Jets View Ex-Raven C.J. Mosley as 'Culture-Changer'
"Play like a Raven" is a phrase often used by the team's players and coaches to describe a mindset and style of play. Apparently, the New York Jets are firm believers in the sentiment and are hoping to emulate it.
That's why they gave former Ravens inside linebacker C.J. Mosley a record-setting contract to come to New York, according to Jets Head Coach Adam Gase, who referred to Mosley as a "culture-changer."
"He's the kind of guy who can really lead that charge in the locker room, where the team-building starts the right way," Gase said at the NFL's annual league meeting in Phoenix earlier this week. "He's been part of an organization that all of us would say they've done things the right way for a long period of time.
"They've had a lot of great players go through, and that culture stayed the same. It started with Ray Lewis, and it kept going after he left. C.J. was a big reason for that. We want to be able to start our own deal here, and he was kind of that first piece where he can lead that defense. He's the quarterback of the defense."
The Jets wanted Mosley so badly that they made him by far the highest-paid inside linebacker in NFL history. Reportedly, Mosley signed a five-year, $85 million contract that includes a $43 million guarantee.
The Ravens made a strong effort to re-sign Mosley, but the Jets had an abundance of cap space and simply refused to be outbid.
"Winning franchises such as the Ravens draft and develop their own culture-changers, from one generation to the next," ESPN’s Rich Cimini wrote. "The Jets have failed at that, so they have to buy them. And it ain't cheap."
John Harbaugh: Browns Are 'Most Talented Team in Division'
Ravens Head Coach John Harbaugh made headlines this week when he described the Cleveland Browns as the most talented team in the AFC North.
"They're the most talented team in the division. There's no question about that," Harbaugh told Cleveland.com’s Mary Kay Cabot at the coaches' breakfast at the NFL's annual league meeting.
Harbaugh was quick to point out that he's not in any way conceding anything.
"That's right now," he added. "The best team in the division is the team that's going to win the division. So we'll see what the best team is."
Speaking about all the hype surrounding the Browns after their acquisition of wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr., Harbaugh noted that the Browns have always been a formidable opponent despite the Ravens' 19-3 record against them during his tenure as head coach.
"We've played the Browns many times over the last 11 years and every one of them's been a really hard-fought game," Harbaugh said. "So it's no different for us, for the Ravens. We're not sitting here going, 'Oh, it's the new Browns.' The Browns have always been tough. The Browns have always been a handful.
" … But I do think with the players they have now and the coaching staff and stuff, it adds a new twist because they're just so darn talented.''
Ultimately, Harbaugh said, "the games will be played, and somebody will win. We plan on being that team."
Could Josh Jacobs Be an Option at No. 22?
The Ravens signed one of the top running backs on the free agent market in former New Orleans Saint Mark Ingram, and also return running backs Gus Edwards and Kenneth Dixon, who combined to rush for more than 1,000 yards and four touchdowns last season.
Still, the Ravens having interest in Alabama running back Josh Jacobs would make sense given their desire to be a run-heavy offense, Ravens Wire’s Matthew Stevens wrote.
"They need a player who can break big plays," Stevens wrote. "Jacobs is considered the top running back in this draft class for a reason. He's a patient runner with great vision and instincts. He hits the hole hard and fast with burst once he gets to the second level. He's also an accomplished receiver out of the backfield."
Harbaugh acknowledged during his session with the media at the coaches' breakfast that he likes "the idea of adding a shifty, third-down, home-run-type hitter guy."
Where Do Ravens Rank in AFC at This Point?
The Ravens were one of 16 teams mentioned in NFL.com columnist Adam Schein’s "way-too-early prediction of the six playoff teams -- plus a couple bubble teams -- in each conference for the 2019 campaign."
The Ravens came in as the eighth-best team in the AFC, based on Schein's opinion of "where the league stands right now, after a few head-spinning weeks of free agency."
Of the Ravens, Schein wrote: "I'm loving GM Eric DeCosta's first big acquisitions in the big chair. Earl Thomas is a winner and can still play at his Hall of Fame level. In many ways -- with his talent, attitude and demanding accountability of teammates -- Thomas is the quintessential and classic Raven. Meanwhile, I love Baltimore's Mark Ingram upgrade at running back. The Saints' offense was at its best last year when Ingram was involved. John Harbaugh is a fabulous coach. And Lamar Jackson will take a major step forward in Year 2."
The teams Schein ranked ahead of the Ravens in the AFC are (in order): the Kansas City Chiefs, New England Patriots, Indianapolis Colts, Cleveland Browns, Los Angeles Chargers, Jacksonville Jaguars and Buffalo Bills.
Revisiting Crucial Play in Ravens' Super Bowl XLVII Win
In the wake of the rule change for the 2019 season which will allow coaches to challenge non-calls for pass interference, NBCBayAreaSports.com’s Brian Witt reflected on what might have been had the rule been in place when the Ravens played the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl XLVII in February 2013.
As Ravens fans undoubtedly remember vividly, the Ravens were clinging to a 34-29 lead when the 49ers had the ball at the Ravens' 5-yard line on fourth down with 1:50 remaining in the game. Quarterback Colin Kaepernick's pass intended for wide receiver Michael Crabtree in the right corner of the end zone fell incomplete.
There was contact between Crabtree and Ravens cornerback Jimmy Smith, but no flag was thrown despite the protests of 49ers Head Coach Jim Harbaugh.
The new rule has likely added another layer of debate between the Harbaugh brothers about whether a flag should have been thrown.