NFL rumors: Ravens signing ex-Giants running back after ANOTHER season-ending injury

Sports

NJ.com 10 September, 2021 - 04:34am 20 views

Did the Ravens sign Le'Veon Bell?

— Le'Veon Bell is signing with the Ravens practice squad, according to multiple reports. The addition of Bell comes after the Ravens lost a pair of running backs this offseason. Sports IllustratedReport: Le'Veon Bell Signs With Ravens Practice Squad

Did Gus Edwards get injured?

Gus Edwards Injury Impact: Torn ACL Ends Season; Fantasy Alternatives Limited. According to a report from ESPN's Adam Schefter, the Ravens fear running back Gus Edwards tore his ACL in practice Thursday afternoon. Sports IllustratedGus Edwards Injury Impact: Torn ACL Ends Season; Fantasy Alternatives Limited

Who will the Ravens sign at RB?

We have signed RB Trenton Cannon. This move comes a day after they announced the signing of three-time Pro Bowl running back Le'Veon Bell to their practice squad with the intentions of promoting him when he's ready to play. Baltimore BeatdownRavens sign RB Trenton Cannon to active roster

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A New Look to Ravens Running Backs | Ravens Final Drive

Baltimore Ravens 10 September, 2021 - 11:30am

Dancing with the Stars is gearing up for its 30th season, and the contestants have now been revealed by ABC. They are Jimmie Allen, Melanie C, Christine Chiu, Brian Austin Green, Melora Hardin, Olivia Jade, Matt James, Amanda Kloots, Martin Kove, Mike ‘The Miz’ Mizanin, Kenya Moore, Cody Rigsby, Iman Shumpert, Suni Lee, and JoJo Siwa. This season will see the first same-sex pairing hitting the dance floor to compete for the mirrorball trophy.

This season’s dancing pros are Brandon Armstrong, Lindsay Arnold, Alan Bersten, Sharna Burgess, Cheryl Burke, Witney Carson, Artem Chigvintsev, Val Chmerkovskiy, Sasha Farber, Jenna Johnson, Daniella Karagach, Pasha Pashkov, Gleb Savchenko, Emma Slater, and Britt Stewart.

Tyra Banks is returning to host the series, and the pairs will be judged by a panel of ballroom experts, including Len Goodman, Carrie Ann Inaba, Bruno Tonioli, and Derek Hough.

ABC teased the new season in a press release.

ABC’s Dancing with the Stars 2021 celebrity cast was announced on ABC’s “Good Morning America,” live from Disney’s California Adventure. The series, hosted by supermodel and businesswoman Tyra Banks, returns to the ballroom for its milestone 30th season with a lineup of celebrities including a WWE legend, a Real Housewife, a Bachelor, a country superstar and a Spice Girl, to name a few. The cast joins Suni Lee and JoJo Siwa, both of whom were previously announced at ABC’s 2021 TCA Virtual Press Conferences last month. The new celebrity cast will debut their twists, tricks and kicks during the premiere, live on MONDAY, SEPT. 20 (8:00-10:01 p.m. EDT), on ABC. Watch episodes on demand and on Hulu the day following their premieres.”

What do you think? Are you excited about the return of this competition series to ABC later this month?

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Stars?? Uh, I see one recently famous Olympic athlete. And one washed up guy from a 90’s teen soap. I literally have no idea who the rest of them are.

If these are “stars”, I’m the first chair harp player in Heaven’s symphony orchestra.

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What's next for Ravens at running back: Le'Veon Bell impact, free agent options after Gus Edwards injury

CBS Sports 10 September, 2021 - 11:30am

The hits keep coming for the Ravens at running back. Less than two weeks after No. 1 back J.K. Dobbins suffered a torn ACL, and just three days after backup Justice Hill suffered a torn Achilles, fill-in starter Gus Edwards is out for the entire 2021 season as well, sustaining his own ACL tear during Thursday's practice. What on Earth is next for the Ravens at running back, considering Baltimore leans on the ground game more than arguably any team in the NFL?

Let's try to answer all the pressing questions at hand:

This is the most urgent question, considering the Ravens open their season in a matter of days. As of now, second-year reserve Ty'Son Williams is slated to take over as the top ball-carrier. The 25-year-old Williams was undrafted out of BYU in 2020 and spent most of his rookie year on Baltimore's practice squad. After Hill went down, he took over as Edwards' top backup.

