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Lombardi's Way Ravens Roundup

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Injuries in The NFL

It’s heartbreaking to see any athlete go down with a devastating injury. All of the work in the gym and in the classroom – all of the sacrifices made to hone one’s craft, can come crashing down in a split second.

Minnesota Vikings quarterback Teddy Bridgewater experienced that yesterday.

The non-contact injury was said to be so gruesome that his teammates nearby vomited. The squad’s hopes and dreams for 2016 were shattered, at least temporarily, as brothers-in-arms agonized the loss of their fallen mate.

Why is it that these supremely conditioned athletes continue to suffer major injuries despite the absence of contact? Bridgewater, Ravens tight ends Ben Watson and Dennis Pitta, are among the many who are victims of such injuries.

Is it the way in which these athletes train? Are they focused so much upon muscle development that they lose sight of the value of flexibility thus leaving themselves vulnerable to these injuries?

It’s certainly something to consider, even study.

Here’s to your full and speedy recovery Teddy. The NFL won’t be the same without you in 2016.

Paul Kruger Return?

As soon as word of Paul Kruger’s release by the Cleveland Browns hit social media, Ravens fans began opining on the value of the edge defender’s return to Baltimore. It immediately called to mind an oft-repeated cliché in NFL circles: “One man’s treasure is another man’s trash.”Ravens roundup

Paul Kruger was a good player for the Ravens and he contributed in a big way during Super Bowl 47. But in a league that values defenders who can disrupt the passing game, there’s a reason the Browns parted ways with Kruger. Try $7M in cash last year for 2 ½ sacks.

But the Browns cut ties even before attempting a restructure or discuss a pay cut with Kruger.

Kruger was ranked 56 among edge defenders in 2015 by Pro Football Focus. He’s 30 years old and is a one-dimensional player. Even at the vet minimum the Ravens have younger and less expensive options than the former Ute.

Pass.

Key Defenders

The Ravens are counting on CJ Mosley and Jimmy Smith to have big seasons in 2016. Anything less could trigger the demise of the team’s defense and the end of Dean Pees as the defensive coordinator.

Mosley looks tentative, as if he’s thinking too much and not attacking the line of scrimmage. He may even be overly concerned about the passing game since his performances in coverage from 2015 left a lot to be desired and were often criticized. Maybe it’s the burden of being the signal caller during a season when the pressure is on Pees’ unit. Perhaps it’s all of the above.

Perhaps the Ravens should dial it back to Mosley’s rookie campaign, define the differences between then and now and simplify things for the former ‘Bama backer. He certainly seemed to play more instinctively and aggressively when he wasn’t wearing the green dot.

Jimmy Smith has had an up and down summer. He is moving in the right direction and his play has improved over the past couple of weeks. The Ravens need that trend to continue particularly with the struggles of Smith’s bestie Shareece Wright this summer. Unfortunately, we won’t find out if the secondary has it together until Tyrod Taylor and the Buffalo Bills come to town. But based on the preseason performances Taylor and Sammy Watkins should be licking their chops when they waltz into town.

Breshad Perriman

All eyes will be on the Ravens 2015 No. 1 pick when the Ravens travel to New Orleans to take on the Saints this Thursday night. But don’t amp up your expectations. Taking the field alone is a building block for Perriman at this point, as he aims to be a productive teammate during the regular season.

Those of us who have seen him practice can easily see the speed that sets him apart. Patience is key with Perriman and if they can get the former Central Florida Knight on track, the Ravens can potentially have their best receiving corps in their 21-year history.

Imagine a Ravens team that can score quickly and force opponents to become one-dimensional.

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Tony Lombardi

About Tony Lombardi

Tony is 24×7 Networks, LLC’s founder (the parent of EutawStreetReport.com and RussellStreetReport.com) His work has been featured on various sports websites and he is a regular guest on 105.7 The Fan and he hosts “The Fanimal” also heard on 105.7 The Fan, Saturdays from 8-9AM. Among his favorite things in life are his wife, kids, family, friends, The Beatles, Breaking Bad, Gladiator, The Godfather, Guinness, orange crushes, meatballs and Key West, not necessarily in that order. Follow Tony on Twitter @RSRLombardi.

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