King: Cardinals Interested In McKinnie
The Arizona Cardinals have interest in trading for Ravens left tackle Bryant McKinnie, according to Sports Illustrated's Peter King.
With the trade deadline looming tomorrow at 4 p.m., McKinnie could be the temporary answer the Cardinals need with their two starting tackles rated the lowest at the position in the NFL, per ProFootballFocus.com.
"[McKinnie would] be a good temporary Band-Aid for the reeling Cardinals, who I hear have some interest in him. They should," wrote King.
Arizona shocked the NFL with a 4-0 start to the season, but is now 4-4, and many blame their offensive line and tackles Bobbie Massie and D'Anthony Batiste for the recent struggles. The two tackles are credited by PFF.com with 25 sacks and 74 quarterback hits or hurries in eight games. The offensive line has allowed 39 total sacks, the most in the NFL this season.
"Their lousy offensive line is a big reason that they've lost four straight games," wrote
ProFootballTalk.com's Michael David Smith.
Meanwhile, King says McKinnie is "the odd man out in the Baltimore tackle rotation" with Michael Oher taking over his starting position on the blind side and Kelechi Osemele starting on the right. The 11-year veteran has only played 23 offensive snaps in the last three games with a large chunk of those – 18 – coming against the Texans when Osemele went down with an ankle injury.
The question is whether the Ravens are willing to part with McKinnie, who is in the final season of his two-year contract. His base salary was reportedly reduced prior to the season from $3.2 million to $2.2 million, but he can make back the $1 million if he plays 50 percent of the Ravens' offensive snaps.
Head Coach John Harbaugh reiterated Monday that there could be some shuffling of the offensive line. He indicated that the changes will primarily be infusing more youth up front and the 33-year-old veteran likely doesn't fit within that group.
If the Ravens don't have plans to use McKinnie, they could consider moving him. But the offensive line is far from set eight weeks into the season and McKinnie could be reinserted. Harbaugh said he will continue to shift things around until he finds the right mix.
"There are young guys on the offensive line that we want to look at. There are veteran guys that can help us in doing different things," the head coach said Monday. "I just think that football is kind of evolving into where you have to try to get as many players involved as you can."
If the Cardinals were to offer a deal the Ravens can't refuse, maybe something could happen. But how serious are they?
"If the Cardinals are serious about making a playoff run, acquiring a starting-caliber offensive lineman before Thursday's trade deadline would be a wise move," wrote Smith. "The question is whether they'd want to give up anything of value for a player like McKinnie, who's undeniably talented but also has a reputation for being more trouble than he's worth."
McKinnie Calls Lawsuit 'Bogus'
The trouble Smith was referring to in the quote above includes another lawsuit McKinnie is reportedly facing.
Charles "Pop" Young, the father of rapper Trick Daddy, filed a $375,000 lawsuit against McKinnie, claiming player ran up a tab at two Miami strip clubs. The Ravens tackle, however, denies the allegations.
"I got no papers, I was never served," McKinnie told The Baltimore Sun's Aaron Wilson yesterday. "I just called my lawyer about this because this is a bogus story. I just read the article. [Young] was working at those places and he's tried to borrow money from me.
"People can put anything out there. What strip club gives you a $375,000 tab? It just sounds stupid to me. I've never heard of this in my life. This is bogus to me. For it to be even reported is stupid to me. … You could never run up a tab like that. For somebody like that to say something like this, they figure if they go to the media that you'll pay them, I guess. I would never pay this guy because what he's saying isn't true. I just found out about this when people started texting me. This is the least of my worries."
McKinnie also responded to his followers on Twitter,* *reiterating the story is false.
"Ppl love 2 believe BS," McKinnie tweeted, "which is funny 2 me."
Browns Looking Much-Improved Since Last Meeting
The Ravens were barely able to hold onto a 23-16 win in their Week 4 matchup against the Browns. The Baltimore defense came up with a stop as the final seconds ticked off the clock when rookie quarterback Brandon Weeden's pass sailed out of the back of the end zone.
A lot has changed for the Browns since that game. They've visibly improved over the last month, which could be the difference in beating the Ravens this time around at Cleveland Browns Stadium.
Nate Ulrich of the Akron Beacon Journal pointed out three important changes that the Ravens will want to watch out for:
Significant growth in Weeden both in numbers and leadership: "He hasn't committed a turnover in the past two games. … His teammates have responded extremely well to him. He's just one of those guys who can get along with anyone. I believe his age, 29, and his down-to-earth personality have definitely helped him in the locker room. He's a rookie, but he doesn't act like one."