The former Steelers standout, last seen with the Chiefs in 2020, just joined the Ravens' practice squad this week. Coach John Harbaugh said before Edwards' injury that Bell might be promoted for Monday's opener, and now that seems like a certainty. Early on, the bar should still be set low for the new guy, who has lacked pop since his Pittsburgh days and figures to be a situational or third-down option out of the gate. That said, Bell probably has a higher long-term ceiling than Williams because of his experience. Check back in Weeks 2-4, and he could be the Ravens' starter.

The Ravens officially reached an agreement with former Saints running back Latavius Murray, giving them another veteran running back in their stable. (He was released after refusing to take a pay cut, which led to the Saints handing the backup job to Tony Jones.) Murray is a solid fit for an Edwards-type role with the Ravens due to his north-south running style, and because he is in game shape after spending camp with New Orleans, he could have a game-day role as soon as Week 1. 

Murray, at 31, still has some power in his legs, and he has starting experience from his days with the Raiders and Vikings, and would probably be the odds-on favorite to eventually lead the club in carries. 

Per SportsLine Data Scientist Stephen Oh, Murray is projected to have a comparable impact as Mark Ingram in his first season with the Ravens. Baltimore is back at 8% to win it all.

The next "best" thing appears to be former Falcons starter Devonta Freeman, who spent 2020 with the Giants and reportedly just signed to Baltimore's practice squad in the wake of Edwards' injury. The Ravens intend to activate Freeman to their game-day roster, per ESPN's Adam Schefter, meaning he's a safe bet to at least handle some work. The former Pro Bowler has always been a feisty runner but has battled his own injuries in recent years. 

There's also former Jets reserve Trenton Cannon, recently signed as depth. Technically, he's now No. 2 behind Williams, but Bell, Murray, and Freeman's expected promotions would bump Cannon to more of a No. 4 or 5 role. 

CBS Sports fantasy expert Chris Towers estimates that Williams will take on 13-17 carries, with a very limited pass-catching role, in his first action replacing Edwards. While the big-bodied Williams isn't necessarily a special player, Towers adds that Lamar Jackson's presence tends to boost rushing efficiency, making the new starter a good bet for 60-80 yards against the Raiders. Beyond Week 1, Towers foresees another name -- perhaps Bell, Murray, or Freeman -- splitting or potentially taking the bulk of RB1 reps.

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Fantasy Football Rankings Week 1, 2021: Model that beat experts says start Brandon Aiyuk, sit Justin Herbert

FantasyPros 10 September, 2021 - 11:30am

Outside of the playoffs, there's no week more important for setting your Fantasy football lineups than in Week 1. Making the wrong Week 1 Fantasy football picks could lead to poor results and playing catch-up the rest of the season. Players coming off preseason injuries like Carson Wentz and DeVonta Smith present tough decisions to owners. Thus, it would be helpful to have a trusty set of Week 1 Fantasy football rankings to help you make challenging lineup choices.

Can Wentz put the last few weeks behind him by putting up strong stats against Russell Wilson and the Seahawks? Which Fantasy football matchups can you exploit? Before you lock in your lineups, be sure to check out the Week 1 Fantasy football rankings from the proven computer model at SportsLine.

When it comes to ranking players, SportsLine's model beat human experts in Fantasy football for the past several seasons especially when there were big difference in ranking. Over the course of a season, that could literally be the difference between winning your league or going home empty-handed.

Last year, the model accurately predicted that Bills quarterback Josh Allen was being drastically undervalued. His Fantasy football ADP was barely in the top 70, but the model pegged him as a top-five Fantasy quarterback, a QB1 who would finish well ahead of players like Kyler Murray, Tom Brady and Drew Brees. Allen ended up being the No. 2-scoring Fantasy QB, outscoring all three of those other quarterbacks and even surpassing Patrick Mahomes. Fantasy players who followed SportsLine's advice reaped plenty of value with that pick. 

Now, the model, which simulates every NFL game 10,000 times, has revealed its Fantasy football rankings for Week 1 of the 2021 NFL season. Head to SportsLine now to see them.

