PROPS TO THE O-LINE
The Ravens offensive line has been the subject of much criticism in 2017. Yet you may be surprised to hear that there are 27 other teams that have allowed their quarterback to be hit more than Joe Flacco.
Flacco has been sacked 9 times in 5 games. Twenty other teams have given up more sacks and 3 others have had their QB flattened 9 times. Add it up and there are only 8 other teams that have allowed fewer sacks than the Ravens.
The current configuration of starters from left to right includes: Ronnie Stanley, James Hurst, Ryan Jensen, Matt Skura and Austin Howard. Three are undrafted players, one is a 6th-round pick (Jensen) and the other a first-round selection in 2016 (Stanley). Given significant injuries to Marshal Yanda, Alex Lewis and Rico Siragusa, plus the retirement of John Urschel, this unit and coaches Greg Roman and Joe D’Alessandris deserve a lot of credit.
Heading into the 2017 season and coming off a 2016 season when they were among the postseason participants, the New York Giants were highly regarded and projected by some to be a potential NFC Super Bowl representative. Yet today they sit at (0-5) with no end in sight to their misery, particularly after season-ending injuries to wide receivers Odell Beckham, Jr. and Brandon Marshall.
But the struggles don’t end there.
Recently ESPN examined the Giants eye-opening number of failed draft picks from 2009 through 2013 as compared to the other 2016 playoff teams.
Playmakers have been difficult to find for the Ravens scouting staff.
HOWARD OR HUMPHREY?
When the Ravens selected Marlon Humphrey with their first pick in the 2017 NFL Draft, it left many in the area scratching their heads wondering why Ozzie Newsome left fellow Alabama tight end O.J. Howard on the board. Then, when the Ravens lost Dennis Pitta and Crockett Gillmore to injury leaving them with the hardly dependable trio of Ben Watson, Nick Boyle and Maxx Williams, criticisms grew louder.
But now, through five weeks, early signs suggest that the Ravens made the right choice. The tight end position is far more replaceable than cornerback, and given the Achilles issues now confronting Jimmy Smith and the loss of Tavon Young during OTA’s, Humphrey’s availability and performance thus far, are key to the defense’s success.
Currently Humphrey grades out as the NFL’s 49th best corner according to Pro Football Focus and while that doesn’t set the world on fire, he’s been serviceable and showing developmental signs. Howard on the other hand has just 4 catches on 9 targets for 92 yards and 1 TD in through week 5.
“Smoke Mizzell Returns to Baltimore”
Bobby Rainey has returned to the Ravens 53-man squad, a sign that Terrance West’s calf injury might keep him sidelined for a few weeks. Rainey was outplayed badly during the preseason by Taquan Mizzell. Both however, were cut prior to the Ravens season opener. Mizzell will return to Baltimore this week as a member of the Chicago Bears. That said, he may be in street clothes. Mizzell has yet to register a single stat for the Bears.
Kapron Lewis Moore has also returned to Charm City. He now occupies a space on the Ravens 10-man practice squad. KLM spent this past offseason in Chicago and was with the Bears through training camp. The Ravens have had plenty of looks at KLM and he’s never amounted to anything. You have to wonder if his return has to do with a little espionage on the part of the Ravens. Maybe they’re looking for the inside skinny from KLM to crack Bears defensive coordinator Vic Fangio’s code?
On the season, Alex Collins has 261 yards on 37 carries, averaging 7.1 YPC (not a misprint). Collins has 68 career carries, fumbling four times…Anyone else prefer the Ravens all-white uniforms over the white jersey with black pants? Here’s to staying with that fashionable combo…Pay attention to the music at The Bank this Sunday when the Ravens host the Bears. Please, no more Taylor Swift. That music has as much connectivity to the audience as Ruth’s Chris at a vegan convention…Last and probably least, why does the Ravens Marching Band have such a prominent role in the fan’s game day experience. That ship has sailed – long ago. Does anyone use a handheld transistor radio to listen to music at the gym? Similarly, no one should mistake marching band music as pump-up-the-crowd music. It does the exact opposite.