Cornerback Joe Haden is back: "In my mind, he's the Browns' undisputed defensive MVP. He's made a huge difference, and I believe his suspension cost the Browns a win over the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 2. He has proved time and again that he can limit elite receivers, and that kind of ability can change an entire defensive game plan**
Rookie wide receiver Josh Gordon has broken out with four touchdown catches in the past four games: "He brings something to the table that the Browns have lacked for so long – a legitimate deep threat. He's 6-foot-3, 225 pounds, he can get behind defenders and he has good hands. When the Browns faced the Ravens in Week 4, Gordon had yet to break out. That happened the following week against the New York Giants."
Power Rankings: Week 9
There was little movement for the Ravens in the power rankings after taking a week off. They moved up and down a spot here and there, but nothing drastic.
Pete Prisco, CBSSports.com: No. 8, no movement
"Did they use the bye to fix that defense? Is it even possible? Or is the second half all about Joe Flacco?"
ESPN.com: No. 7, moved down one spot (to Packers)
"Baltimore is 4-0 following bye weeks under coach John Harbaugh, including a 15-point win over Houston last year."
Brian Billick, Foxsports.com: No. 7, moved down one spot (to 49ers)
"The Ravens are coming off a bye and will face the Browns and Raiders over the next two weeks. Isn't that like having three bye weeks in a row?"
Elliot Harrison, NFL.com: No. 7, moved up one spot
"Fresh of their bye week, the Baltimore Ravens still have a one-game lead in the AFC North, with the Cleveland Browns and Oakland Raiders on tap before the first meeting with the archrival Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 11. That Sunday nighter is at Heinz, where the Ravens won the last two seasons."
Mike Florio, ProFootballTalk.com: No. 9, no movement
"Ray Rice [is the team's MVP], because if they don't use him they are ordinary."
Peter King, Sports Illustrated: No. 8, moved up one spot
"So the Ravens were able to take a collective breath Sunday as Hurricane Sandy roared into the area. Entering the second half of the season, they have to get better play from Joe Flacco or January's going to be ugly, whether the Ravens make it that far or not. He has to be better than a quarterback with an 84 rating, better than a 59.5-percent passer."
Brian McIntyre, Yahoo! Sports: No. 9, no movement
"Coming off their bye week, the Ravens hit the road for their rematch with the Browns. Baltimore's offense has struggled on the road this season. A unit that averages 421.8 yards per game at M&T Bank Stadium has averaged just 266.3 yards in three road games this season, including 176 yards of total offense in a 43-13 loss to the Texans before the bye week."
If Harbs Wanted To Be A Smart Aleck …
After getting fined for not listing safety Ed Reed's torn labrum on the injury report – even though he didn't miss any practice time or game action because of it – Harbaugh said the list of injuries will get much longer going forward.
He will likely list any player* *with a bump or bruise to avoid another potential fine.
If Harbaugh wanted to be a smart aleck, CSNBaltimore.com's Ray Frager has come up with some suggestions for the next injury report.
Here are just a few:
- Matt Birk: scratchy throat (from constantly answering questions about his stance on same-sex marriage)
- Ray Rice: paper cut (sustained flipping through the game plan looking for plays where he gets the ball)
- Torrey Smith: hangnail (suffered while biting his nails watching his alma mater, Maryland, lose yet another quarterback)
- Haloti Ngata: tender roof of mouth (still recovering from biting into a slice of pizza fresh from the oven)
- Vensel makes his prediction on what the changes in the offensive line could be this week: "If I was a betting man – and if you could bet on these sorts of things – I would guess that the Ravens will make at least one tweak to their offensive line, likely at left guard, where Bobbie Williams was struggling before the bye week. Ramon Harewood could reclaim his starting spot, but don't rule out Reid, who was expected to be in the competition to start at left guard before that calf issue shut him down in June." [The Baltimore Sun]
- Jamison Hensley disagrees with Harbaugh that Sunday's Browns contest is a "must win," but the blogger does think the game is vital. Wrote Hensley: "I see this as Harbaugh trying to instill a sense of urgency with his team. … The Ravens (5-2) can lose to the Browns and still get to 10 wins, which should secure a playoff spot in the AFC this season. No one will argue that this is an important game. The Ravens have looked shaky on the road all season and only have a one-game lead on the Steelers in the AFC North. Baltimore can chalk up the loss at Houston to the Texans being one of the best teams in the AFC. A loss at Cleveland would be a major blow to Baltimore's confidence." [ESPN]
- @jasonbuttcbs: Seahawks release Danny Gorrer. Have to wonder if Ravens front office is interested in bringing him back. [Twitter]
- @jasonbuttcbs: This week's Ravens PR release lists Terrell Suggs and Albert McClellan as the starting OLBs. [Twitter]
- @ravensinsider: Former Ravens cornerback Prince Miller cut from Jaguars practice squad [Twitter]
- @334upshaw41: Walked outside to see that #Sandy didn't do any damage. I thought for sure the way that wind was whistling outside trees fell etc [Twitter]