Ravens news, notes and opinions, including thoughts on the trade deadline

The trade deadline will come and go on Nov. 1, and there will be plenty of rumors until then about potential moves. Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome has probably had some conversations already and he'll continue to have more leading into the deadline.

However, the reality is that pre-deadline deals, at least ones of any significance, are rare in football. The Ravens have traded for wide receiver Chris Givens and offensive tackle Eugene Monroe in the past, but those deals were more the exception than the norm.


The Ravens currently don't have a lot of salary cap space/flexibility to make a deal. They also are always reticent to trade draft picks, and I don't blame them in this case. If this team looked like one that was one or two players away from being a Super Bowl contender, I could see them trying to fill a significant need. But it's not, and currently this team looks far closer to one that faces significant changes this offseason rather than one which will make a Super Bowl run. I'd be hesitant to trade any future assets.

Lewis another safety who didn't work out: Last Saturday's decision to put safety Kendrick Lewis on injured reserve was done out of necessity. The Ravens needed healthy bodies for the New York Jets' game and Lewis was a reserve dealing with a hamstring injury. In other words, he was more expendable than some of the other Ravens with injuries.


Now, his season is over and possibly his Ravens' career is, too. Lewis has one more year remaining on his contract, but it seems unlikely he'll be brought back. His situation is emblematic of the struggles the organization has had at the safety position since the Super Bowl season in 2012.

Free agent acquisitions Michael Huff, Darian Stewart, Will Hill and Lewis all haven't panned out. Stewart has become a big part of the Denver Broncos' defense, but he certainly wasn't an impact player during his 2014 season in Baltimore.

Draft picks Matt Elam (first round, 2013) and Terrance Brooks (third round, 2014) have done little on the field, and Brooks is already out of the organization. Signed this offseason, Eric Weddle has played well, but the Ravens have spent way too many resources on one position for it not to have a trickle-down effect on the rest of the roster.

Speaking of the safety position, things have apparently gotten desperate enough where I'm getting several tweets a day questioning when Elam will be eligible to come off injured reserve.

That's not a shot at Elam, who has had some bad injury luck the past two seasons. However, we're talking about a player who hasn't played in a regular-season game in nearly two years, who was benched in 2014 and who fans have been calling for the organization to cut for a couple of years now. Maybe his pending return will help, but it's still pretty telling that it's now being widely-anticipated by many.

Ravens will have tough decision with B. Williams: Nose tackle Brandon Williams was relatively quiet through the first six games, prompting questions about how well he was playing. My response was that the Ravens entered the Jets' game with the NFL's No. 1-ranked run defense, so Williams, the anchor in the middle, had to be doing something right.

Williams then put the questions to rest when he was dominant against the Jets with eight total tackles, including two for losses, a sack and a blocked kick.

Williams isn't a huge pass-rushing threat, but he remains one of the best nose tackles in the NFL. He's also a free agent at the end of the season and the Ravens are going to face a difficult decision on whether to re-sign him.

It might seem like an obvious move, given Williams is a very good player and he does the right things on and off the field. But there's also a school of thought around the game that you should spend big money on pass rushers and cornerbacks, not run-stuffing interior defensive linemen.

Williams is playing 63 percent of the team's defensive snaps and comes out on some obvious passing situations. The Ravens are unlikely to have a lot of salary cap space this offseason. They also have an undrafted rookie defensive lineman in Michael Pierce who has played extremely well this year and could be a cheaper, yet obviously less proven, replacement.

They'd love to keep Williams, but they're going to have to decide whether he's a necessity or a luxury that they can't afford.

Campanro to return soon?: Given the tepid endorsement that return man Devin Hester Sr. got this week, it's probably worth reminding folks that the Ravens will be able to sign Michael Campanaro on Nov. 7, the day after they play the Steelers. Campanaro has had plenty of interest elsewhere, but there seems to be an interest in making it work with his hometown Ravens. His return ability would help, but the Ravens also need some receivers who will win their individual matchups and hold onto the ball.


NFC East a beast: Remember when the Ravens appeared to catch a break by having the NFC East on their schedule this year? That hasn't been the case. The Ravens have already lost to the Washington Redskins (4-3) and New York Giants (4-3) and they still have to play the two top teams in the league, record-wise: the Dallas Cowboys (5-1) and the Philadelphia Eagles (4-2). The NFC East is the only division to have all four teams with winning records. The cumulative record of the teams in the division is a league-best 17-9. The combined record of the AFC North, meanwhile, is 10-18.

I'm not absolving inside linebacker C.J. Mosley and defensive tackle Timmy Jernigan for their key miscues in recent weeks, but both situations are understandable. After intercepting the Washington Redskins Kirk Cousins, Mosley fumbled the ball through the end zone while trying to stretch over the pylon. The Ravens lost points, possession and later a close game. Against the Jets last week, Jernigan picked up a Matt Forte fumble on the Ravens' 3-yard line and then fumbled after trying to return the ball rather than just falling on it.

Both were costly mistakes from two players who were trying to make a big play for a team that has a really hard time scoring. Mosley and Jernigan play extremely hard and have been two of the team's top players this season.

I'm far more forgiving on their mistakes, as damaging as they were, than I am of some of the other miscues that Ravens players seemingly make every week, such as Flacco throwing off his back foot, wide receivers dropping passes or running the wrong routes and players routinely jumping offside or holding.

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