Any Potential Ravens Trades At Running Back Or Cornerback?
Knock on wood, but the Ravens are healthy … and deep.
As such, they can't use all their weapons all the time, leading to fan questions about Baltimore potentially making trades in order to get value out of players that are buried down the depth chart and unable to contribute on Sundays.
There was a rash of running back injuries in Week 2, including to Minnesota's Adrian Peterson, Detroit's Ameer Abdullah, Miami's Arian Foster, Tampa Bay's Doug Martin, Carolina's Jonathan Stewart, Seattle's Thomas Rawls and San Diego's Danny Woodhead.
Some injuries were more serious than others, but if teams are looking for reinforcements, some media* *members have pointed out that Javorius Allen, who started six games last season, has been a healthy scratch for both Ravens games.
And that's before Kenneth Dixon is back, who is on schedule to return (initially reported by mid- or late- September).
Could somebody come calling for Allen's services?
“[V]ery few teams trade for running backs because they're not hard to find," wrote The Baltimore Sun's Jeff Zrebiec. "Allen might have some value. He's young and had 867 all-purpose yards and three touchdowns as a rookie.
"I can't imagine the Ravens would get a lot in return, but if they feel like they don't have the luxury of carrying four healthy backs when [Dixon] returns, that could prompt them to try and do something with Allen. If he hasn't gotten a role with the run game struggling and Dixon out, it's hard to foresee him having one when Dixon returns."
Another position where the Ravens are deep and have been forced to deactivate a healthy players is at cornerback. If you count Anthony Levine, who has been used in nickel packages, the Ravens have eight corners.
As Zrebiec pointed out, Will Davis and Jerraud Powers have been inactive for both games. And, per Pro Football Focus, Sheldon Price has played just one defensive snap and Maurice Canady hasn't gotten any time outside of special teams.
The Ravens have found themselves thin at corner many times in past years, including last season when they had to make a mid-season trade for Davis and signed Shareece Wright when injuries took a toll on the unit. Baltimore didn't want to find itself in that spot again this season and bulked up at the position.
"[S]hould the Ravens continue to remain remarkably healthy at this time of year, then obviously some tough calls will have to made and some guys the Ravens don't want to lose will likely be on the move," wrote Zrebiec.
"The one area where the team seemingly has some flexibility is at cornerback. … At some point, the Ravens might have to jettison a cornerback to create a roster spot elsewhere."
Lack Of Targets 'Disappointing' To Aiken, But He's Trying To Accept It
It hasn't been easy for wide receiver Kamar Aiken.
He's gone from being the team's leading receiver in 2015 to getting just two catches for 14 yards through two games in 2016. Per The Sun's Edward Lee, Aiken has only been on the field for 47 percent of the offensive snaps (compared to 82 percent last year), but has increased his special teams role, already doubling his snaps from last year.
"It's definitely disappointing, but I know what they're using me for," Aiken told Lee about his involvement on offense. "My role this year has changed. I've just got to accept it for what it is and deal with it the best way I can."
Aiken was an undrafted free agent with three different teams in as many years to start his career. He finally got his shot last season and broke out after injuries decimated the Ravens' receiving corps, but now it looks like he's the third or fourth receiver on the depth chart again with Steve Smith Sr. and Mike Wallace leading the way.
Lee asked Aiken how he keeps from becoming bitter with his new role.
"Family, prayer," Aiken said. "God is the main thing, keeping him first. That's helping me to get through it. Some days, it's bad, and some days, it's better. It's just a natural grind.
"I'm approaching it the same way. Just be ready to make my plays if the ball comes my way and do my job on special teams."
Brett Favre And Joe Flacco Bond Over Consecutive Games Played
Quarterback Joe Flacco was 6 years old when legend Brett Favre came into the league.
Check out the 1991 "artifacts" in the picture below when Favre got the call to inform him that he was drafted in the second round (No. 33 overall) by the Atlanta Falcons.
While there's an age gap between the two, they do have one thing in common – durability.
As durable as Flacco has been, he doesn't come close to Favre's NFL-record 297 consecutive regular-season games for a quarterback. Flacco's consecutive games streak was snapped last season at 122.
"Shoot man, I was hoping I could chase Brett down," Flacco said Tuesday on Favre's radio show on SiriusXM NFL Radio.
"Well, you could start over," the three-time NFL MVP quipped back.
"Yeah, I got to start all over and I have to play like 28 years now," Flacco said.
Well, not quite 28 years, but about 18.5 years. That's not going to happen, which is why Flacco's season-ending knee injury last year gave him an even greater respect for what Favre accomplished.
"It's unbelievable because even when you don't have anything huge, you're dealing with stuff on a weekly basis," Flacco told Favre. "Just the consistency of it – to go out there and, no matter what, show up and get ready on Sunday is a big deal. Not even physically, but mentally that's such a huge accomplishment, especially in this game. Anything can happen at any time. … It's a mental grind too. You have to be on top of your game every single day. To be able to do it for 20 years is insane. I think we have to be a little bit crazy."
"Sometimes I just didn't want to do it," Favre admitted. "It was like, 'I don't feel like being Brett Favre at practice today,' or going to press conferences or doing radio shows. There's a lot of the stuff, and everyone just thinks of the physical aspect of it."
Brian Billick Reminded How Cold-Hearted Coaching Profession Can Be
Former Ravens Head Coach Brian Billick was introspective this week after the passing of Ravens' long-time Defensive Line Coach Clarence Brooks, who Billick initially hired in Baltimore, and the firing of Bills Offensive Coordinator Greg Roman, who Billick brought on as a Ravens offensive line assistant in 2006-2007.
"I was reminded this week … of how tenuous and hard-hearted the coaching profession can be," Billick wrote.
He took readers inside the "obsessive" world of coaching, which he said can be both fiercely loyal and incredibly cold-blooded. It's a results business that demands wins. Because of that, coaches find themselves having to quickly move on from tragedy or fire a friend.
"When I took over the play-calling duties in the middle of the 2006 season, having to fire a friend [Jim Fassel] in the process, I felt like I had no choice – I knew I would lose the team if I didn't," Billick wrote. "No players had come to me, nor had any other coaches, but I knew it was not a healthy situation, and we were losing the players day by day. Once we had the success later that season, as a team and as an offense, I felt as though I was boxed into retaining the duties, which ultimately led to my firing after the following season. Instead of being ripped for 16 wins or losses over the course of the next season, I was being scrutinized for 1,200 calls. Every pass should have been a run, every run should have been a pass.
"… In the end, you have to remember that this game is a zero-sum world. For every win, there's a corresponding loss. Every week in the NFL, someone gets closer to losing their job. And learning to live with that uncertainty makes you even more obsessive."
Billick goes on …
"There's less than seven full days to prepare for the next game, and you become pensive, thinking about the new set of challenges, the injuries you may be dealing with, the play designs that didn't work, the opponents' strengths and the opposing coaching staff's tendencies. You go back to work," he writes.
"That's what the staff did in both Baltimore and Buffalo, after grieving the loss of Brooks and saying their good-byes to Roman. That's what coaches do. We'll tell you that the game doesn't allow anything else. While that's true, it's also true that we are obsessively devoted to the game, and don't know any other way."