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The latest Baltimore Ravens news, notes and analysis
Ravens sticking with Jacoby Jones as primary returner

Jacoby Jones apparently won't lose his job as the Ravens' primary return specialist despite a series of miscues fielding punts.

Ravens coach John Harbaugh reaffirmed Monday that the one-time Pro Bowl selection will retain his status after muffing a punt Sunday during a 29-7 win over the Atlanta Falcons. It was the second time in three games that Jones fumbled a punt.

"I do," Harbaugh replied when asked if the team remains comfortable with Jones going forward.

Jones acknowledged that he should have called for a fair catch during the second quarter when he mishandled the football and it was recovered by Falcons special teams ace Eric Weems.

"I agree with that," Harbaugh said. "We're both in agreement on that."

Jones misjudged a punt that he lost against the Indianapolis Colts. He also attempted to catch a punt inside the Ravens' 2-yard line against the Carolina Panthers.

"I should have fair-caught the ball," Jones said Sunday. "I was just being aggressive. The gunner was bearing down. I...

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John Harbaugh assesses play of rookie linemen John Urschel, James Hurst

In the absence of two starting offensive linemen on the left side, the two rookies who stepped in for the Ravens -- fifth-round guard John Urschel and undrafted free-agent left tackle James Hurst -- drew mixed reviews from coach John Harbaugh on Monday.

Urschel, who has started two straight games with Kelechi Osemele battling back from a knee injury, has done a “great job,” the coach said.

“He’s stepped in, and it’s pretty hard to predict for a rookie to come in and play the way he’s played at left guard,” Harbaugh said.

The reserve guard from Penn State has performed in both facets of the game. The Ravens ran behind Urschel 12 times for 86 yards against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and did so a dozen times again for 44 yards Sunday, according to Pro Football Focus. The site’s statistics say Urschel has only allowed one quarterback hurry in two games.

“He deserves it, he works really hard, and he loves football,” Harbaugh said. “He studies the game. He’s getting what he’s earned.”

Hurst,...

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Browns promote fullback Kiero Small to active roster

The Cleveland Browns promoted former Cardinal Gibbons and Arkansas fullback Kiero Small to the active roster from the practice squad and cut starting fullback Ray Agnew, the team announced.

Small was drafted in the seventh round by the Seattle Seahawks, but was released by the Super Bowl champions.

It's been a long journey to the NFL for Small. After high school, Small attended Valley Forge Military Academy before leaving after one semester, discouraged by the highly regimented schedule that included a 4 a.m. reveille.

He then worked at his family's T-shirt business in downtown Baltimore before enrolling at Hartnell Junior College in California, where he developed into an All-American playing fullback and linebacker.

Small accepted a scholarship to Arkansas, where the Razorbacks installed him as a lead blocker.

The 5-foot-9, 242-pounder rushed for 151 yards and three touchdowns and caught 19 passes for 128 yards last season. He played last season after being granted a medical redshirt...

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Five Things We Learned from the Ravens' 29-7 win over the Atlanta Falcons

As he does each week, Childs Walker shares his biggest takeaways from the Ravens' 27-7 win over the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday.


1. The Ravens look like one of the best teams in the NFL.

This game struck me as sneakily interesting test for this year’s Ravens. Few expected them to lose to a Falcons team that has struggled badly on the road. But if the Ravens let up after an absurdly easy win in Tampa Bay, Atlanta had the offensive weapons to give them an uncomfortable week.

Instead, the Ravens jumped on Matt Ryan early with a vicious pass rush and enough offense to build a lead the Falcons never really threatened.

With nine penalties and three turnovers, the Ravens hardly produced their cleanest outing of the season. Joe Flacco took four hits after going untouched the previous week, in part because rookie tackle James Hurst continued his pattern of following strong games with weak ones.

Missteps aside, the Ravens handled their business, winning by 20 or more points for the fourth time...

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Ravens wide receiver Steve Smith calls NFC South 'a finesse division'

Undefeated in three games against NFC South opponents this season, Ravens veteran wide receiver Steve Smith was beating his chest after Sunday's 29-7 win over the Atlanta Falcons.

Smith played 13 years in the NFC South before being cut by the Carolina Panthers this offseason and signing a three-year, $11 million contract with the Ravens.

"NFC South is a finesse division," said Smith, whose Ravens outscored the Falcons, Panthers and Tampa Bay Buccaneers by a composite 115-34 this season. "The AFC North is physical, downhill, blue-collar football."

Known for his feisty nature, Smith was flagged for a personal foul after Joe Flacco threw an interception in the third quarter.

"I mean, football is a physical game," Smith said. "We play in the AFC North, a physical division. That's just football."

awilson@baltsun.com
twitter.com/RavensInsider

 

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Ravens sign long snapper Kevin McDermott, sources say

The Ravens signed veteran long snapper Kevin McDermott after auditioning him and Patrick Scales for the job, according to sources.

The Ravens needed a long snapper after  Morgan Cox tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee Sunday against the Atlanta Falcons. A magnetic resonance imaging exam will be conducted Monday to confirm the initial diagnosis.

McDermott, 24, has previous stints with the San Francisco 49ers and Denver Broncos. He played in 16 games for the 49ers after winning the long snapper job in 2013 as an undrafted rookie out of UCLA, where he walked on and earned a scholarship.

McDermott has tried out for the Cleveland Browns, New England Patriots, Buffalo Bills, Miami Dolphins and Broncos this year.

Scales has a previous stint in training camp with the Ravens. He's also been with the New York Jets, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Miami Dolphins. He hasn't played in an NFL regular-season game.

awilson@baltsun.com
twitter.com/RavensInsider

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