Part I: 2009 Studs & Duds
Part II: The Best & Worst Plays of 2009
Part III: The Best & Worst Games of 2009 (team)
Part IV: The Best & Worst Games of 2009 (individual)
Part V: The Best & Worst Offseason Moves
Your thoughts and opinions as always are welcomed!
Studs & Duds
First, let me explain my definition of each.
A stud for purposes of this review is a player who performed beyond expectations even if those expectations were relatively high to begin with. Consideration is also given to value. What was that player paid and what did he deliver?
Similarly a dud is a player who underachieved and failed to meet expectations. Once again payola enters the equation and a watchful eye is placed on value.
Ray Rice: Rice delivered 2,041 yards from scrimmage during the regular season plus he delivered another 343 yards in 2 playoff games all for the bargain basement price of $385,000.
Marshal Yanda: Yanda took over the starting RG duties from Chris Chester in Week 12 and from that point forward they averaged over 180 rushing per game. He had not one but two key blocks to spring Ray Rice for the 83 yard TD run on the first play from scrimmage during the Wild Card playoff game in New England. Yanda’s W-2 will read $460,000.
Michael Oher: The 2009 first round selection was a starter from day 1 of his first OTA and never looked back. The runner-up offensive rookie of the year showed great versatility playing both right and left tackle and never missed a start. Like Yanda, Oher delivers a welcomed level of nastiness. (2009 salary: $310,000 plus a roster bonus of $940,000).
Dwan Edwards: Once labeled Mr. Softee by many, Edwards had a career year as a rotation guy on the defensive line and eventually assumed Trevor Pryce’s starting position. His high motor and hustle paved the way to 47 tackles (2 for a loss) and one sack. Comparatively speaking Kelly Gregg had 63 tackles and 3 sacks. The unrestricted free agent’s take home pay in 2009: $1,000,000.
Lardarius Webb: Before his injury Webb showed excellent instincts with a nose for the football. Pound for pound he was one of the team’s best tacklers and he adds a degree of explosiveness in short spaces and in the return game. The 3rd round pick collected $310,000 in 2009.
Honorable Mention: Willis McGahee
LJ Smith: A mystery signing if there ever was one…John Harbaugh was intimately aware of Smith’s china doll “toughness” yet they signed him for $1,500,000. That equates to $750,000 per catch.
Demetrius Williams: Here’s a player who had an opportunity to step up and failed, tallying just 8 catches for 142 yards – that equates to about $125,000 per catch. Word is he wants to hire LJ’s agent.
Mark Clayton: The 2005 first round pick has never reached expectations and for a player supposedly playing for his next contract he was anything but clutch. Thirty-four catches for 480 yards is solid if you are a rookie chosen in the fourth round, not one paid $2.07 million.
Terrell Suggs: He was out of shape from day 1 of training camp and never really worked his way back into shape. He also proved to be a slight disruption off the field with some domestic issues. Four and one-half sacks and failure to contain on the edge is far less than the Ravens bargained for after agreeing to a new deal that included $33 million in bonuses.
Tavares Gooden: He was supposed to be willing and able to step in for the departed Bart Scott yet was eventually replaced by the much more dependable undrafted free agent Dannell Ellerbe. Gooden shows flashes but may not amount to much more than a special teams player. (Take home pay: $385,000).