How Long Till Breshad Perriman Is A Starter?
The Ravens "haven't been afraid to throw rookie wide receivers right into the fire," writes The Baltimore Sun's Jeff Zrebiec.
Second-round pick Torrey Smith started 14 of 16 regular season games in 2011. Marlon Brown was an undrafted free agent who started 12 games as a rookie in 2013. That kind of starring role could happen with this year's first-round pick Breshad Perriman.
"If first-round pick Breshad Perriman proves worthy of a starting role in training camp, there's little doubt he'll be lined up across from Steve Smith for the Ravens' Sept. 13 regular-season opener against the Denver Broncos," wrote Zrebiec.
The difference this year, Zrebiec says, is that the Ravens won't be forced to start Perriman right away.
In 2011, Lee Evans "showed up in Baltimore with a bad wheel and not much left in the tank." Smith was made the starter in Week 3. In 2013, the Ravens didn't replace traded starter Anquan Boldin, and Jacoby Jones, Brandon Stokley, Tandon Doss and Deonte Thompson didn't step up in camp.
This year, despite losing Smith in free agency and releasing Jones, the Ravens do have more youthful depth at receiver than in the recent past.
Assuming Brown and Kamar Aiken, who was one of the stars of Organized Team Activities (OTAs), continue to make strides, the Ravens have two receivers coveting bigger roles. Michael Campanaro should also be in line for more snaps if he can stay on the field.
"Don't misunderstand: Perriman's downfield speed is something that the Ravens sorely need," Zrebiec wrote. "To have a successful season, Perriman has to make an impact. But what the Ravens won't need to do is put too much on the rookie early. They should have the luxury to let Perriman grow into his role and put him into positions where he'll be able to succeed."
Meanwhile, CSN Baltimore's Clifton Brown seems to be more on the bandwagon of Perriman making an immediate splash.
While conventional wisdom says rookie receivers need time to develop, Brown says the success of rookie receivers in recent years "gives the Ravens more hope that Perriman can be a reliable playmaker from Day 1."
Three rookies (Giants' Odell Beckham, Bucs' Mike Evans and Panthers' Kelvin Benjamin) had 1,000 receiving yards last year. Eight rookies had at least 50 catches.
Perriman has factors working in his favor for early success, the scribe notes. The rookie will have a chance at a starting job with Smith's departure, he has an experienced quarterback in Joe Flacco and he has the size to make tough catches in traffic.
"With the passing game so prevalent in college football, receivers are entering the NFL more game ready," Brown wrote. "Beckham, Evans, and Benjamin walked into the NFL like they had been playing for five seasons. The Ravens hope Perriman can do the same."
Move Over Cowboys, Ravens Have Top O-Line
The Dallas Cowboys get the buzz for having football's best offensive line, and it ticks off Philadelphia Eagles left tackle Jason Peters.
"They're the Cowboys," Peters said, per Bob Brookover of the Philadelphia Inquirer. "Everything they do is pumped up. … Don't get me wrong, they're a good, solid offensive line. But guy for guy, they can't touch us."
Well the Cowboys and Peters may want to slow their roll. According to SB Nation's Adam Stites, the Ravens have the NFL's top offensive line.
As Stites points out, the Ravens and Broncos were the only two teams to allow fewer than 20 sacks last season. Quarterback Joe Flacco was sacked 19 times. Denver's Peyton Manning was dropped 17 times.
"The difference that sets Baltimore apart though is the team's strong run blocking to match. While keeping Joe Flacco upright all season, the Ravens offensive line helped Justin Forsett to 1,266 yards, eight touchdowns and his first-ever trip to the Pro Bowl," Stites wrote.
"With young, ascending talent like Kelechi Osemele and Ricky Wagner, the Ravens don't have much reason to expect a drop-off in play for 2015 either."
Yeah, and the entire starting offensive line is coming back this year, and has great depth with super subs and James Hurst.
Considering that the unit has had a year to fully gel and will be working with the same blocking scheme ushered in by former Offensive Coordinator Gary Kubiak, there could even be room for the unit to improve.
