After assessing the weekend’s roster moves to get down to the league mandated 75 limit by 4PM tomorrow (a couple cuts are still pending), the most surprising moves were the parting of ways with Messrs. Cornell, Harewood, Berry and Lee.
Cornell was highly regarded last season but never earned the right to even play with the twos this summer. Harewood reported in the best shape of his short career and even started at times in 2012. It’s not as though they did anything to stick with the team but the Ravens seem a bit thin at offensive line and one might think they’d get another week to mend their ways.
Don’t be surprised to see the Ravens make a move for a player from another roster to play an interior O-Line swing position – someone who can play both Guard and Center. It’s not as though Gino Gradkowski or AQ Shipley has played lights out. The fact that both are new to the starting offensive line and they’ve flipped flopped as starters during the preseason, suggests that neither is winning the job. It would be nice if the Ravens had another option should both fail.
Visanthe Shiancoe’s release was a mild surprise but like the parting of ways with Cornell and Harewood, the move could be part of the Ravens’ good faith effort to give these players a chance to hook on with other clubs now. It’s interesting that Shiancoe was signed by the Ravens before Dallas Clark, despite Clark’s availability. Yet Clark remains with the club. The tandem of Clark and Ed Dickson seems to be more complementary than Shiancoe and Dickson.
Bryan Hall dropped 45 pounds in order to migrate from an interior defensive line position to an inside linebacker. And while Hall seemed to do fine in run support, he is a liability in pass coverage and given the trend towards linebackers who can cover, the odds were stacked against the UDFA from Arkansas State.
Damien Berry has been serviceable as a running back this summer and he’s been a special teams contributor but the arrival of Delone Carter in the David Reed trade probably forced his early departure. It will be interesting to see who from the remaining candidates stick. Bobby Rainey’s skill sets, while not as accomplished, are similar to Ray Rice’s. Anthony Allen is a defender in a running back’s body and therefore valuable on special teams. Carter could be a good short down back given his low center of gravity combined with his north and south tendencies.
Tyrod Taylor needs to pass through the NFL’s concussion protocol in order to take the field on Thursday night in St. Louis. Even if he does pass it would be a mild surprise if he sees any action against the Rams. Caleb Hanie will get the bulk of the snaps if not all of them with re-signed rookie QB Dayne Crist from Kansas as the emergency fall back.
Without Taylor it may be more difficult for players like Tandon Doss, Marlon Brown, Aaron Mellette and LaQuan Williams to stake their claims in the wide receiver pecking order.