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Late For Work 6/18: Ravens Expected To Look Into QB T.J. Yates

Posted Jun 18, 2014

Noticeable improvement in Flacco’s foot speed. Can Ngata get 10 sacks? Franks stands out, Florence doesn’t.


Ravens Expected To Look Into QB T.J. Yates

The Houston Texas cut the quarterback that led the franchise to its first playoff victory, and now he is on the street looking for work.

To whom do you think T.J. Yates will first look for a job?

Perhaps the man who drafted him and gave him his first start in the NFL: Gary Kubiak, the Texans’ former head coach and current Ravens offensive coordinator.

“I imagine T.J. Yates' agent's first call will be to Baltimore to see if the Ravens and OC Gary Kubiak are interested in them being reunited,” wrote the Houston Chronicle’s John McClain.

The reporters in Baltimore are on the same page as McClain.

“[The] Ravens are expected to look into T.J. Yates,” tweeted The Baltimore Sun’s Aaron Wilson. “They've been monitoring his situation with Texans for a while.”

Wouldn't surprise me if there's some interest from Ravens with Kubiak connection,” added The Sun’s Jeff Zrebiec.

Yates, 27, was a fifth-round pick by Houston in 2011 and was thrown into the starting lineup in his rookie season after starter Matt Schaub went down with an injury. Yates was 3-4 as a starter, and helped guide the Texans to a division crown and playoff win.

In 2013, Yates was passed over to start when Schaub’s season collapsed, and Yates felt like he never got a real shot at the job. Instead, the Texans turned to Case Keenum, who went 0-8 as a starter. In three seasons, Yates played in 13 games and competed 60 percent of his passes for 1,100 yards, three touchdowns and six interceptions. 

After getting news of his release, Yates responded with class on Twitter.

“Can't thank the Texans organization and the city of Houston enough!” he wrote. “We've had some great memories and I will always call Houston home.”

If the Ravens were to add Yates to the mix, he would compete for a roster spot with incumbent primary backup Tyrod Taylor and sixth-round draft pick Keith Wenning. One or both could lose a spot on the 53-man roster if Yates were to be signed.

Taylor hasn't had a strong offseason, and the Ravens expressed disappointment in Taylor's play earlier this year,” wrote ESPN’s Jamison Hensley. “A sixth-round pick in 2011, Taylor is entering the final year of his contract.”

“[Wenning] doesn't appear ready to handle the backup job this season.” 

‘Noticeable improvement’ In Flacco’s Foot Speed

Ravens minicamp marked just the fourth week quarterback Joe Flacco has played in his new offense, and it appears that he is settling in nicely.

Head Coach John Harbaugh noted how important it was for Flacco get new footwork down in the West Coast offense because it is tied to his reads and timing. With just a few weeks of practice, Flacco is getting the hang of it.

“Still just seeing pieces of the puzzle, but really intrigued by the potential of the Ravens new offense,” tweeted WBAL’s Gerry Sandusky. “Noticeable improvement in Joe Flacco’s foot speed as he settles into the Ravens new offense.”

Kubiak is teaching the seventh-year veteran to throw when he hits the ball of his foot on the three-step drop, explained Hensley, which means he is getting the ball out quickly.

That method seems to suit Flacco if you look at Pro Football Focus stats. They show Flacco was better last year with less time in the pocket.

“It came as a surprise to see that Flacco had put up better statistics with less time in the pocket,” Hensley wrote. “With his big arm, it was assumed he would've performed better when he had more time to look downfield. That wasn't the case in 2013.” 

Here are the numbers:

Less than 2 seconds in the pocket: 68.3 percent pass completion, eight touchdowns, six interceptions, 80.5 passer rating. 

More than 3 seconds in the pocket: 46.2 percent pass completion, two touchdowns, four interceptions, 61.1 passer rating. 

Can Ngata Get 10 Sacks?

In addition to saying he wants to be a Raven for life, Pro Bowl defensive lineman Haloti Ngata said he wants to become a better pass rusher.

