Brandon 'Wyatt Earp' Williams Hints at Return, and 'Hell's Coming With Me'
Oh, Brandon Williams.
We love this post for so many reasons …
First and foremost, it hints that Williams will return to the football field in the near future with the caption, "Soon. #IWillRise." That's excellent news for a Ravens' 23rd-ranked run defense that has struggled since he injured his foot in Week 2. Williams is one of the best defensive tackles in football.
With Williams in the lineup the first two games, Baltimore's defense only allowed an average of 85 rushing yards per game. With Williams on the sideline in the next three games, the unit has surrendered 149 rushing yards per game.
"This explains why the Ravens made Williams a priority in free agency, retaining him with a five-year, $54 million deal that included $27.5 million guaranteed," wrote ESPN. "He was No. 1 on ESPN's free agent rankings this offseason."
The second reason we love this post? It's quintessential Brandon Williams – creative and fun, yet fierce. It doesn't get any more hardcore than Kurt Russell's Wyatt Earp from "Tombstone."
And the third reason we love this post: when Williams does come back, he's coming with a vengeance. Williams was one of the players this offseason that said this defense had the potential to be as good as the 2000 squad. The unit hasn't reached that standard (can anyone, really?), but it notched 10 turnovers in the first two games and looked more dominant with Williams up front.
"You tell them I'm coming, and Hell's coming with me, you hear?" Williams says via Earp's movie lines. "HELL'S COMING WITH ME."
Yes, please. You are welcome any time.
Now, in realistic terms … how soon is "soon"?
Head Coach John Harbaugh said we'd know Williams is close when he returns to practice. He did not practice Wednesday, casting doubt that he'll be ready for the Chicago Bears. Even if he returns Thursday or Friday, you'd think he needs a little more practice time before stepping into game action.
But, who knows? With Hell by his side, I suppose it's possible.
Revisiting Willie Henry Roster Decision, Marlon Humphrey on Special Teams, Alex Collins' Technique
When the Ravens were making roster decisions heading into the season, there was a popular sentiment that General Manager Ozzie Newsome and Harbaugh should trim the DEEP defensive line to make room for more players at thinner positions.
They didn't do that.
Presumably, they chose to keep players they knew were NFL ready over players with potential, even if the position was a greater need.
Fast forward to five weeks into the season, and the Ravens have already had to dig deep into their defensive line because of injuries, and low and behold, it looks like they have a legit player on their hands with Willie Henry. He seemed expendable because he was inactive for eight games last year before going on injured reserve.
"Count me among those who felt the Ravens could cut Willie Henry in training camp because they were so deep along the defensive line and they needed help elsewhere," wrote The Baltimore Sun's Jeff Zrebiec. "The Ravens obviously knew what they were doing. He's really come on the past few weeks and looks like an integral part of the defensive line going forward."
Zrebiec offered many other notes and opinions in his latest column that's worth a read, but I pulled out just two more intriguing quick-hit thoughts below:
- "As his role on defense keeps growing and with Smith ailing, I'm not sure I'd be risking playing [first-round pick Marlon] Humphrey on special teams as much as he is right now."
- "It was just one game and he'll be tested every week, but running back Alex Collins clearly is working on his ball security. That was evident in the way he was holding the ball Sunday, taking a page out of Tiki Barber's book."
Sorting Out Roles of Ravens Running Backs
The Ravens have been using a running back by committee approach on offense all year, and that will likely continue after the latest injury to Terrance West. He reportedly won't have an "extended absence" but the fact that the Ravens signed Bobby Rainey suggests his return isn't imminent either.
With so much up in the air, ESPN sorted through what each running back's role could be going forward. Here's what the website sees:
Buck Allen = most valuable fantasy option
*For all you fantasy owners out there, this is the answer to your biggest question. The logic here is that Allen got the most carries last week and inherited West's red-zone role. Allen got 21 carries compared to Alex Collins' 12 and he scored a touchdown when the Ravens called his number at the 1-yard line.
*Alex Collins = most intriguing upside *If Collins continues to prove that his fumbling days are behind him, the Ravens could increase his carries because his 7.1-yard-per-carry average leads the NFL and more than doubles Allen's 3.5-yard average. Despite having the fewest carries on the team, he has the most rushing yards with 261. He's explosive and always threatens to break a big play, so despite seeing the field less, he still produces.
Bobby Rainey = insurance as No. 3 Back *The Ravens re-signed Rainey Tuesday partly because he knows the Ravens' offensive system after spending* *training camp and the preseason in Baltimore. "He will get carries if Allen and Collins get nicked up," writes ESPN. "Rainey didn't show much this summer with the Ravens outside of some good runs in the preseason finale. The Ravens are looking at him simply as experienced insurance." Rainey can also contribute on special teams.
Watch Ravens Offensive Line Keep Khalil Mack at Bay
The NFL Network strapped a mic on reigning Defensive Player of the Year Khalil Mack during Sunday's game against the Ravens, and it's certainly worth a watch.
Mack brought plenty of fire and intensity to the game, but the Ravens offensive line slowly, but surely put that fire out by keeping him at bay. The unit kept one of the most dangerous edge defenders away from Joe Flacco.
According to Pro Football Focus, Mack didn't record a single pressure, hit or sack for the first time since the final game of his rookie season in 2014.
My favorite part of the video below is when center Ryan Jensen, who calls himself an "annoying mosquito," gets under the Raiders' skin starting at that 1:11 mark. Jensen continues to block Mack until the whistle blew while Mack was on the ground but trying to get back up to make a play. The result was a little shoving match, which Jensen's teammates joke happens about four times a game.
Mack called Ravens players "soft as hell" a few times, but they certainly did their job Sunday.