Elvis Dumervil certainly doesn't need me to defend him, but it still amazes me how many tweets or emails I got from Ravens fans blasting the linebacker for the face mask penalty that put the Jacksonville Jaguars in position to kick a game-winning field goal Sunday.
Perhaps the NFL's admission that the officials erred on the play will silence some people, or maybe not, because a loss is a loss. Dumervil made a mistake while playing with energy and effort, which is far more than some of his defensive teammates could say.
Courtney Upshaw was walking toward the sideline, his hands in the air in celebration and his back to the play. Timmy Jernigan took one step up the field and stopped. Anthony Levine and Jimmy Smith had started celebrating in the secondary, as well.
Dumervil, though, kept playing. The penalty marred an otherwise strong two-sack afternoon in what has been a frustrating season for Dumervil, who just hasn't gotten a lot of help in rushing the quarterback.
But Dumervil, who is as professional as they come in the Ravens locker room, hasn't complained or pointed any fingers. It's the same way he handled Sunday's loss. He stood in front of his locker and accepted blame for it with nary an excuse. He had, however, plenty of company in the blame game.
NFL draft update
For those keeping track – and I know that there are plenty of you – the Ravens would have the third overall draft pick in the NFL draft if the season ended today. The Cleveland Browns (2-8) and the Tennessee Titans (2-7) occupy the top two spots. Stay tuned.
What's up with Perriman?
Caoch John Harbaugh said last week that the Ravens would be happy if rookie wide receiver Breshad Perriman played in four games this season.
To get four games in, Perriman would have to be ready to play on Dec. 13 against the Seattle Seahawks. And for Perriman to play in that game, you'd think that the first-round draft pick would have got get at least two full weeks of practice in.
He hasn't taken part in a full-contact practice yet and he hasn't been full-speed since the summer, so obviously he's going to need some time on the practice field to knock the rust off and get used to game speed.
So, what all that means is for Perriman to have any shot to play this year, he's probably going to have to be on the practice field by late this week, or at the beginning of next week. As Harbaugh said, the clock is indeed ticking.
Roster moves likely
Given Harbaugh's comments Monday about Jeremy Ross and Asa Jackson, it wouldn't surprise me to see some more roster moves this week.
The coach acknowledged that it's fair to say that the Ravens are considering a change at punt returner after Ross fumbled in two of the past three games. Harbaugh has shown little tolerance for fumbling, so it would be more surprising if Ross keeps his return job.
The Ravens knew the risks. Ross has struggled to rid the "fumbler" label, having put the ball on the ground nine times over the past three seasons.
As for Jackson, Harbaugh singled him out for the most scathing critique in the news conference Monday, calling the cornerback's two special teams penalties "dumb" and "foolish." Harbaugh pointed out that players shouldn't have three unnecessary roughness penalties in their careers. Jackson has three this season, and he plays sparingly.
The issue with Jackson is that he makes plays, too. His two blocked kicks this season are a testament to that. But the periodic mental or physical mistakes have made it hard for him to gain the full trust of the coaching staff. You have to wonder if he's run out of chances.
Other return options
So, if Ross and Jackson aren't returning punts, who is? Raheem Mostert, who has been returning kickoffs, doesn't have extensive punt return experience to my knowledge. Lardarius Webb does, but do you risk the health of a starting cornerback on returns?
Would the Ravens trust a guy like Joe Morgan or a practice squadder like Chuck Jacobs to do it?
All are interesting questions that the Ravens are going to have to answer this week if Ross is yanked from that role.
Harbaugh made an interesting comment Monday when he was asked about potentially giving younger players more opportunities with the Ravens sitting with a 2-7 record and pretty close to being out of playoff contention.
He said that young players need to earn their snaps during the week and the better they practice, the more opportunities they'll get on Sundays.
I'm not sure what that says about the way safety Terrence Brooks has been practicing, but he would seem to be a guy that the Ravens should be getting a look at the rest of the way, especially with Kendrick Lewis struggling to make plays. The Ravens need to evaluate players like wide receiver Jeremy Butler, linebacker Arthur Brown, defensive end Brent Urban and cornerback Tray Walker, as well.
Speaking of young players, you have to love rookie tight end Nick Boyle's effort and guts, but the Ravens need to break him out of the habit of trying to leap over would-be tacklers.
It's a good way to get a significant knee injury. Boyle is 6 feet 4 and 260 pounds, so him lowering his shoulder through a defender would probably be a much safer play.
Super Bowl ring update
My colleague, Jon Meoli, wrote last week about former Ravens safety Omar Brown's Super Bowl XLVII ring being available via Goldin Auctions. The highest bid wound up being $43,920.
In case you are wondering where that ranks with the other Super Bowl XLVII rings put up for auction, former Ravens running back Jamal Lewis, who received a ring as a member of the team's Ring of Honor, sold it for $50,820. Practice squad running back Damien Berry got $43,000.