Inside the Ravens with Aaron Wilson

Friday, September 23, 2011

Ravens sign a "new defensive tackle"

Chuck Pagano related a story about how John Harbaugh communicated the news of defensive tackle Haloti Ngata's five-year, $61 million contract to the coaching staff.

"John walked in the room, he wasn't with him, he just walked in the room kind of somber," Pagano said. "We're in the middle of game-planning, so it's kind of nobody's mind was even on that at that time. Obviously, it's been on our mind, but not at that time.

He walked in and said, ‘We signed a new defensive tackle.' And we're all looking around like, ‘I wonder who we cut and who we...'

And then big Haloti walked in. Obviously, we all went crazy. He deserves everything that he got. Obviously, having him around might keep us all around for another five years."

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Ravens Hit Cover of SI

The Ravens placed outside linebacker Michael McAdoo on injured reserve for remainder of the season with a previously undisclosed knee injury.

Wide receiver and kick returner David Reed takes over the vacated roster spot as he returns from a one-game suspension for violating the NFL substance-abuse policy. Reed was officially reinstated by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell on Monday.

McAdoo went undrafted in the NFL supplemental draft and was signed to a three-year contract by the Ravens late in the preseason.

A 6-foot-7, 245-pound raw pass rusher, McAdoo was ruled ineligible by the NCAA for academic violations and accepting extra benefits from agents. …

Joe Flacco and Ray Rice share the regional cover of Sports Illustrated this week.

This edition of the magazine is available in Maryland, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Virginia and West Virginia. ...

Harbaugh wasn’t the only winning coach in his family Sunday.

His brother, Jim Harbaugh, won his coaching debut with the San Francisco 49ers with a 33-17 victory over the Seattle Seahawks.

“That was a great win for Jim,”Harbaugh said. “To be 2-0 as a family is pretty cool.”

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Oher Handling Change

As a hulking Bryant McKinnie walked around the sidelines in workout clothes one day after passing his physical and signing his $7.5 million contract, there was already change on the Ravens’ offensive line.

With the arrival of the former Pro Bowl offensive tackle triggering a watershed change with Michael Oher about to move to right offensive tackle from the left side, the Ravens still had Oher start at left tackle against the Redskins Harbaugh indicated that Oher will be moving to the right side, though, as McKinnie takes over at left tackle.

“Our plan right now is to move Michael to right and to move Bryant to left.,” Harbaugh said. “We’ll see how that goes. Everything is fluid. I’d love to say that’s set in stone, but that’s not set in stone. Bryant has played there, Michael has played the right side. Michael is about as good a person and as great a team guy as I’ve ever been around in my career.

“Ozzie [Newsome]and I brought him in, and we talked to him the night before last. He said it before we said it: ‘Whatever I need to do to help this be the best football team and the best offensive line it can be, all the career stuff can wait.’ We’re trying to be the best football team we can be, and that’s exactly what he said.”

Although this marks the second time he’s had to change positions, Oher seemed to take the pending change in stride.

“Whatever is the best situation for the team for us to win, that’s the No. 1 thing,” Oher said. “He’s a good guy. Obviously, he’s a pretty good player, a Pro Bowl player. He’s been blocking for great running backs, great quarterbacks. He’s going to be a big help to the offensive line.

"I think we’ll do great this year with him. You always want a good player. You want to play with the best guy. I’m a team guy. I’m trying to win and I want the best for the team. That’s what it’s all about.

Oher said he’s comfortable going back to right tackle where he played as a rookie after being drafted in the first round out of Ole Miss.

“You got to adjust, you got to play football,”Oher said. “You got to do what the team needs. As long as you’re out on the field making holes for the running back and protecting Joe Flacco, we’ll be all right.”

McKinnie didn’t look anywhere near the nearly 400-pound girth he reportedly showed up weighing when he showed up to the Minnesota Vikings’training camp prior to being released.

He looked to be in reasonable shape, albeit hefty, for an offensive lineman.

McKinnie went through a workout with the coaching staff before the game.

“He’s been working out and he’s been eating right,” Harbaugh said.“He’s been working on football. We just had a great meeting with him. I’m very impressed with him. He’s a very mature guy, very excited to be here, very intelligent guy. He picks up football like that, and I’m looking forward to getting him to fold.”

Tyrod Taylor's confidence is building

Rookie quarterback Tyrod Taylor executed his first NFL comeback, leading the Ravens to a win with his nine-yard touchdown pass late in the fourth quarter.

