Throughout the season, we’ll typically preview six things to watch during each upcoming Ravens game. With the final preseason game just hours away and limited playing time expected from the starters, we’re going to highlight players on the bubble instead.
Tonight is their Super Bowl! It’s make or break for the bubble guys and their NFL dreams hang in the balance. Well, at least during their time in Baltimore.
Grab a Natty Boh and let’s take a look:
Sergio Kindle – We referenced Kindle in a post earlier today and it’s quite possible that tonight’s game may be his final in a Ravens uniform. Kindle’s career was almost over before it started after he fractured his skull before ever stepping upon an NFL field.
The Ravens have been unable to show their ability to rush the passer and the lack of complex blitzing schemes shown in the preseason, Kindle will have to win 1-on-1 matchups to catch the coaches’ eyes.
Omar Brown – The buzz surrounding Brown stems from his knack for being around the ball. He’s become a Preseason Johnny-on-the-Spot. During the early stages of training camp, Brown wasn’t really on the radar but his three-takeaway-performance in Atlanta, quickly introduced Brown to the fan base.
After Atlanta, Brown continued to find the ball after recovering another fumble deep in Ravens territory. He wasn’t done for the night and pulled in an onside kick late in the game.
Aside from vacuuming up loose balls, Brown has only recorded three tackles in three games. As a guy who most likely will find his way onto the practice squad, Brown will need another showing like he had in Atlanta to assure him a spot on the active roster.
Chykie Brown – Even though he was a fifth-round pick last season, Brown’s time in Baltimore may soon be over.
At corner, Brown is expendable because of the flexibility provided by Corey Graham at both corner and safety. With the Ravens potentially using a spot saved in the secondary elsewhere, Brown becomes expendable.
The worst news for Brown is the special teams emergence by fellow cornerback Asa Jackson. With a deep secondary and special teams contributions already being made by other cornerbacks, Brown will probably be the odd man out.
Damien Berry – Bobby Rainey is almost guaranteed to be the third running back on the team, which isn’t good news for Berry. As a practice squad player last season, Berry may find himself back on it once again and that’s not necessarily bad news.
Berry has made improvements this season, he’s faster and he looks to be in better shape. Seventh-round pick Anthony Allen hasn’t looked great and it’s all but certain that he won’t survive the cut.
With Berry on the practice squad, he can be ready if the Ravens suffer an injury to any of their running backs and find himself promoted to the active roster.
Curtis Painter – I’ll just say it now, Painter will not make this team and I’m 99% sure of that. This game is big for Painter, as he’ll try to duplicate his efforts displayed in Atlanta where he passed for three touchdowns.
Tonight will be an audition for the rest of the league for Painter as he hopes to secure a backup quarterback position somewhere else. The best news for Painter is the film available to teams looks pretty good but it hasn’t been indicative with his performance throughout training camp.
Jack Cornell – Steve Bisciotti called 105.7 The Fan on his way to Ocean City and mentioned how much he liked Jack Cornell. No matter who you are, if the owner says he likes you and most haven’t heard of you until then, you’re going to quickly gain some notoriety.
Cornell saw significant time at right tackle while the team dealt with Bryant McKinnie’s absence either from conditioning or his longer than anticipated vacation from training camp and Kelechi Osemele’s quad injury.
Now that both of those players have returned to full health, Cornell has been pushed down the depth chart. Cornell is versatile on the offensive line and can play guard or tackle effectively.
The undrafted free agent rookie from Illinois should see increased playing time tonight and should at least be a practice squad player. A good performance tonight could help the rookie push other players like Ramon Harewood and Justin Boren from the bubble into the unemployment line.