Baltimore Ravens

Ravens news, notes and opinions on the roster, being a trendy Super Bowl pick and more

Baltimore Ravens defensive end Kapron Lewis-Moore (95) stretches during training camp at the Ravens' training facility Sunday, Jul 27, 2014. Injuries cost Lewis-Moore his first two seasons. Lewis-Moore making the Ravens' 53-man roster was an overlooked story.

Ravens coach John Harbaugh is expected to speak to reporters later today, so perhaps he'll add some clarity to his team's roster situation. The Ravens currently have a full 53-man roster and a full 10-man practice squad, but that hardly means that things are set heading into the Sept. 13 regular-season opener against the Denver Broncos.

The Ravens still have second-year defensive end Brent Urban, who had surgery last month to repair a torn biceps, on the active roster. The belief was that Urban would be placed on injured reserve with a designation to return, but the Ravens haven't made the move to this point. It still seems likely they will.


As for the practice squad, the plan remains to sign former Houston Texans cornerback Charles James to the practice squad. I'm not sure why it hasn't happened, but as of late Sunday, nothing had changed with James' status. And you still have undrafted rookie running back Terrence Magee out there waiting to be re-signed. It's hard to believe that the Ravens accelerate preparations for the first game of the regular season with only two healthy backs in Justin Forsett and Buck Allen on the 53-man roster and none on the practice squad.

If Magee winds up getting promoted to the active roster, that would mean that two of the team's top three healthy ball carriers are rookies, two of their three tight ends are rookies and two of their six receivers are rookies. That's a lot of youth on the offensive side of the ball.


Good for Lewis-Moore

Unfortunately, almost all the attention during the dreaded "cut day" is on the players who didn't make the team, not the ones who did. So, defensive lineman Kapron Lewis-Moore winning a spot on the 53-man roster -- something that seemed unlikely when the preseason began -- didn't generate a whole lot of attention, which is a shame.

Lewis-Moore missed his rookie season while recovering from the knee injury that he suffered during the 2013 BCS national championship game. He then missed his entire second season when he tore his Achilles during joint practices against the San Francisco 49ers.

I still remember Lewis-Moore on the ground just wailing, in pain and distraught that he was headed for another long rehabilitation process. Of all the players perceived to be on the roster bubble that I spoke to after the Ravens' final preseason game, Lewis-Moore seemed to be the one most at ease. He smiled broadly as he talked about just getting the opportunity to be on the field again. It was nice to see his perseverance and hard work get rewarded.

Ravens have 15th-youngest roster

Jimmy Kempski of the Philly Voice put out his annual post-cut down chart of the average ages of every NFL roster on Saturday. Most teams have made a couple of changes to their roster since, but one or two tweaks shouldn't affect things too much.

As of Saturday, the Ravens had the 15th youngest roster in the NFL with an average age of 26.04 years of age. It's the same average age of their season-opening roster from 2014. It's also the youngest roster in the AFC North as the Cleveland Browns rank 16th (26.06), the Cincinnati Bengals rank 20th (26.28) and the Pittsburgh Steelers rank 26th (26.57). The St. Louis Rams have the youngest roster (24.94) while the Indianapolis Colts have the oldest (27.17).

Preseason's no barometer for success


That the Ravens have seemingly become the trendy Super Bowl pick out of the AFC shows you how little stock people put into exhibition games. Even the most optimistic Raven fan would have to acknowledge that it wasn't a very good preseason for the team.

Injuries thinned the team's defensive depth. The team's top draft pick -- wide receiver Breshad Perriman -- hurt his knee in the very first training camp practice and hasn't been on the field since, while second-round NFL draft pick tight end Maxx Williams has dealt with myriad injuries.

Speed on the outside and in the secondary play remain significant concerns, as does the durability of defensive tackle Timmy Jernigan, who is the starting replacement for Haloti Ngata. Neither of the starting units looked overly impressive in the preseason.

Don't misunderstand -- I'm not criticizing the predictions. When The Baltimore Sun's football preview section comes out online this week and in print this weekend, you'll notice I picked the Ravens to make the playoffs as well. I'm just a little surprised how bullish national folks are about the team's status given the shaky preseason.

Super turnover

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I seemingly break out this statistic every time the Ravens lose another veteran, but it still stuns me every time I do the latest tally. With the cuts of offensive lineman Jah Reid, defensive lineman DeAngelo Tyson and cornerback Asa Jackson, the Ravens have only 13 players left from the Super Bowl XLVII championship team. And of those 13, one (injured tight end Dennis Pitta) is not on the Ravens' 53-man roster, and another two (defensive backs Lardarius Webb and Anthony Levine) weren't on the 53-man roster for the Ravens' Super Bowl run.


I know roster turnover is an annual occurrence in the NFL, but Super Bowl XLVII was only about 30 months ago. The only guys still in the organization from that team are Pitta, Webb, Levine, Joe Flacco, Marshal Yanda, Kelechi Osemele, Courtney Upshaw, Terrell Suggs, Albert McClellan, Jimmy Smith, Sam Koch, Justin Tucker and Morgan Cox.

Savvy center trades

It's pretty remarkable that Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome was able to get one additional draft pick and another upgraded one by trading two centers who weren't likely to make the team anyway.

In April, the Ravens sent center Gino Gradkowski and a 2016 fifth-round pick to the Denver Broncos for a 2016 fourth-rounder. The Broncos waived Gradkowski last week. And also last week, the Ravens traded undrafted rookie center Nick Easton to the San Francisco 49ers for a conditional seventh-round pick. Easton would've been cut a couple of hours later.