Ravens Reportedly Called Broncos About Wide Receiver Tim Patrick's Availability
With injuries to their wide receivers mounting, the Ravens called the Denver Broncos about the trade availability of wide receiver Tim Patrick, according to a report by Benjamin Albright, who covers the Broncos for their flagship radio station. The report surfaced over the weekend.
There's been speculation that Patrick could be on the trade block because the Broncos have a deep receiving corps that includes Courtland Sutton, Jerry Jeudy and K.J. Hamler and tight end Noah Fant.
The Ravens are quite familiar with the 6-foot-4, 212-pound Patrick. They signed him as an undrafted free agent out of Utah in 2017 but released him before the start of the regular season.
Patrick, 27, has spent the past three years in Denver and is coming off his most productive season. He started 15 games in 2020 and finished with career-highs of 51 catches for 742 yards and six touchdowns. Patrick did not have a single drop last season.
The Ravens also have a crowded receiving room, but first-round pick Rashod Bateman is undergoing groin surgery and isn't expected back until September. Marquise "Hollywood" Brown (hamstring), Miles Boykin (hamstring) and Deon Cain (undisclosed) have also been dealing with injuries.
Brown, Boykin and Cain ran on an adjacent field during yesterday's practice. Veteran Sammy Watkins, who has been the Ravens' best receiver in training camp, left practice early, but Head Coach John Harbaugh said it's nothing serious.
"Given the now-crowded nature of their receiver room, it is interesting to learn of their interest in Patrick," Baltimore Beatdown's Frank J. Platko wrote. " … A potential trade for Patrick would certainly have implications for wide receivers on the roster bubble."
Bateman Responds to Dan Orlovsky's Comments About Injuries to Ravens Receivers
ESPN's Dan Orlovsky said last week that Bateman's absence is a "huge, huge concern." Orlovksy's colleague, Louis Riddick, used the word "terrified" regarding the injuries to Bateman and other Ravens receivers.
Bateman responded to the comments via Twitter yesterday and reassured Ravens fans that everything will be OK.
Of course, there's no denying the injuries are a setback for an offense whose main goal is to improve in the passing game. Pro Football Focus' Ben Linsey underscored the point by putting Bateman at No. 2 on his list of rookie wide receivers who mean the most to their respective offenses.
"Fellow additions Sammy Watkins and Tylan Wallace were also brought in to bolster a unit that was led by Marquise Brown in 2020, but Bateman is the key to potentially unlocking the group," Linsey wrote. "He has a better chance than any other wide receiver on the team to develop into a legitimate No. 1 option and primary target in the passing game."
That said, Ravens Wire's Kevin Oestreicher agreed with Bateman that there's no need to panic.
"Just because Bateman and a few other Ravens' receivers have been out of practice for a few weeks doesn't mean that all of a sudden Baltimore's offensive unit won't be able to produce at high levels," Oestreicher wrote. "Brown and Boykin aren't expected to be held out for much longer, while Bateman's injury isn't season-ending. … There's no doubt that a healthy Bateman would help Baltimore's offensive unit. However, just because he'll be out for a few weeks doesn't mean they'll all of a sudden become stagnant."
Analyst Says Bills Are Team Best Set Up to Defend Ravens Offense
The Ravens' high-scoring offense was held to three points in last season's divisional playoff loss to the Buffalo Bills, and ESPN analyst and former NFL defensive back Matt Bowen believes the Bills defense could again be the Ravens' kryptonite.
"Coordinator Leslie Frazier put up a blitz rate of 41.3% in that game, using safety Micah Hyde and linebacker Matt Milano to crash the edges against the Ravens' run game," Bowen wrote. "Buffalo also mixed fronts, spinning from its split-safety looks to get a numbers advantage at the point of attack. This Bills defense is one of the league's most fundamentally sound units, which is important with all of the motion the Ravens use."
The Ravens and Bills will not meet in the regular season, but both teams are among the favorites to represent the AFC in the Super Bowl.
Kevin Zeitler Makes ESPN's All-Value Team
Ravens fans have heard the mantra many times: Right player, right price.
An offseason addition that fits perfectly into that category is Kevin Zeitler. The veteran right guard made ESPN's all-value team, which consists of players who provide the most bang and the least potential downside for the buck.
Zeitler signed a three-year contract with the Ravens for a reported $22.5 million with $16 million guaranteed.
"Few teams are desperately looking for Quenton Nelson or Zack Martin at guard," Football Outsiders' Mike Tainer wrote for ESPN.com. "Most simply want guards who are durable, dependable and affordable, allowing them to spend bigger bucks elsewhere. Zeitler checks all of those boxes.
"He has gotten the job done for the Bengals, Browns and Giants over the past nine seasons, rarely missing a game or making a critical mistake. He'll help protect Lamar Jackson while carrying just a $4.05 million cap number this season."
Zeitler, who had not practiced since Aug. 3 due to a foot injury, was back on the field yesterday. He was joined by All-Pro left tackle Ronnie Stanley, who had his most extended practice since returning from season-ending ankle surgery.
"With Zeitler and Stanley back on the field, it certainly brightened the outlook for the offensive line, which struggled mightily against the Saints [in Saturday's preseason game]," The Athletic's Jeff Zrebiec wrote.
Could Ravens Land a Draft Pick for Kicker Jake Verity?
The Ravens have shown a knack for finding quality undrafted kickers. At the top of the list, of course, is Justin Tucker, who has become the most accurate kicker in NFL history after the Ravens signed him as an undrafted free agent out of Texas in 2012.
If Saturday's preseason game is any indication, Jake Verity is the latest unheralded kicker who could land a job in the NFL after a preseason stint with the Ravens.
Verity was 2-for-2 on field-goal attempts Saturday, converting kicks of 53 and 42 yards. He also impressed with his kickoffs.
"The undrafted rookie from East Carolina averaged 4.3 seconds of hang time on his three kickoffs, according to Pro Football Focus, and landed them at the 1-yard line and 2 and 5 yards deep in the end zone," The Baltimore Sun's Jonas Shaffer wrote. "No kicker who attempted more than 20 kickoffs last season averaged a hang time of longer than 4.13 seconds. If Verity keeps booming kicks — ideally, for General Manager Eric DeCosta, through the uprights — he could become a Kaare Vedvik-esque trade piece for kicker-needy teams."
DeCosta sent Vedvik to the Minnesota Vikings during the 2019 preseason in exchange for a 2020 fifth-round pick.
"After what Verity put on tape against the Saints, [DeCosta's] phone should be ringing," Baltimore Beatdown's Joshua Reed wrote.
Saints All-Pro Wil Lutz and New York Giants All-Pro Graham Gano also began their NFL careers as undrafted free agents with the Ravens.
Ravens Executive Named to NFL 40-Under-40 Class
Ravens Vice President of Football Administration Nick Matteo, 37, was named to The Athletic's NFL 40-under-40 class. Matteo joined the Ravens in 2019 after working for the NFL office.
"When a neck injury forced an early end to his wrestling days at the University of Pennsylvania in the mid-2000s, Matteo pivoted to sports management," The Athletic's Lindsay Jones wrote. "He started with an internship at NFL Films and eventually worked on labor operations within the league office. Now he's on the inside of one of the most respected front offices in the NFL in Baltimore. Recently, he's been part of the Ravens' megadeals with All-Pro players Ronnie Stanley and Marlon Humphrey. Still ahead: working out a new contract for quarterback Lamar Jackson."
Matteo said: "It's awesome working here. The continuity and the culture isn't something that could be replicated overnight, and that's one of the main reasons I left the league to come here. I think the things that they preach are consistency and always doing what's right for the club."