AP Pro32 ballot from Glauber

AP Pro32 ballot from Glauber

Ballot and comments from AP Pro 32 panel voter Bob Glauber of Newsday:

Week 10

BOB GLAUBER (Newsday)

1. Atlanta Falcons - "Halfway to Perfect" - the completely perfect

headline in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution after the Falcons

remained unbeaten at the halfway point after grinding out a home win

over the Cowboys.

2. Chicago Bears - The turnover machine that is the Bears came up with

five more, including four forced fumbles by Charles Tillman and an

interception return for TD by Brian Urlacher in a 51-20 beatdown of

the Titans. Biggest day yet for Jay Cutler and Brandon Marshall, who

team up for three TDs.

3. Houston Texans - Texans send former No. 1 overall pick Mario

Williams home a 21-9 loser, as Arian Foster and Matt Schaub beat up on

not-so-super Mario's shoddy defense.

4. Green Bay Packers - Streaking Packers make it four straight wins

with solid effort at Lambeau against slumping Cardinals. Only one

downer as Pack heads into bye week: a hamstring injury that could keep

All Pro linebacker Clay Matthews out for a couple weeks.

5. New York Giants - Eli Manning put up his worst QB rating since the

2008 playoffs as the Giants confront a familiar nemesis: the month of

November. They're 13-20 in November games during the Tom Coughlin era.

6. San Francisco 49ers - Niners come off a bye week to host the Rams.

Gotta like the home team this week.

7. Baltimore Ravens - Jimmy Haslam owns the Browns, and so does Ravens

coach John Harbaugh: He's 10-0 against Cleveland.

8. Pittsburgh Steelers - Not easy to travel and play the same day, but

Steelers get it done with a fine comeback win on the road against the

defending Super Bowl champs. Huge win that keeps them in the thick of

the playoff race.

9. New England Patriots - Pats back in action after the bye week to

host the Bills, who have lost 17 of their last 18 to New England. Pats

figure to win big once more.

10. Denver Broncos - Peyton Manning putting together an MVP season ...

again. He already has a record four MVP awards in his trophy case.

11. Seattle Seahawks - Three more TD passes for rookie Russell Wilson

and Seattle survives a big day from Adrian Peterson to stay within

reach of 49ers.

12. Detroit Lions - Mikel Leshoure does something not even Barry

Sanders did in his Hall of Fame career in Detroit: rush for three

first-half TDs as Lions roll over Jags on the road.

13. Indianapolis Colts - The win over the Dolphins was great, but not

as inspiring as Chuck Pagano's locker room speech afterward. Battling

cancer, the coach vows to dance at his daughters' weddings and win

Super Bowls with the Colts. May he get to do it all.

14. New Orleans Saints - Drew Brees says there's still plenty to play

for this season, especially after Saints come alive in Monday night

win over Eagles. Defense had 13 sacks coming into the game and had

more than half that total (7) against Philly.

15. Dallas Cowboys - Sign of the times: Cowboys owner Jerry Jones had

to bang on his own team's locker room door to gain entrance after

Sunday night's loss to the Falcons.

16. Minnesota Vikings - More issues for quarterback Christian Ponder,

who hasn't even hit 65 passing yards in two of his last three games.

Leslie Frazier says Ponder's job isn't on the line, but Joe Webb might

want to keep that arm loose just in case.

17. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Who ever thought Doug Martin would be in

the running for Offensive Rookie of the Year? A record-setting rushing

day for the Bucs' tailback has him in the conversation.

18. Miami Dolphins - Ryan Tannehill went toe-to-toe with rookie draft

classmate Andrew Luck, but comes up just short. Even so, another

meaningful step in the right direction for the promising QB.

19. San Diego Chargers - Chargers stop the bleeding with a home win

over the Chiefs, but they'll need more than that for anyone to think

they're a contender in the AFC West ... even though they're just a

game behind the Broncos.

20. Washington Redskins - Mike Shanahan says he's not throwing in the

towel after indicating he'll now look to who belongs with the team in

2013. The fact that the issue is even open to interpretation is the

latest sign of how badly things are going in his third year with the

Redskins.

21. Arizona Cardinals - They go into the bye week on a five-game

losing streak, and coach Ken Whisenhunt says he's open to changes.

What the team really needs is starting QB Kevin Kolb back from a rib

injury.

22. Philadelphia Eagles - Not all Michael Vick's fault this time.

Under pressure all night from the Saints' suddenly reinvigorated

defense, he never had a chance. And that defense under new coordinator

Todd Bowles? That's 58 points in two games so far.

