A whirlwind week for the Baltimore Ravens  


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09/07/2019 9:33 pm  

OWINGS MILLS Ben Powers Jersey , Md. (AP) —  continued Friday when special teams coach Jerry Rosburg retired after an 11-year run with the team.The surprise announcement came prior to a news conference that was scheduled to introduce newcomers Mark Ingram and Earl Thomas, who signed as free agents after passing physicals on Friday morning.On Friday evening, the Ravens reached agreement on a two-year deal with cornerback and special teams standout Justin Bethel, who played last year with Atlanta following a six-year run with Arizona. Bethel was named to the Pro Bowl in 2013-15 for his play on special teams.Much earlier in the day, Ravens coach John Harbaugh, Rosburg and his successor, Chris Horton, took their places behind a table on a stage at the team’s training facility. Hired by Harbaugh in 2008, Rosburg ruled over a unit that was perennially among the league’s best.“I can tell you, without Jerry Rosburg here there’s no way we would have had anywhere close to the success we’ve had,” Harbaugh said.Rosburg said there were several personal reasons behind his decision, most notably the desire to spend more time with his wife and three children. He reviewed some of his friendships with coaches and players and proudly looked back at what he accomplished with Harbaugh, his long-time friend.Rosburg concluded his brief speech by saying, “Thank you and farewell.” And then abruptly walked off the stage.“I thought Jerry was going to take a question or two!” Harbaugh said with a laugh. “That’s classic Jerry Rosburg.”Horton was the assistant special teams coach. He played football at UCLA before appearing in 29 games with the Redskins from 2008-10.Ingram and Thomas agreed to terms with the Ravens on Wednesday. The addition of the former Pro Bowl stars eased some of the sting of losing free agents C.J. Mosley, Terrell Suggs, Za’Darius Smith and John Brown earlier in the week.Ingram is a bruising running back who played eight years with the New Orleans Saints. The 29-year-old will likely take over as a starter for Gus Edwards, who ran for 718 yards as a rookie last year.Ingram knew his time with the Saints was done after the team signed free agent Latavius Murray.“It was tough. I’ve got brothers in that locker room,” Ingram said. “But it was just time for me , at this point in my career, to move on. I feel like I have my best years in front of me.”Thomas, a free safety, will step in for Eric Weddle, who was released earlier this month. Thomas has been selected to play in six Pro Bowls.He worked out a deal with Ravens defensive back Marlon Humphrey to get the number he wore in Seattle — 29 — which is also his age.“His mom has a track team, so I might throw a little break that way,” Thomas said.Ingram and Thomas fill key spots, but the Ravens hope they’ll also be able to provide leadership in the locker room. That job was handled primarily by Weddle, Suggs and quarterback Joe Flacco, who was traded to Denver this week.“One of the goals is always to bring in guys who have great character and leadership,” first-year general manager Eric DeCosta said. “We’ve tried to do that in the past. That’s something that we prioritize. Ability is important, but so is what they bring to the team. These guys measure up really well in those categories.”DeCosta was a bit discouraged by losing four starters earlier in free agency. By Friday, however, was smiling at a table next to Ingram, Thomas and Harbaugh.“It’s a stressful environment at times, especially when you lose players who are a fabric of your team,” DeCosta said. “It’s tough to see that happen. But we had a process and a plan how we wanted to approach these guys, and it worked out well for us.” MIAMI (AP) — Since last season the Miami Dolphins have parted with their top three quarterbacks Trace McSorley Jersey , their leading rusher and top receiver, three veteran defensive ends and three starting offensive linemen, while adding no marquee free agents.They went 7-9 in 2018 and are widely expected to be worse next season. Heading into the draft, the Dolphins’ odds for winning the Super Bowl are 250 to 1, longest in the NFL.Even so, they say they’re not tanking under new coach Brian Flores, who replaced Adam Gase.“From Day 1, when we made the change, we talked about building the foundation and building it up the right way,” general manager Chris Grier says. “So that’s all it is. There’s no tanking.”Flores bristles at the word.“To disrespect the game and use that term, it stirs something inside of me, to put that nicely,” Flores says.So the Dolphins say they want to win now. But as they pare payroll and stockpile 2020 draft picks, personnel decisions are being made with the goal to win later.Here’s how that approach will dictate decisions in the draft:QUARTERBACKSThe Dolphins haven’t been to the Super Bowl since the 1984 season, and in that time they’ve drafted one quarterback in the first round.Coincidence?Probably not, but the trend is unlikely to change this year.The Dolphins have the 13th pick, which probably puts the potential franchise QBs out of reach. So they’re expected to wait until 2020 to use their top choice on a quarterback, which is why a lot of losses this season could have a huge long-term payoff in the form of a high pick.Well-traveled veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick signed in March Ed Oliver Jersey , and the Dolphins acknowledge he’s merely a caretaker QB.“At that position, you can never be satisfied until you have the guy you really feel can give you a chance to win a championship,” Grier says.Fitzpatrick replaces Ryan Tannehill, who failed to deliver a playoff win as the only quarterback to be drafted in the first round by Miami since Dan Marino.IN CHARGEGrier joined the Dolphins as a scout in 2000, which happens to be the most recent season they won a playoff game.While Miami has been mired in mediocrity, Grier has climbed the company ladder and was promoted in February to oversee football operations. He has had final say on draft choices the past three years, but says he emphasizes collaboration.“I’m not going to force a coach to take a player, because that doesn’t work,” Grier says. “It creates animosity and distrust.”Chances of a war room clash between Grier and Flores are slim because they’ve enjoyed a long friendship. Each started his NFL career as a scout for the Dolphins’ AFC East nemesis, New England.NOT SEXYThe Dolphins will need a lot of bulk to rebuild. Draft prognosticators have listed at least 10 offensive and defensive linemen as potential first-round picks by Miami.The draft is deep in defensive linemen, and the best bet is Miami will take one from Clemson, with former Tigers teammates Clelin Ferrell and tackle Christian Wilkins both possibilities.MOVING DOWN OR UPThe Dolphins might continue their accumulation of 2020 picks — they now have 10 — by trading down in the first round.With so many roster holes to fill, it’s unlikely they’ll trade away multiple picks to move up.“If there is a guy there that we like this year that we feel we need to go get, yeah, we will be aggressive trying to get him,” Grier says. “But we’ll also be smart about it. There is a limit to what you should do.”RECENT HISTORYBad draft decisions are a big reason for the Dolphins missing the playoffs 15 of the past 17 seasons. They haven’t had a first-round pick make the Pro Bowl since center Mike Pouncey, who was drafted in 2011.