Internet Can't Stop Making Jokes About Jacoby Jones Becoming A Steeler
Call me crazy, but I get the feeling Mike Tomlin will be several steps back from the field of play when Jacoby Jones is returning kicks from now on.
That's because the Steelers head coach claimed Jones off the waiver wire yesterday after he was cut from the San Diego Chargers. The once beloved Ravens is now … a Steeler?
Torrey Smith gets the award for the best reaction.
Jacoby is a Steeler — Torrey Smith (@TorreySmithWR) November 6, 2015
I'm glad Torrey appreciates how weird this situation is.
It's only been three years since Jones became a beloved Baltimore Super Bowl XLVII hero with two touchdowns in the title game. He also caught the Mile High Miracle in the divisional playoff in Denver. And the most bizarre part about this situation is it was Tomlin who nearly tripped Jones on Thanksgiving night in 2013.
Jones could have gone all the way on a kick return in the third quarter of a classic Ravens-Steelers grudge match, but he was stopped short after Tomlin entered the field of play. He never made contact with Jones, but Jones had to readjust his route to avoid Tomlin and was brought down after 73 yards.
That controversial play on a national stage makes this the wackiest of reunions, and as USA Today pointed out, the internet couldn’t stop making jokes about it.
For those wondering why the Ravens didn't pick up Jones, you should know they certainly had their chance. For the Steelers to claim Jones off waivers, the Ravens had to pass on him first. The waiver order is set by the standings, going from the worst record to the best.
The Ravens got first-hand experience of how much Jones has fallen since his Super Bowl days last Sunday when playing the Chargers. The only impact he had on the return game actually worked against his own team. He allowed a punt to roll to the 3-yard line, which ultimately led to a Ravens touchdown. He has minus-4 total punt return yards on five attempts this season, and is averaging his lowest yards per kick return (21.4) since his rookie year in 2007.
Head Coach John Harbaugh (unintentionally) toyed with Ravens fans' hearts when he said the team would "talk about" Jones' availability after he was cut by the Chargers. (What was all that one-in-a-million talk, Coach?)
Alas, Jones is now working for the enemy. He will once again revisit M&T Bank Stadium on Dec. 27 when the Steelers come to town. And, yuck, he'll be wearing this black and gold piece of cloth.
Former Ravens Not Living Up To Contracts
Draft selections and free-agent signings get most of the attention, but one undervalued aspect of General Manager Ozzie Newsome's job is knowing when to part ways with players.
It also might be the most difficult aspect, considering the love, respect and admiration Newsome almost certainly feels when a player – like a Jacoby Jones – helps the team to victories. But Newsome has to separate himself from that, and objectively determine how much a player is worth.
The Ravens GM made several of those decisions this offseason, letting go some beloved players like Haloti Ngata and Torrey Smith.
ESPN's Jamison Hensley looks at how these ex-Ravens are faring at the midpoint of the season, and says some of them aren’t living up to their contracts. Which ones do the Ravens miss now?
TE Owen Daniels: Signed with Broncos for three years, $12.25 million
Do the Ravens miss Daniels? "Not really. Baltimore wanted to keep Daniels because of his experience, but the Broncos did the Ravens a favor by overspending for the 32-year-old tight end. Crockett Gillmore has more catches, yards and touchdowns than Daniels. Baltimore is better off long-term with rookies Maxx Williams and Nick Boyle."
DT Haloti Ngata: Traded to Lions, paying off final year base salary of $8.5 million
Do the Ravens miss Ngata? "Yes and no. Sorry for the split response here. The Ravens could use a veteran leader with a connection to the franchise's tradition of strong defenses after Terrell Suggs went down with a season-ending injury. But Baltimore is stopping the run just fine without him. The Ravens rank 11th in run defense (99.8 yards rushing allowed per game), and they're holding teams to less than four yards per carry."
OLB Pernell McPhee: Signed with Bears for five years, $38.75 million
Do the Ravens miss McPhee? "Yes, in a big way. The Ravens obviously couldn't match that contract. In a perfect (no salary cap) world, Baltimore would've kept McPhee and plugged him into the void left by Suggs. The reality is McPhee got paid elsewhere as expected, and the Ravens drafted Za'Darius Smith in the fourth round to replace him."
RB Bernard Pierce: Signed with Jaguars after being cut for four years, $2.65 million
Do the Ravens miss Pierce? "Not at all. The Ravens are in a much better position at backup running back now. Lorenzo Taliaferro, who is out for the season, runs with more power than Pierce. Buck Allen, a fourth-round rookie, runs with better vision than Pierce."
T Jah Reid: Signed with Chiefs for one year, $745,000
Do the Ravens miss Reid? "Probably not. Rick Wagner is still a better option even though he is the sixth-worst right tackle in the NFL this season, according to Pro Football Focus. The only question is whether Reid would fare better at left tackle than backup James Hurst, who has struggled mightily when filling in for the injured Eugene Monroe."
WR Torrey Smith: Signed with 49ers for five years, $40 million
Do the Ravens miss Smith? "Clearly yes. This is the same situation as with McPhee. Baltimore didn't have the cap space to compete with this offer. But, given the loss of Steve Smith and the injury to first-round pick Breshad Perriman, the Ravens could've used a proven target for Joe Flacco. Sure, this is hindsight. And yes, the feeling within the Ravens organization is Perriman has more upside than Smith. Still, as I noted last year, Smith's stats in 2014 (49 catches for 767 yards and 11 touchdowns) were under-appreciated."
S Darian Stewart: Signed with Broncos for two years, $4.25 million
Do the Ravens miss Stewart? "Yes, and it goes beyond his game-ending interception against Baltimore. The Ravens thought they were upgrading at safety by signing a center fielder like Kendrick Lewis. Midway through the season, Lewis is giving up 15.9 yards per reception and has allowed three touchdowns. Stewart is giving up less than 10 yards per catch and hasn't allowed a touchdown."
QB Tyrod Taylor: Signed with Bills for three years, $3.35 million
Do the Ravens miss Taylor? "No, and the Ravens are happy with his success. Flacco plays every game, so Taylor wouldn't have received any playing time in Baltimore."
AFC North Race Is Over
Two AFC North teams were featured on primetime national television last night, as the Cincinnati Bengals pummeled the Cleveland Browns, 31-10.
The Bengals' win comes one week after they beat the Pittsburgh Steelers last week at Heinz Field. That means Cincinnati has beaten all three AFC North teams and is still perfect at 8-0.
CBS Sports declared the division winner LAST week, even before the Bengals notched another win.
"The AFC North race is over," declared Will Brinson on Monday. "Didn't think Week 8 would be when we handed the Bengals the AFC North crown but here we are and the Bengals are 7-0 and there's no one left to challenge them."
The Bengals are now five games up on the Steelers and seven games up on the Ravens in the division (Cincy holds the tiebreaker over both) and Pittsburgh just lost Le'Veon Bell for the rest of the season while the Ravens lost Steve Smith Sr.
At this point, the Ravens' only real hope (and a slim one at that) for the playoffs is via the wild card. Baltimore would need to be nearly perfect to pull that off, and it still has the Bengals to face in Week 17. By then, however, the Bengals may have already clinched and could opt to rest it starters for that game.
"The Bengals are in cruise control for a playoff berth," wrote Brinson. "The question is how early do they want to play their first game."