23. Cincinnati Bengals - Some promising moments for the Bengals, who

led briefly in the fourth quarter against Peyton Manning's Broncos.

But then it all fell apart, as it has the last month. Four straight

losses, with the Giants up next.

24. New York Jets - Mark Sanchez faces his old coach on Sunday in

Seattle. The Jets' QB hopes he can put on a show for Pete Carroll. If

not, then the Tim Tebow calls grow ever-louder.

25. Carolina Panthers - Cam Newton shows RG3 a thing or two, as the

Panthers end a five-game losing streak.

26. Oakland Raiders - Raiders' defense falls into the Black Hole,

giving up 35 points to the Bucs in the second half. Carson Palmer's

comeback bid falls one interception short, and it's more misery for

the silver and black.

27. Buffalo Bills - GM Buddy Nix says Chan Gailey will be back as head

coach next season, but defensive coordinator Dave Wannstedt has no

such assurances. Not after another miserable performance against the

Texans.

28. St. Louis Rams - Rams had a bye week to think about a blowout loss

to the Patriots in London. Now it's off for some NFC West-style

punishment in San Francisco.

29. Tennessee Titans - We'll let Bud Adams provide the comment here.

After watching the Titans get walloped by the Bears, 51-20, he told

Jim Wyatt of the Tennessean, "In my 50 years of owning an NFL

franchise, I am at a loss to recall a regular season home game that

was such a disappointment for myself, and fans of the Titans. We were

grossly outcoached and outplayed from start to finish." As strong a

postgame comment from an owner we've ever seen.

30. Cleveland Browns - Five trips inside the red zone for rookie

quarterback Brandon Weeden and only three field goals to show for it.

Another painful week in Cleveland.

31. Jacksonville Jaguars - Could Mike Mularkey be one-and-done in

Jacksonville?

32. Kansas City Chiefs - Romeo Crennel gives up his defensive

coordinator duties and appoints Gary Gibbs. Next up: Ben

Roethlisberger's Steelers on the road. Good luck with that.

---

Online:

http://pro32.ap.org/poll

and

http://twitter.com/AP-NFL

Secretary of Defense gives thumbs-up for Reynolds to pursue NFL

cliffkeenanjulierefframe_1.jpg

Secretary of Defense gives thumbs-up for Reynolds to pursue NFL

Ravens wide receiver Keenan Reynolds can officially defer his military service to play in the NFL, secretary of defense Ashton Carter said Friday. Carter made the announcement during his graduation speech at the Naval Academy.

Two weeks ago, Secretary of the Navy, Ray Mabus, strongly recommended that Reynolds be allowed to pursue his NFL career. Now Reynolds has the official go-ahead.

“It is a blessing to hear the news from Defense Secretary Carter,” Reynolds said in a statement released by the Ravens. “I am truly excited to proudly serve my country while having the ability to fulfill my dream of playing for the best organization in the NFL.

“I would like to thank the Navy for allowing me to represent them while taking advantage of this unique opportunity. I would also like to thank (Ravens owner) Mr. (Steve) Bisciotti and the Ravens organization for believing in me and giving me this chance.”

Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome said in a statement, “This is good news, and congratulations on to Keenan on his graduation today.”

The Ravens selected Reynolds in the sixth round of the draft, and are intrigued by his potential as a returner and receiver after a stellar career at Navy as a quarterback. Reynolds finished his Navy career as the FBS all-time leader in touchdowns (88).

Reynolds has sought advice on making the transition from quarterback to receiver-returner from CSN’s Brian Mitchell, who was a Pro Bowl returner with the Redskins, and from Hines Ward, a Pro Bowl receiver with the Steelers. The next challenge for Reynolds is to win a spot on the Ravens’ 53-man roster, and many people will be rooting for him.

Can Ravens WR Michael Campanaro stay healthy enough to secure roster spot?

ravensotas052716refframe_1.jpg

Can Ravens WR Michael Campanaro stay healthy enough to secure roster spot?

OWINGS MILLS – Third-year wide receiver Michael Campanaro will have a difficult time making the Ravens in 2016 if he does not stay healthy. He is not off to a good start. A calf injury forced Campanaro to miss the first week of OTA’s, and his return date remained uncertain.

Ravens coach John Harbaugh expressed empathy for Campanaro following Thursday’s practice.

“He tweaked his calf a couple of weeks ago and he’s working hard,” Harbaugh said. “I’ve just never seen a guy work as hard as this guy has worked in the last year and a half. There will be a time he will get past this stuff. This stuff will stop happening and hopefully it’s training camp, and that’s what we’re hoping for him. The guy works tremendously hard and he was in phenomenal shape, and we’re still expecting really good things from him.”