One player the model is extremely high on this week: 49ers receiver Brandon Aiyuk. The 2020 first-rounder dealt with a minor hamstring issue in preseason but has returned to practice and will suit up against the Lions. Aiyuk, who was nicknamed Ai-YAC due to his proficiency after the catch, posted a 60-748-5 stat line across 12 games. He was so dangerous with the ball in his hands that the Niners didn't hesitate in handing it off to him, as he finished with 77 rushing yards and two scores on the ground.

Aiyuk should build upon those numbers against a porous Lions' defense in Week 1. Detroit allowed 519 points last year, the second-most in the 101-year history of the NFL. It also ranked 32nd in yards allowed and allowed the most passing touchdowns in the league. The model projects him to be a top-10 wide receiver in its Week 1 Fantasy football rankings.

A massive shocker: Chargers QB Justin Herbert, who threw for 4,336 yards and 31 touchdowns last season, stumbles big-time and barely cracks the top 15 at his position. Herbert had an impressive rookie season, averaging 25.5 Fantasy points per game. However, Herbert could be dealing with rust after not playing in the preseason and a matchup against the Washington Football Team won't do him any favors.

Washington's defense gave up just 191.8 passing yards per game last season, which ranked second in the NFL. In addition, Washington recorded 47 total sacks in 2020. With such a tough matchup on Sunday, Herbert is a player to consider putting on the bench in Week 1.

The model is also calling for a surprising quarterback you aren't even thinking about to finish in the top 10 of its Fantasy football rankings. This pick could be the difference between winning big and going home with nothing. You can only see who it is here.

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Cam Heyward, Minkah Fitzpatrick weigh in on T.J. Watt contract talks with Steelers

BaltimoreRavens.com 10 September, 2021 - 11:30am

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Another day, another Pittsburgh Steelers captain stumping for All-Pro outside linebacker T.J. Watt to get his long-awaited, long-term contract finalized.

On Thursday, it was defensive tackle Cam Heyward’s turn to throw his support behind Watt in his negotiations on a contract that likely will make the 26-year-old pass rusher the NFL’s highest-paid defensive player.

As he walked away from the podium after spending several moments during his nine-minute interview talking about Watt’s contract situation, Heyward leaned into the microphone and said, “Pay T.J. Please.”

Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger lobbied on Wednesday for the Steelers to pay Watt “whatever the heck he wants.”

A new contract could exceed the $27 million annually that Los Angeles Chargers pass rusher Joey Bosa is making.

“We all feel like T.J. should be paid,” Heyward said. “He’s put in the time and the work. He’s a productive player. Look at his (lack of) injury history. He’s out there, he doesn’t miss much. He’s a game changer.”

Heyward was in a similar situation in 2020. He was entering the final year of his contract and hoping to get a deal completed before the season began. Heyward signed a four-year, $65.6 million extension that included $20.25 million guaranteed eight days before the opener at the New York Giants.

The Steelers are just three days away from opening this season at Buffalo.

“I let my agent handle most of it, but at the same time, I was like, ‘What is it going to take?’” Heyward said. “I’m sure T.J. is going through it now. We want to focus on the Buffalo Bills. A guy like T.J., I know he wants it behind him, and we need to get it done.”

All-Pro free safety Minkah Fitzpatrick, who will enter the final year of his contract next offseason, admitted Thursday that he is “paying attention” to the Watt negotiations.

“It’s where I could be next year or in the future, so I have been talking with him and getting a feel for how the organization and everybody else is going about it,” Fitzpatrick said.

The Steelers are one of the few NFL teams that don’t guarantee contracts beyond the signing bonus and first year of the deal. However, they typically restructure contracts when they need to create salary cap space, essentially guaranteeing most of that year’s salary in the form of a signing bonus.

“Everybody has a way they do business, and you have to respect that,” Fitzpatrick said.

With the team’s blessing, Watt didn’t begin practicing with his teammates until Wednesday, and he went through a second full workout Thursday.

Defensive coordinator Keith Butler said the Steelers need to be mindful of Watt’s snap count in the opener Sunday. That is complicated by second-year outside linebacker Alex Highsmith’s limited activity in practice this week.

