Bud Selig has announced his retirement and then failed to carry out said retirement at least twice that I can remember. There may have been a third time in there but at this point they all blur together. It’s always “I’m going to retire after the 2*** season. I know I said I was going…
The Ravens are holding a rookie minicamp Friday and Saturday at their practice facility in Owings Mills. Saturday’s practice is the only one open to the media, so it’s still too early to ask who looks impressive. However, here are three things Ravens fans should be asking:
1. Can the team find an undrafted rookie who ultimately makes the team?
Maybe the Ravens can get lucky and add some offensive line depth with three players expected to be at minicamp – Anthony Fabiano of Harvard, Stephane Nembot of Colorado, and Matt Skura of Duke. Pass rusher Victor Ochi of Stony Brook is another player to watch.
With 11 draft picks coming in, the odds are stacked against an undrafted rookie making the team. But you never know, especially once injuries begin. Undrafted free agents who have made past Ravens rosters include wide receiver Marlon Brown, linebackers Dannell Ellerbe and Bart Scott, and kicker Justin Tucker.
2. Can the Ravens get through the weekend injury free?
Injuries crushed the Ravens last season. They are hoping for much better luck in 2016, starting this weekend.
3. Who’s in great shape, and who’s not?
Being in top condition can help avoid injuries. All of these rookies have been training, but there is s a difference between a personal workout and a Ravens’ practice. Coaches will take note on who can keep pace, and who needs to get in better shape for minicamps and training camp, when the intensity will only increase.
The Redskins boast more players in the NFL Players Association’s ‘Rising 50’ than any other team, the union announced Thursday.
Five Redskins, led by quarterback Kirk Cousins, made the cut on the 2016 list. The Rams are second with four players, and the Cardinals, Texans, Jaguars and Seahawks each have three.
Joining Cousins, who ranks second behind Rams running back Todd Gurley, are All-Pro cornerback Josh Norman (8th), tight end Jordan Reed (24th), running back Matt Jones (35th) and rookie wide receiver Josh Doctson (36th).
Cousins is one of four quarterbacks ranked among the top 10. Norman, meantime, is the highest ranking defensive player, while Doctson is one of 10 players who were selected in this year's draft.
What is the Rising 50? According to the NFLPA, the second annual list identifies "players best positioned to rank among the top-sellers of all officially licensed merchandise and become future retail stars." The union says it takes into account on-field performance, fantasy league popularity and early demand from current sponsors and licensees.
(To be considered for the Rising 50 players must not have appeared in previous NFLPA Top 50 Player Sales quarterly lists. Last year, 11 players from the Rising 50 ascended to the Top 50 Player Sales list during the 2015 season.)
While leading the league in players in the Rising 50 doesn’t guarantee success on the field, it does underscore the fact that second-year GM Scot McCloughan is assembling a group of talented and popular players in Washington.
Here’s the full Rising 50 list:
- Todd Gurley, RB, Los Angeles Rams
- Kirk Cousins, QB, Washington Redskins
- Thomas Rawls, RB, Seattle Seahawks
- Jared Goff, QB, Los Angeles Rams
- Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Dallas Cowboys
- Andy Dalton, QB, Cincinnati Bengals
- DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Houston Texans
- Josh Norman, DB, Washington Redskins
- Allen Robinson, WR, Jacksonville Jaguars
- Carson Wentz, QB, Philadelphia Eagles
- David Johnson, RB, Arizona Cardinals
- Keenan Allen, WR, San Diego Chargers
- Devonta Freeman, RB, Atlanta Falcons
- Tyrann Mathieu, DB, Arizona Cardinals
- Jeremy Langford, RB, Chicago Bears
- Tyrod Taylor, QB, Buffalo Bills
- Paxton Lynch, QB, Denver Broncos
- Doug Baldwin, WR, Seattle Seahawks
- Tyler Lockett, WR/KR, Seattle Seahawks
- Aaron Donald, DL, Los Angeles Rams
- Kelvin Benjamin, WR, Carolina Panthers
- Randall Cobb, WR, Green Bay Packers
- Lamar Miller, RB, Houston Texans
- Jordan Reed, TE, Washington Redskins
- Brock Osweiler, QB, Houston Texans
- T.Y. Hilton, WR, Indianapolis Colts
- Mike Evans, WR, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
- Gary Barnidge, TE, Cleveland Browns
- Patrick Peterson, DB, Arizona Cardinals
- Joey Bosa, DE, San Diego Chargers
- Eric Decker, WR, New York Jets
- Jarvis Landry, WR, Miami Dolphins
- Stefon Diggs, WR, Minnesota Vikings
- Buck Allen, RB, Baltimore Ravens
- Matt Jones, RB, Washington Redskins
- Josh Doctson, WR, Washington Redskins
- Doug Martin, RB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
- Corey Coleman, WR, Cleveland Browns
- Tyler Eifert, TE, Cincinnati Bengals
- Zach Ertz, TE, Philadelphia Eagles
- Tavon Austin, WR/KR, Los Angeles Rams
- Ameer Abdullah, RB, Detroit Lions
- Allen Hurns, WR, Jacksonville Jaguars
- Brandin Cooks, WR, New Orleans Saints
- Laquon Treadwell, WR, Minnesota Vikings
- Malcolm Butler, CB, New England Patriots
- Derrick Henry, RB, Tennessee Titans
- Myles Jack, LB, Jacksonville Jaguars
- DeVante Parker, WR, Miami Dolphins
- Blaine Gabbert, QB, San Francisco 49ers
Tonight's Game: Oakland Athletics (13-16) vs. Baltimore Orioles (16-11), Oriole Park at Camden Yards, Baltimore, 7:05 p.m.
Starting pitchers: Rich Hill (3-3, 2.53) vs. Ubaldo Jimenez (1-3, 5.20)
Keys to the Game:
Can the Orioles Jimenez give the Orioles a solid start to match Kevin Gausman's on Thursday night?
Can the Orioles hit Hill? In his last start against them, Hill pitched a two-hit shutout last Sept. 25, striking out 10 when pitching for Boston.
News and Notes:
Hill is trying for his fourth win, which would be his most since 2007.
Current Orioles are batting .174 (4-for-23) against Hill.
Jimenez is 3-1 with a 5.28 ERA in six starts against Oakland.
Billy Butler is batting .345 (10-for-29) with a home run against Jimenez.