Campanaro’s season ended last year after just four games due to a herniated disc. As a rookie in 2014, Campanaro was plagued by hamstring injuries that did not clear up until late in the season.

When Campanaro has been healthy, he has produced as a slot receiver. During the Ravens’ 35-31 playoff loss to the Patriots that ended his rookie season, Campanaro had four catches for 39 yards, and looked unfazed by postseason pressure.

However, Campanaro’s injuries have kept him from building momentum as a player. Meanwhile, the Ravens have added Mike Wallace and rookies Chris Moore and Keenan Reynolds to a wide receiver group that also includes Steve Smith Sr., Kamar Aiken, Breshad Perriman, Jeremy Butler, Kaelin Clay, and Chris Matthews.

Campanaro could help the Ravens as a returner, but so can Reynolds and Clay. The Ravens have been waiting for Campanaro to show he can remain healthy. If that does not happen during training camp, it might be too late.

Five observations from Ravens OTAs

ravensotas052716refframe_1.jpg

Five observations from Ravens OTAs

The Ravens are wrapping up their first of three -- oops, make that two -- weeks of OTA workouts this week, and Thursday's session was the first open to the media. Here are five observations after catching the first partial glimpse of the 2016 Ravens (partial because more than a dozen players, including many starters, sat out the voluntary workouts either by choice or because of injury.)

This wide receiver group appears impressive

Steve Smith Sr. wasn't even there, but Breshad Perriman, Mike Wallace and rookie Chris Moore all look like they will be nice options for Joe Flacco (who, incidentally, watched the OTAs in a T-shirt as he continues his knee rehab.). Heck, the fact that Perriman was on the field is already a big improvement over last year. Kamar Aiken reverts to being a very solid No. 3 or No. 4 option if this group stays healthy. Speaking of health, Michael Camapanaro (calf) missed the workout, and with this group of receivers, including Navy's Keenan Reynolds, Campanaro is one more nagging injury from not making this roster. 

Dennis Pitta could leave the Ravens in a very tough spot

Good for Dennis Pitta to work back from his second major hip injury and get back on the field, even if for noncontact OTAs. He ran, cut and caught well, and he said after the workout that he felt great physically. "My level of expectation is extremely high going into this year," he said. "Like I said, I feel confident in how I can run, how I can move, how I can play." But if Pitta, who turns 31 next month, is indeed healthy, then what? The Ravens brought in Ben Watson this year, and already have two promising young tight ends in Crockett Gillmore and second-year, second-round pick Maxx Williams. None of them are going anywhere. Would the Ravens cut Pitta, one of the most likable players on the team and a close friend of Joe Flacco's, after his grueling rehab? Would they keep four tight ends? That would be highly unusual, but not out of the question with Marc Trestman's offense. Incidentally, tight end Todd Heap was 31 when the Ravens let him go.

Interesting look at inside linebacker

With Daryl Smith gone and C.J. Mosley sitting out, rookie second-round pick Kamalei Correa, billed as an edge rusher, spent a lot of time at inside linebacker. Coach John Harbaugh said afterward that Correa "has inside linebacker traits." The Ravens also appear to be looking at safety Anthony Levine as a linebacker option. He did some individual work with the inside linebackers and spent some time as an inside linebacker in 7-on-7 drills. Coverage was a big issue for Ravens linebackers last year, so if Levine and Correa show they can cover well over the middle, that versatility could be a big plus.

Lardarius Webb seems at home at safety

The move from corner to safety should agree with Lardarius Webb. He drifted over well in deep coverage, but it wasn't encouraging to see a potential interception bounce off his hands. This team had a franchise-record-low six interceptions last year. Webb said moving to safety has been "a great transition. I’m loving it. I have more control of the defense."

Losing a week of OTAs isn't the end of the world

The Ravens have been docked next week's OTA workouts as a penalty for reportedly having players in pads for a brief portion of their rookie minicamp in violation of the current collective bargaining agreement. It certainly isn't a good look, but it shouldn't have much bearing on whether the Ravens can beat the Steelers on Christmas night. Many veterans weren't on the field this week anyway. It might be a speed bump in development for Ravens rookies and other newcomers, but there's a lot of training camp for that. Three days off in June might do some bodies good. If anyone is hurt by this it might be Keenan Reynolds -- the former Navy quarterback is trying to quickly learn the wide receiver position, and he missed the OTAs this week because of his graduation in Annapolis.