Thanks to the weird schedule, we have a special Thursday edition of Hot Take Tuesday this week!
Warning: This take is piping hot and highly controversial.
The Ravens’ best position group may very well be their cornerbacks, led by Marcus Peters and Marlon Humphrey. Throw in reliable veteran Jimmy Smith, and the group is certainly one of the more formidable in the league.
So. what do they do best? The two take the ball away at an incredible clip, particularly by poking it free. Humphrey has coined it the ‘Fruit Punch,’ but it’s really a skill mastered by former Bears’ corner Peanut Tillman. This season, Humphrey seems to have passed the skill onto Peters, who has forced some fumbles himself.
The style of play necessary to cause these turnovers is exciting to watch and often works – why else would us fans love it so much?
But is it always worth the risk?
Every time I watch the Ravens play, it seems tackles made by anyone in the secondary include a left hook to the ball or relentless tugging at the rock while the offensive player goes down. This essentially happens on a tackle-to-tackle basis.
Obviously, this worked very well at the start of the season. But now the Ravens corners have a reputation, and runners hold onto the ball for dear life as the Baltimore secondary swarms. That is, they now hold on for dear life as they carry the secondary for extra yardage.
Here’s where I stand on the ‘Fruit Punch’ at this point: it has to be a calculated risk that’s taken less frequently than it currently is.
Of course it’ll work now and then (Peters actually used it to force a fumble that bounced out of bounds against Pittsburgh last night), but more and more frequently, it allows the opponent to pick up extra yardage on the Ravens.
Baltimore has a stout defense, so it can afford to take risks when it comes to blitzing or coverage, but when it comes to potentially allowing extra yardage, the Ravens have to be smarter.
This won’t be an easy conversation, but Wink Martindale has to sit down with Humphrey and Peters and remind them that turnovers won’t come on every play.
Go for them when the tackle is easily secured, but don’t let runners chug forward on every play.