NFL Nation: Ramon Harewood

Pregame thoughts from Denver

January, 12, 2013
1/12/13
3:51
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DENVER -- There are no surprises on Denver’s inactive list for Saturday’s AFC divisional playoff game against Baltimore.

Here are Denver’s inactives: Tracy Porter, Andre Caldwell, C.J. Davis, Chris Gronkowski, Caleb Hanie, Sealver Siliga and Julius Thomas. Porter is the most important injured player of the group. He has a concussion. Denver is remarkably healthy going into this game.

Here are Baltimore’s inactive: Deonte Thompson, David Reed, Ramon Harewood, Chris Johnson, Bryan Hall, Omar Brown and Adrian Hamilton.

As expected, it is quite chilly here. But the skies are clearing up, and it is not as gloomy as it was a couple of hours ago when it was snowing lightly. The field is in good condition.

I think here is a chance the game will be played in dry conditions, although there are reports that the wind-chill factor might be near zero late in the game.
BALTIMORE -- Former Cincinnati Bengals lineman Bobbie Williams will make his first start for the Baltimore Ravens, replacing benched Ramon Harewood at left guard. Harewood, who had started the first five games, is on the inactive list Sunday against the Dallas Cowboys.

The Ravens are also making a change on kickoff returns. Undrafted rookie Deonte Thompson, who had been the primary kickoff returner, fumbled in Kansas City last Sunday. Jacoby Jones is expected to replace him. LaQuan Williams is another option.

Here's the Ravens' inactive list: G Ramon Harewood, OT Jah Reid, WR Deonte Thompson, LB Sergio Kindle, DE DeAngelo Tyson, CB Asa Jackson and DT Bryan Hall.
Michael Oher is staying at left tackle for the Ravens, the NFL Network is reporting. This was an unexpected lineup change in the season opener because the Ravens were presumably going with Bryant McKinnie at that spot.

The switches on the left side of the Ravens' offensive line in Week 1 -- Oher over McKinnie at tackle and Ramon Harewood instead of Bobbie Williams at guard -- make sense in light of the team's no-huddle offense. The Ravens can move at a quicker tempo with Oher (26 years old) and Harewood (25). It would have been more difficult with McKinnie, 32, who is battling weight issues, and Williams, 35, who is dealing with ankle problems.

While Oher is still better on the right side than the left, it makes sense to go younger and more athletic. The other benefit of moving Oher to the left side is getting Kelechi Osemele on the field at right tackle. Osemele, a second-round pick, has been the team's most impressive rookie.

The reshuffling of the Ravens' offensive line makes sense why the team wanted McKinnie to take a $1 million pay cut. He is scheduled to make $2.2 million and could make the rest back with incentives. The way the Ravens are proceeding with the offensive line, McKinnie likely won't see that money anytime soon.

NFL: Block on Rams' Brockers was illegal

September, 6, 2012
9/06/12
10:25
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NFL commissioner Roger Goodell remains the leading force in player safety with or without replacement officials.

Goodell provided a reminder this week by fining the Baltimore Ravens' Ramon Harewood for the block that sidelined St. Louis Rams defensive tackle Michael Brockers with a high-ankle sprain. The $8,000 fine, reported by Aaron Wilson and pointed out by Jim Thomas, represents 27.8 percent of Harewood's scheduled game check for Week 1, based on a projected $490,000 salary for the 17-week season.

The fine also signifies that the NFL thought officials -- replacement ones in this case -- should have penalized Harewood for the dangerous block delivered during both teams' final exhibition game. Brockers, the Rams' first-round pick and the centerpiece of their efforts to shore up a shaky run defense, could miss a month or so.

The NFL lists $7,875 as its minimum fine for low blocks and chop blocks. The minimum rises to $15,750 for repeat offenders. The NFL reserves the right to increase fines based on severity. Suspensions are also a possibility.

While the $8,000 represents a significant chunk of Harewood's weekly pay, it doesn't reflect the damage inflicted upon Brockers and the Rams. Injuries have left the Rams unusually thin at defensive tackle, undermining in the short term their efforts to stabilize the defense. High-ankle sprains can linger all season and beyond, as Rams quarterback Sam Bradford has discovered.
Click here for the complete list of Baltimore Ravens roster moves.

Significant move: The Ravens surprisingly kept linebacker Sergio Kindle, their top draft pick in 2010, purely on his potential as a pass-rusher. Kindle's lasting impression from the preseason was a roughing-the-passer penalty in the finale that allowed the Rams to convert a third-and-22. Never showing any burst, Kindle didn't record a sack in the preseason and finished with four tackles. With Terrell Suggs out indefinitely with an Achilles injury, the Ravens probably don't want to part with anyone who can help pressure the quarterback. Kindle hasn't been the same player since falling down two stairs and fracturing his skull before his first training camp. On his reaction in making the team, Kindle said, "Jump for joy and do a back flip if I could. Wouldn’t want to land on my head though." ... Baltimore also released Curtis Painter and chose to go with Tyrod Taylor as its backup quarterback. Painter, who threw six touchdowns this preseason, threw countless interceptions in training camp.

