Friday, September 02, 2011

The Good, Bad, Ugly & The Megan Fox: The Turk Looms



Last night’s preseason game between the Ravens and Falcons was a true test of your fandom. Watching the game was difficult enough only made worse by WBAL-TV and their antiquated production. Reruns of the 1970 World Series on MASN seem more cutting edge than Rave TV. Between the quality of play and the broadcast production, I was hoping the game would be pre-empted by reruns of Two and a Half Men.

WBAL’s graphics are horrible; the camera crew follows the action like a blindfolded kid playing Pin the Tail on the Donkey and Qadry Ismail – wow, he had me on the edge of my chair with those riveting interviews. I swear I thought he was going to ask Bryant McKinnie, “So, what’s your favorite color?”

Ok, on to the game…

John Harbaugh decided on Wednesday night that he would sit most of his key starters in Atlanta including the entire O-Line. Maybe there’s some gamesmanship at work there or maybe he just didn’t want the Steelers, particularly defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau to come up with a diabolical plot to confuse an offensive front that has so far practiced sparingly together.

Time will tell if that was the right approach but it did allow all of us to see the players jockeying for position on the depth chart in their most extensive action to date.

So what did we learn about the reserves? Which players successfully made a case to be part of the 53 man squad? Did anyone slip? Some of it was good, some bad and some ugly.

This “The Good, Bad, Ugly and the Megan Fox” will focus upon the players by position and determine who will make it and who could make it. Your opinions are certainly welcome.

Note: The number in parenthesis is the total carried by the team to start the 2010 season by position.

QUARTERBACK (2)

IN: Joe Flacco, Tyrod Taylor

Note: Third-stringer Hunter Cantwell struggles against the 2’s and 3’s so he’s a practice squad guy at best.

RUNNING BACK (4)

IN: Ray Rice, Vonta Leach, Ricky Williams, Anthony Allen

Note: Jalen Parmele is well-liked by the coaches and the team may have gone with a fifth RB if Taylor’s injury wasn’t an issue. But it could be and if it is, Parmele may be working in another city. Damien Berry is a solid practice squad candidate.

WIDE RECEIVER (6)

IN: Anquan Boldin, Lee Evan, Torrey Smith, David Reed(reserve/injured list), Tandon Doss, LaQuan Williams

Note: Brandon Jones loses out in a numbers game but played and practiced well when called upon. He may get looks from other teams in need…Marcus Smith’s impersonation of a WR finally ends…James Hardy’s hamstring and unimpressive camp…David Reed’s 1 game suspension gives the team a 1 week reprieve on a roster spot, essentially allowing them to carry 54 players through week 1.

TIGHT END (3)

IN: Ed Dickson, Dennis Pitta, Kris Wilson

Note: Time for the Ravens to finally admit that Davon Drew was a bad draft pick back in 2009

OFFENSIVE LINE (8)

IN: Bryant McKinnie, Ben Grubbs, Matt Birk, Marshal Yanda, Michael Oher, Jah Reid, Mark Levoir, Bryan Mattison

Note: Ramon Harewood did little during the preseason to warrant another team claiming him for their 53 man roster. He’ll be placed on the practice squad. Tim Barnes is likely to make it to the PS also.

DEFENSIVE LINE (9)

IN: Haloti Ngata, Cory Redding, Terrence Cody, Arthur Jones, Pernell McPhee, Paul Kruger, Brandon McKinney

Note: Team likes their defensive rotation up front and they could go with 9 D-Linemen again and if so they will be Lamar Divens and Bryan Hall. A castoff from another team is also a possibility and if that happens Hall could be a PS guy

LINEBACKERS (9)

IN: Ray Lewis, Terrell Suggs, Jameel McClain, Dannell Ellerbe, Sergio Kindle, Jarret Johnson

Note: One of if not the toughest unit to predict for the 53. Tavares Gooden isn’t dependable while Jason Phillips is slow in pass coverage and sideline to sideline…Prescott Burgess is a solid special teams player while Josh Bynes is an up and Albert McClellan has been steady. Newcomer Michael McAdoo will get some consideration but probably hit the PS. Brendon Ayanbadejo might not make enough plays to justify the higher pay. Close call here but this group will see some surprise cuts -- final 3 will be Phillips, Bynes and McClellan.

SECONDARY (9)

IN: Ed Reed, Bernard Pollard, Jimmy Smith, Cary Williams, Chris Carr, Lardarius Webb, Tom Zbikowski, Haruki Nakamura and Domonique Foxworth.

Note: Foxworth should take a pay cut and if he does, he’s in. If he refuses he could be the odd man out and that would pave the way for another corner. Chykie Brown hasn’t played well during camp so don’t let the pick 6 foul you. He’s been outplayed by Talmadge Jackson and Josh Victorian and to an extent by Danny Gorrer. Mana Silva could be a PS candidate.

SPECIALISTS (3)

IN: Sam Koch, Billy Cundiff, Morgan Cox

The roster decisions at linebacker and in the secondary are difficult enough. Tyrod Taylor’s injury while not believed to be serious has to raise concerns. Adding a third quarterback makes the decisions at LB and in the secondary even more challenging. The feeling here is that there will be some surprise cuts just as there was back on Black Monday.

It won’t be pretty for some.

You know kind of like last night’s game when the following would have been a nice pre-emption.

3 comments :

Jerry B said...

All appear reasonable to me, TL, but.....they really need an experienced backup QB. No knock against Taylor, who has shown promise, but we were able to win a Super Bowl with an experienced backup and might need one again. It was important enough last year to pay Bulger over $3.5M and Taylor's injury highlights the current need. Of all the likely candidates, my favorite would be Jake Delhomme, who has Super Bowl experience.....

Tony Lombardi said...

I've been hearing that the team may have a side deal going on with Bulger in the event that Flacco goes down. If true, that's really smart because in essence the Ravens get to carry a 3rd quarterback without: 1) paying him; and 2) accounting for him on the 53 man squad.

PLUS he is better than anyone else currently on the market.

Jerry B said...

That's encouraging, if true, because they could win with him. He's got experience, a very quick release and is deadly accurate! Yep, that would definitely work. Hope you're right, TL.....