Ravens Reportedly Bring in Jason Pierre-Paul, Blake Martinez for Visits
With the Ravens thin at outside linebacker, the team reportedly brought in veteran Jason Pierre-Paul for a visit yesterday.
It was the second meeting with the Ravens for the three-time Pro Bowler, who also visited them in June. Pierre-Paul confirmed yesterday's visit with CBS Sports' Josina Anderson, noting that there is mutual interest, "but a couple other teams reached out as well."
The Ravens are down to two outside linebackers on the roster (Odafe Oweh and Justin Houston) after Steven Means suffered a season-ending Achilles tear during Sunday's game against the Miami Dolphins. Tyus Bowser and David Ojabo are both recovering from Achilles injuries. Bowser could return as soon as Week 5, while Ojabo isn't expected back until the second half of the season.
Failure to get pressure on Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa in the second half of the Ravens' 42-38 loss was a contributing factor in the defense's struggles.
Pierre-Paul, 33, has 91.5 career sacks. Playing with a torn rotator cuff last season with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Pierre-Paul was limited to 2.5 sacks in 12 games. He underwent surgery on his shoulder in February.
In 2020, Pierre-Paul had 9.5 sacks and four forced fumbles, made the Pro Bowl and helped the Buccaneers win the Super Bowl. From 2018–2020, he had 30.5 sacks in 42 games.
Meanwhile, veteran inside linebacker Blake Martinez also reportedly visited the Ravens yesterday.
Martinez, 28, spent four seasons with the Green Bay Packers and two with the New York Giants, starting every game from 2017-2020 before suffering a season-ending ACL tear in Week 3 last year. He led the NFL in tackles in 2017 with 144 and averaged 148.5 tackles from 2017-2020.
The Giants cut Martinez three weeks ago to make room to sign former Ravens offensive lineman Tyre Phillips.
Ravens Are Among the Scariest Teams in the NFL
The Ravens' shocking loss to the Dolphins doesn't make them any less dangerous. Fox Sports 1's Kevin Wildes put Baltimore at No. 5 on his list of the five scariest teams in the NFL.
"Granted they gave up a lot of points, lost that game to the Dolphins, still look scary," Wildes said.
Technically, Wildes only ranked three teams above the Ravens: Buffalo, Kansas City and Tampa Bay. However, because the Bills have been so dominant through the first two weeks, Wildes put them at No. 1 and No. 2. The Bills visit M&T Bank Stadium on Oct. 2.
With Lamar Jackson displaying his MVP form and Rashod Bateman looking the part of a No. 1 wide receiver, it's understandable why the Ravens were included on Wildes' list. The running game — aside from Jackson — is ailing, but the eventual return of running back J.K. Dobbins and All-Pro left tackle Ronnie Stanley should go a long way in remedying that.
While the defensive meltdown against the Dolphins was ugly, injuries and inexperience in the secondary were the main culprits. When the unit is healthier and the young players get more acclimated to the speed of the game, don't be surprised if the Ravens' secondary rebounds in a major way.
"Despite the loss to the red-hot Dolphins, this is the team I least want to see coming up next on the schedule," wrote Sports Illustrated’s Conor Orr.
Justin Tucker's Pregame Routine Inspired by Adam Vinatieri
In a profile piece on Justin Tucker, ESPN’s Jamison Hensley noted that there will be added significance to the All-Pro kicker's pregame routine when the Ravens visit the New England Patriots on Sunday.
"As he has done before every game and practice since college, Tucker will finish his warm-ups with a kick from the right hashmark, 48 yards out," Hensley wrote. "It was from that exact distance 20 years ago that Tucker's idol, Adam Vinatieri, kicked a last-second field goal to lift the New England Patriots to their first Super Bowl victory, 20-17, over the St. Louis Rams. Tucker remembers watching that game as a 12-year-old. But it took him a few years, after he found his passion for kicking, to really appreciate the magnitude of the moment."
Tucker told ESPN: "To me, this is one of the biggest kicks that's ever been, if not the biggest kick that's ever been made. This [routine] just puts myself in that mindset, each and every day. How am I going to approach this kick and this moment when it arrives? That's one of the greatest parts of sports, seeing one guy propel his team to that winning moment."
Hensley noted that "Tucker learned about Vinatieri through Doug Blevins, a personal kicking coach who helped Vinatieri transform from an unknown out of South Dakota State into a Super Bowl legend with four rings. When Tucker wanted to fully commit to being a kicker in high school, his family tracked down Blevins, who noticed one key similarity."
"They both want to be on the stage," Blevins said. "They both want to be 'the guy.'"
Ravens Special Teams Coach Randy Brown equated Tucker to Mariano Rivera, Michael Jordan and Tiger Woods.
"They're the guys who want the ball at the end of the game and the end of their tournament," Brown said. "Justin's ability to focus, and his need for the ball at the end of the game, is really what sets him apart from others."
The article also touched on Tucker's musical background, the significant role Drew Brees' stepmother played in his career, and more.
Lamar Jackson Rises in Offensive Player Rankings
After Jackson's epic performance against the Dolphins, he made the biggest leap in NFL.com’s David Carr’s Offensive Player Rankings this week. Jackson moved up four spots to No. 7.
"Jackson — who posted his 11th career game with at least 100 rush yards (the most all time by a quarterback) — has always been able to take over with his legs, but it's great to see him improving as a passer," Carr wrote. "All three of his touchdown passes Sunday came against the blitz, one week after he threw three pass TDs on non-blitz plays."