Whatever one want to say about University of Maryland football coach Randy Edsall, you cannot say he's not searching the globe for talent.Punter and place-kicker Brad Craddock, a native of Adelaide, Australia, has a signed up to play for the Terps, the program announced on Thursday. According to the statement released by the school, Craddock learned to punt playing Australian Rules football and was dubbed the top rated Australian kicking prospect in the class of 2012 by one publication. He has trained with OzPunt, an Australian punting, kicking and holding academy."Brad is an extremely talented kicker and punter with a very strong leg and excellent hangtime and distance with his kicks," Edsall said in the statement. "Having had experience with an Australian punter previously, I felt that Brad would be a great fit based on film and recommendations of our kicking and International contacts. We look forward to having Brad with us when our team reports to camp on August 5th."Senior Nick Ferrara handled kicking, punting and kickoff duties last season for Maryland. In 2011, Ferrara made 12 of 20 field goal attempts and averaged 39.5 yards on 57 punts. Rising sophomore Michael Tart is another kicking option on the roster.Craddock will have all four years of eligibility available at Maryland.
The Redskins got a boost Sunday when rookie linebacker Su'a Cravens returned to the field after missing two games with a concussion. Interestingly, however, Cravens did not provide the spark many expected as he played just 11 of 53 defensive snaps.
Certainly it's possible the 'Skins coaches decided to ease their rookie back in after suffering a head injury. But that logic seems flawed - Cravens was cleared by the NFL concussion protocol, and once a player is cleared, it's for full-game action.
Another thought might be that the Washington defense excelled while Cravens was out. He missed Redskins' wins in Baltimore and home against the Eagles, two games where Joe Barry's group shut down the opposing offenses. It's definitely possible coaches elected to stick with a combination of Will Compton and Mason Foster on the field at the inside linebacker positions.
Looking at snap counts from Compton and Foster, it appears that's what the coaches decided. Compton played every defensive snap, and Foster was on the field for 40 of the defenses 53 snaps.
What, if any, role change that means for Cravens will be interesting. Before his injury, Cravens' playing time was trending up, as he had 29 snaps against the Giants and 27 snaps against the Browns before being injured in the 3rd quarter. Cravens was on the field as the nickel and dime linebacker in most situations.
Sunday, that wasn't the case, as the team played a lot of nickel. Slot corner Kendall Fuller, another rookie, was on the field for 40 snaps.
Easing Cravens back in slowly was likely by design, and for a second-round pick with a mountain of promise, a prudent course for the Redskins coaches. That said, as CSN's Rich Tandler likes to point out, in the NFL, cleared is cleared.
Cravens has playmaking ability, he's displayed that already this young season. In fact, he nearly pulled down Lions QB Matt Stafford for a sack on Sunday despite what looked like an obvious hold.
Scot McCloughan drafted Cravens just for that - despite being a positional hyrbid, the rookie is a 'football player,' just like McCloughan wants. This Sunday against the Bengals, with two weeks of practice after the concussion, it will be interesting to see how many chances Cravens gets.
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OWINGS MILLS – Will wide receiver Breshad Perriman give the Ravens more production after the bye?
The Ravens need more impact from Perriman, still looking for his first NFL touchdown with just 14 catches for 183 yards in seven games. He was a first-round pick (26th overall) in 2015, but missed his entire rookie season with a knee injury. Finally able to play, Perriman entered this season with high expectations, yet he has struggled for consistency, just like the team’s entire offense.
Following the Ravens’ fourth-straight loss Sunday against the Jets, Perriman was visibly dejected in the locker room, talking with teammate Mike Wallace after catching just one pass for 11 yards. Two passes intended for Perriman were intercepted, and it was clear quarterback Joe Flacco and Perriman weren’t always on the same page during Perriman’s routes.
Asked what he was thinking after that game, Perriman said, “What could I have potentially done better to stop that from happening? The fact that we lost, honestly, made it worse.”
There is no doubt Perriman cares deeply, and the beginning of his career has been far from easy. Is Perriman pressing, or beginning to lose confidence? Ravens wide receivers coach Bobby Engram works with Perriman daily, and doesn’t see it that way.
“I think he’s mentally strong,” Engram said. “I think all good players beat themselves up pretty good when they make mistakes, but I don’t see any carryover or lingering in terms of his work in the classroom. He’s just a different personality. I think he’s hard on himself, and I think that’s a good thing. Mentally, he’s fine.”
However, Perriman has looked raw running routes at times, which has telegraphed his intentions, and made it harder for him to burn defensive backs with his speed.
“He is starting to understand how to really run routes,” Engram said. “He hasn’t played a lot of football in this league, but he has a great foundation here in terms of this offense and being around these guys and being in the building.”
However, for Perriman to blossom in November and December, he will have to improve quickly. The Ravens don’t have the greatest history drafting wide receivers, but with Perriman, they strongly believe he has both the skill, and the will, to become an impact receiver.
“He is very determined, he really wants to be good,” said Ravens coach John Harbaugh. “He and I talk a lot. I told him, ‘I just am impatient. You have all this talent, and there is a lot to learn, but I just want to speed the curve up.’ Obviously, he said he could not agree more. We just have to keep chasing it. It is going to happen, and let’s try to make it happen sooner rather than later.”
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