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Late For Work 3/26: Torrey Smith Calls New Dunk Rule 'Lame'

Posted Mar 26, 2014

Ravens with the best and worst hands. Pro Bowler Mathis on trade block … Ravens were interested before.

Torrey Calls New Dunk Rule ‘Lame’

The “no fun league” is at it again.

The NFL Head of Officials Dean Blandino told “The Dan Patrick Show” that dunking the ball over the goal posts will be penalized next season. Actually, using the goal post or cross bar as a prop in any way will be outlawed.

"That was grandfathered in. We put in a rule about five or six years ago about using the ball as a prop," Blandino said. "We grandfathered in the Lambeau Leap and some things like that. But dunking will come out. Using the ball as a prop – or using any object as a prop, like the goal post or cross bar – that will come out and that will be a foul next season."

Wide receiver Torrey Smith didn’t like the news.

He had a simple, yet clear, reaction to the new rule.

that's lame,” he tweeted.

One of Smith’s more memorable touchdowns of his career came in the Ravens’ final 2012 regular-season win before the team went on its Super Bowl run. Smith caught a 6-yard pass in the end zone from quarterback Joe Flacco in a dominating 33-14 victory over the New York Giants at M&T Bank Stadium.

The touchdown catch itself wasn’t anything particularly special. It was the dunk celebration afterwards that everyone remembers, in which Smith flew through the air and put down a sick slam.

And for good measure, he showed off a sweet “rim” hang with both hands. Such a hang in basketball could have been hit with a technical foul.

Let’s re-live it again with the GIF below. (Mobile users tap “View in Browser” at the top of the page to watch.)

To be fair to the league, there was a certain incident last season that probably affected the rule. Remember when tight end Jimmy Graham’s touchdown dunk celebration went awry? Check out the goal posts leaning to the left at the Georgia Dome.

Still, players around the league aren’t happy.

Of the many lamenting the new rule is recently retired tight end Tony Gonzalez – a frequent touchdown dunker in his day.

“The NFL says no more dunking over the goalpost. This one I don't understand. Looks like I got out just in time,” he tweeted.

“I guess I'll have to lead the @nfl in penalties next year! #funpolice,” added Graham.

Ravens’ Best & Worst Hands

Have you ever wondered where Ravens receivers’ hands rank among those in the NFL?

Well, Pro Football Focus (PFF) has put together some stats to help figure that out.

Often times, people will look at receivers’ raw number of drops to determine if they have good hands. But that number would go up with their number of targets. Additionally, receivers can be given a drop for a pass that may not have been catchable.

So PFF put together a “drop rate,” which they say measures which receivers have the best and worst hands.

“What we’ve done is gather a few numbers to really answer which receivers have the best hands,” wrote Khaled Elsayed. “Firstly, we’ve created the catchable balls number which adds up catches and drops. We then collect a percentage of how many drops a receiver had by their catchable balls, and presto! … you’ve got yourself a ‘drop rate’ — the best metric out there for determining the hands of receivers.”

PFF came up with their top 10 and worst 10 hands based on receivers that had 40 catchable balls. But because Jacoby Jones had 38, I extended the list to see where he would fall.

Of those with 38 catchable balls or more, Jones had the eighth-best hands in the NFL. Torrey Smith (7.14 drop rate) came in at No. 30 and Marlon Brown (10.91 drop rate) at No. 60.

Below is the top 10:

1 Larry Fitzgerald ARZ 1 83 1.2
2 DeAndre Hopkins HST 1 53 1.89
3 Jeremy Kerley NYJ 1 44 2.27
4 Rishard Matthews MIA 1 42 2.38
5 Vincent Brown SD 1 42 2.38
6 Cole Beasley DAL 1 40 2.5
7 Jacoby Jones BLT 1 38 2.63
8 James Jones GB 2 61 3.28
9 Marques Colston NO 3 78 3.85
10 Doug Baldwin SEA 2 52 3.85

And where do Ravens tight ends and running backs rank?

Ed Dickson had the worst hands among all NFL tight ends in 2013, according to PFF. Of the 30 catchable balls thrown his way, he dropped five, giving him a 16.67 drop rate. Dallas Clark had the fourth-worst hands, dropping four of 35 catchable balls for an 11.43 drop rate.

On the flip side, Ray Rice showed off solid hands.

His hands ranked 10th best among NFL running backs with 30 catchable balls thrown their way. Of the 61 catchable balls that came his way, he only dropped three for a 4.92 drop rate.

Below are the nine running backs that ranked ahead of Rice:

1 Darren Sproles NO 0 71 0
1 Rashad Jennings OAK 0 36 0
3 Jacquizz Rodgers ATL 1 53 1.89
4 Marshawn Lynch SEA 1 37 2.7
5 Brian Leonard TB 1 30 3.33
6 DeMarco Murray DAL 2 55 3.64
7 Pierre Thomas GNO 3 80 3.75
8 Danny Woodhead SD 3 79 3.8
9 Maurice Jones-Drew JAX 2 45 4.44
10 Ray Rice BLT 3 61 4.92

Pro Bowl Guard Evan Mathis On Trade Block

Apparently a Pro Bowl guard is on the trade block.

And it happens to be the same guard the Ravens had in for a visit two years ago and reportedly wanted to sign to fill the shoes of Ben Grubbs, who left via free agency to the New Orleans Saints.

The Philadelphia Eagles have made it known that Evan Mathis is available via trade, according to NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport. He’s on the trade block because of his reported $5.15 million salary-cap hit in 2014.

Plus, the 32-year-old veteran is seeking a new deal after a very strong 2013 campaign.

Mathis started all 16 games the past two seasons for the Eagles. He was selected by the Carolina Panthers in the 2005 NFL draft.

We know the Ravens liked him two years ago, but could he prove too expensive to re-visit the idea of bringing him aboard?

Quick Hits

  • @ProFootballTalk: I just asked John Harbaugh what would have happened if Jim had ended up with the Browns:  "There would have been fireworks." [Twitter]
  • @corryjoel [National Football Post]: @jamisonhensley Torrey Smith's agent (Drew Rosenhaus) has 2 benchmarks he negotiated. DeSean Jackson-$9.7M-avg & Antonio Brown-$8.392M-avg. [Twitter]
  • @RavensSalaryCap: ICYMI earlier today, Ravens are $4,176,187 under the Salary Cap, pending processing of Zuttah's contract extension [Twitter]
  • @RavensSalaryCap: (1/2) With Darian Stewart's $1.3M contract now reported, he will definitely count toward 2015 Comp picks. That would put the Ravens at 3. [Twitter]
  • @RavensSalaryCap: (2/2) Further UFA signings could reduce that number. If Dickson or Cody sign elsewhere - for enough - could raise that to max of 4. [Twitter]
  • @89SteveSmith: Getting ready to hit the autograph market soon... #ravennation  [Twitter]

Please Note

The opinions, analysis and/or speculation expressed on BaltimoreRavens.com represent those of individual authors, and unless quoted or clearly labeled as such, do not represent the opinions or policies of the Baltimore Ravens' organization, front office staff, coaches and executives. Authors' views are formulated independently from any inside knowledge and/or conversations with Ravens officials, including the coaches and scouts, unless otherwise noted.

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