Onward and upward: Undrafted safety Omar Brown is a likely target to return as a member of Baltimore's practice squad. He lacks ideal size for the position (5-foot-11, 195 pounds) but he has a knack for being around the ball. Brown had arguably the best preseason on the team, finishing third with 10 tackles, recording three fumble recoveries, intercepting one pass and recovering an onside kick. The Ravens need depth at safety because of the uncertainty surrounding Sean Considine, who has sustained two concussions in two weeks.

What's next: Don't be surprised if the Ravens look for an upgrade on the offensive line. Their depth at tackle is questionable with backups Jah Reid and Ramon Harewood. Reid has been limited all summer with a calf injury, and Harewood surprisingly made the team after spending the past two years on injured reserve. The Ravens also may look to add a defensive lineman. The team could move rookie defensive tackle DeAngelo Tyson, a seventh-round pick, to the practice squad.

Ravens back-to-work FYI

July, 25, 2011
7/25/11
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NFC: East | West | North | South AFC: East | West | North | South Unrestricted FAs

Readiness factor: The Ravens don't have any major issues. The personnel and offensive and defensive schemes are pretty much the same, with the exception of new defensive coordinator Chuck Pagano's adding some wrinkles. Baltimore's roster is already stacked, and the team will focus primarily on taking care of its own (Haloti Ngata, Marshal Yanda) in free agency before signing a few outside players. If the Ravens had to line up next week and play a game, they could.

Biggest challenge: The Ravens-Steelers rivalry is usually reserved for later in the season, but Baltimore will host a rare Week 1 showdown against its biggest rival -- and it comes after a lengthy lockout. Pittsburgh has won most of the key games in this series the past few years, including the past two playoff meetings. Pressure is mounting on the Ravens to start winning again in this rivalry, and they have to do it with little time to prepare for the Steelers this summer.

Competition at right tackle: Despite a veteran roster, Baltimore's right tackle spot is wide open. It was a revolving door last season and one of the major reasons the Ravens struggled with pass protection. This year Baltimore has a rookie draft pick (Jah Reid) and several holdovers (Oniel Cousins, Ramon Harewood) competing for a key spot. You also can't rule out adding another tackle to the mix in free agency.

Key players without contracts for 2011: Yanda, Baltimore's starting guard, is the biggest name without a contract. Yanda will test the market, but the Ravens also will make a strong push to re-sign the versatile lineman. Cornerbacks Chris Carr and Josh Wilson, who both started last season, also will garner interest. Look for the Ravens to bring back the cheaper of the two players, with rookie Jimmy Smith, Lardarius Webb and Domonique Foxworth listed as possible starters. Former starting left tackle Jared Gaither also is a free agent, and Baltimore is expected to part ways with him after a tumultuous and injury-filled 2010 season.

Camp Confidential: Baltimore Ravens

August, 19, 2010
8/19/10
1:34
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ESPN.com NFL Power Ranking (pre-camp): 5

WESTMINSTER, Md. -- Pro Bowl talent? Check.

Plenty of depth? Check.

A budding quarterback and tremendous coaching staff? Check and check.

There are plenty of reasons to buy into the Super Bowl hype surrounding the Baltimore Ravens this year. Most of the key ingredients are in place for Baltimore to make a deep postseason run.

On paper, this is perhaps the best collection of talent in Baltimore since the team's inception in 1996. It's certainly the most balanced, as last season's third-ranked defense joins quarterback Joe Flacco, Pro Bowl tailback Ray Rice and new receiver Anquan Boldin to give Baltimore a potentially high-scoring offense.

But expectations do not always equal results. Can the Ravens live up to the hype? First they must address these key issues.

THREE HOT ISSUES

Joe Flacco
AP Photo/Nick WassRavens quarterback Joe Flacco has plenty of weapons to be successful on offense.
1. Is Flacco ready to take the next step? There are plenty of weapons on offense, but it's up to the quarterback to make sure everything runs efficiently.

Flacco has improved every year in the NFL. He is entering his third season, and the Ravens expect him to take the next step to become a legitimate franchise quarterback.

There is no reason to believe Flacco will not make the jump this year from a good to great quarterback. He has the best receiving corps of his career, a top-notch running game and a quality offensive line. Perhaps the biggest challenge for Flacco is keeping everyone happy, as every starting skill player with the exception of the quarterback has been to the Pro Bowl.

2. Will the cornerbacks hold up? Baltimore's secondary issues are well-documented.

Top corner Domonique Foxworth (knee) is out for the season and starters Fabian Washington and Lardarius Webb are both coming off major knee surgeries. Washington will make his 2010 debut Saturday against the Washington Redskins, while Webb is waiting to be cleared for practice. There's also no guarantee both players will instantly get back to their old form once they return.

Players like Cary Williams, Travis Fisher and Chris Carr have been filling in for the time being. But starting roles are simply too big for this group, and that won't cut it in the regular season. In this pass-heavy NFL, you need quality depth at cornerback, and it turns out this is Baltimore's one glaring weakness on an otherwise stacked roster.

