Questions Remain After First Cuts
The Ravens went through the difficult process of trimming their roster down to 75 players, but it's not over yet.
Twenty-two more moves still have to be made to get down to the 53-man roster by Saturday, which means questions remain.
The Baltimore Sun's Jeff Zrebiec says some of the biggest questions are: How many quarterbacks will be kept? And,*who wins the final two wide receiver spots between Kamar Aiken, Michael Campanaro and Deonte Thompson *(based on the assumption the Ravens keep six, and the top four are locks)?
Ask two different analysts the wide receiver question and you get two different answers. ESPN's Jamison Henley believes Campanaro and Aiken will get the nod. CSNBaltimore.com's Clifton Brown says Campanaro and Thompson will get it.
There are more questions: Will the Ravens keep tight end Owen Daniels, who has missed the last two preseason games with fatigued legs, per Head Coach John Harbaugh? How healthy are the top corners, and how will that affect those backs fighting for a spot? Who will make the cut because of suspensions opening the door?
Below, WNST's Luke Jones outlines the bubble scenarios at each position, and Hensley gives his clear-cut predictions. We've looked at their forecasts before, but this will be the last time before the final cut-down Saturday.
LOCK: Joe Flacco, Tyrod Taylor
BUBBLE: Keith Wenning
HENSLEY PREDICTION: Wenning to practice squad
RUNNING BACKS & FULLBACKS
LOCK: Bernard Pierce, Lorenzo Taliaferro, Justin Forsett, Kyle Juszczyk
SUSPENDED: Ray Rice
HENSLEY PREDICTION: Forsett makes it due to Rice suspension
LOCK: Steve Smith, Torrey Smith, Jacoby Jones, Marlon Brown
BUBBLE: Michael Campanaro, Kamar Aiken, Deonte Thompson
LONG SHOT: Jeremy Butler, Jace Davis
HENSLEY PREDICTION: Aiken makes it because of his special teams presence. That leaves Campanaro beating Thompson for the slot receiver role because the former "has more upside and the Ravens invested a draft pick in him."
LOCK: Dennis Pitta, Crockett Gillmore
BUBBLE: Owen Daniels, Nathan Overbay
LONG SHOT: Phillip Supernaw
HENSLEY PREDICTION: Owen Daniels makes the team "right now," but because he's missed two preseason games because of leg fatigue, it's a "peculiar" situation.
LOCK: Eugene Monroe, Kelechi Osemele, Jeremy Zuttah, Marshal Yanda, Rick Wagner, Gino Gradkowski, John Urschel, Jah Reid
BUBBLE: A.Q. Shipley, James Hurst, Ryan Jensen
LONG SHOT: Reggie Stephens, Parker Graham
HENSLEY PREDICTION: Shipley is the only bubble player to make it, leaving behind Hurst and Jensen. Rookie Urschel remains ahead of Jensen as the second-team right guard.
LOCK: Haloti Ngata, Chris Canty, Brandon Williams, DeAngelo Tyson, Timmy Jernigan
LONG SHOT: A.J. Pataiali'i, Derrick Hopkins, Levi Brown, Jamie Meder
INJURED: Terrence Cody (could go on PUP), Brent Urban (IR), Kapron Lewis Moore (IR)
HENSLEY PREDICTION: After the injury bug hit the position, the Ravens only keep five, which are all listed as locks. Hopkins goes to the practice squad.
LOCK: Daryl Smith, C.J. Mosley, Elvis Dumervil, Courtney Upshaw, Terrell Suggs, Arthur Brown, Pernell McPhee
BUBBLE: Albert McClellan, Josh Bynes, John Simon
LONG SHOT: Zachary Orr, D.J. Roberts
HENSLEY PREDICTION: Orr and Roberts don't defy the odds. Everyone else makes it.
LOCK: Lardarius Webb, Jimmy Smith, Chykie Brown, Asa Jackson
BUBBLE: Dominique Franks, Tramain Jacobs
LONG SHOT: Sammy Seamster
HENSLEY PREDICTION: We're getting a little tricky here. Anthony Levine is officially listed as a safety, but he played at cornerback Saturday night and* *excelled. Hensley has Levine making the team as a corner, but he has the versatility to play both. Franks makes it, but Jacobs and Seamster don't.
