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Late For Work 9/1: Ravens Still Have Unfinished Business


Ravens Still Have Unfinished Business

The Ravens met the 53-man cut-down deadline Saturday, but the feeling is business is anything but finished heading into the Cincinnati Bengals matchup on Sept. 7.

"Final 53-man roster? More like first 53-man roster," wrote's Bo Smolka.

"[T]hey are still tinkering with some different things," The Baltimore Sun's Jeff Zrebiec tweeted yesterday.

The Ravens have a history of making moves the week leading up to the season opener. In 2012, defensive back Danny Gorrer thought he made the team, but was cut four days later when the Ravens signed safety James Ihedigbo. Last year, wide receiver LaQuan Williams' time on the roster was short-lived as he was cut the day after the 53-man squad was announced.

So, what moves could the Ravens still make this week?

CB Cox Expected To Rejoin Team

The Ravens currently only have four corners, but Derek Cox is expected to rejoin the team as soon as today, according to The Sun's Aaron Wilson. Cox was signed just five days ago after being cut by the Minnesota Vikings.

Why would the Ravens cut him, then re-sign him just a few days later?

Wilson said it was a "procedural move." ESPN's Jamison Hensley noted that if Cox or fellow cornerback veteran Dominique Franks were signed after the season opener, their salaries wouldn’t be guaranteed for the entire year.

For now, the cornerback spot is very thin and GM Ozzie Newsome regularly says you can never have too many corners. This could be a sign that Lardarius Webb, Jimmy Smith and Asa Jackson will be healthy enough for the regular season opener after they returned to practice this weekend. Plus, two safeties, Terrence Brooks and Anthony Levine, both can play cornerback.

Ravens Expected To Show Interest in QB Case Keenum

Quarterback Tyrod Taylor fought off yet another challenger for his backup role in training camp now that Keith Wenning has been signed to the practice squad, but could Taylor get new competition?

The Houston Texans released quarterback Case Keenum after they traded for Patriots backup Ryan Mallett. Keenum has a history with Gary Kubiak during their time together in Houston, and Keenum knows the offensive system well after starting in it for eight games last season.

"The Ravens are expected to be among those with interest in claiming Keenum, with his former coach, Gary Kubiak, now there," wrote's Jason La Canfora. "The Ravens have been lukewarm about backup QB Tyrod Taylor."

Taylor has been Joe Flacco's backup since 2011, and my colleague John Eisenberg believes the Ravens could win games with Taylor under center if Flacco were to go down with an injury. Taylor had a strong preseason, notching 12 scores on 21 drives.

But Taylor is in a contract year and the Ravens may be pondering who the better fit is in Kubiak's system.

"[Taylor is] considered more of a scrambler than a pocket passer," Hensley wrote. "His lack of patience in the pocket and questionable decision-making has frustrated the Ravens in the past. … How comfortable are the Ravens with Taylor as their backup now? The Ravens' level of interest in Keenum will let everyone know." 

Fat At WR, Thin At O-Line/CB

Instead of cutting one of their three standout receivers from the preseason, the Ravens kept them all. Holding onto Michael Campanaro, Deonte Thompson and Kamar Aiken gives the team a total of seven wideouts.

"Do the Ravens really need seven wide receivers in an offense that will also feature two-tight end sets?" asked's Clifton Brown. "If somebody wants to trade for Aiken or Thompson, the Ravens will certainly listen."

Meanwhile, the Ravens are thin at offensive line, and, as mentioned, at cornerback.

If there is no trade, Hensley and Zrebiec named some veterans that were cut over the weekend that could grab the Ravens' interest, including guard/center Adam Snyder (49ers) and cornerback Kelvin Hayden (Bears).

Other corners now available are Champ Bailey (Saints), Leon McFadden (Browns) and Johnny Patrick (Jets).  

Could Ravens Have Interest In Michael Sam?

The NFL's first openly-gay player, Michael Sam, was released from the St. Louis Rams and reports the team will not add him to its practice squad.

CSN Baltimore's Brown pondered whether the Ravens might be interested in adding Sam as an outside linebacker, given their reported interest during the draft. Brown discussed Sam as an option on the active roster, but given the fact that the Ravens didn't claim him off waivers shows they don't have interest there.

