little son, every time I come home and pick him up, he’s like, ‘Ew!’ It’s just nasty to him," Forsett said. "He won’t let me hold him too long, so that’s a problem.”

Asked why he just didn't get a new helmet, he said, “I don’t want a new helmet. I guess I’m being stubborn in that respect as far as the equipment guys. I’ve had this helmet for a long time with this style. I’m locked in on it. So I don’t mind getting the cuts.”

Forsett, who plays one of his former teams, the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday, is getting a warmer reception in Baltimore. Earlier this week, he watched fans line up in the rain to get an autograph from him.

"It's amazing," Forsett said. "It's a joy in my heart to see that."
MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. -- Baltimore Ravens running back Justin Forsett and wide receiver Torrey Smith are both active for Sunday's game at the Miami Dolphins.

Forsett was questionable with a knee injury, and Smith was probable with a right knee injury. But there is a question as to how much both will play.

Forsett wasn't as effective after getting banged up in the third quarter last Sunday, and Smith had a noticeable limp during pre-game warmups.

Don't be surprised if rookie Lorenzo Taliaferro and Bernard Pierce receive more carries. At wide receiver, the Ravens could rely more on Marlon Brown and Kamar Aiken. Rookie wide receiver Michael Campanaro is missing his fifth straight game with a hamstring injury.

The biggest surprise among the Ravens inactives was safety Terrence Brooks. The rookie third-round pick didn't play a defensive snap last week -- a week removed from allowing a touchdown in New Orleans -- and is now scratched for the third game this season.


WR Michael Campanaro (hamstring), S Terrence Brooks, CB Rashaan Melvin, OL Gino Gradkowski, OL Jah Reid, TE Crockett Gillmore (back) and DE DeAngelo Tyson.
OWINGS MILLS, Md. -- Baltimore Ravens running back Justin Forsett is considered questionable for Sunday's game at the Miami Dolphins.

Forsett, the NFL's fourth-leading rusher, returned to practice Friday with limited participation after sitting out Wednesday and Thursday. He injured his knee in the third quarter of Sunday's game.

On Wednesday, Forsett indicated he would play. "[This was] just resting up, regular soreness," Forsett said.

Forsett is the only starter whose status is uncertain.

The only Ravens player ruled out was backup cornerback Tramain Jacobs (thigh). Wide receiver Torrey Smith (right knee) is listed as probable after a full practice Friday.

Ravens injury report
  • Out: CB Jacobs (thigh, did not practice Friday)
  • Questionable: WR Michael Campanaro (thigh, full participation Friday), RB Forsett (knee, limited participation Friday), TE Crockett Gillmore (back, did not practice Friday), LB Albert McClellan (thigh, limited participation Friday)
  • Probable: WR Marlon Brown (concussion, full participation Friday), LB C.J. Mosley (wrist, full participation Friday), WR Smith (knee, full participation Friday), LB Courtney Upshaw (hand, full participation Friday), C Jeremy Zuttah (ankle, full participation Friday).
OWINGS MILLS, Md. -- Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Torrey Smith said he believes he'll play Sunday at Miami despite sitting out his second straight practice.

Smith has never missed a game in his four-year career, playing in all 60 games. He is dealing with a right knee injury that he suffered in Sunday's loss to the San Diego Chargers.

"The only way I’m not going to play is if I need crutches, so I’m good to go," Smith said Thursday.

Two other starters -- running back Justin Forsett (knee) and center Jeremy Zuttah (ankle) -- also sat out practice for the second day in a row. There have been Ravens players who missed two days of practice and still played, but they typically return by Friday's practice.

Wide receiver Marlon Brown passed the concussion protocol and had a full practice.


DID NOT PRACTICE: RB Justin Forsett (knee), TE Crockett Gillmore (back), WR Torrey Smith (knee), C Jeremy Zuttah (ankle), TE Owen Daniels (not injury related), LB Daryl Smith (not injury related) and DT DeAngelo Tyson (not injury related).

LIMITED PARTICIPATION: CB Tramain Jacobs (thigh), LB Albert McClellan (thigh) and LB Courtney Upshaw (hand).

FULL PARTICIPATION: WR Marlon Brown (concussion), WR Michael Campanaro (hamstring) and LB C.J. Mosley (wrist).
OWINGS MILLS, Md. -- Sometimes, in certain instances, the numbers don't speak for themselves. That's the mantra of the Baltimore Ravens heading into Sunday's game against the Miami Dolphins' run defense.

