Would Ravens Sign LeGarrette Blount Or Ben Tate?
From the moment two AFC North running backs were cut, the questions started flooding in.
Would the Ravens be interested in signing former Cleveland Brown Ben Tate or former Pittsburgh Steeler LeGarrette Blount?
Four reporters give their opinion:
The Baltimore Sun's Aaron Wilson: "With Ravens and LeGarrette Blount, they talked to him in free agency, but never made formal contract offer, didn't want to give up [compensatory] pick. Ravens' running game running smoothly with Justin Forsett as lead back. Would never rule out adding depth, but doesn't seem like a slam dunk. Tend to think that Colts or Patriots make the most sense as landing spots for LeGarrette Blount."
ProFootballTalk.com's Mike Florio: "The Ravens could be interested, too, given that Tate played for Offensive Coordinator Gary Kubiak when Kubiak was the coach in Houston. Another one of Kubiak's former Texans players, Justin Forsett, has had a career year with Kubiak in Baltimore."
The Sun's Jeff Zrebiec: "[Gary] Kubiak connection makes Tate to Ravens talk inevitable but Ravens already challenged to keep Forsett, Pierce and Taliaferro all involved."
ESPN's Jamison Hensley: "For those wondering if #Ravens would be interested in Tate, there is a connection with Kubiak but Tate was averaging a career-low 3.1 YPC."
So it doesn't look likely. And even if the Ravens were interested in either running back (and even if Baltimore could claim them off waivers before another team did), both would need an attitude adjustment fast.
Blount left the field before the end of Monday's game because he was upset he didn't get a single carry, according to The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Blount had already changed into street clothes by the time most of the Steelers reached the locker room, per NFL.com. That can come across as selfish as* *Le'Veon Bell rushed for 204 rushing yards that night and propelled the Steelers to victory.
Meanwhile, Tate complained to the media about the Browns paring down his touches in favor of rookies Terrance West and Isaiah Crowell. He said he'd "be lying if" he said he was satisfied with his role, per The Cleveland Plain Dealer.
If they came to Baltimore, they'd have to quickly get used to watching Forsett carrying the load because nobody needs a locker room distraction.
Regardless of what happens, it's important to point this out: Ozzie Newsome and the Ravens got it right when they signed Forsett instead of Tate or Blount in the offseason (although even the Ravens would admit they didn't know it would work out this well). All three backs were available, and the Ravens went with Forsett.
Our own Garrett Downing sums it up perfectly in the tweet below.
Cleveland signed Tate for two years, $7 million. He's produced 333 yards.
Pittsburgh signed Blount for two years, $3.85 million. He's produced 276 yards.
Baltimore signed Forsett for one year, $730,000. He's produced 721 yards.
"By all accounts, Forsett has been a great teammate who was just thankful for the opportunity when it looked like his NFL career may have been circling the drain after an injury-riddled season in Jacksonville a year ago," wrote WNST's Luke Jones. "Instead, he's having a career season in helping the Ravens pick up the pieces left behind by the Rice saga and his positive attitude has made him easy to root for.
"Tate and Blount were two talented backs many wanted the Ravens to sign last offseason and there's no way of knowing if either would have worked out better in Baltimore, but it's difficult to argue with the production Forsett has provided at a reduced rate."
Will Pierce Be With Ravens Next Season?
While we're talking about running backs, one fan asked CSNBaltimore.com's Clifton Brown whether backup Bernard Pierce will be with the Ravens after this season.
"I think Pierce's future with the Ravens beyond this season is in serious jeopardy," Brown replied.
"He's due to make $660,000 in 2015, the final year of a four-year contract. Justin Forsett has been one of the NFL's top backs this season. Even if Forsett can't duplicate this production in 2015, rookie Lorenzo Taliaferro has clearly shown he can be a solid backup, if not a future No. 1 back. Pierce had a golden opportunity after Ray Rice was let go, but failed to seize it. That may cost him."
Ngata's Awesome Tongan Warrior Dance
Check out defensive tackle Haloti Ngata performing an authentic Tongan warrior dance, called the Kailao. It's a special sight to see him do the traditional dance from Tonga, which is where his late-parents are from.
And I love that he has no stage fright.
The 340-pounder gets up on stage in front of a room full of people – including Steve Smith Sr., Torrey Smith, Chris Canty, Justin Tucker and Courtney Upshaw – at his third-annual Ngata Family Foundation Luau, according to TMZ.
The website reported that Ngata raised $50,000 for local educational groups and teachers.
Mobile users tap "View in browser" at the top of the page to see the warrior dance from TMZ.
Ravens Hope To Buck NFL's Bad Bye Week Trend
Usually, a bye week is considered an advantage.
You get time to rest and heal, and a longer opportunity to prepare for the next opponent.
But through 11 weeks of the season, NFL teams coming off a bye are a combined 10-16, as Hensley pointed out. He also noted that four division leaders (Bengals, Eagles, Colts and Cardinals) all lost their games coming out of the bye, and by an average of 18.2 points.
Head Coach John Harbaugh wants to buck that trend, and avoid coming out flat after a week off.
"It's a challenge. I'm not sure of the dynamics in every different situation, but boy, we better not get into that situation," he said.
Can Flacco Continue NFC South Domination?
Consider quarterback Joe Flacco's numbers against the NFC South so far this season:
Flacco vs. Carolina Panthers: 327 passing yards, 3 touchdowns, 0 interceptions
Flacco vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: 306 passing yards, 5 touchdowns, 0 interceptions
Flacco vs. Atlanta Falcons: 258 passing yards, 2 touchdowns, 2 interceptions
Hensley wonders if the seven-year veteran will keep up his dominance of the division when the Ravens take on the NFC South New Orleans Saints Monday night.
"Flacco has taken advantage of a division where Carolina, Atlanta and Tampa Bay all rank in the bottom 10 in pass defense," Hensley wrote. "He gets a similar opportunity against the Saints, who have the ninth-worst pass defense. New Orleans has allowed an average of 255 yards passing with 16 touchdowns given up and six interceptions. The Saints' secondary is as beaten up as the Ravens' defensive backfield."
Week 12 Power Rankings
The Ravens didn't play last week, but they moved up, down and stayed put in the power rankings below.
ESPN: No. 14 (moved down one spot)
"Baltimore is looking for a third straight win on Monday Night Football when it travels to New Orleans, a place where the Saints have dropped two in a row."
SportingNews.com, Vinnie Iyer: No. 14 (moved down one spot)
Fox Sports, Dan Schneier: No. 12 (moved up two spots)
"Coming out of the bye week the Ravens will look to do what they do best when it gets cold — control the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball. They have the talent to successfully impose their will."
ProFootballTalk.com, Mike Florio: No. 12 (no movement)
"This is the one team the Patriots don't want to see rolling into Gillette Stadium in January."
CBSSports.com, Pete Prisco: No. 14 (moved up one spot)
"The health of the secondary has been a season-long concern. The bye came at a good time."
NFL.com, Elliot Harrison: No. 15 (no movement)
"The Ravens' bye week came in time for them to gear up for the stretch run. Next up: a Monday night date with the Saints, and the challenge of stopping both Drew Brees and a pretty consistent Mark Ingram-led running game. Baltimore's defense has been solid all season; the goal now is to stay within striking distance in the AFC North. The Ravens host the Browns in Week 17."
- Remember former Ravens fourth-round pick center Jason Brown? Well check this out. He quit the NFL to become … a potato farmer. [CBSNews.com]