The Chicken Box James Hurst, “Starting Right Tackle?”

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*Bjorn Ironside voice*

The NFL season is upon us, my brothers! (And sisters, I suppose, but that kills the reference).

*No more Bjorn Ironside voice*

Last night marked the true beginning of the 2018 regular season, with an ugly battle between the defending Super Bowl Champions, the Eagles, and the 28-3s.. Err.. the Falcons. The Eagles won the matchup based solely on the fact that for whatever reason, Marc Trest.. Nope.. Steve Suckisian decided that Julio Jones should sit on the sideline once his team got to the red zone.

Anyway. Let’s move onto the first Chicken Box of the 2018 regular season. There’s not much Ravens news to be had, so this one may be a bit… different.

Le'Veon Bell

Le’Vegone Bell?

I’ve been very amused by the drama unfolding in Pittsburgh over the last couple of weeks or so. Arguably the best running back in the league, Le’Veon Bell of the Steelers has been catapulted to the forefront of the national football media due to his antics.. Again.

After his mid-June statement on Twitter that 2018 would be his ‘best season yet’, things have been…we’ll call it tumultuous…for the team and Bell himself. He chose to stay out of training camp, didn’t show up for preseason, and now, hasn’t been at the team facilities for the start of the season.

We already know that he isn’t playing in Pittsburgh’s Week 1 matchup against the Cleveland Browns, and sophomore James Conner will be taking his spot. But how likely is it that he sits out for longer? Say…week 4?

His agent, during an interview on SiriusXM, implied that he could hold out as long as Week 10, in order to protect his body, and therefore his market value in free agency, since there is little-to-no chance that the Steelers re-sign him in 2019.

But, I digress. My main point is that it has been extremely fun, watching other members of the Steelers tear into him on social media and in interviews. Not facing Bell in Week 4 (or even Week 9) would be a slight shift in advantage for the divisional tilt/rivalry games, and I’m excited to see how this all plays out.

The ‘Hurst’ Decision of the Season (so far).

Depth chart of the Ravens

Look at this depth chart carefully. Think about who played well in the preseason. Now, look at the depth chart again. Finally, ask yourself this question. Why is James Hurst starting at RT?

Don’t ask me – I can’t answer that for you. The Ravens drafted Orlando Brown, Jr. with the hope that he could blossom into a bookend RT. Guess what? He has. Or at least, he showed enough for everybody to be comfortable with him starting the season there, and keeping Hurst at his ‘best’ position, LG. Everybody had assumed, based on snap counts, and on play, that Baby Zeus had won the job.

And why shouldn’t he have? Does nobody in that front office remember what happened the last few times Hurst played tackle? Did the memories of 2015 just cease to exist? Look, man. I’m not in an NFL front office, but…this is a bad decision (until Hurst proves me wrong).

Put the rook at RT, let Hurst play the position that he’s best at.

Stop the pain before it hurts.

Marshal Yanda walks off the field in Cleveland.

I Trust Marshal Yanda.. As an OL.

I do not, however, trust him as an analyst. So, when he says things like ‘the offensive line is good to go’, but the depth chart (callback time!) has James Hurst listed as the starting right tackle, I get a little hesitant, and a lot skeptical.

To be fair, I had these same feelings when the Ravens started the season with little-known Ryan Jensen at center, and that worked out just fine, so maybe I’m overreacting (it’s overreaction season, though), but the combination of Hurst at RT, and Skura at C makes me shudder. I don’t like it, and I’m clinging to the hope that when the Ravens walk onto the field against the Bills on Sunday, we see Baby Zeus out at RT.

Yanda also said that you have to be willing to throw the ball 60 times a game, if that’s what’s required. Uh.. Marshal? You’re protecting Joe Flacco. Let’s not.

Doug Pederson is a PHENOMENAL Troll.

You guys remember when the Patriots tried one of their infamous trick plays in a fairly important game, and it failed miserably, right? If you don’t, I’m talking about this play in the last Super Bowl.

The Patriots called this play on 3rd and 5. They obviously didn’t convert it, and the internet exploded into gifs, memes, and general Tom Brady bashing (which I am all for).

So why does this make DP (probably shouldn’t call him that) a phenomenal troll? Well, not only did the Eagles call, and convert, a similar play in that same game, but last night as well! Man. Last night, as Super Bowl MVP Nickfolean Dynamite trotted to the sideline to ask if he could dial up the ‘Philly Special’, Doug Pederson already had it in mind. They called the play on.. you guessed it. 3rd and 5.

A direct reference to the failed play that arguably sealed the fate of the Patriots in February.

Friday’s Thought Pocket.

I’ve decided that, on the weeks where The Chicken Box is going to be published on a Friday, that instead of a 5th subject, I’ll instead give you a conglomeration of random thoughts (NFL/Ravens related, mostly) that I’ve had over the week. This might give you a better idea of how my brain works.. So strap in.

— Please stop wearing purple camouflage. It’s not attractive. It makes you look outlandish, unless your name is Captain Dee-fense. At least he’s supposed to look like that.

— One game down, Calvin Ridley looks like who I (and Logan Levy) thought he was.

— The Bears have a scary defensive front. I’m glad the Ravens don’t face them this season.

— Raiders are probably a bottom 5 team this year, per the last bullet point.

— Don’t steal other people’s work, change some words, then claim original rights to it.

— Trying to take shots at people on Twitter, then not responding when you’re called on it? Not a good look for yourself. Do better.

I love overreaction season, until I have to deal with homers.

The Dolphins are probably a bottom 5 team this year.

And finally…

If you’re looking for a very average Ravens podcast, I recommend Neutral Zone Infraction (@NZIPodcast on Twitter) – first episode here. At the very least, you can laugh at it.

That’s it for me, kids. Until.. *checks calendar* Monday, after the Ravens dismantle Nathan Peterman and the Buffalo Bills.

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Michael Telford

About Michael Telford

I have been an avid Ravens fan since their inception, and have written about them for a little over 5 years. I live in the Midwest region nowadays, and keep up all year, with all things Ravens, as well as the rest of the NFL. You can follow me on Twitter (@LateRoundCorner) or find me in my Facebook group (The Baltimore Elite). More from Michael Telford

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