Prepare Yourself. Ozzie Newsome May Be Doing Roster Gymnastics This Week
Remember General Manager Ozzie Newsome's roster gymnastics last year?
The Press Box's Bo Smolka does.
He reminded Twitter that running back Justin Forsett was surprisingly cut from the initial 53-man roster after leading the team in rushing yards in 2014 and 2015. Two days later, Forsett was re-signed and then started three consecutive games. Meanwhile, safety Matt Elam made the original 53-man roster despite having just undergone knee surgery.
To the layman's eye, there was no rhyme or reason to the roster juggling. But it was later revealed that everything was just a calculated risk by Newsome.
Newsome and the Ravens wanted the option to activate Elam or Carl Davis from injured reserve (IR) later in the season. Teams aren't required to designate anyone with a return tag right away, but to be eligible for it later in the season, players have to be on the initial 53-man roster for at least 24 hours.
So, what's the point of bringing all this up now?
To prepare you for more potential gymnastics Saturday when the Ravens have to cut down to 53 players by 4 p.m. (and to help those entering our "You Pick the Team" contest).
Baltimore has already sustained numerous season-ending injuries, but there's likely at least one player, if not more, that the Ravens think could make a late-season return. So they're going to need to make room for him (or them) on the initial 53-man roster.
Players who could be placed on injured reserve this season are cornerbacks Tavon Young (knee) and* *Maurice Canady (knee), running back Kenneth Dixon (knee), rookie offensive lineman Nico Siragusa (knee), left guard Alex Lewis (shoulder), undrafted rookie wide receiver Tim White (thumb) and linebacker Albert McClellan (knee).
Of those seven, who could the Ravens leave on the initial roster until Sunday at 4 p.m. so that they're eligible to return later this season?
Russell Street Report's Brian McFarland says Canady and/or White would be the "most likely candidates."
McFarland added that Dixon and Young could also make returns without taking up initial roster spots.
Dixon will be on the suspended list for the first four weeks of the season before going to IR, qualifying him for return eligibility. And Young started training camp on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list, which means he could be placed on the regular-season PUP too.
M&T Bank Stadium One of Toughest Places to Play on the Road
After digging into several stats, including point differential, over the last decade, ESPN's Bill Barnwell discovered that M&T Bank Stadium has been one of the toughest places to play for opponents on the road.
The Ravens essentially tied for the top spot with famous CenturyLink Field in Seattle, where Seahawks fans are known as the "12th man" because they get so loud that the noise has a tangible effect on the game.
"Regardless of how we calculate the numbers, the Ravens and Seahawks consistently rank among the organizations that improve most dramatically at home," wrote Barnwell. "If we calculate this by sheer winning percentage as opposed to point differential, as an example, the Ravens have the largest home-field advantage in the league since 2007, winning 72.5 percent of their games at home but just 40 percent on the road. The Seahawks are third, with the Vikings splitting the two.
"Picking between them is tough, but I would say narrowly that the Seahawks have the best home-field advantage, in part because their home crowd might have kept Seattle afloat at times. There have been eight seasons since 2007 in which a team has enjoyed an observed home-field advantage of 10 points or more, and the Seahawks are the only team with more than one of those seasons to their name, with the 2009 and 2012 teams topping double-digits."
Will Joe Flacco and Breshad Perriman Be Game Ready?
Ravens fans could breathe a slight sigh of relief yesterday when Harbaugh announced that he's "very optimistic" that wide receiver Breshad Perriman will be ready to play Week 1 and quarterback Joe Flacco has resumed throwing.
That news comes on top of left tackle Ronnie Stanley returning to practice earlier this week.
While this is very good news, the offense isn't quite out of the woods yet. Flacco and Perriman still need to get on the practice field, and they'll have little time to get into football shape and on the same page with the rest of the offense.
"How quickly [Flacco will] be able to shake off the rust in time to play effectively against Cincinnati remains to be seen," wrote WNST's Luke Jones.
Added ESPN's Jamison Hensley: "The hope is for Perriman to be Baltimore's No. 3 receiver behind Jeremy Maclin and Mike Wallace. In Perriman's absence, Michael Campanaro has been the third receiver. There was an indication that Perriman was close to returning. Before Saturday's preseason game, he was running routes and catching passes from receivers coach Bobby Engram, although he never did anything at full speed.
"The hamstring injury to Perriman came at a time when he was playing his best. He was the most impressive receiver in offseason workouts, running better routes and beating all three of the Ravens' top cornerbacks deep."
Jim Harbaugh Hosting His Own Weekly Podcast
John Harbaugh's brother continues to push the media envelope.
Jim, head coach of the Michigan Wolverines, is already known for being one of the more active coaches on Twitter. He even has his own YouTube channel.
And now he will host his own weekly podcast during the football season called "Attack Each Day: The Harbaugh's Podcast."
"I'm looking forward to joining my dad and my other family members for our weekly podcast on PodcastOne," Jim said, per Sports Illustrated. "A lot of people who I respect have been doing podcasts for years, and the 'Attack Each Day: The Harbaugh's Podcast' should be a fun experience for our show's guests and for our listeners."
Apparently, John will be a regular guest on the podcast, along with dad Jack and other family members and friends.
This ought to be fun. Count me in as a regular listener when the podcast debuts on Sept. 5.
- "Ravens haven't heard of any changes to their travel to New Orleans for Thursday's preseason finale," wrote Hensley. "Tropical Storm Harvey could dump up to 6 inches through Friday morning in the New Orleans area." [ESPN]