Monday, June 01, 2009

Ravens roster versatility could keep door open for Stover's return

The Ravens prefer to bring in supporting players who have some versatility. Non-starters need to be able to contribute on special teams and preferably have the ability to play another position if the team’s depth is challenged by injuries.

This offseason so far, two of the supporting players the Ravens have added via free agency are Chris Carr and Kelley Washington. Carr has the versatility to be a nickel, a corner, perhaps even a safety and clearly he brings return skills. Washington adds some height to the receiving corps and was one of New England’s best special teams players last season.

If you consider the 2009 draft class of the Ravens, you will find even more versatility. Michael Oher can play either left or right tackle; Paul Kruger, a high school quarterback, could be a down lineman on the defensive front or a strong side linebacker; Lardarius Webb who is a very solid returner, could be the team’s nickel as a rookie and can play safety; Jason Phillips could co-anchor the inside linebacker position with Tavares Gooden in years to come and projects to be an accomplished special teams player; Cedric Peerman can provide depth at running back, potentially depth at full back and also a likely special teams contributor.

It’s this kind of versatility that helps to give the 2009 Ravens’ roster deep depth.

And it’s possible that this versatility could extend Matt Stover’s tenure as a Raven.

Stover didn’t play his way out of Baltimore. The rub for the Ravens is that they had to keep a kickoff specialist on the roster as well given Stover’s weakness off the tee. But if the Ravens jettison one-dimensional players like Yamon Figurs for example given the skills of Carr and Webb, might that open the minds of Ravens’ coaches to bring Stover back?

Of course the idea of bringing back Stover equates to nothing more than an insurance policy. What if trying to fill the ample shoes of Stover is too much for incumbent Steve Hauschka or undrafted free agent Graham Gano (who also provides versatility as a punter)? What if the coaches determine that they can’t really count on either when the game is on the line? Can a team that made its way to the AFC Championship Game take such a risk?

Time will tell but the possibility remains that the team’s versatile depth could save the career of an original Raven.


Jerry B said...

Only guessing here, but Stover's popularity and accuracy from inside the 50 notwithstanding, they really need someone who can provide similar accuracy and consistancy from slightly beyond the 50 as well as kickoff into the endzone. As much as I hate to see a player of Stover's character and quality replaced, that's eventually going to happen.......

Anonymous said...

OMG...the revisionist history continues. "Accuracy from inside the FIFTY"??? Are you serious? At BEST he was accurate inside the 40 last year. But even that's pushing it. Did you watch a single game last year? There were times when even his PATs were shaky. Please. You want to support a player, fine. But cut the crap with this nonsensical BS, ok?

Jim Davis said...

Aren't you the guy who argued last week that Stover should have been resigned this offseason? It's hard to tell because you are anonymous......the asshole tone is the same, though.

Anonymous said...

1. No, I was not the same poster who advocated re-signing Stover.

2. Asshole tone? For pointing out the obvious? Maybe you're just hearing your own echo.

Jim Davis said...

"I'll remain skeptical about Joe Reitz until we see him play someone above the 4th team. If Oher is not ready to play right away and play well, tackle is going to be a scary position with Gaither's and Terry's history of nagging injuries. We're all still waiting for DeCosta to explain O'Neill Cousins and David Hale as 3rd and 4th round picks last year. **Can't keep a kickoff specialist so Stover can remain, but we can carry useless draft picks on the roster to avoid front office embarrassment.**"

Of course this is you...These are your words....Mr. Critical...In the words of the esteemed Phil Savage...Go root for the Bills!!

Anonymous said...

No, that was not the same anonymous poster. I put out the original message and stand by it. If the Ravens are forced to keep Cousins and David Hale on the roster again simply because they were 3rd and 4th round draft picks, there will be no room for Stover. Still waiting for Eric to explain those picks. Tony forgot to ask him during his recent interview.

Anonymous said...

Thank you "other anonymous". Apparently "Jim Davis" doesn't have enough going on upstairs to realize there can actually be two (or more) posters that get the "anonymous" moniker.