Friday, June 18, 2010

Ravens just got better with Hamlin signing

Yesterday the Ravens signed Ken "Hammerin'" Hamlin to a one year deal. Hamlin is a punishing tackler who aggressively supports the run (although he can get trucked on occasion - see video below @ 4:19 mark). He can also separate a receiver from the football (just ask Anquan Boldin and Donte Stallworth) when in position.

I did say "when in position."

Despite Pro Bowl honors in 2007 Hamlin isn't exactly a ball hawk but his addition to the Ravens roster boosts the team's depth and more than likely special teams' play.

Still the signing, if it doesn't raise an eyebrow it at least pushes the brow in a northerly direction, particularly when one considers that lack of quality depth at cornerback the Ravens could be facing when they start the '10 campaign. Lardarius Webb and Fabian Washington while ahead of schedule in their respective rehabilitation regimens still could be on the shelf come September 13.

Don't be surprised if the team eventually makes a similar move at corner.

But back to the position of safety...

After a slow start in '09 Dawan Landry came on strong. Haruki Nakamura is far ahead of schedule in his recovery from a broken leg and he looks to be ready for the opener at the Meadowlands. Tom Zbikowski played well during Ed Reed's absences and the former third round pick is slowly shaping into the player the Ravens expected when they drafted the Golden Domer after Joe Flacco and Ray Rice in 2008.

Might there be a log jam at the position?

Are the Ravens preparing for the eventual departure of 2011 free agent Landry?

Could there be some quiet concerns about Ed Reed?

Ignoring the health issues of the six-time All Pro would be the equivalent of Ozzie Newsome sticking his head in the sand. Yet discussions of Hamlin as the eventual heir apparent to Reed are just plain silly. Their respective games are about as similar as Ray Rice and Le'Ron McClain.

They are just different players.

But adding Hamlin provides some flexibility. The Ravens could manage Ed Reed's season in a way that preserves and protects the team's rangy centerfielder. Maybe he gets the day off when the Ravens take on the likes of Cleveland, Carolina, Tampa and Buffalo - teams that aren't exactly aerial juggernauts.

Whatever the motive, the bottom line is the Ravens just got a little better by adding Hamlin. They improved the level of competition at safety and better competition inspires better play and desirable results.

Let's hope the same is true for Mark Clayton and the position of wide receiver.


Jerry B said...

Following a season that saw the ranks of the secondary depleted by injuries, it's probably safe to say that they need somewhat of a "logjam" until they're able to separate the "wheat from the chaff", so to speak, particularly with the return of so many of the injured tenuous at the moment.......