Some were left scratching their heads when the Ravens re-signed LaQuan Williams. The Ravens have rarely carried more than 6 wide receivers and virtual locks for the team already include Torrey Smith, Steve Smith, Jacoby Jones and Marlon Brown.
The team will almost certainly use an early pick in the upcoming draft for a wide receiver plus they have receivers currently on the roster with greater upside than Williams in the forms of Aaron Mellette and Deonte Thompson.
So why bring back Williams again?
Been there, done that right?
If he was all that wouldn’t another team have taken a chance on the former Terp?
All legit questions but here’s the deal with LaQuan. He doesn’t cost them anything…no guaranteed money and his signing does not affect the cap. He’s a good guy, a hard worker, is well-liked in the locker room and perhaps most importantly he is a good special teams player. If nothing else his sense of career desperation will ratchet up the level of competition and he’ll make the other guys compete even harder.
Many have predicted that Notre Dame offensive lineman Zach Martin will become a Raven on May 8. Don’t be so sure. The Ravens learned from Marshal Yanda that they can obtain a high quality interior lineman in the middle rounds. Martin doesn’t project as a tackle at the NFL level and therefore would have to be considered a reach at 17.
Through experience and maturity the Ravens defense should improve from their 12th overall ranking in 2013 (which by the way was just 4 yards per game away from the 8th-ranked overall defense). Rookies Matt Elam, Arthur Brown and John Simon are all expected to contribute more in 2014 and the play of corners Jimmy Smith and Lardarius Webb is expected to reach a new level.
So improving upon their 8-8 mark in 2014 really rests on the shoulders of Gary Kubiak’s offense. The John Lennon lyric in The Beatles’ “Getting Better” comes to mind:
“It can’t get any worse.”
Consider these 2013 Ravens rankings in offensive categories:
- 24th: First downs
- 25th: Points per game
- 28th: Interception rate
- 31st: Passing yards per play
- 31st: Red zone percentage
- 32nd: Yards per play
- 32nd: Yards per rush
One would think that the Ravens will almost certainly improve upon 2013’s 8-8 mark.
But not Vegas!
Anyone heading to Sin City anytime soon?
This in from the Bengals’ Andy Dalton (via Peter King’s MMQB)…
“Well, I’m very confident in what I’ve done. The people who are the critics, they look at all of the negatives. They don’t look at all of the stuff that I’ve accomplished. They don’t look at that I’m one of three quarterbacks in the history of the NFL to do certain things.
“They don’t look at that kind of stuff. They want to find ways to tear me down but I’m not worried about that. They can say whatever they want. All that matters is what everyone believes in this organization and what I believe in myself. That’s how I go about my business.’’
What they believe Andy is that you yack come playoff time.
The thinking here is that this season, Dalton will be playing for his future and that means more pressure.
And pressure for Dalton is like salt to an unsuspecting slug.