The Dolphins have allowed more than 200 yards rushing in each of their past two games. Miami gave up 167 yards rushing to underrated Broncos running back C.J. Anderson and watched Chris Johnson and Chris Ivory combine for 167 yards on the ground for the New York Jets.

It sounds like a game where Joe Flacco hands off 40 times, Justin Forsett gains over 100 yards again, and the Ravens leave South Florida with an important win, right?

"Watching them on film, I don't want to fall into the trap of thinking that this thing is going to be easy and we are going to be able to run all day," Forsett said. "I know that they are a physical bunch. I know that they are athletic and they have a lot of playmakers over there. So I am anticipating a tough game."

The past two games are out of character for a Dolphins run defense that ranked as high as No. 4 this season. Only two running backs had gained more than 69 yards against Miami before the Broncos and Jets put up huge numbers on the ground.

On Monday night, the Dolphins eventually looked more like the run-stoppers from earlier this year, limiting the Jets to 67 yards rushing and 3.4 yards per carry after halftime.

"When you evaluate a defense, you evaluate a body of work," coach John Harbaugh said. "There's going to be up-and-down games. They're a very good defense, no question about it."

The Ravens may not want to have the mindset that it's going to be easy to run the ball, but they are likely to commit to it Sunday. That's been their approach the past three games, when they have run the ball more than 30 times each week.

Few teams have been running the ball better than the Ravens lately, especially late in games. The Ravens have averaged 85.3 yards rushing in the second half since Nov. 9, which is No. 2 in the league over that span.

"Early in a game, if we come out and we're only getting 2 or 3 yards, by the end of the game we're hitting them and we're getting some yards," Flacco said. "You can tell we're getting stronger and stronger as the game goes on."
OWINGS MILLS, Md. -- Baltimore Ravens running back Justin Forsett is confident he'll be ready to play Sunday at Miami after missing just the second practice of the season.

The Ravens listed Forsett with a knee injury. He limped off the field with nine minutes left in the third quarter Sunday, but he returned to finish the game.

"[This was] just resting up, regular soreness," Forsett said. "Especially coming into December, just trying to take care of the body and take care of the little nicks I've gotten over the course of the year."

Wide receivers Torrey Smith (right knee) and Marlon Brown (concussion) also didn't participate in Wednesday's practice.

Asked if they are making progress, coach John Harbaugh simply said, "Yes."

Center Jeremy Zuttah was the only other player who didn't practice. Slot receiver Michael Campanaro had his first full practice since injuring his hamstring on Oct. 26.


DID NOT PRACTICE: WR Marlon Brown (concussion), RB Justin Forsett (knee), WR Torrey Smith (knee), C Jeremy Zuttah (ankle).

LIMITED PARTICIPATION: TE Crockett Gillmore (back), CB Tramain Jacobs (thigh), LB Albert McClellan (thigh), LB Courtney Upshaw (hand).

FULL PARTICIPATION: WR Michael Campanaro (hamstring), LB C.J. Mosley (wrist).
Sure, the Baltimore Ravens' front office needs to take some blame for the current state of the secondary. But general manager Ozzie Newome and the other decision-makers should be applauded for how they upgraded other parts of the team this offseason at relatively bargain prices.

In fact, the Ravens made two of the biggest free-agent pickups, according to ESPN Insider Mike Sando Insider. Running back Justin Forsett and wide receiver Steve Smith ranked among the top-10 veteran additions.

Forsett was named the fifth-best offseason signing, although you could make the argument he should rank first in terms of value. He is the NFL's fourth-leading rusher after signing a one-year deal for the veteran minimum ($730,000).

It should be noted the Ravens signed Forsett on the recommendation of offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak. Newsome acknowledged he wasn't sold on Forsett at first.

"[Forsett] has represented an upgrade from Ray Rice -- a testament to him and also to the excellent scheme Gary Kubiak has installed," Sando wrote.

Smith was signed for a modest three-year, $10.5 million deal after he was cut by the Carolina Panthers. His yearly average doesn't rank among the top 25 wide receivers.

Despite his recent slump, Smith remains the Ravens' leader in receptions (54) and receiving yards (819). His numbers represent only a part of his impact.

