Eisenberg: 50 Words or Less

080120-Eisenberg
RB Gus Edwards

Various thoughts on various things, all in 50 words or less:

I don't know why Gus Edwards waited until this week to sign his exclusive-rights tender, as he had few options. But I do know he'll compete with J.K. Dobbins and Justice Hill for the primary backup running back role behind starter Mark Ingram. Edge to productive incumbent Gus going in.

Even though Edwards led the Ravens in rushing as an undrafted rookie in 2018 and gained 711 yards as a backup last season, the front office keeps bringing in new backs (Ingram and Hill in 2019, Dobbins in 2020). Edwards has responded well to a lot of challenges so far.

Rookie Tyre Phillips' job description may well change because veteran tackle Andre Smith opted out of the 2020 season. Phillips is competing to start at guard but is also probably the most natural candidate to replace an injured tackle. My guess is the team adds a veteran tackle for insurance.

Head Coach John Harbaugh said the opt-outs of Smith and kick returner De'Anthony Thomas surprised the organization. But I'm not sure either player was destined to make the final roster, whereas other teams have lost starters, sometimes more than one. To this point, the Ravens have to feel fortunate.

I don't think anyone should criticize a player for opting out. It's a scary time. Everyone has the right to determine how much risk they're willing to take with their health. Former Ravens (now Vikings) D-lineman Michael Pierce has done a nice job of explaining his opt-out decision in interviews.

Thomas' opt-out seemingly creates a situation where the punt return job is rookie James Proche's to lose. If he wins it, the first NFL punt he returns outside of practice would take place in a regular season game. Sounds stressful to me but Proche would not be the first.

"Antonio Brown to the Ravens" is this year's offseason rumor that refuses to die. But I've always thought it was much ado about nothing and I'll continue to believe that until proven wrong. One reason: the team wants to grow a stable of young receivers rather than rely on veterans.

There was a lot of chatter about the Ravens possibly trading for disgruntled safety Jamal Adams, and yes, I understand he's a terrific player, but the price tag basically ended up being two first-round draft picks, and sorry, I'm just not a fan of giving up that much for anyone.

I'm guessing the Ravens were thrilled with Lamar Jackson's pitch-perfect response to being No. 1 on the NFL Network's list of top 100 players. He was excited, as he should be considering the players voted. But he immediately added he cared more about bigger things like winning a Super Bowl.

It's a testament to the strength of the Ravens' roster that beyond their league-high seven players on the top 100 list (several teams had zero) are six other players who were 2019 Pro Bowl selections – Matthew Judon, Justin Tucker, Mark Andrews, Morgan Cox, Pat Ricard and Orlando Brown Jr.

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