After two preseason games the Ravens have done little to develop any rhythm on offense, cohesion on defense and no one has stepped up as worthy candidate to start opposite Torrey Smith at wide receiver.
John Harbaugh and his staff hope that preseason game 3 will hold plenty of answers. They will need to make their first cuts by August 27 (from 90 to 75) and then they will have to set their 53-man roster two days after the preseason finale in St. Louis (August 29) on August 31.
Based upon the practices open to the media and the first two preseason games here’s the third 53 man projection.
NOTE: The actual number of “IN’s” don’t equal 53 due to positional battles that are far from decided. The numbers shown next to the position represent the number of players typically retained by the Ravens at that position.
IN (2): Joe Flacco; Tyrod Taylor
OUT: In Projection 2.0 Caleb Hanie was labeled Curtis Painter 2.0. Apparently he’s not even that good. When you don’t see the field in Preseason Game 2 when trailing 23-7 after three quarters, you have no shot at the Final 53. Sorry Caleb.
RUNNING BACK (4)
IN (5): Ray Rice; Bernard Pierce; Vonta Leach; Anthony Allen; Kyle Juszczyk
OUT: Damien Berry
PRACTICE SQUAD: Bobby Rainey’s contributions in the return game could save him particularly if Jacoby Jones’ struggles continue.
WIDE RECEIVER (6)
IN (4): Torrey Smith; Jacoby Jones; Tandon Doss; Brandon Stokley
BUBBLE: LaQuan Williams; David Reed; Marlon Brown; Aaron Mellette; Deonte Thompson
OUT: Tommy Streeter
PRACTICE SQUAD: Mellette could land here and Brown’s injury could land him on IR.
UPSET SPECIAL: If Bobby Rainey and Deonte Thompson can assert themselves as good return options for Jerry Rosburg and Jacoby Jones continues to struggle in the passing game, suddenly Jones’ $4.9M cap figure (the team’s 8th highest) could be difficult to ignore. The team could save $3M but releasing Jones who hardly looks like a starting receiver, something the Houston Texans realized after the 2011 season. Jones is often looked upon as a dynamic returner and it’s hard to argue with the results. But let’s give the special teams unit some credit to for parting the red sea at times for the speedster…David Reed’s special teams play could also save him. He’s a favorite of ST Coordinator Jerry Rosburg.
TIGHT END (3)
IN (2): Ed Dickson; Dallas Clark;
BUBBLE: Matt Furstenburg; Visanthe Shiancoe; Billy Bajema
NOTE: Dennis Pitta because he didn’t start the season on PUP isn’t eligible. If reports are true that Pitta has the possibility of returning later in the season the Ravens essentially have two options: 1) Place him on the active 53; or 2) Place him on IR “designated to return” like the Ravens did with Ray Lewis last season. Keep in mind that such a designation can be used only once each season, making this roster decision particularly interesting. (Special thanks to “Joe”)
OFFENSIVE LINE (9)
IN (8): Bryant McKinnie; Kelechi Osemele; Gino Gradkowski; Marshal Yanda; Michael Oher; Jah Reid; A.Q. Shipley; Ricky Wagner.
BUBBLE: Ramon Harewood;
PRACTICE SQUAD: David Mims; Roger Gaines; Jack Cornell
IR: Ryan Jensen
DEFENSIVE LINE (8)
IN (7): Haloti Ngata; Art Jones; Pernell McPhee; Chris Canty; Marcus Spears; Brandon Williams; DeAngelo Tyson;
BUBBLE: Terrence Cody;
IN (9): Terrell Suggs; Elvis Dumervil; Arthur Brown; Daryl Smith; Adrian Hamilton; Courtney Upshaw; John Simon; Albert McClellan; Josh Bynes;
BUBBLE: Bryan Hall
PRACTICE SQUAD: Brandon Copeland; Nigel Carr
PUP: Jameel McClain
IN (3): Michael Huff; Matt Elam; James Ihedigbo
BUBBLE: Omar Brown; Brynden Trawick
SUSPENSION: Christian Thompson
IN (4): Lardarius Webb; Jimmy Smith; Corey Graham; Chykie Brown;
BUBBLE: Marc Anthony; Moe Lee; Chris Johnson
SUSPENSION (Not Part of 53): Asa Jackson
IN (3): Sam Koch; Justin Tucker; Morgan Cox
SUMMARY: This projection lists 47 players as “IN” with another 17 players competing for the other 6 roster spots. It goes without saying that Thursday night, August 22 will affect many careers when the Ravens host the Carolina Panthers.