"The Ravens had discussions about Sam leading up to the draft, so they might discuss him again," Brown wrote. "With the Ravens already carrying 10 linebackers, the odds are against them signing Michael Sam. The team is already deep at outside linebacker with Terrell Suggs, Elvis Dumervil, Courtney Upshaw, and Pernell McPhee."

Baltimore does still have a practice squad spot open, and if the Rams don't sign him to one of their 10 open spots, speculation could continue.

Surprised By Release, A.Q. Shipley Signs With Colts

Probably the biggest surprise of the roster trimmings was the release of guard/center A.Q. Shipley.

It even caught Shipley off guard, after starting nine games last season and having the flexibility of playing two spots.

"I was definitely surprised, being a veteran guy that can play two or three positions. I thought I had a pretty good preseason," Shipley told The Sun's Aaron Wilson. "It came down to a numbers game. Fortunately for me, another situation arose. Last year was very valuable for me to play a position I hadn't played before and go out there and prove I can play guard. It gave me value."

The Indianapolis Colts claimed Shipley off waivers, bringing him back to the very team that traded him to the Ravens last year for a draft pick. Needless to say, Shipley is happy to land on his feet, especially with a team and system he already knows.

"It's definitely a good feeling to go back there," Shipley said Sunday night. "There's a lot of familiar faces and an offense I was starting to learn before I got traded. Hopefully, I get to pick up where I left off. I'm back to my natural position. It's a great opportunity."

Jensen Diagnosed With Severe Sleep Apnea

Offensive lineman Ryan Jensen was cut and subsequently signed to the Ravens practice squad. Not making the active roster was mildly surprising given that Jensen spent all of last season on the 53-man squad instead of going to injured reserve after suffering a foot injury.

His step back to the practice squad may have been affected by his severe sleep apnea, which was only recently diagnosed and is now being treated. It's a condition that Pro Football Hall of Fame defensive lineman Reggie White died from in 2004.

"Harry [Swayne, director of player development] was concerned about me," Jensen told Wilson. "He spoke to me and said, 'You're not the same guy. You seem really angry. What's going on with you?' He reached out to help me and was worried. He suggested I get checked out. He's a good guy."

That's when Jensen underwent tests, and discovered he would stop breathing for up to 35 seconds at some points while sleeping. He now uses an apparatus to help him breathe normally while asleep.

"I've been told I choke and stop breathing in my sleep," Jensen said. "That's not good for your heart. In the sleep apnea test they did, I woke up almost 28 times per hour and have about 90 breathing episodes a night. They said that was probably a mild night for me. They estimated I was getting two to three hours of sleep a night. They saved my life.

"I would get eight hours of sleep and I would feel like I didn't get any sleep. It got to the point where I was walking around like a zombie. I didn't have that same fire because of my lack of sleep. It affected me. I'm just glad I got it figured out. I got diagnosed and got treated for it. The Ravens were understanding about it when we talked about it."

Quick Hits

  • Ray Rice, Will Hill must work out on their own while suspended for two and six games, respectively. Their suspensions officially began Saturday at 4 p.m. [The Baltimore Sun]
  • Former Steelers linebacker and Ravens rival James Harrison announced his retirement from the NFL. "I have made the difficult decision to retire as of today," he wrote. "My love for my family and the need to be there for them outweighs my desire to play the game. I have missed too many experiences with them because I devoted SO much time to my career. My love for the game isn't strong enough to make up for missing one more birthday or first day of school. I am retiring as a man who is truly grateful for all of his blessings." [Facebook]

Dolphins also signed former Ravens wide receiver Tommy Streeter to their practice squad — Aaron Wilson (@RavensInsider) September 1, 2014

Deji Olatoye got the spot that was expected to go to Sammy Seamster who was claimed by the Dolphins. Olatoye recently tried out for Miami — Aaron Wilson (@RavensInsider) August 31, 2014

Reason why Ravens rookie Jeremy Butler is on injured reserve is an AC shoulder injury — Aaron Wilson (@RavensInsider) August 31, 2014

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