Quarterbacks (2): Joe Flacco, Marc Bulger
Analysis: Nothing has changed from Take I of the projected 53. Flacco is the franchise QB who has really yet to take that next step forward that we expected. That said make no mistake about it he is the starter…Marc Bulger quieted (at least for now) those who said he was “done” with a very plus effort against the Redskins. Flacco should take note of the back shoulder pass that Bulger has mastered…Troy Smith might be in part, a victim of a substandard supporting cast when he’s in the game but there remains little reason to believe that the team will burn a valuable roster spot on a QB of Smith’s caliber. He or someone like him could be available for Ozzie Newsome if Flacco or Bulger goes down.
Running Backs (4): Ray Rice, Willis McGahee, Le’Ron McClain, Jalen Parmele
Analysis: No change here but Curtis Steele is knocking on the door and he was a bit more noticeable on special teams against the Redskins. Let’s keep in mind that at this time last year no one gave Matt Lawrence much of a chance to make the final 53. What he did for Jerry Rosburg made a difference. Also Steele is the team’s second leading rusher this preseason behind (are you ready for this) Haruki Nakamura.
Tight Ends (3): Todd Heap, Ed Dickson, Dennis Pitta
Analysis: Not sure what the guys at The Sun have been watching when they’ve touted Davon Drew. Nancy Drew has nearly the same chance of making the final 53.
Wide Receivers (6): Anquan Boldin, Derrick Mason, Mark Clayton, Donte Stallworth, Demetrius Williams, David Reed
Analysis: Williams benefitted by earning some reps with the 1’s but Reed by comparison had a better game. He also showed up on Rosburg’s coaching tape. He’s making a push but for the moment, Williams still holds the edge. Reed could push for a sixth WR spot on the roster, something the Ravens rarely if ever do.
Offensive Linemen (9): Jared Gaither, Ben Grubbs, Matt Birk, Marshal Yanda, Michael Oher, Chris Chester, Oniel Cousins, Tony Moll, David Hale
Analysis: This unit is pretty nicked up and there’s a job to be had here. David Hale’s injury weakens his chances but that said, no one else has really stepped up and given Gaither’s lack of dependability and the recently concussed Cousins and Moll the team almost certainly has to keep nine. By default that appears to be the former 4th round pick (and a disappointing one at that) from Weber State but don’t be surprised if that player is currently on another team’s roster.
Defensive Linemen (7): Haloti Ngata, Kelly Gregg, Trevor Pryce, Cory Redding, Terrence Cody, Kelly Talavou, Paul Kruger
Analysis: Talavou still looks like the player who will emerge from the bunched grouping that also includes Lamar Divens, Brandon McKinney and Art Jones. That said all three from that group not named Talavou were barely noticeable against the Redskins. Could a season ending hang nail be in Jones’ future?
Linebackers (9): Ray Lewis, Terrell Suggs, Jarret Johnson, Dannell Ellerbe, Tavares Gooden, Jameel McClain, Antwan Barnes, Prescott Burgess, Jason Phillips
Analysis: Phillips has shown progress and is the feisty competitor that Harbaugh seems to embrace. His progress coupled with the spotty play of Gooden and McClain could pave the way for Phillips to a few snaps with the 1’s. Ellerbe is the most consistent of the three vying for the starting position besides Lewis. Brendon Ayanbadejo is a disappointment given his slow recovery from a quadriceps injury and appears destined at this point for PUP and perhaps sometime thereafter a ticket out of town.
Secondary (10): Ed Reed, Dawan Landry, Tom Zbikowski, Haruki Nakamura, Fabian Washington, Lardarius Webb, Chris Carr, Ken Hamlin, Cary Williams, Prince Miller
Analysis: Webb’s return to the active squad and Washington’s rapid recovery help to fill in some of the blanks at corner. Williams is solid on special teams and seems to be improving each game although that’s not to say he didn’t make mistakes against the Redskins. Chris Carr has been underrated. He’s played well from the midway point of 2009 forward. Fisher had a very poor outing in DC and at this point in his career is not even the caliber of Frank Walker. Miller has been the better player and his return capabilities help. That said he’s hardly on solid footing and a veteran move from Ozzie Newsome looms.
Special Teams (3): Billy Cundiff, Morgan Cox, Sam Koch
Analysis: Shayne Graham’s kick offs were a bit better than Cundiff’s but at this point the incumbent is a bit more reliable on field goals. This one will come down to the wire and once again all things being equal why wouldn’t the Ravens go with the lower priced kicking model?