Still Concerned About Young Ravens Tight Ends? You Shouldn't
In NFL years, they're practically babies. Maxx Williams is the youngest player on the team, fifth-round pick Nick Boyle isn't far behind, and Crocket Gillmore is the most experienced of the group with a whopping one NFL start under his belt.
So it's not too surprising that there's been some concern about the group after veteran Owen Daniels left via free agency and with Dennis Pitta's health unclear status.
But the young tight ends stood out in their first preseason outing, and they already seem to be easing worried minds. CSN's Trevor Matich was asked if there is less concern about the group.
"That's a great question," Matich said in the video below. "[It's] only a preseason game, but in this preseason game it looks to me that their tight end situation looks really good.
"[That's] because they have got a guy in Maxx Williams who is a very good receiver, they've got a guy in Boyle, who is a very good blocker who can still catch, and they've got Crockett Gillmore who can do both. And if they continue this way, after just one sample, that tight end position will be a lot better than Ravens fans had feared."
Head Coach John Harbaugh himself said that Gillmore, who is expected to be the starter Week 1, looked like "a real legit, all-around tight end." And who can forget Williams' third-and-20 catch and run, in which he bounced off two defenders to convert the first down against the Saints?
Matich thought Williams did a "good" job, especially as a receiver, but said he could still bulk up and become a better blocker. He noted the Ravens mostly lined him up away from the point of attack on running plays.
"He's fast, he's able to use his speed on the field. He's not a burner on the track, but he gets all of it on the field very quickly," Matich said. "What I saw out of Maxx Williams was a guy who has promise, that did fine, he didn't do anything that led you to believe that he can't play in this league."
Williams seems to keep ascending. After his promising preseason performance, he had perhaps his best practice of training camp on Saturday. He had a Superman-like catch where he completely laid out horizontally to make the grab. "He seemed to catch more balls than anyone else combined Saturday," wrote The Baltimore Sun's Jon Meoli.
But don't forget about Boyle just because he was a late-round draft pick. Out of all the tight ends, Matich was the most animated about Boyle's potential.
"That's the thing: Maxx Williams was the first tight end taken in draft. Well, in the fifth round out of Delaware, they take this guy named Nick Boyle, a big 260-pound tight end, [to] see what he can do," Matich said. "Boyle looked fantastic in this game. He was at the point of attack running plays and he did well. More than just holding his own. He was driving people out of the way. He was opening holes at the point of attack as a blocker.
"Then in the second half, they started to see if he could catch the ball. And he would reach out and catch it with his hands sometimes. Sometimes he would be well covered – actually most of the time he would be well covered, he's not that fast – but when he was well covered he used his body to shield off the defender and with hands in there trying to strip the ball, he caught it anyway. He was very reliable. And I'll tell you this – to my eyes – looked like he's already an NFL tight end."
Kendrick Lewis' Post-Katrina Path Led Him To Ravens
If you haven't read Jeff Zrebiec's feature story on Kendrick Lewis, you should.
Twitter is a regular place for authors to plug their own work, but this weekend I saw plenty of reporters plug Zrebiec's story.
The Baltimore Sun reporter detailed the new Ravens safety's path to Baltimore, which started 10 years ago when he nearly lost everything after Hurricane Katrina hit his hometown New Orleans.* *
"The weather was beautiful and that's what Lewis finds so odd even a decade later," Zrebiec wrote. "It was sunny and calm, an ideal backdrop for the start of his final high school season at O. Perry Walker High."
Turned out, there would be no football game that night. After he initially wanted to wait out the storm, Lewis left the next day for Houston. A drive that normally took four hours lasted 14.
"I was crying," Lewis said. "I was wondering what I would do."
Read the whole story here.
Flacco Proves He's Faster Than You Think
Flacco isn't the scrambling quarterback that Cam Newton or Russell Wilson is, but the dude does have some wheels.
He proved that in the Ravens' preseason opener when he took off for a 17-yard scamper and picked up a first down during the first and only series in which he played. It was the longest run of the night for the Ravens.
"[N]o defense can totally sleep on Flacco. He is faster than everyone thinks, and he proved it," wrote ESPN's Jamison Hensley. "The most impressive part of his unexpected burst was he outran linebacker Stephone Anthony to the sideline. Anthony, a first-round pick, ran the 40-yard dash in 4.56 seconds, the third fastest time among all defensive front seven players at the NFL combine."
Leave it to Flacco to downplay his own big play on the ground. Asked if opposing defenses should be wary of giving him running lanes in the future, Flacco said: "I don't know about that. I'm not going that far."
Tyrod Taylor Update …
Speaking of scrambling quarterbacks, let's get an update on Flacco's former backup Tyrod Taylor.
Taylor is competing for the starting job in Buffalo, and he made a strong bid for the gig with a standout performance in the Bills' preseason opener against the Carolina Panthers.
"Among the three quarterbacks competing for the starting job, Tyrod Taylor was arguably the most impressive of the bunch," wrote FoxSports.com's Rachel Wold. "He managed to convert his two drives into touchdowns."
He completed 5 of 8 pass attempts for 49 yards and added 47 yards on the ground in six rushing attempts. It was enough for Head Coach Rex Ryan to decide that Taylor will start in the second preseason game against the Cleveland Browns.
Good luck, Tyrod.
Suggs Not Taking It Easy On Schaub
Outside linebacker Terrell Suggs still isn't taking it easy on backup quarterback Matt Schaub, despite a promising performance against the New Orleans Saints Thursday night.
Suggs yelled out to Schaub earlier in camp, saying that his offensive players are in purple jerseys as opposed to the defenders dressed in white.
He had a couple more lines for Schaub in practice Saturday, despite relatively strong day. When Schaub completed a touchdown pass to undrafted rookie DeAndre Carter with safety Will Hill in coverage, Suggs spoke up to comfort his defensive teammate.
"It's OK, Will," Suggs yelled out. "A broken clock is right twice a day."
Hensley thinks Suggs' comments seem to be more than his usual joking around.
"It came across as light-hearted ribbing when Suggs jabbed Schaub last week," Hensley wrote. "Now it just seems mean spirited toward Schaub, who has a reputation of being a quality teammate."