"When Jon Gruden broke down the Ravens' offense, he singled out plays showing Smith and others delivering effective blocks on the back side of the formation, which is essential for maximizing Kubiak's offense," Sando wrote.
OWINGS MILLS, Md. -- The Baltimore Ravens began Wednesday's practice without two of their biggest impact players on offense.

Wide receiver Torrey Smith (knee) and running back Justin Forsett (undisclosed) weren't present during the media viewing portion of practice (the first half hour).

Smith didn't play the final two drives in Sunday's loss to the San Diego Chargers as trainers examined his right knee. On Monday, coach John Harbaugh downplayed the severity of Smith's injury.

"Torrey didn't really have anything too serious," Harbaugh said Monday.

Smith has scored seven touchdowns in his past seven games, and he's averaged 75 yards receiving over the past four games.

Forsett's injury is unknown, although he did limp off the field with nine minutes left in the third quarter after converting a third-and-2. He did return, but he only averaged 2.7 yards per carry (30 yards on 11 carries) the rest of the game.

Forsett is the fourth-leading rusher and eclipsed 1,000 yards rushing for the first time in his career on Sunday. The Ravens will disclose Forsett's injury later this afternoon when the practice report is released.

Wide receiver Marlon Brown (concussion) and center Jeremy Zuttah (undisclosed) also weren't practicing.

Stock Watch: Baltimore Ravens

December, 3, 2014
Dec 3
A look at who's rising and falling on the Baltimore Ravens heading into their Week 14 game at the Miami Dolphins:


Torrey Smith in the end zone. His eight touchdown catches lead the Ravens and tie his career high (set in 2012). After a slow start, Smith has scored seven touchdowns over his past seven games. That's tied for the most touchdown catches in the league since Oct. 12. He needs two more touchdowns to move past Derrick Alexander for the second-most by a Ravens receiver in a season.

Justin Forsett's big plays. His 13 runs over 20 yards are the most in the NFL this season. In fact, it's three more than any other running back in the league. His consistency has been impressive. Forsett has produced at least one run over 20 yards in nine of his 12 games this season.

Justin Tucker. He currently ranks as the most accurate kicker in NFL history. Tucker has connected on his last 13 field-goal attempts to raise his career success rate to 91.2 percent (Dan Bailey is second at 90 percent). He has made 25 of 28 field goals this season, with his only misses coming from 55, 57 and 64 yards. Here's the most impressive stat: Tucker has only missed once in 60 field-goal attempts under 55 yards.


Eugene Monroe. The left tackle has been the Ravens' worst starting lineman. Monroe has struggled in getting any push off the line, and he allowed a team-high three quarterback hurries Sunday. He also leads the Ravens with seven penalties. This isn't what the Ravens want to see out of a lineman they gave an $11 million signing bonus nine months ago. Consider this: Monroe has the highest average salary per season of any Ravens offensive lineman at $7.5 million, which is $1.1 million more than Pro Bowl right guard Marshal Yanda.

Steve Smith. Joe Flacco mentioned that it's important to get Steve Smith involved early because he's such an emotional player. But, when Smith isn't targeted early, he is a nonfactor -- which is what happened Sunday. Smith finished with more drops (two) than catches (one). It's only the second time in Smith's last 35 games that he was held to fewer than two receptions. He's averaged 35.8 yards receiving in his past five games after averaging 91.4 yards receiving in his first seven.

Anthony Levine. The safety-turned-cornerback allowed nine catches on 10 passes thrown his way. Only two other cornerbacks in the NFL gave up more receptions than Levine in Week 13. Levine isn't alone in getting picked on. Lardarius Webb, the Ravens' other starting corner, is ranked No. 204 out of 215 corners by Pro Football Focus.
Baltimore Ravens running back Justin Forsett is the frontrunner for NFL Comeback Player of the Year, and he is the most valuable player on the team.

Here is something else to consider: Forsett for the Pro Bowl.

[+] EnlargeRavens
Derick E. Hingle/USA TODAY SportsEclipsing 95 yards or more rushing in four games this season, Ravens RB Justin Forsett has at least earned his way into Pro Bowl consideration.
As strange as this might have sounded at the start of the season, the long-time journeyman deserves to be mentioned with the likes of DeMarco Murray, Marshawn Lynch, LeSean McCoy and Jamaal Charles. Only six total running backs (there is no AFC/NFC distinction anymore), and it would be a mistake not to include Forsett.