His goal is a whopping 10 sacks.

To put that in perspective, pass-rush gurus Terrell Suggs and Elvis Dumervil finished with 10 and 9.5 sacks, respectively, last season. It’s not very common for a man in the middle to notch that many.

The most sacks Ngata has ever notched in a single season is 5.5 in 2010. He had just 1.5 last year. Can he make an 8.5-sack jump?

He has his sights set high given how healthy he feels, and this season could be considered a contract year for Ngata. He’ll need a strong showing to get that life-long deal with the Ravens.

“It’s awfully unlikely that Ngata will manage 10 sacks this season, but rushing the passer has never been the most important part of Ngata’s job in Baltimore’s defense,” wrote ProFootballTalk.com’s Michael David Smith. “For the Ravens, the most important thing is that they get a few more good years out of the 30-year-old Ngata. Ten sacks in a season is probably too much to ask for, but several more good years in Baltimore would be welcome for Ngata and the Ravens.”

Former Ravens Jackson, Starks Interning For Bengals

Donte Stallworth isn’t the only former Ravens player getting coaching internship experience.

Former Ravens linebacker Brad Jackson and cornerback Duane Starks will head to Cincinnati to intern for Head Coach Marvin Lewis. Lewis coached both men in Baltimore, and they will reunite via the Bill Walsh NFL Minority Coaching Fellowship Program.

"We are happy to have these guys with us," Lewis said, per CSNBaltimore.com. "This program helped me get ahead as a coach, and it's great to see it continue as strong as it is. It's a good experience for our full-time coaches as well as the interns."

Franks Stands Out, Florence Not So Much

Of the cornerbacks that tried out for the Ravens Tuesday, who was the best?

"I couldn't sit here and distinguish one from another right now,” Harbaugh told the media. “It's just too hard to watch all that with the naked eye, but they all looked good. They all got through the practice.”

Harbaugh will go through the tape to get a closer look, but to Hensley’s naked eye, Dominque Franks stood out as the best and Drayton Florence didn’t have a good day.

“Dominique Franks stood out as the best among the four veteran cornerbacks,” Hensley wrote. “He went stride for stride deep downfield with wide receiver Steve Smith, who needed to push off to make the catch. Franks also picked off rookie quarterback Keith Wenning's underthrown pass.

“Drayton Florence, who is coming off the best season of any of the tryout corners, didn't have a good day. He got beat deep by rookie wide receiver Michael Campanaro and had to grab Marlon Brown's jersey to stop another big completion against him.”

Quick Hits

  • Dumervil is dissatisfied with his first season in Baltimore after notching 9.5 sacks. He got just one in the final seven games as he dealt with an ankle injury. "Not good enough," Dumervil said. "We definitely have room for improvement. We can get better in all phases. We did a lot of good things last year, but we just didn't do it good enough to win games and get to the playoffs and have a chance to get to the championship." [The Baltimore Sun]
  • The Ravens-Steelers Thanksgiving showdown came in as the 14th-best game of the 2013 season. [NFL.com]
  • After getting cut, could the Ravens still hold onto wide receiver Aaron Mellette and linebacker Adrian Hamilton? … @RavensSalaryCap: Mellette/Hamilton could still end up on IR if they pass through waivers. Depends on waivers designation - waived-injured or failed physical [Twitter]
  • @mzentiz: In addition to the corners, wide receivers Dezmon Briscoe and Mike Willie are at Ravens minicamp on a tryout basis
  • @untouchablejay4: "The harvest is Great, but the laborers are few!" – Justin Forsett
  • @JuiceCheck44: First day of minicamp in the books. Excited for where this team is going #stackingdays [Instagram]

  • Whose offense will be better in 2014: Ravens or Redskins? Jackson and Shawn Springs debate the question, and I would say Jackson definitely won if we are giving points to who yells the loudest. [CSNBaltimore.com]

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