Hours before Friday’s 9 p.m. deadline for NFL teams to trim their rosters to 53 players, cornerback Danny Gorrer tweeted a message hinting to Ravens fans that he had survived the final cut.
Gorrer had indeed survived the “final” cut but was also the first player to be released by the Ravens following said cut as he got a first hand look at how ruthless the business side of the NFL can be.
The release of Gorrer was necessary as the Ravens needed to make room on their roster for safety James Ihedigbo, who was released by the New England after starting 12 games for the AFC champions last season.
Ihedigbo was signed to add depth to an injury-laden safety unit, which thinned out over the preseason with Sean Considine suffering two concussions and Emmanuel Cook being placed on injured reserve with a broken leg.
On Tuesday, John Harbaugh held the first of his pregame press conferences with the media as the Ravens prepare for their season opener at home against the Cincinnati Bengals on Monday Night Football.
Harbaugh was asked about the addition of Ihedigbo and what it means for his secondary.
“He brings depth to the secondary and he’s a proven special teams player,” Harbaugh said.
The Ravens had a chance to study Ihedigbo as they prepared for their AFC Championship game against the Patriots, a game where Ihedigbo led the Patriots with four tackles, assisted in four additional tackles and recorded a sack.
“He started a bunch of games for New England. We played him. We really studied him. He is a very good player in the secondary – really smart player,” said Harbaugh.
Harbaugh was also quick to praise Ihedigbo’s physicality.
“[He has a] very physical style,” he said. “He’s a big, physical safety, which is what makes good special teams groups. If you look around the league, you will see the big, physical, fast safeties make a big
difference. So, he helps us there too.”
The Ravens already know a thing or two about hard hitting safeties and they have to look no further than starting strong safety Bernard Pollard to strike fear in opposing wide receivers.
Pollard already sent a warning out to the Bengals about testing the Ravens secondary over the middle of the field.
“When we see receiver come across the middle, if we are in the right defense, we are going to smack you, and we are going to let you know that you came across the middle on the wrong team,” Pollard said.
Besides special teams, the Ravens should be hopeful Ihedigbo doesn’t see the field much – they already have two of the best safeties in the NFL and any significant playing time for Ihedigbo would mean they’re playing without Pollard or Ed Reed.
Regardless of Ihedigbo’s impact on the defense, he’s a proven special teams player that can help bolster a unit that struggled last season and didn’t appear to make many improvements over the preseason.