“Well, Tyrod, I would say he’s made the team. Newsflash,” Ravens coach John Harbaugh said. “Tyrod played well. There are things that he needs to learn from. You have the ball third-and-two down there, you don’t take a sack.

“I think that’s something he’ll learn from. Yet and still, some of the throws he made in the teeth of pressure were just exceptional for us. He was using his feet to get out of trouble a couple of times.”

Taylor completed 11 of 18 passes for 125 yards, a touchdown and a 100.5 quarterback rating.

In three preseason games, Taylor has completed 35 of 57 passes for 392 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions for a 73.1 passer rating.

The Ravens are still expected to sign a veteran to back up Flacco, but Taylor is doing his best to convince the team he can handle the job.

“I know I have to impress people and people are going to be watching me as far as the No. 2 job,” Taylor said. “At the same time, I’m just trying to be the best quarterback I can be and show the coaches that I can be that guy if they need me to.”

Torrey Smith plagued by dropped passes

OWINGS MILLS – Visibly frustrated at his locker after dropping two passes, Baltimore Ravens rookie wide receiver Torrey Smith thinks he’s identified the problem.

It’s all in his head, believes the second-round draft pick from the University of Maryland.

“I had two of them I would like back,” Smith said. “I've been a playmaker forever. That hasn't changed. It's more trying to get in a groove and I've kind of been pressing. I've really been wanting to make a play. Everyone has been making plays around me, the whole receiving corps. I just got to be patient and let it come to me instead of pressing the issue.”

The worst drop was on a third-down route where he was all by himself.

“Obviously I can catch the ball,” Smith said. “I know I can catch the ball. It's just a concentration issue. I’ve been practicing, wanting to make a play, wanting to make an impact instead of letting it come to me. I was wide open on one of them. I've got to get back to the basics and starting feeling like myself.”

Smith caught just one pass for six yards during the Ravens’ 34-31 victory over the Washington Redskins on Thursday night at M&T Bank Stadium.

For the entire preseason, he has managed to haul in just two passes for eight yards.
Quarterback Joe Flacco thinks that Smith is simply thinking too much rather than letting his natural abilities show.

“Torrey just has to go out there and play, use his abilities,” Flacco said. “Got to make a move, run by guys, use his hands, go out there and play confidently and use his ability and make moves. I think he has a tendency to overthink things. He always wants to do the right thing. He always comes up to me and tells me he wants to do the right thing.

“Sometimes when you go out there on Sundays, you just have to let it go and play. If you go out there and make mistakes, you make mistakes. You just have to go out there and play. He's just going to have to learn that. He has all the ability to go out there and let it come to him.”

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Nakamura honored for his Japanese relief efforts

OWINGS MILLS -- Baltimore Ravens safety Haruki Nakamura was honored by the American Red Cross and a Japan ambassador for his fundraising work to aid Japanese disaster relief.

Nakamura helped raise over $60,000 by organizing an autograph session at Ripken Stadium in Aberdeen for himself and several teammates. That included quarterback Joe Flacco, running back Ray Rice, cornerback Chris Carr, safety Ed Reed, defensive tackle Brandon McKinney and retired wide receiver Qadry Ismail.

Nakamura was presented a Certificate of Appreciation from the American Red Cross Board as well as the Ambassador's Seal from Ambassador Ichiro Fujisaki.

And Nakamura presented the Ambassador with his jersey.

"If it wasn't for the generous hearts of the Baltimore Ravens fans, I wouldn't be here today," Nakamura said when asked how it felt to be recognized.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

TJ Houshmandzadeh impressed by Jimmy Smith

OWINGS MILLS -- Veteran NFL wide receiver T.J. Houshmandzadeh has been working out with Baltimore Ravens rookie Jimmy Smith in California, and he has come away impressed with the imposing cornerback.

The Ravens drafted the 6-foot-2, 212-pounder from Colorado in the first round in April.

"He's a big kid," said Houshmandzadeh, who played for the Ravens last season. "He's works hard. Yeah, I like him. He works hard. I talk to him a lot. He asks me about the Ravens and I told him he couldn't have got on his knees and prayed to wind up on a better team. He is very lucky to be drafted for the Ravens. It gets no better."

An unrestricted free agent, Houshmandzadeh wishes he could return. He acknowledged that he's unlikely to be back.

"It just sucks that I was only able to play one year there," Houshmandzadeh said. "Top to bottom, it's great there. Steve Bisciotti is unreal as an owner. It's almost like he's too cool to be an owner. Ozzie Newsome is really cool. I really thought highly of John Harbaugh. I just wish I could have made some more plays."