THE NICKEL PACKAGE: 5 Things to Look for Tonight

Jacoby Camp 728

The Ravens will make their home preseason debut tonight at M&T Bank Stadium where thousands of fans will experience for the first time the enhancements made to the building intended to “enhance the fan experience.”

While they are observing and evaluating the new creature comforts they might also want to focus in on the performances of these players:

1. Pernell McPhee had a very productive rookie campaign in 2011 but his play slipped a bit in 2012 due in part to knee problems that derailed his offseason conditioning program. McPhee is in much better shape this season and is now being asked to play OLB. It’s a somewhat curious move because McPhee is a very good three-technique DT particularly in the nickel and dime situations. It’s a small body of work to project future success but the former Bulldog from Mississippi State didn’t seem quite as comfortable at OLB.

2. Billy Bajema is considered to be the Ravens best blocking tight end but that doesn’t necessarily make him a good blocking tight end – just the best of a substandard bunch when it comes to road grading. Is it enough to save his job? Even money says, “No” but it’s certainly something to pay close attention to. You can bet FilmStudy will!

3. Receivers LaQuan Williams and Marlon Brown played well during the preseason opener in Tampa and they’ve both had a productive camp. Hopefully we’ll see one or both get some PT with the 1’s tonight because clearly players like Tandon Doss and Deonte Thompson haven’t done anything to lock down their apparently higher positions on the depth chart.

4. Defensive backs Moe Lee (CB) and Brynden Trawick (SS) are both players possessing athleticism that is hard to ignore. Each needs to refine their skills and develop consistency. Lee has good size and competes aggressively in his one-on-one battles with a nice burst to the ball. Trawick also has size, could be a thumper in the box and is a worthy developmental player if he continues to contribute in a big way on special teams as he did last week in Tampa.

5. Jacoby Jones is a fan-favorite and does provide big play ability. But as a receiver he has been inconsistent and his route running is limited. He needs to begin to assert himself because if not his $3 million salary could be allocated elsewhere.


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About Tony Lombardi

Tony Lombardi
Tony is 24x7 Networks, LLC's founder (the parent of and His work has been featured on various sports websites and he is a regular guest on 105.7 The Fan. A diehard Fab Four fan, Tony is a frustrated musician who thinks beating on the steering wheel is akin...more

12 Raves on “THE NICKEL PACKAGE: 5 Things to Look for Tonight

  1. Cerebral on said:

    Tony,I hear you. I mentioned on my previous reply that either Doss or Thompson would not make the 53. Two “iffy” receivers are one too many. I personally believe that Marlon B. has sleeper potential. We’ll know more after tonight. Also, don’t sleep on Jacoby. There are rumors that there is more than meets the eye to Jacoby’s first failure of his conditioning test. If Jacoby doesn’t light it up tonight, it is contract renegotiating time. We can’t afford 4.8M for a ST player. Also, look for Moe L. to displace Marc A. on the roster. It appears that the draft was not the blockbuster success we originally thought. The addition of Doom and the change of position for McPhee has effectively neutralized any chance of Simon playing and Marc A. and Ryan J. are not projected to help us now or in the near future. Do you think we could have packaged a few picks together and moved-up to get a receiver?

  2. Rxdoxx on said:

    And I’ll be trying to keep an eye on Furstenburg, I know he can run and can catch, hoping to see how he blocks on the line and where he ends up on ST.

    Adrian Hamilton also, hoping to see how he responds to a run/tackle as opposed to a turn him loose for the QB (course I like seeing that pressure from him, but I want to get a feel for versatility)

  3. Tommy.O on said:

    If i was king for a day i would run T.Smith, M.Brown, Mellette, and LaQuan as my top recievers until someone else proves to be better in “games”. I am so sick of hearing that Soft and Charmin Doss is looking good in practice but when the lights come on he disappers. I want to give the newer guys a shot with the 1′s to see if they can preform under lights. They may be beasts against 2′s and 3′s but i wanna see Mellette, Brown, Williams against the 1′s

    • Big C on said:

      In the word of the Immortal Raekwon da Chef of the Wu-Tang Clan… Politic Ditto. Completely agree, lets see LaQuan and the young guns get a series or 2 with Joe. LaQuan will get a series or 2 for sure, but Mellette deserves some run too. Marlon Brown has been hurt and he’s already coming back off a knee…if he can’t go full speed I’d rather see him sit than risk injury.

  4. Big C on said:

    It’s not like we don’t like Doss and Thompson, I’m sure we all can agree if they can make plays for us we’ll take them. But what makes them really sickening is we get fed all this stuff about how good they and they make no plays… I mean Doss is in his 3rd year, it’s now or never.

  5. justifythegame on said:

    I hear a lot of hype on Deonte Thompson, but from the little I saw from him last week its evident he isn’t ready to play WR in the NFL. There are a number of speedsters like him in the NFL that a projects, and most of them don’t pan out, like the Raiders crop of WRs or even Devin Hester playing WR on the bears. Deonte just isn’t there in terms of running routes and catching the ball. I was excited about him but now I think he is a guy who needs to go on the practice squad and learn how to play (if he can at all).

    We re-signed David Reed, who has had an injury history, but he is a guy with good speed but can run and catch 100x better than Deonte. I think we need to give him a chance to start and see if there is any potential for him to elevate his game.

    Tandon Doss has good hands, but the guy isn’t going to battle for any balls, and isn’t going to make any big plays. I don’t think he has much else to show us but i guess we will see this year.

    Jacoby Jones is talented, but what I realized last preseason game is probably what the Texans realized. He is limited in terms of playing that #2 position, he isn’t exactly reliable. I think Jones is the guy that would make the perfect #3 (the position we are looking for now). What we should be looking for is a reliable #2 with good hands and route running capability. The more I look at Jones, the more I don’t understand how we are paying so much when we cut/reduced the salary of many overpaid Ravens.

  6. Basil on said:

    Great list Tony.
    In addition to who you mentioned, I am hoping to see strong performances from Flacco and Huff.
    And the Center competition.

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