Who'll Have More Yards: Perriman Or Torrey?
It's a comparison that can't be avoided … kind of like Joe Flacco and Matt Ryan.
The Ravens needed a speedy wide receiver and deep threat when Torrey Smith left for San Francisco via free agency. And, boom, the next month, the Ravens drafted Breshad Perriman.
GM Ozzie Newsome rarely uses high draft currency on wide receivers. Perriman and Smith are the only two to be selected in the first two rounds in the last 10 Ravens drafts. Add in the fact that one is supposed to replace the other, and fans and media won't be able to help themselves from comparing the two.
CSNBaltimore.com's Clifton Brown and Baltimore Beatdown's Matthew Stevens have already begun.
Brown wonders whether Perriman or Smith will have the most receiving yards in 2015.
"The answer to that question will have an impact on how Ravens' fans view the acquisition of Perriman, and the loss of Smith to the 49ers in free agency," Brown wrote. "Remember when the Ravens traded Anquan Boldin to the 49ers after winning Super Bowl XLVII, then failed to make the playoffs in 2013? A lot of Ravens fans were livid, feeling that the loss of Boldin was a major factor in the team's offensive struggles.
"Now we're about to see how the Ravens cope without Torrey Smith, formerly the Ravens' biggest deep threat."
While Smith led the team in touchdowns (11) last season, he had a down year in terms of receiving yards. He notched just 767, dropping more than 350 yards from the year before. Overall, he's averaged nearly 900 yards per season since he was drafted in 2011.
Can Smith keep up that average in San Francisco?
"Torrey Smith faces the challenge of joining a new team, with a young quarterback in Colin Kaepernick whose performance can waver from week to week," wrote Brown. "Kaepernick and Boldin have built chemistry. Kaepernick may feel more comfortable looking for Boldin first instead of Smith, particularly in crucial situations. However, if Smith gets open deep, Kaepernick certainly has the arm to take advantage."
Perriman will have some challenges of his own. Most notably is that he's a rookie.
The 21-year-old will most-assuredly go through ups and downs as he transitions from college to the pros. Smith rode that roller coaster when he was a rookie in Baltimore, and will have a veteran advantage over Perriman.
Also, the Ravens are in no rush to start Perriman. With Kamar Aiken, Marlon Brown and others showing they're capable of handling the starting role opposite Steve Smith Sr., Perriman may not start the first weeks of the season, which would make it difficult to produce at the same level as a consistent starter in the 49ers' Smith.
"Still, Perriman will be expected to be an impact rookie as a first-round pick," Brown wrote. "He has a proven quarterback in Joe Flacco to work with, and a proven teammate in Steve Smith to draw attention from opposing defenses."
Whether Perriman keeps up with Smith in his first season is anyone's guess. In the long run, it seems Stevens is in Perriman's corner. Here's the headline plastered on the blogging website this morning:
* "Breshad Perriman is better than Torrey Smith, here's why"*
"Perriman is a complete wide receiver," Stevens wrote, which is in direct contrast to the long-held belief by Baltimore media that Smith is a one-dimensional deep threat.
"Much has been made about his drops and his inconsistencies, but when looking at film, I see a player that can make an impact all over the field. During OTAs, we even saw the same type of player as Perriman was an inconsistent playmaker but one that could beat anyone at any given time."
Marlon Brown Draws Inspiration From Two Personal Losses
As Marlon Brown battles it out with teammates for the No. 2 receiver role, he's drawing inspiration from two recent personal losses.
Calvary Malone, Brown's grandmother, died in February, and his college girlfriend, Abby Fishburn, was killed in a car accident two years ago.
When he was in the fifth grade, Brown's mother gave him the choice to move with her to Chicago for work or stay in Memphis to live with his grandmother. He chose to stay in Memphis and looks back on the influence Malone had, and still has.
"My grandmother was mean," Brown told The Baltimore Sun's Childs Walker with a laugh. "She always made me do all this stuff, and she'd get mad at me. She was never praising me. But I knew at the end of the day, she was telling me, 'You can do better than this. She was just trying to be perfect.
"And now I'm the same way. I hate making mistakes."
Then there's the influence of Fishburn.
If you're on Twitter, you've probably noticed that Brown frequently writes, "Thankful for another day." That's a shoutout to Fishburn, who believed every 24 hours offers a clean slate.
"She always used to tell me, 'You've got to be thankful for every day,'" he recalled. "I always had that idea, but not as firm as I do now. I had never had anybody close to me pass away."
(Check out Childs' full feature of Brown here.)
How To Stop Steelers' Triple Threat
ESPN AFC North writers were asked how division rivals could stop the Steelers' triple threat of Ben Roethlisberger, Antonio Brown and Le'Veon Bell.
Bengals writer Coley Harvey joked, "Prayer could help."
Browns writer Pat McManamon wrote, "Hope to outscore them. It's not a joke."
But my favorite answer came from Ravens writer Jamison Hensley, who had some substantive advice based on the Ravens' past success.
"The key is putting them in predictable passing situations by focusing on shutting down the run and then putting pressure on Roethlisberger," Hensley wrote. "The Ravens have done a good job at doing this, which is why they've held the Steelers to 20 points or fewer in three of the four meetings where Pittsburgh has had Roethlisberger, Brown and Bell. Since 2011, Roethlisberger has thrown 12 touchdowns and seven interceptions against the Ravens.
"When you remove that six-touchdown performance against a Jimmy Smith-less defense, he has six touchdowns and seven interceptions. Brown also has been held in check with three 100-yard games and one touchdown in 11 meetings with Baltimore. Bell's rushing totals have decreased in each of his past four games against the Ravens. This terrific trio has been tepid against Baltimore."
Pitta's Twitter Bio Changed, And It's Hilarious
How can you not like a man with a sense of humor despite a personal setback … although as @bhirsh1026 pointed out to me on Twitter, guaranteed money always helps to keep things light.
Still, tight end Dennis Pitta's playing career is in doubt as he continues to work back from his second hip surgery in as many seasons. And after that much work, he could be considered an expert by now, right?
That's what his new Twitter handle seems to suggest: