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Late for Work 2/21: Emmanuel Sanders Would Be a ‘Fun Fit’ for Ravens

San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders runs the football during an NFL divisional playoff game.

Emmanuel Sanders Would Be a ‘Fun Fit’ for Ravens

Would Emmanuel Sanders look good in purple?

There’s been a lot of talk this offseason about the Ravens possibly pursuing a veteran free-agent wide receiver to give Lamar Jackson another target, and’s Marc Sessler believes Sanders would be a fun fit for Baltimore.

“The Ravens are bound to chase pass-rushing help after struggling all year to badger the quarterback. I’m matching Baltimore with Sanders, though, pairing the underrated, rugged wideout with second-year burner Marquise Brown inside an otherwise-lacking wideout corps that saw Willie Snead finish second among the group with just 31 grabs,” Sessler wrote.

After suffering a torn Achilles late in the 2018 season, Sanders bounced back in 2019 to record 66 catches for 869 yards and five touchdowns. Sanders, who will turn 33 next month, gave the NFC champion San Francisco 49ers’ offense a boost after being traded midseason from the Denver Broncos.

Pro Football Focus ranked Sanders as the 27th-best free agent overall and the No. 4 wide receiver in this class, behind Amari Cooper, A.J. Green, and Robby Anderson. PFF projected Sanders to receive a three-year, $30 million contract ($23 million guaranteed).

“Returning from a significant injury, Sanders has been a better player late in his career than he was at the start of it,” PFF’s Sam Monson and Steve Palazzolo wrote. “He has transformed the 49ers’ passing attack since arriving and is one of the savviest route runners in the league.

“In addition to all of that route-running skill, Sanders had just one drop this past season and has some of the best hands in the game. Age will scare teams off, and he’s certainly not a long-term option, but the veteran wideout has recently proven that he can completely change an offense in need of receiving help.”

ESPN’s Bill Barnwell also linked Sanders to the Ravens. In one of his scenarios for how the “offseason dominoes” could fall, he had Baltimore signing Sanders for $1 one year, $9 million.

“The Ravens have built their passing offense around the speed of guys like Marquise Brown and Miles Boykin, but Sanders would give them another option as an intermediate receiver who can still get upfield and make big plays,” Barnwell wrote. “He’s also a good blocker, which is essential when a team runs as much as the Ravens plan on running in 2020.”

Jackson’s Jersey, Helmet Headed to Hall of Fame

As historic and awe-inspiring as Jackson’s 2019 season was, it’s a bit premature to fit him for a gold jacket. However, his jersey is headed to the Pro Football Hall of Fame – again.

A jersey and helmet worn by Jackson will be displayed in Canton, Ohio, later this month to commemorate his MVP season.

In October, the jersey and cleats Jackson wore in the Ravens’ 49-13 victory over the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 10 was displayed in Canton. In that game, Jackson became just the second player in league history to post a perfect quarterback rating twice in the same season.

He also broke the internet – and a Cincinnati defender’s ankles – that day with his dazzling spin move on a 47-yard touchdown run.

So for those keeping score, that’s two jerseys in the Pro Football Hall of Fame for Jackson after just two seasons. Say it with me: Not bad for a running back.

John Harbaugh Will Miss Combine After Knee Surgery

Head Coach John Harbaugh has popped up on the injury report.

As first reported by ESPN’s Jamison Hensley, Harbaugh underwent knee replacement surgery two weeks ago and will sit out the NFL Scouting Combine next week in Indianapolis. It will mark the first time Harbaugh, the 2019 Coach of the Year, has missed the Combine.

Harbaugh’s recovery has been going well, Hensley wrote.

While Harbaugh has been ruled out for the combine, he will not be inactive. Harbaugh will conduct team business at the Ravens’ facility and is expected to attend the NFL Annual League Meetings in Palm Beach, Fla., in late March, according to The Baltimore Sun’s Jonas Shaffer.

Ronnie Stanley Named NFL’s Top Pass Blocker

Ronnie Stanley made his first All-Pro and Pro Bowl teams this past season, and now the Ravens offensive tackle has been named PFF’s Pass Blocker of the Year.

“Stanley led all at his position with 300 or more pass-blocking snaps in PFF pass-blocking efficiency (99.3),” PFF wrote. “He allowed just 10 total pressures across his 515 pass-blocking snaps (includes postseason) in 2019.

Stanley, the sixth-overall selection in the 2016 draft, was vital in protecting Jackson’s blind side.

“It is entirely possible for a player to have a very good season protecting the edge simply because he never went up against anybody of consequence, but this isn’t the case for Stanley,” PFF’s Monson wrote in December. “He has actually faced a pretty solid slate of rushers, and with only one exception, he has held each one to their lowest pressure total of the season. There’s very little argument to be made that Stanley’s historic season is simply a product of the players he has faced.”

In addition to thriving in pass-blocking, Stanley also recorded the lowest percentage of negatively graded run-blocking snaps in 2019.

Stanley’s teammate, eight-time Pro Bowl guard Marshal Yanda, also graded high in pass-blocking efficiency (99.0), leading all qualifiers at his position. Moreover, Ravens center Patrick Mekari and Yanda recorded the two lowest negative run-block percentages among interior offensive linemen.

Quick Hits

  • The Ravens’ selection of fullback Kyle Juszczyk in the fourth round (130th overall) in 2013 was No. 3 on’s Jeremy Bergman’s list of the top 10 compensatory picks from the past 10 drafts.
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The Super Bowls Lucky White Uniforms

About nine years ago I stumbled upon something odd… the team that wore white kept winning the Super Bowl every year. I immediately wrote a story calling the Green Bay Packers fools for opting to wear their home green jerseys, didn’t they know there was some dark jersey curse???

