Dime Coverage: Pre-Season Game #4 vs. St.Louis Rams
This “game” can often be described as the least entertaining of the four that each NFL team must navigate before it all counts for real next week.
Still it is football, right? So with that in mind there is plenty to keep fans occupied tonight even though most of starters will be doing the same thing that I am this evening – watching to see who their teammates will be.
(You can discuss this post, and this game on the BSL Board here.)
- The Wide Receiver battle royal should finally be settled after tonight. So who comes out of this scrap with a purple jersey? The team could keep seven (seems unlikely) or probably six so it’s imperative that players such as Tandon Doss and LaQuan Williams show their worth tonight. Marlon Brown and Aaron Mellette need solid showings as well to show that they should on this team. Deonte Thompson’s status could make the process easier if he if he were to be placed on Injured Reserve but that isn’t the case at this stage. We’ve discussed this position enough over the course the Pre-Season and each candidate has a different skill-set that could prove valuable. The final determination should be interesting in who makes the final cut.
- Does A.Q. Shipley start tonight as was indicated a few weeks ago? He and Gino Gradkowski have been alternating starts and snaps during these exhibition games to find Matt Birk’s replacment. Since most starters will be on the sidelines in St.Louis could that mean that Gino has won the job. Who knows? As Jim Caldwell stated this week, “it may be too close to call”.
- Caleb Hanie. With some uncertainty surrounding Tyrod Taylor’s hea;th it would be assumed that Hanie would get the bulk of the snaps tonight in an effort to prove that the Ravens should keep three quarterbacks. A strong showing may help but I hadn’t expected Hanie to be in the discussion. This may be just a audition for other teams.
- The situation at Running Back has become crowded all of a sudden after Rice and Pierce. Bobby Rainey, Anthony Allen, and Delone Carter are competining for the third spot and it will bear watching just who gets the most carries this evening. Rainey has speed and has had another good pre-season, Allen has proven valuable on Special Teams, while Carter who just arrived last week has the most experience. Things are even tighter with Baltimore expected to keep two Fullbacks. Who wins the job?
- Bajema or Furstenburg? Who becomes the third Tight End? It depends on which direction the team wants to go. A blocking reliable veteran or a proming pass catcher? I have a feeling that the Ravens will try to sneak the former Terp on to the Practice Squad when all is said and done.
- Special Teams. This was a huge strength during the championship run and with a turnover in the roster key contributors are no longer in-house. That means a new unit must make the cut. We saw Jerry Rosburg’s group up a Punt Return for a Touchdown and even though it was Pre-Season you’d have to thing that coverage may take a step back this season. Can anyone establish themselves tonight?
- DeAngelo Tyson. This is his last chance to prove that he should stay. With Terrence Cody’s improved play he’s no longer the obvious cut. He showed last season that he could contribute on the field and if he isn’t retained this season it will only be because of a numbers game. I’d expect him to have a job somewhere if not in Baltimore.
- Nigel Carr and Brandon Copeland should both see plenty of time tonight at linebacker. Can they provide enough of a reason for them to stick around. That may be difficult in what is now a crowded position even with Jameel McClain’s move to the PUP.
- The Secondary still seems a bit murky. Asa Jackson has had a great camp but he’ll be suspended 8 games. Christian Thompson will be suspended for half that amount. How will these situations effect roster selection?
- Omar Brown and Anthony Levine are down to the final cuts. With the suspension issues above would the Ravens consider keeping more than three Safeties? We’ll see.