Late For Work 8/21: Ravens Among Fastest Teams In NFL

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Ravens Among Fastest Teams In NFL

Remember the famous words from former Raiders Owner Al Davis?

"Speed kills," he said.

"You can't teach speed. Everything else in the game can be taught, but speed is a gift from God."

And the Ravens have speed – enough to put them among the top-10 fastest teams in the NFL, according to a study from ESPN website Grantland.com.

The truth is players' speeds aren't officially clocked and made public outside of the NFL Scouting Combine when they head into their rookie seasons. That could be changing with radio-frequency identification chips placed in players' shoulder pads starting in 2014, which will provide more accurate data on speed, per Grantland's Bill Barnwell.

Until that happens, the combine 40-yard dash times, while imperfect, are the best number for speed publicly available. So, Barnwell used* *those numbers, and added two-hundredths of a second for each year since a player's arrival into the league to simulate the loss of speed with age.

He focused on the skill positions, and those that defend them, for each team, combining the adjusted scores for the 10 likely starters at quarterback (1), running back (2), wide receiver (2), tight end (1), cornerback (2) and safety (2).

Based on that system, the Ravens are the ninth-fastest team in the NFL with a combined 40-yard dash speed of 45.93 seconds.

The top 10, from fastest to slowest, were the Tennessee Titans (45.33), Washington Redskins (45.44), New York Jets (45.48), Buffalo Bills (45.56), Cleveland Browns (45.63), St. Louis Rams (45.72), Indianapolis Colts (45.72), Miami Dolphins (45.85), Ravens (45.93) and Seattle Seahawks (46.07).

Barnwell didn't break down the individual speeds of the Ravens' 10 likely starters, but I took the liberty of doing so for your reading pleasure (and I added the Madden speed rating because we all love seeing those unscientific scores). Enjoy!

Joe Flacco
Combine 40-yard time: 4.84 seconds
Estimated current 40: 4.96 seconds
Madden speed rating: 69

Ray RiceCombine 40-yard time: 4.42 seconds
Estimated current 40: 4.54 seconds
Madden speed rating: 88

Bernard PierceCombine 40-yard time: 4.45 seconds
Estimated current 40: 4.49 seconds
Madden speed rating: 90

Torrey Smith
Combine 40-yard time: 4.41 seconds
Estimated current 40: 4.47 seconds
Madden speed rating: 95

Steve Smith Sr.
Combine 40-yard time: 4.41 seconds
Estimated current 40: 4.67 seconds
Madden speed rating: 88

Dennis Pitta
Combine 40-yard time: 4.68 seconds
Estimated current 40: 4.76 seconds
Madden speed rating: 81

Jimmy SmithCombine 40-yard time: 4.42 seconds
Estimated current 40: 4.48 seconds
Madden speed rating: 90

Lardarius WebbCombine 40-yard time: 4.35 seconds
Estimated current 40: 4.45 seconds
Madden speed rating: 93

Matt ElamCombine 40-yard time: 4.50 seconds
Estimated current 40: 4.52 seconds
Madden speed rating: 88
not an official combine time
*
Darian Stewart *
Combine 40-yard time: 4.53 seconds
Estimated current 40: 4.61 seconds
Madden speed rating: 86

BOLD Prediction For Steve Smith

You've got to go big or go home when you're asked for a bold prediction, and that's what CBSSports.com's Ryan Wilson did when asked to give 10 as we near the season opener.

The Ravens would smile from ear to ear if their free-agent pickup from this spring finished with the type of numbers Wilson predicts.

He sees Steve Smith Sr. nabbing "at least" 80 receptions for 1,000 yards with his new team. Wilson used wide receiver Derrick Mason, who was also in his mid-30s when he was with the Ravens, as evidence that it could happen.

"Here's all you need to know: During Derrick Mason's six years in Baltimore (2005-2010), he averaged 78.5 catches and 962.8 yards," Wilson wrote. "In 2009, at age 35, Mason had 73 catches, 1,028 yards and seven touchdowns.

"Plus, Smith promised all the blood and guts and we tend to believe him."

Healthy Osemele Has Pro Bowl On His Mind

Offensive lineman Kelechi Osemele has returned from back surgery, and he's not shy about his goals for 2014.

