Kiko Alonso Texted Joe Flacco to Apologize
An announcement about whether Dolphins linebacker Kiko Alonso would be suspended for his brutal hit to quarterback Joe Flacco's head never came last night like some expected.
But we did learn something else.
Turns out, Alonso texted Flacco the following day to apologize for the illegal hit that caused a concussion and knocked the quarterback out of the game. That's what Flacco's good friend, former Ravens tight Dennis Pitta, told WBAL Radio last night.
Pitta added that there hasn't been a history of issues while playing against Alonso. The Ravens previously faced Alonso in three games (including the preseason) and in practices during joint workouts with the Philadelphia Eagles in 2015.
The Ravens have turned their focus to preparations for the Tennessee Titans and getting Flacco ready for the game if cleared by doctors. Harbaugh said Flacco has shown zero concussion symptoms and has a "good chance" to play.
"I thought that was a very vicious type of a hit," Harbaugh said Monday. "He was definitely defenseless and couldn't protect himself. Therefore, he got his ear sliced open and he got hit in the head. You never minimize that.
"[A suspension] really is not a concern of ours right now, in all frankness. It is not going to impact our game against the Titans."
Update: The NFL announced that Alonso will not be suspended for his hit on Flacco, but a fine is still possible.
With Five Healthy Running Backs, Who Could Be the Odd Man Out?
In an injury-plagued year, Head Coach John Harbaugh is welcoming an impending problem with open arms.
With Danny Woodhead (injured reserve, hamstring) eligible to practice this week, Harbaugh's about to have too many healthy running backs, and hasn't yet decided what to do with all of them.
"Sure, it's always good to have players," Harbaugh said. "All those guys are all reliable players, so it's a good problem to have.
"It will have to be addressed, whether we can hold on to five running backs or not, assuming Danny is healthy soon and he's out there playing for us. That will be a decision that will have to be made. That will be like roster-wide type of decisions. We'll have to compare all of our options and try to keep the players that give us the best chance and make us the strongest team."
Harbaugh has a couple of weeks to figure it all out because Woodhead won't count against the 53-man roster while he practices. The Ravens wouldn't need to make room for him until he plays in a game, which, at the earliest, would be Nov. 19 for the Week 11 contest against the Green Bay Packers.
"[T]he problem is figuring out each player's role," wrote The Baltimore Sun's Edward Lee.
Here's how Lee breaks it down:
Alex Collins = StarterCollins got the opportunity to play because of injuries to Woodhead and previous starter Terrance West (calf). Collins is expected to hold onto the role after becoming the team's first 100-yard rusher in more than a year last week against Miami. Collins accounted for a whopping 47 percent of Baltimore's offense Thursday night – against the league's No. 5 run defense.
ESPN argues that not only should Collins keep the job, but his role should be expanded by getting even more touches. Collins leads the league with 5.98 yards per carry and runs of 15 yards or more.
"With or without [a healthy] Flacco, the Ravens should put the offense squarely on the back of Collins," ESPN writes.
Buck Allen = BackupOnce considered a roster bubble player, Allen has remained healthy and consistent, and his 356 rushing yards are second behind Collins (478). Allen has also been valuable in the passing game, but that role would be eaten into with the return of Woodhead.
"Buck has done a really good job as well," Harbaugh said. "We're going to continue to run our offense. It's never based on one person. Although when guys are making plays, and they're doing well, that's really the key."
Bobby Rainey = Primary kick returner
The Ravens re-signed Rainey to add depth at running back after West was injured, but with Collins and Allen leading the way, Rainey's biggest impact has been on special teams. He's had 10 returns for a 31.6-yard average and exploded against the Chicago Bears when he returned a kickoff for a 96-yard touchdown. Before Rainey was signed, Collins returned kicks.
Terrance West = ???Lee didn't have a specific role for West, who has missed the past three games with the calf injury. Prior to that, West had started 17 of the last 18 games. The question is when he's healthy enough to play (and The Sun's Jeff Zrebiec thinks he could practice this week), can he regain his role from Collins?
Last week, ESPN suggested that West could be trade bait, writing: "West could be the odd-man out in the backfield. Alex Collins has taken a lead role, Danny Woodhead is set to come off injured reserve soon and Buck Allen is a backup who has value on special teams."
Danny Woodhead = Pass-catching threat out of the backfieldIt was brief, but if the first offensive series of the year was any indication, Woodhead will account for a large part of the offense if he returns and remains healthy. On that one series,Woodhead caught three passes for 33 yards and had one carry for four yards before hurting his hamstring.
"We'll have to compare all of our options and try to keep the players that give us the best chance or make us the stronger team," Harbaugh said.
Ravens Don't Have Enough Cap Space for a Significant Trade
The San Francisco 49ers and New England Patriots pulled off a massive trade that will give the 49ers what they hope is their franchise quarterback of the future. They sent a second-round pick to New England for backup quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo.
"[It's] a surprisingly low price tag, considering Garoppolo's pedigree and excellent, if brief, two-game stretch as the Patriots' starter early last season," wrote NFL.com's Gregg Rosenthal.
Don't expect that kind of movement, or really any movement, in Baltimore ahead of today's 4 p.m. trade deadline. In order for the Ravens to bring in a new player, they'd not only have to give up either a draft asset or another player, but they'd also have find a way to pay a traded players' salary.
There's not much room for that.
For those who believe the Ravens are more likely to be sellers than buyers, it's hard to believe Baltimore is going to start selling off parts when it is in the thick of the playoff hunt. If the postseason started today, the Ravens would barely miss out as the AFC's eighth seed, just one game behind the Jacksonville Jaguars (4-3) and Miami Dolphins (4-3).
The NFL season is only at its midway point, and there's plenty to fight for.
As mentioned before, the Ravens have tough decisions to make at running back and it'd be preferable to trade one rather than cut one. While West was named as a candidate, ESPN also noted, "The biggest question is how much interest would West draw while dealing with a calf injury."