Nov 24, 2013; Baltimore, MD, USA; Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice (27) looks on during the game against the New York Jets at M&T Bank Stadium. The Ravens won 19-3. Mandatory Credit: Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports
Welcome to Lunchtime Links, where we round up all the latest Ravens news from around the web for your convenient consumption. Today we look at the updated Ravens Super Bowl odds, talk about Ray Rice’s grievance, the poor protection Joe Flacco is getting despite reading the blitz well, and Pernell McPhee’s upcoming contract.
"Joe Flacco’s blind side will be an area of major concern Sunday against the Cincinnati Bengals if offensive tackle Eugene Monroe doesn’t return for the Ravens.James Hurst, who has filled in for the injured Monroe, has looked like an undrafted rookie in his four starts. Over the past three weeks, Hurst has given up three sacks, two quarterback hits and five hurries. He’s also been flagged for four penalties, including three for holding on Sunday."
"Ray Rice has filed a grievance against the Baltimore Ravens for terminating his contract, multiple sources confirmed to ESPN.Pro Football Talk first reported the former Ravens running back had filed the grievance. According to ESPN’s Ed Werder, it was filed several weeks ago.The Ravens cut Rice after video of him hitting his then-fiancee (who he has since married) in an elevator was made public."
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"The Ravens have feasted on the NFC South this season. Following Sunday’s 29-7 wipeout of the Falcons, the Ravens are 3-0 versus the NFC South after beating the Panthers, Buccaneers, and Falcons by a combined score of 115-34.Ravens wide receiver Steve Smith knows plenty about the NFC South, having spent 13 seasons playing for the Panthers before joining the Ravens. Asked about his former division following Sunday’s game, Smith made this comment.“NFC South is a finesse division,” Smith said. “The AFC North is physical, downhill, blue-collar football.”"
"The Baltimore Ravens (5-2) still have nine games left to play, but it’s never too early to gauge their postseason odds.Since the 12-team playoff format began in 1990, teams with two losses after Week 7 have a 67 percent chance of reaching the playoffs, according to ESPN Stats & Information. The Ravens have began 5-2 three times previously under coach John Harbaugh, and each time (2010, 2011 and 2012) they’ve qualified for the postseason."
"In each of the past two years, the Baltimore Ravens have watched pass-rusher Paul Kruger and defensive tackle Art Jones produce big in the final years of their contract and price themselves out of the Ravens’ range in free agency. Could pass-rusher Pernell McPhee be the next to follow them?A fifth-round pick in 2011, McPhee has not only become one of the most disruptive pass-rushers on the Ravens but the league as well. In addition to his four sacks (all of which have come in his past three games), he has recorded eight quarterback hits and 14 hurries.The word “special” was used by both Elvis Dumervil and Terrell Suggs when asked to describe McPhee. He separates himself from others because he can rush off the edge or collapse the middle by lining up inside."
"There has been some recent concern around Baltimore that the Ravens are going to lose CB Jimmy Smith after this season because his stellar play is going to price him out of the Ravens’ price range.These fears, for 2015 at least, are unfounded because the Ravens have already exercised their CBA-mandated “5th Year Option” on Smith’s rookie contract. All players drafted in the 1st round of the draft have a 4-year contract that contains the “5th Year Option”. Pursuant to Article 7, Section 7(f) of the CBA, that option, if exercised, allows the team to retain the player for a 5th year at a salary that is based on the methodology used to calculate the Transition Tag for veteran free agents.For players chosen in the first 10 picks of the first round, the salary is the Transition Tag number (average of top 10 salaries at that player’s position) as calculated for the player’s 4th year. For players like Smith, who were picked from 11-32 of the first round, the salary is the average of the 3rd through 25th highest salaries at that position for the player’s 4th year. So, while the salary is paid in the player’s 5th year, the calculation is based on the average salaries from the player’s 4th year."
"While Joe Flacco didn’t come close to his near flawless performance from a week ago, the Baltimore Ravens quarterback was almost perfect when it came to how he handled the Atlanta Falcons’ blitzes.Flacco completed 6 of 8 passes for 152 yards and a touchdown when the Falcons sent five or more pass-rushers Sunday, according to ESPN Stats & Information. That’s a passer rating of 156.3 (and the perfect passer rating is 158.3).“It was a very creative package,” coach John Harbaugh said. “And I thought [Flacco] did a really good job of sorting it out, working with [offensive coordinator] Gary [Kubiak] and with [quarterbacks coach] Rick [Dennison], and getting us operating the way we needed to.”"