The Baltimore Ravens will convene in just a few days as they begin their defense of their title as World Champions.
As we are all aware, Ozzie Newsome & Company boldly dismantled the team’s defense, an unusual tactic for a champion yet warranted nonetheless. The team sought to get younger and faster and on paper they have succeeded.
But now it’s time to move our attention away from paper and towards the field and in doing so, here’s an early projection (and we’ll update along the way) on who will be among the team’s final 53 when they take the field on Thursday Night, September 5, 2013 in Denver to face Peyton Manning and the Broncos.
Note: The number in parenthesis represents the usual number of players at a given position that the team carries on their 53-man squad.
IN: Joe Flacco; Tyrod Taylor
OUT: There may be a day when Caleb Hanie takes the field and impresses Ravens fans in preseason mop up duty but let me just remind you that we’ve been there and done that before (see Curtis Painter). QB’s like Hanie will always be available in an emergency situation. Besides, if things get that bad and they need to rely upon the likes of Hanie, it’s SOL for the Ravens.
RUNNING BACK (4)
IN: Ray Rice; Bernard Pierce; Anthony Allen; Kyle Juszczyk
OUT: Damien Berry
PRACTICE SQUAD: Bobby Rainey is a poor man’s Ray Rice and appears more svelte heading into TC 2013. But a No. 3 RB must bring something to special teams and as long as Jacoby Jones is on the roster, there’s little for him to do.
NOTE: If Vonta Leach returns it will have a ripple effect and potentially threaten Allen and Furstenburg.
WIDE RECEIVER (6)
IN: Torrey Smith; Jacoby Jones; Tandon Doss; Deonte Thompson; David Reed; Aaron Mellette
OUT: LaQuan Williams
PRACTICE SQUAD: Tommy Streeter gets another season with the team to broaden his skills. He’s still just too one-dimensional and doesn’t contribute on teams.
TIGHT END (3)
IN: Dennis Pitta; Ed Dickson; Matt Furstenburg
OUT: Billy Bajema ~ A no brainer if Leach returns.
OFFENSIVE LINE (9)
IN: Bryant McKinnie; Kelechi Osemele; Gino Gradkowski; Marshal Yanda; Michael Oher; Jah Reid; A.Q. Shipley; Ricky Wagner.
BUBBLE: Ramon Harewood, Ryan Jensen; Jack Cornell
PRACTICE SQUAD: David Mims; Roger Gaines
DEFENSIVE LINE (8)
IN: Haloti Ngata; Art Jones; Pernell McPhee; Chris Canty; Marcus Spears; Brandon Williams; DeAngelo Tyson; Terrence Cody;
IN: Terrell Suggs; Elvis Dumervil; Arthur Brown; Daryl Smith; Jameel McClain; Courtney Upshaw; John Simon; Albert McClellan; Josh Bynes;
BUBBLE: Adrian Hamilton; Bryan Hall
PRACTICE SQUAD: Brandon Copeland
IN: Michael Huff; Matt Elam; James Ihedigbo
BUBBLE: Christian Thompson; Omar Brown
IN: Lardarius Webb; Jimmy Smith; Corey Graham; Asa Jackson; Chykie Brown; Marc Anthony
IN: Sam Koch; Justin Tucker; Morgan Cox