Kraft Enjoying 'Sweetheart' Ravens Losses
While Ravens Nation is waking up to a miserable 0-3 start, it appears that New England Patriots President Jonathan Kraft is relishing it.
Some folks up in New England still believe the reports that Baltimore tipped off the Indianapolis Colts about Deflategate, despite the Ravens saying they didn't have a thing to do with it and no evidence to support that notion.
"The Ravens later denied those accusations, but some bad blood clearly exists between the AFC foes," wrote NESN.com's Ricky Doyle.
So when Baltimore's winless record was mentioned Sunday morning (before the Bengals loss) during an interview with 98.5 The Sports Hub, Kraft didn't shy away from showing his glee.
Host Marc Bertrand pointed out three of the Partiots' 2014 postseason opponents – the Ravens, Colts and Seattle Seahawks – were winless entering Sunday. Seattle and Indianapolis each notched their first wins later in the day.
"It's too bad about Baltimore, isn't it?" Kraft said.
"It's too bad about all three of them," said Bertrand.
"It's really too bad about Baltimore," Kraft reiterated, while laughing. "Any team in this league is capable of beating another team. I bet if we had looked at what national pundits had said about Baltimore last week going out to Oakland, I would bet 95 percent of them said Baltimore is winning the game. People don't understand the margin of error between these teams is quite small."
Bertrand followed up to say he's not surprised by the winless record because he believes in karma.
"Oh, that has nothing to do with it," Kraft said. "The Ravens are sweethearts. (Ravens Head Coach) John Harbaugh, he's a sweetheart."
Call me crazy, but I'm not sure NFL head coaches are used to being called "sweetheart."
"The Patriots president couldn't help but take a few jabs at the Ravens," wrote Doyle. "It's not exactly a direct shot. But shots appear to have been fired, nevertheless."
Reports: Perriman Aggravated Knee In Warmups
You know things are not going your way when the most accurate kicker in NFL history, Justin Tucker, misses a field goal, Steve Smith Sr. puts up 186 yards and two touchdowns in a defeat and your first-round pick reportedly aggravates his improving knee … during warmups.
Sheesh, what did Baltimore do to the football gods?
Rookie wide receiver Breshad Perriman aggravated his injured knee while running routes during pregame warmups yesterday, according to multiple media members, including ESPN's Jamison Hensley and The Baltimore Sun's Jeff Zrebiec.
Perriman pulled up lame while running a deep pass into the end zone. Wide receivers coach Bobby Engram went over to see Perriman, who was bent over, and Perriman also had brief conversation with a trainer. While media members noticed a limp in his step, Perriman stayed on the field and caught passes while standing stationary.
The crazy part is that minutes before Perriman seemed to get hurt, several media were commenting on how strong he looked in his routes. They were noticing his increased speed and said he looked better than ever since originally spraining his knee on the first day of training camp.
The key words in Zrebiec's tweet are "with no setbacks."
Perriman just returned to practice three days ago as a limited participant after missing exactly eight weeks. If Harbaugh stays true to form, it is unlikely he will give an injury update, but it will be interesting to see whether Perriman continues to practice when the injury report is released. With a short week because of a Thursday night game in Pittsburgh, the first injury report could come late tonight.
On Friday, Harbaugh said Perriman was "getting close."
"But what that means exactly? I don't know," he added. "Nobody tells me. I have no report on it. I have no information on it because our medical people just don't know. So, when they tell me he can play, he'll be out there and play. It's a tough injury to judge."
Absent Roethlisberger Doesn't Guarantee Win
Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is expected to miss at least the next four weeks, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter. There's still a chance he could miss the entire season, too.
Roethlisberger was hit low during the third quarter of the Steelers' 12-16 win over the St. Louis Rams Sunday.
As big of a hit as this is for the Steelers (Vegas now has the Ravens as 2.5-point favorites), CSNMidAtlantic.com's Clifton Brown says Roethlisberger's absence doesn't guarantee a win for Baltimore. Backup quarterback Michael Vick, 35, is no doubt getting older, but he can still make plays with his legs and has plenty of weapons.
The Steelers still have playmakers like wide receiver Antonio Brown, who is second in the league with 436 receiving yards (one spot ahead of Smith). They also have a potent rushing attack led by Le'Veon Bell, who is back from a two-game suspension.
"Vick brings a running threat to the table, and the Ravens have just a few days to prepare for that element," wrote Clifton Brown. "[Antonio] Brown also has speedy running mates like Markus Wheaton and Darius Heyward-Bey who can make big plays. Unless the Ravens cover and tackle better than they did Sunday, they will give up more big plays, and Vick has the arm to throw deep.
"… If Bell has a big night, the Ravens could be looking at 0-4 when it ends."
Who To Blame For Winless Start?
Nobody has been immune to being criticized and/or blamed for the Ravens' winless start. Coaches, players and front office executives have all taken shots from fans and media.
Some point to the secondary, others to the lack of a pass rush and ground game. There's the defense's inability to get a fourth-quarter stop to preserve a lead. The offense isn't immune either; it hasn't played a complete game and many believe the unit lacks playmakers outside of Smith.
Zrebiec says the reality is when you start 0-3, there is no single person to blame.
"The Ravens have only themselves to blame," Zrebiec wrote. "Everybody wants to blame coaching, specifically defensive coordinator Dean Pees. Everybody wants to blame Terrell Suggs' loss. Everyone wants to blame the secondary.
"With the number of games the Ravens have blown over the past couple of years, it's clear that it's a combination of everything. The Ravens defense has deteriorated rapidly. There's enough talent there to work with, but the Ravens have to figure something out or this season will continue to go downhill and the Ravens will be on the clock very early on draft night."
Odds Of Overcoming 0-3 Start
Everyone wants to know what the odds are of the Ravens actually making the postseason at this point. Should fans just pack it in and get ready for the draft and free agency?
Well, it's possible that the Ravens still make it, but the odds are slim.
Since 1990, only 2.4 percent of teams that started 0-3 advanced to the postseason.
Even though 2 percent is an extremely, extremely low number, The Baltimore Sun's Peter Schmuck is trying to infuse some optimism based on a more favorable part of the schedule still to come.
"It's tempting to say that the Ravens' playoff hopes were completely dashed by this disheartening 0-3 start – and they probably were – but their ridiculously front-loaded, West Coast-laden road schedule makes it difficult to draw a direct line from their 0-3 record to the scant percentage of teams that have come back from that to reach the playoffs," wrote Schmuck.
"There is a big chunk of their schedule that will be very favorable if they can get through the next month without coming completely unglued."
Steve Smith Talks 'Old Grandpa' Stomach
After his amazing 50-yard touchdown catch and run, Smith could be seen bent over a trashcan with a towel over his head. You can only guess what he was doing.* *
Smith admitted that a sensitive stomach began to bother him, which lead to trainers giving him an IV of fluids to keep him hydrated.
"When you're old like this, that's the first thing to go is your stomach," Smith told reporter, per The Baltimore Sun's Jon Meoli. "As [running back Justin] Forsett says, I have an old grandpa stomach."
MMQB.com's Peter King named Smith as his Offensive Player of the Week after notching 186 yards and two touchdowns, despite the Ravens loss.
"Rare, particularly with all the great offensive performances Sunday, to reward a man from a losing team," King wrote. "I don't recall the last time I did it. But Smith was absolutely indomitable in the 28-24 loss to Cincinnati.
"At 36, playing as physical as ever (and that is saying something; Smith has been one of the game's most physical wideouts in this golden age of receivers), Smith nearly willed the Ravens to a win over the division foe that has given them huge trouble recently."