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AP Pro32 ballot from Glauber

AP Pro32 ballot from Glauber

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

Week 15

BOB GLAUBER (Newsday)

1. New England Patriots - The bigger the stage, the better Tom Brady

plays. Another Monday night masterpiece, and the Patriots declare

themselves the best team in the game right now.

2. Denver Broncos - The MVP tour rolls on for Peyton Manning, who has

won eight straight, but only two against teams currently with winning

records. Huge test in Baltimore this week.

3. San Francisco 49ers - Two more sacks from Aldon Smith, who is in

the running for Defensive Player of the Year. And now for the two-week

stretch that could decide playoff positioning: at New England and at

Seattle.

4. Houston Texans - Matt Schaub overmatched against Tom Brady in a

statement game - a very bad statement game - for Houston. If there's a

rematch in January, Texans better hope it's in Houston.

5. Atlanta Falcons - Off day in Carolina or were the Falcons exposed?

They'll find out quickly when they host the defending Super Bowl

champs on Sunday.

6. New York Giants - Giants are at their best when their backs are

against the wall. Latest example was 52-27 thumping of New Orleans at

home. Rookie David Wilson was brilliant on kickoff returns and

injected himself into the running back rotation.

7. Indianapolis Colts - Another second-half comeback for Andrew Luck,

who already has six of them in his first 13 games. Ridiculous.

8. Green Bay Packers - Win and you're in: If Green Bay beats the

wounded Bears on the road on Sunday, they clinch the NFC North. Pack

gets in position to win the division with solid, if unspectacular

effort against Detroit.

9. Baltimore Ravens - Two losses, more problems on offense, and John

Harbaugh has had enough. Out with offensive coordinator Cam Cameron

and in with Jim Caldwell. Risky move, but worth it for Harbaugh. Tough

first task when Baltimore hosts Caldwell's old pal Peyton Manning.

10. Seattle Seahawks - It's like Pete Carroll is back at USC beating

up on Washington State. Seahawks absolutely pummel Cardinals 58-0,

only 11 points from equaling Carroll's most lopsided win in college.

11. Washington Redskins - Good news for RG3 that he didn't end his

season with that knee injury. But it's a sobering reminder that the

kid needs to stay in the pocket more for his own good.

12. Chicago Bears - Jay Cutler insists he'll be OK after a case of

whiplash against the Vikings. Bears trust he's right. Cutler's their

only hope.

13. Minnesota Vikings - Not sure we've seen anything like Adrian

Peterson before. Still not even a year since reconstructive surgery,

and he just might be a 2,000-yard rusher.

14. Dallas Cowboys - Dramatic and emotional comeback win in Cincinnati

for the Cowboys, who are still mourning the loss of practice squad

player Jerry Brown. Tony Romo's comeback may have saved the season.

15. Cincinnati Bengals - Bengals blow nine-point lead against Cowboys

and need to recover quickly. At Philly is no lock, and then it's at

Pittsburgh and home to Baltimore. Bengals on the bubble right now.

16. Pittsburgh Steelers - On the day Ben Roethlisberger came back, the

Steelers' defense left. Roethlisberger didn't help with an

interception and a botched screen pass.

17. St. Louis Rams - Jeff Fisher probably won't win Coach of the Year

honors, but he has done a sensational job getting this Rams team

competitive this quickly. He has already tripled last year's win

total.

18. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Rough day for Josh Freeman and the Bucs'

defense. Freeman bad early and the defense bad late. Decisive blow for

Bucs' playoff chances.

19. New Orleans Saints - Looks like the Saints are done after getting

blown out against the Giants. Just a horrid stretch for Drew Brees,

who has only one touchdown and seven INTs in his last two games.

20. Detroit Lions - Losing streak to Packers now at 22, longest in the

NFL. That kind of year for a Lions team that looked so promising

coming in.

21. Miami Dolphins - Dolphins just not in 49ers' league. Home game

against Jacksonville on Sunday more their speed.

22. New York Jets - Could the Jets recover enough after Mark Sanchez's

infamous "butt fumble" to make the playoffs? Not out of the question

if the Jets win out.

23. San Diego Chargers - As the saying goes, the 15th time's the

charm. San Diego beats the Stillers in Pittsburgh for the first time

in 15 regular-season visits, this just days after a report that said

Norv Turner is out after the season.

24. Carolina Panthers - Stunning performance by Cam Newton against the

Falcons. Makes you wonder why this hasn't happened more often this

season.

25. Buffalo Bills - OK, so Chan Gailey was technically wrong when he

said the Bills are out of the playoff picture. But if they do get

there, it would make the Frank Reich's comeback against the Oilers

look like child's play.

26. Cleveland Browns - Progress, yes. Enough to convince Jimmy Haslam

to stick with Pat Shurmur? Probably not.

27. Philadelphia Eagles - Nick Foles in a terrific comeback win over

the Buccaneers, winning at the buzzer and giving the Iggles some hope

for the future.

28. Tennessee Titans - Jake Locker outplays Andrew Luck early, but

falters in second half with that stunning interception from his own

1-yard line. Game over.