In 18 games including the playoffs, Flacco was sacked twice or more just four times. The Ravens lost all four of those games, per CSN Baltimore's Clifton Brown. So they have motivation.
"Worrying about the offensive line is not keeping coach John Harbaugh awake at night heading into minicamp," Brown wrote. "The Ravens have a solid front five. And next season it could be even better."
The Cowboys had three Pro Bowl offensive linemen last year with tackle Tyron Smith, guard Zack Martin and center Travis Frederick, who will all strap on the stars once again. The Ravens had one Pro Bowler on the offensive line with guard Marshal Yanda. That may change this year.
Schaub Ranked 4th Best Backup QB
The Ravens haven't needed to call on their insurance policy during Joe Flacco's tenure. But just like car insurance, you pay the bills to know you're covered just in case.
That's what the Ravens did this offseason, investing in veteran former starter Matt Schaub on a one-year contract worth a reported $2 million. It's the first time they've had a veteran former starter behind Flacco since Marc Bulger in 2009.
On Monday, ESPN's John Clayton ranked the NFL's backup signal callers and put Schuab at No. 4, trailing just the Jets' Ryan Fitzpatrick, Eagles' Mark Sanchez and Colts' Matt Hasselbeck. It's the highest such ranking of a Ravens backup in quite some time.
"After he flamed out as the Texans' starter and failed to win the job in Oakland last season, Schaub is trying to re-establish himself as a backup," Clayton wrote. "As a starter, he averaged 23.7 points per game during his career, and his 52.5 Total QBR equates to a nine-game winner."
Schaub had some tough moments during Organized Team Activities. He was picked off by rookie linebacker Za'Darius Smith during the first week of OTAs when Smith sniffed out a screen pass. Schaub was also intercepted by linebacker Zach Orr and cornerback Quinton Pointer in the third week of OTAs.
"Schaub hasn't been much different on the practice field than he was recently with the Oakland Raiders and Houston Texans," wrote The Sun's Aaron Wilson. "Schaub has his moments, but also has appeared hesitant. With more decisiveness and trust in his initial read, Schaub can improve."
ESPNW: Rice Deserves Another Chance
The case for former Ravens running back Ray Rice to get another chance in the NFL has gained a prominent media supporter, and more people are speaking out on the issue.
"Even if it doesn't happen on the field, it's time to stop treating Rice like he's irredeemable," McManus ended with. "Because those who listen say he is proving that he can learn."
Rice's former teammate and close friend, Torrey Smith, told TMZ Sports that Rice should be back in the NFL.
"Good people make mistakes," Smith said. "I believe in second chances and I think society is supposed to be built on the idea that you can suffer consequences and come back.
"People sometimes want you to apologize a certain way, crying or all upset. He's made things right with his wife and family and earned respect with his actions since the incident. He's a way better person than he showed on that tape."
Former Ravens wide receiver Derrick Mason thinks the Titans should be the team that signs him considering that they already took a chance on a player with domestic violence in their background by drafting wide receiver Dorial Green-Beckham. The Titans are also in need of a running back.
"You talked to enough people, you vetted the whole situation, and you talked to enough people that made you feel comfortable enough to draft him with your second-round pick," Mason told ESPN 1025 The Game in Nashville, as transcribed by CSN Baltimore.
"Why can't it be that way with Ray Rice? I guarantee you anybody that you talk to that is affiliated, that has been around Ray Rice, had time to spend with Ray Rice, will tell you this guy would be great for your locker room. Yes, what he did was horrible. We understand that. But he's learned his lesson."
- Could Steve Smith really be the Ravens' returner? Zrebiec thinks Baltimore is exploring all options and would only put him back there as the "designated fair catcher." [The Sun]
- With $7 million cap room, Zrebiec wouldn't be surprised if General Manager Ozzie Newsome makes one more addition to the roster. His guess is at pass rusher or defensive back. There are still quality players being released by other teams. [The Sun]
- Long snapper Morgan Cox is making a sound recovery from his second ACL tear. [The Sun]
- Nose tackle Brandon Williams will be key to the Ravens' belief in their defensive line. [Press Box Online]