“I think we’ve got to be careful about how many plays he plays,” Butler said about Watt. “He’s a veteran. He knows how he feels. He knows how he’s going to feel when he starts playing. We just have to be smart enough to know how much is too much and how much is too little. We will try to pick a spot in that situation and keep him as healthy as we can.”

Joe Rutter is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Joe by email at jrutter@triblive.com or via Twitter .

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John Harbaugh says 'there's a chance' Ravens' Le'Veon Bell could be active for 'Monday Night Football' opener

CBS Sports 10 September, 2021 - 11:30am

After losing two of their top four running backs to season-ending injuries suffered during training camp, the Baltimore Ravens signed a veteran with whom they are extremely familiar: longtime Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell

Gus Edwards was expected to operate as the team's lead back with J.K. Dobbins and Justice Hill sidelined, but he appears to have suffered his own ACL tear on Thursday. If that's the case, Ty'Son Williams, who received positive reviews during training camp, and Trenton Cannon would be the only healthy running backs on the Ravens' active roster.

The Ravens only signed Bell on Tuesday, but he may not be on the practice squad long. According to coach John Harbaugh, "there's a chance" Bell could be active for the Ravens as soon as the season opener on Monday night against the Las Vegas Raiders

"Le'Veon's a guy I think we're very familiar with obviously," Harbaugh said, per NFL.com. "We've played against him so many times in so many highly competitive, emotional games. It was fun to have him in for the workout, he had a good workout. Practiced yesterday, did a good job. So, we'll have a process with him. He's excited, he's learning and we'll see where it goes."

The Ravens signed Bell to the practice squad, so they would need to elevate him to the active roster before playing in Monday's game. That means the Ravens would have to make a corresponding roster move, releasing one of the players currently on their 53-man roster. 

Bell spent much of last season with the Kansas City Chiefs after being released just over a year into his big-money contract with the New York Jets. He was largely ineffective in Kansas City and did not play in either the AFC title game or Super Bowl. He's several years removed from his last Pro Bowl season, and it's likely he would be used as a change-of-pace and pass-catching option behind Williams if he does make it to the active roster. 

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How to Watch, Listen and Live Stream Ravens vs. Raiders

BaltimoreRavens.com 09 September, 2021 - 01:15pm

The Ravens kick off the 2021 regular season under the bright lights of Monday Night Football in Las Vegas. The game against the Raiders starts at 8:15 p.m. ET.

Here's how you can watch, listen and live stream the game:

Live streams available on the following platforms:

Baltimore Ravens 2021 Season Preview: Still the team to beat in the AFC North?

Pro Football Network 09 September, 2021 - 09:30am

The Baltimore Ravens have the 13th-hardest schedule in the NFL. They play five games against teams projected to win at least 10 games. Out of division, those ten-win teams include the Chiefs, Rams, and Packers. The Ravens also face the Cleveland Browns twice, which will have a massive impact on the top of the AFC North.

Additionally, Baltimore battles Indianapolis, who were projected to win many contests, but they recently lost Carson Wentz and All-Pro guard Quenton Nelson for a similarly lengthy timeline. The 2021 Ravens might avoid both players in their Week 5 matchup with the Colts.

Luckily for Baltimore, the great teams they play in 2021 are all home games, sans one on the road in Cleveland. The Ravens also face the Bears, Lions, and Bengals (twice) throughout the season, which should help add to their win total.

The Ravens run like a well-lubricated machine. They’re also never one to sit on their hands, and the 2021 free-agency cycle was no exception. Baltimore’s season preview is greatly affected by the moves they made in the spring. They lost a few contributors, but they re-signed and acquired more than they lost.

Matthew Judon heads to the Patriots, while Yannick Ngakoue relocates to the glitz of Las Vegas. The Ravens also lost Willie Snead, Jihad Ward, and Matt Skura. However, their biggest loss came from trading Orlando Brown to the Kansas City Chiefs. Of all their losses, that is the one they were unable to make up.

To throw some Flex Seal on the issue, they signed Alejandro Villanueva to be their right tackle in 2021. He’s no Brown, but he’s a veteran presence that has been with the rival Steelers since 2015. To help bolster the offensive line further, Baltimore added guard Kevin Zeitler to the mix.

Tyus Bowser and Pernell McPhee both remain Ravens after the 2021 free-agency cycle, and they added Justin Houston as a veteran presence rushing the passer. Sammy Watkins helps the pass-catching issues the Ravens have recently dealt with. When healthy, Watkins could be a fine WR2 behind rookie Rashod Bateman. Yes, Bateman is going to be the guy in Baltimore (more on that later.)

Heck, we’ll do it live! Bateman is already creating waves at Ravens camp, with video evidence of him dusting Marlon Humphrey in one-on-one reps. He is a flexible route runner that has the ability to be the off-brand version of Justin Jefferson. Bateman could make a massive difference in the Ravens’ passing attack in a league where separation is king and his quarterback flourishes over the middle.

Baltimore’s second first-round pick in the 2021 NFL Draft could be just as impactful. Still, there’s a lot more projection with Odafe Oweh than Bateman. Oweh is one of the freakiest EDGE prospects ever. His athleticism doesn’t make sense. Yet, “raw” might not even cover just how much of a project he is. If there’s one organization I trust to develop this position, it’s the Ravens. They also drafted Notre Dame EDGE rusher Daelin Hayes.

The Ravens didn’t stop there. The entire fanbase appears to be head over heels with Georgia guard Ben Cleveland, who the Ravens selected in Round 3. This monster of a man eats squirrel and has visible abs at 340 pounds. They don’t make blockers as sturdy as him.

Brandon Stephens was a surprising pick in Round 4, but then the Ravens went back to the defensive back well with Ohio State’s Shaun Wade. Stephens has position versatility, as does Wade. He’s heavier than Wade, and his ball production during his final two seasons at SMU was outstanding. Wade struggled with his move to the outside, so his deployment in Baltimore will be interesting.

The Ravens also drafted WR Tylan Wallace, who was incredibly productive in his time at Oklahoma State. He makes some unbelievable plays outside of his frame. He must stay healthy at the NFL level, though. Ben Mason is a brand pick for the Ravens’ rushing attack. He will impress as a lead blocker between the tackles.

Four Ravens make PFN’s Top 100 NFL Players heading into the 2021 NFL season.

The Ravens certainly didn’t fall short on PFN’s Top 100. Tucker was the only specialist voted to the list, proving that only 99% of specialists aren’t actually people. Tucker is multifaceted. The trained opera singer is the most accurate kicker of all time. That type of mark deserves credit.

Stanley dropped some spots after facing injury in 2020, but his standing amongst offensive tackles in the NFL is cemented. He’s a technical wizard that continues to prove his worth to the organization. Stanley has not allowed a sack in the past two seasons.

Humphrey might be the most versatile cornerback in the league. He follows the opposition’s best offensive weapons, so he spends a lot of time having to defend two-way go’s from the slot against elite receivers and tight ends. Given modern rules, sometimes he gets beat. But Humphrey is as consistent a true CB1 as it gets. He also forced a league-high 8 fumbles last year.

The narratives surrounding Jackson can become frustrating. The former league MVP has been stuck with mediocre outside receiving help and poor passing schemes. Hopefully, in 2021, he proves his worth as a passer who’s asked to do more with reinforcements alongside him. On his feet, Jackson is a game-wrecker.

John Harbaugh is the second-longest tenured coach in the NFL behind Mike Tomlin. So, one could argue he’s actually the longest-tenured because the Steelers haven’t fired a coach since the Vietnam War. They just don’t do it. Harbaugh is an outstanding coach, with only one losing season to his name.

Greg Roman has been around for a while now. The construction of his rushing attack is sublime. He uses his personnel incredibly well in that respect. His passing concepts, however, do not maximize efficiency.

Don “Wink” Martindale has been the defensive coordinator since 2018, and despite having lackluster pass-rush personnel at times, his defenses have flourished.

Baltimore’s offense took a step back in 2020. In 2019, they were the most efficient offense in the league. This offense could propel the team to another division title with revitalized weapons and a facelift of the passing attack.

Baltimore’s defense fell outside the top 10 in efficiency last season, but they’ve worked hard to improve the defensive line. The secondary should be back to being elite with Tavon Young’s return.

The Ravens’ 2021 schedule doesn’t hurt the preview of their season win total, but even winning 12 games might not be enough. Whether we admit it or not, the Browns have built themselves quite a roster. However, a 12-5 record is certainly nothing to scoff at in Baltimore.

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