Try digitalPLUS for 10 days for only $0.99
Ravens Insider The latest Baltimore Ravens news, notes and analysis
Ravens news, notes and opinions on OTAs, offensive line and 'Hard Knocks'

The Ravens will open up organized team activities today and, as always, much of the attention will be on quarterback Joe Flacco and the team’s rookies and newcomers. But here are five veterans who might be worth monitoring over the next couple of weeks. And I say “might” because these workouts are voluntary and there are no assurances that the following players will be participating:

1. Eugene Monroe, LT: There will be no open roster competition at left tackle even though James Hurst represented himself well as an undrafted free agent last year. It is Monroe’s job, but the Ravens will need him to be healthier and more consistent than he was last year after signing a big free-agent deal.

2. Courtney Upshaw, OLB: With Pernell McPhee gone, Upshaw should get more opportunities to show that he can rush the passer. Heading into a contract year, he needs to come into training camp in peak shape, which has been problematic at times in his career.

3. Matt Elam, S: This could be a make-or-break...

Read more
Ravens CB Rashaan Melvin grieves father's death as he rehabs shoulder injury

As difficult an experience as the Ravens' playoff game loss to the New England Patriots was for cornerback Rashaan Melvin, it's also been a trying offseason for him.

Melvin's father, James Melvin, died in February following a long battle with prostate cancer.

"I'm doing pretty good, my family is strong," said Melvin, who has also spent the past few months rehabilitating from offseason shoulder surgery. "We're positive. We believe in God. We just take it as it comes. We're strong-faith people."

A former walk-on who earned a scholarship at Northern Illinois and went undrafted before signing with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Melvin became a starter for the Ravens last season following a series of injuries at the cornerback position.

Prior to the Ravens' playoff game in January, James Melvin told The Baltimore Sun that he was extremely proud of his son's progress.

"Rashaan has earned everything he's gotten," James Melvin said. "Now the Ravens have given him an opportunity, and he's proving himself...

Read more
Ravens guard, math scholar John Urschel analyzes extra-point rule change

As a math scholar, Ravens offensive guard John Urschel is accustomed to applying his knowledge and authoring complicated papers in academic journals.

A winner of the William V. Campbell Trophy given to the top scholar-athlete in the equivalent of the academic Heisman Trophy, Urschel has taught Vector Calculus Trigonometry to Penn State students.

And the 4.0 grade point average student had a paper published this year in the Journal of Computational Mathemetatics called “A Cascadic Multigrid Algorithm for Computing the Fiedler Vector of Graph Laplacians.” A year ago, Urschel published a paper in the top math journal, Linear Algebra and Its Applications called “Spectra Bisection of Graphs and Connectedness.”

So, Urschel's analysis of the NFL moving back its extra-point to the 15-yard line is worth a perusal. Urschel, whose Twitter handle is @MathMeetsFBall, wrote a piece on The Players Tribune, where he's the advanced stats columnist, called "Math Meets Football: Is the New Extra Point...

Read more
If Ravens want to extend Marshal Yanda, it's going to cost them

How much is Marshal Yanda worth?

That’s a question the Ravens are exploring these days as the four-time Pro Bowl selection is heading into the final season of a five-year, $32.5 million contract he signed with the team in 2011.

Owner Steve Bisciotti and general manager Ozzie Newsome have both made clear this offseason that the team would like to sign Yanda to a contract extension that will increase the chances that one of the best offensive linemen in team history eventually retires as a Raven. But finding compromise on such a deal may be difficult.

Yanda will turn 31 years old in September, so he’ll obviously be looking at this as his last contract. For those who think his age should lower his price tag and want to point out that the Ravens don’t pay for the past, Yanda remains at the top of his game, viewed around the league as one of the best guards in football.

He is the leader of the Ravens’ offensive line and one of the most well-liked and respected players in the locker room. When...

Read more
John Harbaugh upbeat about medical progress of defensive linemen Brent Urban, Kapron Lewis-Moore

The Ravens' defensive line absorbed two major hits last year in training camp when defensive ends Brent Urban and Kapron Lewis-Moore suffered season-ending injuries.

Now, Urban and Lewis-Moore have made significant progress to the point where coach John Harbaugh predicted they'll likely be full-go during organized team activities. Urban tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee and Lewis-Moore tore his left Achilles tendon. Lewis-Moore was also sidelined for his entire rookie season with a torn anterior cruciate ligament sustained during the BCS national title game while playing for Notre Dame.

"It's really important that Brent Urban and Kapron Lewis-Moore come on," Harbaugh said following his keynote graduation speech at Stevenson University. "Brent looks like he's 100 percent, Kap looks like he's really close to 100 percent."

After trading five-time Pro Bowl defensive tackle Haloti Ngata to the Detroit Lions, the Ravens' defensive line is in transition as Timmy Jernigan is...

Read more
John Harbaugh calls extra-point rule change a 'positive thing'

When the NFL increased the difficulty of the extra point this week by shifting it to the 15-yard line, the rule change was met with approval by Ravens coach John Harbaugh.

"The effort to move the line of scrimmage back on the point after touchdown, to me, is a good thing," Harbaugh said Thursday after his keynote speech at Stevenson University's graduation. "I think it's a positive thing. We're for it. We were fine with it the other way. I know Justin Tucker was kind of like saying stuff about it.

"But I think he realizes that it's going to give the better kickers an opportunity to shine a little bit. So, move it back and make it a little bit tougher. Make it more of a challenge, make that point mean more."

There were only two missed field goals from 33 yards last season, the equivalent distance of the revised extra point. During the NFL’s preseason experiment last season when extra points were snapped from the 15-yard line, kickers converted 94.3 percent of their kicks.

Last year, NFL...

Read more