Curran: These Ravens don't travel well

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Curran: These Ravens don't travel well

The qualifiers that have dogged the Patriots throughout their 13-3 2011 season are easy to list.

They didn't beat a team that finished the season with a record over .500. Godawful pass defense. A run defense that's inconsistent. Slow starters. And we've visited and revisited those topics.

But there are indictments in the Baltimore Ravens stat pack as well from 2011. And most of them are related to how badly they tend to play away from Maryland.

The Ravens lost at Jacksonville, Tennessee, Seattle and San Diego this season. None of those teams made the playoffs. Baltimore managed just 51 points total in the four games.

And while the losses to the Jaguars and Titans are lessened by the passage of time (they happened in September and October), the loss to San Diego on December 18 is a glaring toe-stub from the tail end of the year.

Baltimore lost that one 34-14 and it wasn't even that competitive as the Chargers got up 31-7 by the end of the third. In that game, the Chargers did things similar to what Houston did last week. Pressured quarterback Joe Flacco (five sacks) and created turnovers (two picks).

Houston just didn't have the quarterback to finish Baltimore off.

There are creditable wins on the Ravens schedule. Two over Pittsburgh, one over the 49ers and two over the Bengals - all playoff teams.

But comparing the Ravens losses and the margins to the teams the Patriots lost to - Pittsburgh, the Giants and Buffalo by a total of 15 points - leaves the impression that the Ravens are extremely capable of flat performances especially away from home.

The key, as mentioned yesterday, is bothering Joe Flacco and making him less than average.

Report: 3 owners unhappy with Kraft's amicus brief on behalf of Brady

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Report: 3 owners unhappy with Kraft's amicus brief on behalf of Brady

Three NFL owners have expressed “extreme disappointment” in Robert Kraft and the Patriots filing an amicus brief on behalf of Tom Brady in the quarterback’s appeal of the Second Circuit Court’s reinstatement of his Deflategate suspension, according to Jason Cole of Bleacher Report. 

The Patriots filed the brief on Wednesday. 

The owners see the move as a publicity stunt done to appease Brady and the Patriots fans, Cole said, and they don’t believe Kraft did it any seriousness because the issue speaks to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell’s ability to punish players and undermines the league’s collective bargaining agreement with the players.

If Kraft thought it mattered, he wouldn't have done it, Cole said one owner told him. 
 

Collins, Hightower mum on contract talks

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Collins, Hightower mum on contract talks

FOXBORO – A fleet of Patriots have expiring contracts after this season but Dont'a Hightower and Jamie Collins are the two most prominent on that list.

With the sport being the way it is – a nearly 100-percent casualty rate every season – it’s never comfortable for a player to enter a contract year without knowing his long-term future. And it’s especially uncomfortable for players whose first contracts are expiring because the second NFL contract is usually the bonanza.

Both Hightower and Collins can entertain thoughts of contracts worth more than $50M if good fortune sticks with them.

The question as it pertains to both of these players is whether they get contract extensions this summer or whether they go into the year with contract pressure bearing down and ultimately become free agents.

Neither player was very forthcoming after their OTA practice Thursday.

With Collins, that’s often the case. He’s never been expansive with media. It was very uncharacteristic for Hightower to be so clipped in his answers, though.

Every question posed to Hightower was met with a variation of, “I’m just trying to get better.”

Asked about his contract, Hightower replied, “I ain’t got nothing to do with none of that. I’m just out here trying to get better with my teammates.”

When it was pointed out that Hightower does indeed have say on his contract, he answered, “That might be. But there’s a time and place for everything and I’m just out here trying to get better.

“If I get better I feel like that’ll take care of everything else,” he added. “If I get better each and every day that’s all I can ask for.”

Asked whether he’s at all focused on his deal, Collins replied, “No, I come out here and I handle my business and I let the rest speak for itself … My first priority is me. So I’m gonna handle me."