Marlon Humphrey a Defensive Player of the Year Candidate?
Marlon Humphrey is known as a "linebacker playing cornerback." But on Tuesday, Humphrey reminded his coverage ability matches his physicality with four straight passes defensed.
After a dominant practice, Ravens Pass Game Coordinator/Secondary Coach Chris Hewitt stumped for Humphrey as a candidate for Defensive Player of the Year.
NFL executives and coaches ranked Humphrey the No. 2 cornerback in the league, but the sportsbooks are not considering him as a likely candidate for the prestigious award.
Fanduel places Humphrey's odds at 90-1, and No. 9 among defensive backs. He trails cornerbacks Jalen Ramsey, Stephon Gilmore, Tre'Davious White, Jaire Alexander, Xavien Howard and teammate Marcus Peters.
While Humphrey is arguably one of the best players in the league, it's clear the voting skews toward stats such as sacks and interceptions. Three players who specialized in those specific stats dominated the 2020 Defensive Player of the year voting only three players who specialized in these specific stats received votes in 2020.
It will take quite a year for Humphrey to get his name in the conversation, but according to ESPN's Jeremy Fowler's piece surveying and interviewing NFL executives, coaches and scouts, Humphrey is dangerous enough to do it.
"He's just tough -- ball hawk, long, rangy, plays different now than in college," an NFC coach said. "Before you play him, you're showing his turnover reel to your team -- 'Let's not tempt him.'"
Rashod Bateman Reportedly Suffers 'Week-to-Week' Groin Injury
Rookie wide receiver Rashod Bateman limped off the field early in Tuesday's practice, raising alarm about the severity of the injury.
Head Coach John Harbaugh was not scheduled to speak with reporters after practice, but according to NFL Network's Mike Garafolo, it's a groin injury.
"My understanding is right now you're looking at a week-to-week type situation," Garafolo said. "We're four weeks plus until the start of the season. I can't really sit here and guarantee you that he's going to be ready for the start of the season but I know that was at least the early hope so we'll see how this goes with Bateman."
NFL Network's Ian Rapoport also reported that it's a "soft tissue injury" and nothing structural.
Bateman joins Marquise "Hollywood" Brown (hamstring), Miles Boykin (hamstring) and Deon Cain (undisclosed) on the wide receiver injury list.
"A long-term injury to Bateman would be a difficult development for the Ravens who believed that the former Minnesota standout would make an immediate impact for a passing game that needs to be much better if Baltimore is going to make an extended playoff run," Zrebiec wrote.
"The bigger concern, however, should be the disjointed start to camp for the passing game as a whole. Training camp and the preseason were supposed to be the times when progress in the passing game was made. The Ravens aren't fixated on the fact that they finished last year with the 32nd-ranked passing game, but they know they have to be more efficient and explosive. Yet, injuries and illness have prevented the majority of key pieces of the retooled passing game from even being on the field together in training camp."
Ravenswire's Kevin Oestreicher went so far as to call Bateman's injury a "crushing blow," as many expected the rookie to be heavily involved in the Ravens offense in 2021.
If longer than expected, there is a silver lining in that the NFL will once again allow unlimited player returns from injured reserve this season.
That said, Garafolo reports he will not miss "a crazy length of time."
Don't Expect Much Lamar Jackson in Preseason Opener
After missing more than a week of training camp due to COVID-19, quarterback Lamar Jackson is playing catch-up.
However, according to Head Coach John Harbaugh in an interview with SiriusXM NFL Radio, it's unlikely we'll see much of the Ravens' starting quarterback in Saturday's preseason opener, if at all.
"We'll sit down on Wednesday and kind of decide that," Harbaugh said. "It wouldn't be more than about a series, if we do anything with him."
Jonas Shaffer of The Baltimore Sun noted from Harbaugh's SiriusXM NFL Radio interview that he the coaching staff has not finalized preseason plans for "more established" starters.
According to reports out of camp, Jackson's been playing well since his return. On Tuesday, Jackson uncorked a deep pass to Sammy Watkins for a 75-yard touchdown.
According to Zrebiec, Jackson also connected with his favorite on-field target, tight end Mark Andrews, for consecutive touchdowns.
"About a half-hour later, Andrews made his daily highlight-reel catch, going up high between two defenders to haul in a Jackson pass into tight coverage," Zrebiec wrote. "Andrews is the one guy who consistently has provided matchup challenges to the Ravens linebackers and defensive backs. That was true again Tuesday as Andrews caught consecutive touchdowns in a red zone period."
Left Tackle Ronnie Stanley Ranked No. 5 Among Tackles Entering 2021
When it comes to being an offensive tackle, Ronnie Stanley isn't just one of the elite: he leads them. PFF has the Ravens' blindside tackle graded as the best pass-blocker since 2019.
That elite grade didn't keep NFL.com's Joe Thomas from ranking Stanley No. 5 on his list of offensive tackles entering the 2021 season.
Thomas ranked Green Bay's David Bakhtiari, San Francisco's Trent Williams, and New Orleans' Terron Armstead and Ryan Ramczyk ahead of Stanley.
"Stanley is the smoothest pass protector in the entire NFL, as he's rarely ever out of balance," Thomas wrote. "The one-time All-Pro hadn't given up a single sack in 20 starts since 2019 before a season-ending ankle injury in Week 8 of last season. He looks to pick up where he left off before his injury to help a Ravens offense that ranked 19th overall in 2020 get back on track."
It's understandable to question if Stanley will return to virtually-perfect form, but to knock down the best pass-blocking tackle in the league to No. 5 is a bit egregious.
Stanley returned to practice on Monday as the team gets their franchise blocker reacclimated and he's back on the field Wednesday morning.