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Ravens News 1/25: Unsung Ozzie, fixing overtime and more

NFL: Pro Hall of Fame Game-Chicago Bears at Baltimore Ravens Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Unsung heroes in the AFC: Chris Jones, Tyler Boyd step up - Nick Shook

BALTIMORE RAVENS: Ozzie Newsome, general manager. This could have gone to a linebacker -- Patrick Onwuasor (59 tackles, 5.5 sacks, three passes defensed, one interception, two forced fumbles) and Matt Judon (44 tackles, 7.0 sacks, three passes defensed, one forced fumble) both received consideration -- or to defensive lineman Za’Darius Smith (45 tackles, 8.5 sacks, two passes defensed, one forced fumble). All were unsung and key pieces of the league’s best defense. But the true hero here is Newsome, who snagged Onwuasor (undrafted free agent), Judon (a fifth-round pick in 2016) and Smith (a fourth-round pick in 2015). Newsome, who is stepping down this offseason from the role he’s held since 2002, made a career out of plucking overlooked talents and bringing them to Baltimore to develop into reliable contributors. For one of his last acts, he helped retool the Ravens’ defense, and now it’s a suffocating group with a bright future. (Oh, and he also drafted potential franchise QB Lamar Jackson.) Build Newsome’s statue next to the one of Ray Lewis.

Perhaps no man deserves more credit for the success of the Ravens franchise than Ozzie Newsome.

Ravens Head Coach John Harbaugh Signs a New Four-Year Contract - Ryan Mink

Head Coach John Harbaugh has signed a new four-year contract taking him through the 2022 season.

Among current NFL coaches, Harbaugh has the fourth-longest tenure in the league, and that stability and marriage between both sides will now continue.

Harbaugh’s strong leadership was evident this season when the Ravens entered their bye week with a 4-5 record riding a three-game losing streak. Baltimore responded by winning six of its last seven regular season games and finished 10-6 to overtake the Pittsburgh Steelers for the third division title of Harbaugh’s career.

Harbaugh has a 10-6 postseason record and reached the playoffs in each of his first five seasons. His 10 playoff wins are tied for the third-most by any head coach in NFL history since the 1970s merger.

Exact terms of the contract extension were not disclosed. Considering his pedigree, it is reasonable to assume Harbaugh is now among the highest paid head coaches in the league

Edge Defenders You Should Know at 2019 Senior Bowl - Clifton Brown

Jaylon Ferguson, Louisiana Tech

Size: 6-foot-5, 256 pounds 2018 stats: 65 tackles, 17 ½ stats, 26 tackles for loss

Ferguson holds the NCAA record with 45 sacks, a record held previously by none other than Suggs, who had 44 sacks at Arizona State. Ferguson’s biggest strength is his quickness off the ball. Even if he’s raw in other areas, Ferguson’s ability to harass quarterbacks could make him valuable to the Ravens immediately as a situational pass rusher. The biggest question is whether he can transfer that kind of production from Conference USA to the NFL. Suggs faced powerhouse competition in college.

Montez Sweat, Mississippi

Size: 6-foot-6, 252 pounds 2018 stats: 50 tackles, 8 ½ sacks, 14.5 tackles for loss

Sweat’s combination of size and burst has quickly made a strong impression at the Senior Bowl. Many observers called Sweat the best defensive player on the fieldduring Tuesday’s practice. Some offensive linemen who lined up against Sweat were treated like a tackling dummy.

Every team could use an elite pass rusher. Yet if the Ravens are able to retain their free agents, they will return three players who posted at least seven sacks last season - Za’Darius Smith, Matt Judon and Terrell Suggs. Top pass rushing defensive tackle Willie Henry is also slated to return from injury while Tim Williams and Tyus Bowser will enter their third seasons.

The vast majority of elite edge rushers are selected in the top-20 of the draft. Furthermore, a case can be made that offensive lineman and top flight receivers have become more important to postseason success. Depending on who the front office prioritizes in free agency, pass rusher could be low on the list of pressing positional needs.

Baltimore Ravens at 2019 Senior Bowl: 7 defensive players who could draw interest - Aaron Kasinitz

ILB Germaine Pratt (N.C. State)

The Ravens’ depth at inside linebacker will shape up well if they re-sign Pro Bowler C.J. Mosley sometime over the next few weeks. If they don’t, they’ll be searching for reinforcements at the position, and Pratt’s an interesting name to consider. Baltimore fans have long lamented the team’s struggles covering the middle of the field, and Pratt could bolster the team’s efforts in that aspect of the game. He’s one of the speediest linebackers in the draft and had four interceptions over his college career.

Pratt, a former safety, is regarded as a possible third round pick. Other probable mid-round inside linebackers with coverage ability include Devin Bush, Joe Giles-Harris, Kendall Joseph and Terrill Hanks.

11 Solutions to Fix NFL Overtime Once and for All - Danny Heifetz

6. Modified College Football Overtime

The Rule: Take college football overtime rules, but instead of putting teams 25 yards away from the end zone, have them start somewhere else more palatable—the 50-yard line, their own 25-yard line, wherever.

Pros: This might be the closest we come to a rule that’s both fair and realistic. It would be far better to watch the Chiefs lose because their offense had the chance to score and failed rather than not getting the chance to score at all.

Cons: As The Ringer’s Rodger Sherman wrote two years ago, college football overtime is still influenced by the coin toss...

If the idea is to minimize the impact of winning the coin toss, this modified college football overtime proposal has merit.