LOCK: Matt Elam, Darian Stewart, Terrence Brooks, Jeromy Miles
BUBBLE: Brynden Trawick, Anthony Levine
SUSPENDED: Will Hill (first six games)
HENSLEY PREDICTION: Everyone makes it. We'll revisit when Hill completes his suspension.
LOCK: Sam Koch, Morgan Cox, Justin Tucker
HENSLEY PREDICTION: The same specialists for the third-straight season.
Meriweather Suspended For Helmet Hit To T. Smith
Washington Redskins safety Brandon Meriweather's illegal hit on wide receiver Torrey Smith proved costly.
The league suspended Meriweather for the first two regular-season games without pay. According to the NFL, Saturday's hit marked his "sixth violation of unnecessary roughness rules relating to hits to defenseless players and impermissible use of the helmet."
As can be heard in the video below, Meriweather made helmet-to-helmet contact with Smith and flags flew immediately. Meriweather told reporters after the game that he didn't feel he deserved a penalty.
"No, I don't," Meriweather said. "But at the same time, I'm not the one who wrote the book on penalties. I tried to aim at his numbers. I kind of seen the pass go, and I went in and aimed low, and I hit him with my shoulder. I did everything my coaches taught me to do, and I got the flag."
If Meriweather chooses not to appeal, or loses an appeal, he will lose two game checks costing him $100,588 of his $855,000 base salary, per The Baltimore Sun's Aaron Wilson.
When Smith learned that Meriweather would be suspended two games, he downplayed the situation and joked that he'd prefer a donation to the Torrey Smith Foundation.
"[N]o need I'm straight buttt since it was illegal he can donate to my foundation haha," he tweeted.
No Decision On Cody
Head Coach John Harbaugh told reporters yesterday that the team has not made a decision with Terrence Cody as he continues to work his way back from hip surgery.
He said the team* *has a couple of options, but wasn't specific.
Hensley outlines them:
"They could activate him any time up until Saturday, which could push someone like linebacker Albert McClellan or safety Brynden Trawick off the 53-man roster. The Ravens are in need of another defensive lineman, and Cody can serve as the primary backup to starter Brandon Williams.
"The more likely scenario is putting Cody on the Reserve PUP list when the final cut is made Saturday. He wouldn't count against the 53-man roster, but he would be prevented from playing and practicing during the first six weeks of the season."
Williams Grades Among Highest At Position
Brandon Williams had himself a monster game against the Redskins, which is a continuation of a solid preseason. In fact, he has been one of the best defensive tackles in the league through the first three games, according to Pro Football Focus (PFF).
Williams has a plus-6.4 grade overall, which is the fourth-best at the position so far this preseason. He also received a plus-4.2 grade against Washington.
"Barely used as a rookie in 2013, Williams has shown that a breakout season may very well be in the cards in 2014," wrote PFF's Gordon McGuinness. "A standout against the run, he has proven tough to deal with for opposing centers."
His "signature" play was early in the first quarter when Williams beat center Kory Lichtensteiger to force a cut from the running back, and then* *finished the play off with a tackle for loss.
Two more Ravens are among* *the best at outside linebacker so far: Pernell McPhee (plus-5.1) and Elvis Dumervil (plus-4.0).
"Lining up both at outside linebacker and as a sub-package interior pass rusher, McPhee looks much more like the dangerous pass rusher we saw back in his rookie year in 2011," McGuinness wrote. "Dumervil has stood out as a pass rusher while playing just 42 snaps this preseason."
- Matt Elam shouldn't be sidelined long. [ESPN]
- Young players could make the difference for the Ravens. [The Baltimore Sun]
- Charley Casserly says that rookie linebacker C.J. Mosley is a Pro Bowler in the making, "If people are fair about it, I wouldn't be surprised if he's defensive rookie of the year," he added. [CSNBaltimore.com]
- Who's eligible to make the practice squad? [Russell Street Report]