Fans are used to looking at their computer screens during football games these days. Between checking fantasy scores, following along with other fans on social media, and checking in on other games, Sundays are now truly a multi-screen experience. However, from here on out Ravens fans will have another reason to check out their computers – using search engines to try to figure out who the heck the players on the field are.
With most of the starting cast on injured reserve (18 total players, per team), the Ravens now have their eyes on the future as they get set to play the last three games of what has been a year full of twists (of ankles), turns (of knees), and trips to the trainers room.
It’s been going on for weeks, and it’s only going to intensify Sunday against the visiting Kansas City Chiefs…fans uttering the words “Who is that guy?” or “I didn’t even know he was on the roster!” These last few games will have more of a preseason game four type feel to them than to the final weeks of an NFL season.
“They’ve been working really hard, and we’re trying to assess them,” said defensive coordinator Dean Pees about the progress that has been made by the young trio of cornerbacks. “That’ll be John [Harbaugh]’s decision and Ozzie [Newsome]’s decision if somebody comes up. Personnel is all John, so there’s nothing I can say necessarily about those guys going [in] for the game. But, I’d say those guys are working really hard.”
While the coaching staff won’t know until after watching film on Saturday just how ready some younger players will be, it’s trial by fire time with nothing to lose and nothing left to play for except pride.
“Obviously, it’s about finishing at this point,” remarked cornerback Jimmy Smith, who could see some of his reps reduced if the game gets out of hand. “Nothing has gone the way we thought it was going to go, so at this point we have three games to really go out and lay everything on the line.
“It’s huge for a lot of young players, because the evaluation process is going to start immediately, and everybody out there – like I said – already is getting evaluated.”
That includes Smith, whose season could be politely described as not his best. “They’re going to look to see who’s going to try to quit at this point, and you don’t ever want to be that guy. These games are important for the simple fact that we want to win. We have pride, and nobody wants to go out this way.”
While the team won’t quit, and putting playing for pride aside, one would argue that winning will just complicate things come draft time as the Ravens currently own the fourth overall pick.
The football will surely be watered down from here on out but it does provide the opportunity to see who makes a case for themselves to stick around in 2016 and more importantly, who doesn’t.
Want to watch the game like an evaluator? Check out FILMSTUDY’s latest article here. And, don’t forget to have Google ready.
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