C.J. Mosley Accomplishes Something Ray Lewis Didn't
They said the comparisons weren't fair.
It wasn't fair to have Ray Lewis-type expectations of rookie C.J. Mosley because it would put "crazy pressure" on the Ravens' 17th-overall draft selection. He could buckle under Hall of Fame standards.
But the comparisons came anyway, and he didn't buckle.
Instead, he went out and did something not even the great Ray Lewis accomplished: Mosley made the Pro Bowl in his rookie season.
It wasn't just Lewis that didn't make it in his first year in the league. No Ravens rookie in franchise history has tackled that feat.
"[That's] an impressive accomplishment considering the long list of impressive defensive players to play for the Ravens over the last 19 years," wrote WNST's Luke Jones.
Let's look at some of the top draft picks in Ravens history:
Jonathan Ogden – Hall of Fame, 11-time Pro Bowler
Ray Lewis – future Hall of Famer, 3-time Defensive Player of the Year, 13-time Pro Bowler
Ed Reed –future Hall of Famer, Defensive Rookie of the Year (2004), 9-time Pro Bowler
Peter Boulware- Defensive Rookie of the Year (1997), 4-time Pro Bowler
Terrell Suggs – Defensive Rookie of the Year (2003), Defensive Player of the Year (2011), 6-time Pro Bowler
Haloti Ngata – five-time Pro Bowler
I could go on. But I won't. The list is long, and none of them did what Mosley has just done.
He's the only NFL player this season with at least 115 tackles, three sacks and two interceptions. Completely ignoring the rookie wall, Mosley's 122 tackles rank seventh in the league and first among rookies. That's one of the reasons why he's the favorite to win Defensive Rookie of the Year and would be the first Raven to earn that honor since Suggs did it more than a decade ago.
And even with all that Suggs has accomplished in his own career, and all the greats that he's lined up with, Suggs said he's never seen the likes of Mosley.
"I've never seen a rookie come in and play like him," Suggs said. "He is playing special, phenomenal. He never comes off the field. Never.
"That's why we call him half man, half amazing."
Ravens Pro Bowl Snubs
ProBowlSnubs was trending on Twitter in the United States last night.
No doubt the Ravens' snubs contributed to that trend.
In addition to Mosley, only two other Ravens made the Pro Bowl: outside linebacker Elvis Dumervil and guard Marshal Yanda. Three players is the lowest number of Ravens Pro Bowl representatives since 2005 when Ogden was the only honoree.
The Ravens have had at least four Pro Bowlers for eight straight seasons. There's a chance that they'll have at least four by the time the actual game kicks off. Due to injuries and the Super Bowl, many are bound to drop out.
Still, ESPN's Jamison Hensley says these three Ravens were snubbed, and should have made the list:
Running back Justin Forsett
Person he should have beaten out: Philadelphia's LeSean McCoy
Hensley: "His career season should've been recognized with a Pro Bowl invitation."
Outside linebacker Terrell SuggsPerson he should have beaten out: Kansas City's Tamba Hali
Hensley: "The six-time Pro Bowl player is still among the top all-around linebackers in the game."
Punter Sam Koch
Person he should have beaten out: Cincinnati's Kevin Huber
Hensley: "He ranks first in the NFL in net average (43.5) and second in gross average (47.4). Koch has also placed 48 percent of his punts inside the 20-yard line, which is fifth-best in the league. That should've been enough to earn him his first Pro Bowl selection."
CBSSports.com's Pete Prisco adds one more person to the list: right tackle Rick Wagner. The first-year starter is rated the NFL's second-best overall right tackle (behind New England's Sebastian Vollmer) by Pro Football Focus. He's the top-rated pass-blocking right tackle.
The problem is, right tackles don't get love in Pro Bowl voting.
Forsett: 'Disrespectful' To Say I'm Wearing Down
The chatter about Forsett starting to wear down is getting louder.
The talk started even before he showed signs of slowing down, just for the sheer fact that he is running more than he ever has in his career. He's carried the rock a total of 218 times, which is the 10th-most in the NFL and 100 more carries than he's had ever in his career.
"The career year for [Forsett] is ending on a down – and unfortunately predictable – note," wrote Hensley.
"In the past two games, Forsett has totaled 68 yards rushing and has been held under three yards per carry, an indication that the heaviest workload of his seven-year career is taking a toll. There have been signs of the NFL's fifth-leading rusher wearing down, from a knee injury a couple of weeks ago to an ankle injury on Sunday which forced him to miss the final nine minutes of the game."
But Forsett isn't trying to hear that.
He told reporters Sunday that he is "fine" and attributed his season-low 19-yard performance to the Texans' dominating defensive front. He followed up with 105.7 The Fan's Jerry Coleman yesterday, saying it's "disrespectful" to say he is breaking down.
Yanda: Uh, Rookie Step Aside
Guard Marshal Yanda usually isn't the greatest sound* *bite in the world. He's not a reporters dream, say like Steve Smith Sr., but he relayed a story from last Sunday's game that revealed his leadership and top-dog role on the offensive line.
After both starting offensive tackles went down with foot injuries in Houston, the team didn't have enough back-up tackles to step in. That meant one of the guards had to convert.
The initial plan was to move guard John Urschel outside after the rookie volunteered. In the video below, the Pro Bowler explains how he told the rookie to step aside (a written quote just doesn't convey it properly). Mobile users tap "View in browser" to watch.
On a serious note, losing Wagner to the season-ending injured reserve list is a major hit to the offensive line. And if Eugene Monroe can't go either, the Ravens will have a major shuffle on the line. Rookie James Hurst would likely go to left tackle, and either Yanda or Kelechi Osemele would go out to right tackle.
Week 17 Power Rankings
ESPN: No. 12 (no movement)
"Joe Flacco completed 35.9 percent of his throws past the line of scrimmage Sunday, the fifth-worst completion percentage of his career. Not a good time to underwhelm."
SportingNews.com, Vinnie Iyer: No. 12 (moved down one spot)
"Joe Flacco was doing a great job of being efficient and protecting the ball in tough games ... until he brought down the offense in Houston, playing more like 'James Flacco.' The Ravens can make another surprise run if they get in, but now that rests on getting help from the Chiefs."
Fox Sports, Dan Schneier: No. 14 (moved down three spots)
"Joe Flacco picked the worst time to have his worst game of the season in Week 16. The Ravens have been carried by a dominant pass rush, but teams have figured out how to stop the offense by eliminating the run game first."
CBSSports.com, Pete Prisco: No. 13 (moved down one spot)
"That egg they laid in Houston will likely cost them the playoffs. What happened?"
NFL.com, Elliot Harrison: No. 15 (moved down one spot)
"Crippling loss for the Ravens, and now the vultures are circling. Baltimore is hanging on in the playoff race, but it's not looking good. If the season ended today, Pittsburgh and San Diego would be your AFC wild cards. That home loss to the Chargers a few weeks back might be the one Ravens fans regret the most."