Here are a few reasons why:

  • Forsett leads all NFL running backs in yards per carry with 5.8. To put this in perspective, the league average per rush this season is 4.1.
  • He is the league's third-leading rusher with 903 yards. Only Murray and Le'Veon Bell have gained more, but each has at least 40 more carries than Forsett this season.
  • Forsett is one of the NFL's top playmakers with a league-high 12 runs over 20 yards. No one else has more than 10.
  • To emphasize the point of being valuable, Forsett has averaged 125 yards rushing in the Ravens' last four wins. In beating Tampa Bay, Atlanta, Tennessee and New Orleans, Forsett has produced 111, 95, 112 and 182 yards rushing.

The Pro Bowl has long become a popularity contest (one-third of the voting comes from fans), and Forsett is hurt by the fact he isn't a household name and doesn't have a national commercial. If you're selecting on importance as well as numbers, he should be a slam dunk to hear his name called when Pro Bowl players are announced on Dec. 23.

Simply put, the Ravens wouldn't be a serious playoff contender without Forsett. Ray Rice is gone. Bernard Pierce is too injury prone to be trusted. And rookie Lorenzo Taliaferro doesn't have the confidence of the coaching staff after fumbling in Pittsburgh. It's difficult to believe the Ravens would be a half game out of first place in the AFC North without Forsett breaking long runs and scoring critical touchdowns in the red zone.

The argument against Forsett is he's a product of the system. You'll hear that even Olandis Gary, Reuben Droughns and Steve Slaton all gained over 1,000 yards rushing in Gary Kubiak's offense. That's valid, but you can't discount Forsett's vision, power and explosiveness. Pierce is averaging 3.6 yards per carry in the same offense and behind the same offensive line.

Forsett is starting to gain recognition after being named AFC Offensive Player of the Week in his past two games. The football world got a glimpse of what he's been doing all season when he produced a career-high 182 yards rushing on "Monday Night Football."

Whether that gains enough national respect for a Pro Bowl invitation remains to be seen. But Forsett has done everything he can to earn one.
Justin Forsett has gone from seven-year journeyman running back to one of the top players this month.

Forsett was named AFC Offensive Player of the Week for the second time this season after gaining a career-high 182 yards rushing and scoring two touchdowns in the Baltimore Ravens' 34-27 win over the New Orleans Saints on Monday night. He rushed for more yards than anyone else in the NFL in Week 12 and was one of five running backs to score multiple touchdowns.

This is the latest honor in what has become an unlikely career year for Forsett. He has earned AFC Offensive Player of the Week honors for the second consecutive game (he gained 112 yards and two touchdowns in Week 10 against Tennessee) that he has played after going 96 career games without winning such an award.

Forsett is the first Ravens player to win this award multiple times in one season since Ray Rice in 2011. It wouldn't be surprising to see if Forsett was named AFC Offensive Player of the Month in November next week.

Other Ravens recognized this season are: Justin Tucker (Week 3 against Cleveland), quarterback Joe Flacco (Week 6 against Tampa Bay) and linebacker C.J. Mosley (NFL defensive rookie of the month in October).
NEW ORLEANS -- Observed and heard in the locker room after the Baltimore Ravens' 34-27 win over the New Orleans Saints:

Halftime speech: Defensive coordinator Dean Pees gave the defense "a reality check" with a halftime speech, according to safety Will Hill. "That's all you can call it," he said. "He said we need to tackle, we need to continue to get after the run and said the secondary has to make plays. That's was a wake up call." The Ravens limited the Saints to 10 points and 190 yards in the second half.

Getting Steve Smith involved early: The Ravens made an effort to throw the ball to wide receiver Steve Smith early. In the first quarter, Smith caught three passes for 69 yards and pulled in a 15-yard touchdown catch while falling backward. "Obviously, he's very fiery," quarterback Joe Flacco said. "When you get the ball to him early and get his emotions into it and you keep his head into it for the full 60 minutes, it does really good things for our team." Smith was also involved in an altercation with Kenny Vaccaro, which resulted in a 15-yard penalty on the Saints safety.

Forsett is tough to bring down: Justin Forsett's career-high 182 yards moved him into third in the NFL in rushing. Why is Forsett having so much success this season? "He's not letting guys tackling him in the hole," Flacco said. "He's hitting it quick and getting to it on time. All those things turn a 2-yard runs into 6-yard runs and turns 6-yard runs into big runs."