CSNBaltimore.com's Clifton Brown asked the mauler about making the Pro Bowl for the first time as he enters his third NFL season, and it is clearly on his mind.

"Yes, I think about it daily," Osemele replied. "That's something that wakes me up in the morning and gets me going.  It's my personal motivation to come out here every day and grind and get after it and get better. It's one of those things where it's a carrot right out in front of you. You set goals and aim and go after them."

Ravens No. 10 on Forbes' 2014 Team Value List

Forbes has valued all 32 NFL teams, and reports that the Ravens are worth $1.5 billion, ranking them at No. 10.

That is* *an increase in value of 22 percent compared to last year, but it wasn't enough to prevent them from dropping a spot. Baltimore ranked No. 9 in 2013, falling behind the San Francisco 49ers, who are opening a new stadium this season.

The Ravens recently signed a new 10-year, $60 million stadium naming rights extension with M&T Bank, which helped boost their value, according to Forbes.

Not surprisingly, the Dallas Cowboys lead the NFL with a $3.2 billion price tag. As for the AFC North teams, the Pittsburgh Steelers are ranked 14th ($1.35 billion), Cleveland Browns are 22nd ($1.12 billion) and Cincinnati Bengals are 27th ($990 million). 

Where Are Ex-Ravens Now?

What are some of the former Ravens from the 2013 season up to now?

CSNBaltimore.com's Bo Smolka checks in with eight ex-Ravens:

TE Dallas Clark – Retired in June, signed one-day contract to retire a Colt

TE Ed Dickson – Signed with Carolina Panthers (one year, $795,000), listed as the No. 2 tight end behind Greg Olsen

WR Tandon Doss – Signed with Jacksonville Jaguars, fighting for a roster spot but has been sidelined with ankle injury

CB Corey Graham – Signed with Buffalo Bills (four years, $16 million), in line to start at either corner or nickel

S James Ihedigbo – Signed with Detroit Lions (two years, $3.15 million), in line to be starting strong safety

DL Arthur Jones –Singed with Indianapolis Colts (five years, $33 million), listed as starting defensive tackle

T Michael Oher – Signed with Tennessee Titans, (four years, $20 million), listed as starting right tackle

RB Bernard Scott – Remains a free agent

Hoyer, Not Manziel, Named Browns Starter

In AFC North news, we've learned who will be the Cleveland Browns' starting quarterback, and it's not going to be the headline-grabbing rookie Johnny Manziel.

Brian Hoyer will lead the Browns in their season-opener against the Pittsburgh Steelers, and assuming he doesn't lose the job or get injured, Hoyer will be the quarterback facing the Ravens in Week 3. The Ravens have never faced Hoyer, but in the three starts he had last season prior to a season-ending injury, the Browns won all three games.

"(Hoyer) was the clear leader from the beginning," Head Coach Mike Pettine said in a release by the team, per The Cleveland Plain Dealer. "We've maintained all along that if it was close, I would prefer to go with the more experienced player. Brian has done a great job in the meeting rooms and with his teammates on the practice field and in the locker room."

Meanwhile, Manziel admitted last week, "I don't think I'm ready for Pittsburgh right now."

Quick Hits

  • Torrey Smith and Joe Flacco are improving their timing in the Ravens' passing game. [The Baltimore Sun]
  • Ravens linebacker Austin Spitler is hoping to beat the odds and earn a spot on the Ravens' roster. [The Baltimore Sun]
  • Fantasy football draft prep: Pitta will be a top-5 tight end. [CBSSports.com]
  • Flacco dropped 40 spots in ESPN's player ratings, from No. 40 to 80. Marshal Yanda was ranked No. 78, which Jamison Hensley said was "way too low," Torrey Smith was No. 74 and Lardarius Webb was No. 75. [ESPN]
  • Case Keenum as Ravens' backup QB? [ESPN]
  • Will rookie defensive lineman Timmy Jernigan prove to be a draft-day steal? [NFL.com]
  • Even Torrey Smith's baby, Torrey Jeremiah, got in on the ice bucket challenge for the fight against ALS. Well, except it wasn't ice water, it was warm bath water. A good call for the adorable five month old.
  • @mikecamp_3: Learning From One Of The Best Everyday. @aceandsmitty#RavensNation
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