Dumervil Deserves Consideration Over Watt For DPOY
At the midway point of the season, NFL.com experts predicted who the Defensive Player of the Year would be.
All nine unanimously picked Texans defensive end J.J. Watt.
"Is there any question here?" wrote Charley Casserly, a former NFL general manager and executive.
"Why even pretend this is a contest?" added Judy Battista. "Watt buries this award as easily as he does opposing quarterbacks."
With all due respect to Battista, maybe there is an actual contest.
It comes in the form of Ravens outside linebacker Elvis Dumervil, who was just named the AFC Defensive Player of the Week for his 3.5-sack performance against the Miami Dolphins
Dumervil just snapped the Ravens' single-season sack record,* *which stood for 13 years. His 16 sacks this season ties Kansas City's Justin Houston for the most in the NFL.
And get this: Dumervil could break the NFL's sack record (22.5 set by Michael Strahan in 2001). He would need to average 2.5 sacks per game over the final three contests to pull it off. That's not out of the question, and if he actually sets a new record, it would be hard not to consider him over Watt.
"It's a good sign for the Ravens that Dumervil seems to be getting stronger. He has nine sacks in his last five games, which bodes well for his chances of winning the sack title," wrote CSNBaltimore.com's Clifton Brown.
The difference between Houston and Dumervil is that the Raven has played 336 fewer snaps.
Watt plays more snaps than Dumervil, too, which could work against Dumervil in the discussion. But Dumervil may be the MVP on a defense that has the league's second-worst pass defense. His ability to get to opposing quarterbacks has been a huge factor in the Ravens overcoming the deficiency and still being in the playoff hunt at 8-5.
"Not only is Dumervil turning in one of the finest defensive seasons in the 19-year history of the franchise, but his performance in 2014 has catapulted him into the Defensive Player of the Year discussion," wrote WNST's Luke Jones.
That's not to diminish what Watt has done. And that's not to say he isn't incredible. He is indeed incredible.
The point is, there should at least be a discussion.
So what does Dumervil think about all this?
He told Coleman that he should absolutely be considered for the award. But he has bigger goals on his mind.
Ravens Are Biggest Favorite Of Week 15
Not only are the Ravens favored to beat the 2-11 Jacksonville Jaguars Sunday, but Baltimore has the largest point spread of Week 15, and the largest of its season, according to ESPN's Jamison Hensley.
The Ravens are favored by a whopping 14 points over the Jaguars.
"The Ravens' history as a double-digit favorite is a strong one. The Ravens are 28-0 straight-up when they're favored by 10 points or more," wrote Hensley.
Baltimore will need the win in a tight race for a playoff spot, and it is determined not to underestimate its upcoming opponent.
Ravens' Fourth-Quarter Rushing Among NFL's Best
If the Ravens rushing attack seems to get stronger as the game goes on, that's because it does.
And the contest in Miami was a perfect example.
The Baltimore Sun's Jon Meoli pointed out that running back Justin Forsett more than doubled his rushing total with a 44-yard rumble in the fourth quarter. Bernard Pierce added runs of 23 and 22 yards, helping the Ravens run out the clock and extend their lead.
Scampers like that have Baltimore ranked third in the NFL in fourth-quarter rushing, according to Pro Football Focus.
"We have to close out every game in the fourth quarter so we feel like that's something that's been a point of emphasis for us, to finish," Head Coach John Harbaugh said. "To finish runs, to finish blocks, to finish series, to finish in the red zone, to finish games in the fourth quarter. We were definitely able to do that because of the line and the running backs and the wide receivers."
New CB Cason Drinking From FireHose
The Ravens will likely need newly- signed cornerback Antoine Cason up to speed in a hurry.
Including Cason, they only have four healthy corners, and one of them, Rashaan Melvin, has never taken a regular-season snap. The fifth corner, Anthony Levine, is recovering from a concussion sustained last week.
"Cason gives the Ravens more experience in the secondary, but the former Carolina Panthers starter has a lot to learn," wrote The Sun's Aaron Wilson. "Cason will take an accelerated crash course on the Ravens' defensive playbook after being signed Tuesday in advance of Sunday's game against the Jacksonville Jaguars."
For Cason, he's just excited for another opportunity after being cut by the Panthers last week.
"I'm just recharged and ready to get back in this," he told Wilson. "It's a great opportunity. I just want to make plays."
Jacoby Jones Entertains In 'Ravens Wired'
This week's "Ravens Wired" was good for so many reasons.
Not only did it capture the drama and excitement of a game the Ravens had to win to remain a true contender in the playoff hunt, but Jacoby Jones was entertaining as always.
Here's a sequence of him trying to figure out Dolphins fans' chants.
(Be sure to check out the whole show here.)
- NFL owners approved a new, stricter personal conduct policy. [Associated Press]