29. Arizona Cardinals - Cardinals have had some bad losses in their

mostly sorry history, but 58-0 in Seattle tops 'em all. Ken Whisenhunt

gets the rest of the year, but might get the gate at the end.

30. Kansas City Chiefs - Brady Quinn goes back to Cleveland, but shows

why the Browns gave up on him.

31. Jacksonville Jaguars - Chad Henne not doing much to convince the

Jags he'll be the guy next year.

32. Oakland Raiders - Raiders owe Carson Palmer $13 million next

season. Doubt he'll see that cash.

---

Online:

http://pro32.ap.org/poll

and

http://twitter.com/AP-NFL

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Why Yanda knows offensive success hinges on ability to protect Flacco

Why Yanda knows offensive success hinges on ability to protect Flacco

OWINGS MILLS - One of Marshal Yanda’s top priorities is to make sure the offensive line does its best to keep Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco healthy, unlike 2015, when Flacco suffered a season-ending knee injury. Having made five straight Pro Bowls as a right guard, Yanda is beginning his 10th NFL season, and his ninth season with Flacco as his quarterback. Yanda knows that much of the Ravens’ offensive success depends on Flacco staying healthy.

“We haven’t really talked about it specifically,” Yanda said. “But obviously, you know as an offensive line, we talk about it, and you coach it. You’re going to keep your guys as far away from the quarterback as possible. Obviously, there is probably more emphasis this year with the knee.”

MORE RAVENS: DAY 2 TRAINING CAMP OBSERVATIONS

When Flacco sees game action for the first time this season, Yanda doesn’t expect his quarterback to play tentatively due to his knee.

“He’s going to have to make his read,” Yanda said. “We have certain plays where he is going to be on the move, no matter what. We know about it: it is conscious in my mind; it is conscious in the offensive line’s mind and his mind, too. I feel like he just has to play through that. I had a knee (injury) once before, and he just has to get reps and get comfortable with the way it is feeling now. It will always feel a little different. That is just normal. It will continue to get normal as he keeps playing.”

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Five observations from Day 2 of Ravens training camp

Five observations from Day 2 of Ravens training camp

OWINGS MILLS – Five observations from Day 2 of Ravens training camp:

RELATED: DAY 1 OBSERVATIONS

1. Wide receiver Michael Campanaro had an impressive day.

— Campanaro consistently got open making decisive moves and catching the ball cleanly, whether lined up wide or in the slot. Injuries have been the main stumbling block during Campanaro’s career. But there is no doubt he can make plays if he makes it to Week 1 healthy. Unless he suffers another injury, I think Campanaro is on the 53-man roster, especially since he can also return punts.

2. Joe Flacco showed no discomfort practicing on his surgically-repaired knee for a second straight day.

— Flacco throw the ball crisply, he moved well in the pocket, and he smiled when on the sideline. If Flacco was thinking at all about his knee, he disguised it well.

3.  Rookie cornerback Tavon Young is a player to watch.

— Young made several nice plays on the ball, including an interception in which he showed good technique and ball awareness. A fourth round pick from Temple, Young is making a bid to earn playing time as a nickel corner. Jerraud Powers missed his second straight practice (failed conditioning test), and Young took advantage of the extra reps. It will be interesting to learn more about Young’s tackling ability when the Ravens begin practicing in pads.

4. Rookie fourth-round pick Chris Moore looks like a potential playmaker.

— Ravens corners are having trouble keeping up with Moore when he goes deep, including Jimmy Smith, who saw Moore race by on his way to a deep reception. With left tackle Ronnie Stanley, linebacker Kamalei Correa, Young, and Moore, the Ravens have the potential for an instant-impact draft class.

5. There is no getting around Stanley’s importance as a rookie.

— Stanley needs to continue looking good when the Ravens go to pads Saturday, and whenever linebackers Terrell Suggs and Elvis Dumervil return from PUP. A potential Ravens deal with veteran left tackle Jake Long fell through Friday. The Ravens will be counting on Stanley, not only to start but to play well.

 

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Long won't join Ravens, potential deal with LT falls through

Long won't join Ravens, potential deal with LT falls through

OWINGS MILLS – Veteran left tackle Jake Long won’t be joining the Ravens after all. A potential deal between Long and the Ravens fell through Friday, leaving Long a free agent according to Adam Schefter of ESPN, and confirmed by CSN.

The issue was Long’s right knee. He tore his ACL in both 2013 and 2014, leaving concern about how his knee would hold up if he returned to action. Long went to see Dr. James Andrews after taking a physical with the Ravens on Wednesday. According to a source, while Long was healthy enough to play, the Ravens were not comfortable being financially liable if Long’s knee failed to hold up.

The Ravens targeted Long as a potential backup for rookie left tackle Ronnie Stanley. While Stanley has looked solid during practice, the Ravens have been searching for veteran insurance in case Stanley suffered an injury. Long is a former No. 1 overall pick (2008) and has more experience than James Hurst, who is currently the Ravens’ backup left tackle.

Now the Ravens have a roster spot available, which they may use to sign another offensive lineman, or to address depth at another position.

MORE RAVENS: FIVE OBSERVATIONS FROM DAY 1 OF RAVENS TRAINING CAMP