Of course, as curse law goes, the Packers won that year ending the streak, thus making me the fool.

So what happened next? Well, a curse is a curse, after all. Since that game, there have been eight Super Bowls, and in those eight Super Bowls, the team wearing white has won SEVEN times.

The dark uniform curse dates back to Super Bowl XXXIX when the New England Patriots wearing white beat the Philadelphia Eagles in that sorta-greenish uniform they wear, with the Pats winning it that year it ended a three-game losing streak for the teams wearing white.

The next year, in Super Bowl XL the Steelers had the first choice and instead of wearing their darks they chose white, as a wildcard team they had worn it already all throughout the AFC playoffs and it seemed to have brought them luck. The Seahawks were forced to wear blue, green, grey, teal… “Seahawk Blue”. Anyways, the Steelers won.

In Super Bowl XLI the Colts, as the “road” team won their first Super Bowl since their days in Baltimore, they were wearing white against Chicago in blue.

Super Bowl XLII saw the Pats who started the white uniform streak return to the big game. For some silly reason they chose to wear blue, and their dreams of an undefeated season were history, the New York Giants won it in white.

At Super Bowl XLIII the Arizona Cardinals of all teams made it to the championship. They were just happy to be there so they chose red, and yes, they lost to the Steelers who again won in white.

Super Bowl XLIV brought New Orleans their first and only Super Bowl championship, the Colts chose blue, the Colts chose a loss. New Orleans wins in white bringing the streak to six in a row.

Here’s where I started to muck things up, Super Bowl XLV was held just a few days after I launched the news section of this site. Looking to drop a bombshell, I revealed the white jersey pattern. Now everyone talks about it every year. I’m sorry. Anyways, Green Bay chose green, Pittsburgh was in their whites (which had worked for them twice already during this run) and naturally, the Packers won. Good job everyone.

At Super Bowl XLVI the Giants and Patriots were again facing each other, again the Pats chose blue, again the Pats lost. Giants win!

For Super Bowl XLVII the San Francisco 49ers opted to go with their home reds… what could go wrong? Well, they lost of course. Baltimore wins it in white.

The Denver Broncos chose orange at Super Bowl XLVIII which was doubly bad, the Broncos had already been smoked while wearing orange at the Super Bowl three times prior. You’ll never guess what happened, they got smoked. Seattle wins their first Super Bowl, and they did it wearing white.

By this point you’d think teams would learn, but at Super Bowl XLIX the Seattle Seahawks returned and with the jersey choice they picked… blue! And they lost. New England wins their first Super Bowl in ten years ending a two game losing streak (during which they wore blue both times)

So now’s when teams started to get wise to this whole thing. At Super Bowl 50 the Denver Broncos returned, the coverage of the white uniform curse was getting annoying, not to mention their own orange jersey problems. Denver chose to wear white forcing the Carolina Panthers to wear black. Denver won. Strategy folks.

But at Super Bowl LI the Atlanta Falcons were just so surprised they were at the game they completely forgot about the streak, they chose red against the Patriots white and well, you all know what happens next. New England wins, that’s six in a row for white uniforms and a record of 12-1 over the last thirteen years.

New England returned in Super Bowl LII and with the first option of choosing the uniform colours, they wisely went with what worked, they chose white forcing the Eagles to wear green. It was in this game we discovered the Super Bowl white uniform weakness – green. Philadelphia won ending the streak and this would be the last time a team would choose to wear white at a Super Bowl. The fools.

Super Bowl LIII last year brought the Patriots back but the Los Angeles Rams had the choice of uniform and picked their retro blues. It sure looked pretty but it didn’t help them much, they managed only a field goal and lost.

From Super Bowl XXXIX through Super Bowl LIII, a span of 15 games, white uniforms had an incredible record of 13-2, those only two losses against teams wearing green. You might be thinking “big deal, teams go 13-2 all the time in the NFL”, yes, sure, fine, but do those teams go 13-2 when they’re exclusively playing that season’s conference champion? Of course not, that would be crazy! I mean, what kind of schedule would that be?

Take a look, here’s all fifteen games, who wore what, and the scores of each (the jersey numbers, yes, clever)

This year the Kansas City Chiefs chose to wear red, the 49ers are in white. There’s no green jersey this year. If the Chiefs win, it might be the end of this silly story we like to trot out every year… but if they don’t I get to CTRL+C, CTRL+V this baby for Super Bowl LV. Content!

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Tom Brady Is No Longer The Top Selling NFL Jersey

This hasn’t been a great year for New England Patriots’ QB Tom Brady. The season on the field was his worst in YEARS and now we know he’s not as popular off the field as he’s been the past two years. For the first time in three years someone else has the top selling jersey in the NFL and that someone is Kansas City Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes.

Here’s the current Top 10:

  1. Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs
  2. Tom Brady, New England Patriots
  3. Ezekiel Elliott, Dallas Cowboys
  4. Baker Mayfield, Cleveland Browns
  5. Odell Beckham Jr., Cleveland Browns
  6. Khalil Mack, Chicago Bears
  7. Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers
  8. Dak Prescott, Dallas Cowboys
  9. Saquon Barkley, New York Giants
  10. JuJu Smith-Schuster, Pittsburgh Steelers

These numbers are based on sales of officially licensed NFL merchandise from March 1st through November 30th of 2019.