3. Can Baltimore survive the AFC North? Here is a fact Ravens fans often ignore: At least two division rivals currently have Baltimore's number.

The Cincinnati Bengals and Pittsburgh Steelers have given Baltimore fits in recent years. Bengals quarterback Carson Palmer is 8-3 against the Ravens in 11 career starts, which includes last year's 2-0 sweep. Pittsburgh also is 4-1 (including playoffs) in its last five meetings against the Ravens. The only Baltimore win in that span came against the Dennis Dixon-led Steelers in overtime last November.

A deep postseason run would be a lot easier for Baltimore if it won the AFC North division. With that comes a home playoff game(s) and possibly a bye in the first round. But the Ravens will have to play more consistently against their division rivals this season.

BIGGEST SURPRISE

[+] EnlargeTom Zbikowski
Jim McIsaac/Getty ImagesRavens safety Tom Zbikowski is having an outstanding training camp.
The Ravens are not panicking over safety Ed Reed's offseason hip surgery, because Tom Zbikowski is having the best training camp of his career. The third-year safety is leaner and quicker this year, as Zbikowski continues to earn the confidence of the coaching staff.

Zbikowski has some natural instincts that the Ravens want to take advantage of. He's versatile enough to play in the box, and has very good timing and angles on blitzes. It's unknown if Reed will be ready for Week 1 of the regular season. The Ravens probably can't win a Super Bowl without Reed, but they can win in the short term with an improved Zbikowski.

BIGGEST DISAPPOINTMENT

Jared Gaither's offseason has been a disaster. The offensive tackle got off on the wrong foot by making contract demands, and things have gone downhill from there.

Right now Gaither has a back injury that's kept him out of camp. He also surprised the Ravens by reporting to the team much lighter than his usual playing weight.

Baltimore has already moved forward by making Michael Oher its left tackle, which is the most important position on the offensive line. But if Gaither doesn't straighten things out, the Ravens also may have to figure out what to do next at right tackle. We will explain their options below.

OBSERVATION DECK

  • Remember the name Oniel Cousins. He will be one of the most important Ravens in the next several weeks. With Gaither working to get back on the field, Cousins could do Baltimore a huge favor by playing well at right tackle. Marshal Yanda also is a possibility, but he's better suited as Baltimore's starting right guard. If Cousins proves to be the answer, the Ravens can maintain continuity with the other four spots on the offensive line.
  • [+] EnlargeHaloti Ngata
    AP Photo/Rob CarrRavens' Haloti Ngata looks like one of the league's top defensive linemen.
    By the end of this season, Haloti Ngata may be mentioned as the top interior defensive lineman in football. It's impressive watching Ngata routinely blow up offensive linemen in practice. He makes it look easy. In one sequence Wednesday, Ngata pushed rookie offensive tackle Ramon Harewood about 5 yards into the backfield. Ngata then yelled to the offensive coaches "get him out," because Harewood's best effort barely offered Ngata any resistance.
  • I would be surprised if Baltimore doesn't improve its pass rush this season. The "pressures" in camp look more crisp and aggressive this year. It also doesn't hurt that linebacker/defensive end hybrid Terrell Suggs is in great shape and motivated to have a bounce-back season. Last year, the Ravens were ranked 18th in the NFL with 32 sacks in 16 games. The Steelers (47), Cleveland Browns (40) and Bengals (34) all had more sacks in the division.
  • From what I saw this week, it's pretty clear Marc Bulger deserves to be the No. 2 quarterback behind Flacco. Bulger has a quicker release and more accurate arm than Troy Smith. Bulger still shows flashes of the Pro Bowl-ability he had in St. Louis and can make throws that Smith simply cannot. Bulger would be a better short-term fill in if Flacco goes down.
  • Webb looked good running and cutting on his surgically repaired knee while doing individual drills this week. He's yet to practice with the team but is very close to being cleared. Baltimore believes Webb could eventually develop into the team's best cornerback. But the team has to be careful and make sure he returns at full strength.
  • Despite the bad press rookie defensive tackle Terrence Cody received after failing his conditioning test, he is a force once he's on the field. Cody is hard to move in the trenches and has surprisingly good feet for someone his size. The Ravens are experimenting with Cody in various ways, including pairing him with Ngata and also giving Cody an occasional look at fullback in goal-line situations.
  • I thought I would see more from rookie receiver David Reed this week. Not to put unnecessary pressure on the fifth-round pick, but Reed generated a significant buzz in Baltimore during minicamp and organized team activities. My first impressions of Reed in training camp is that he's still inconsistent. Reed had some drops, but he also had one of this week's best catches by leaping over a defender in the corner of the end zone for a touchdown. Baltimore will need to see more of the latter.
  • Switching Paul Kruger to full-time defensive end and adding bulk is already paying dividends. Kruger looks more powerful and explosive this summer. The second-round pick was drafted as a linebacker/defensive end hybrid and couldn't find a role on the team his rookie year. Now he's more productive focusing on one position.

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