Friday, November 27, 2020

Intelligent Conversation

Ravens' cornerback situation can't be overlooked in win over Cowboys

Must Read

Ricard, Madubuike, Cox join Jackson as latest additions to Ravens’ COVID-19 list

Pittsburgh also added three players to its reserve-COVID-19 list on Friday afternoon.

On the move again: Ravens-Steelers game shifts to Tuesday night

Should that game be played, next week's originally scheduled Thursday game against Dallas would move to Monday, Dec. 7 at 5 p.m.

The latest on Lamar Jackson and Ravens COVID situation before Pittsburgh

Here's everything we know about Lamar Jackson testing positive and the Baltimore Ravens status for playing the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday.
Luke Jones
Luke Jones
Luke Jones is the Ravens and Orioles beat reporter for WNST BaltimorePositive.com and is a PFWA member. His mind is consumed with useless sports knowledge, pro wrestler promos, and movie quotes, but he struggles to remember where he put his phone. Luke's favorite sports memories include being one of the thousands of kids who waited to get Cal Ripken's autograph after Orioles games in the summer of 1995, attending the Super Bowl XXXV victory parade with his father in the pouring rain, and watching the Terps advance to the Final Four at the Carrier Dome in 2002. Follow him on Twitter @BaltimoreLuke or email him at Luke@wnst.net.

A 37-30 win for the Ravens over the Dallas Cowboys on Saturday night doesn’t reflect what was the most concerning image from the opening minutes of the second preseason game of the summer.
Already without starter Lardarius Webb and No. 3 corner contender Asa Jackson due to injuries, the Ravens lost their most important piece of the secondary — and likely their entire defense — as Jimmy Smith landed hard on his back defending a sideline pass intended for Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant. The good news is that X-rays were negative on his chest and the fourth-year watched the remainder of the game from the sideline despite spitting up blood on the sideline as he was helped off the field.
A bruised chest isn’t necessarily cause for panic — The Sun reported Smith was still coughing up blood following the game — but watching Chykie Brown and Dominique Franks handle the cornerback spots with the starting defense conjured memories of David Pittman and Willie Gaston manning the Baltimore secondary in the disastrous 2007 season. And it was another reminder of just how thin the Ravens’ cornerback depth is considering Brown has been picked on for much of the summer and Franks had been relegated to third-string duties until the last week.
Franks was beaten on a jump ball to Bryant for a 31-yard touchdown — a matchup that was simply unfair — while Brown was later burned by Cowboys wideout Terrance Williams on a deep route that was badly underthrown. To Brown’s credit, he did recover to break up the pass, but the play was more about a poor throw from Cowboys backup Brandon Weeden than an impressive play by the fourth-year cornerback.
It didn’t help that Dean Pees’ defense struggled to stop the run and generated little pressure in the pocket in the first half, but general manager Ozzie Newsome and the front office must address what is obvious with the start of the season only three weeks away. The Ravens need to add an established cornerback to their secondary in order to not be exposed by potent passing games in the throw-happy NFL.
All you need to know about the confidence level in the current batch of cornerbacks is the Ravens’ experimentation with using three safeties in the nickel defense with rookie Terrence Brooks lining up at the slot corner position. Jackson was emerging as a promising option for the No. 3 job, but he remains too much of an unknown and was spotted in a walking boot Saturday after injuring his ankle a week ago. John Harbaugh said it was a “minor” ankle sprain at the time, but the head coach is often ambiguous and vague when discussing injuries, making you wonder when Jackson will even make it back to the practice field.
Even if Smith and Webb are healthy for the start of the season — the latter has been sidelined with a back injury since July 25 — no one on the current roster instills enough confidence in being able to handle the No. 3 cornerback spot. That reality has made the free-agent departure of Corey Graham to Buffalo in the offseason that much more glaring as the Ravens didn’t draft a cornerback or sign a veteran at the position until the middle of June.
The problem will be addressing the problem at this stage as quality cornerbacks aren’t exactly waiting in abundance. A free-agent veteran such as Asante Samuel is always a possibility, but that won’t necessarily solve the problem as the Ravens already signed veterans Aaron Ross — who tore his Achilles tendon at the start of training camp — and Franks at the end of mandatory minicamp and have seen disappointing results. The Ravens’ best bet — or only hope — might be to dangle a future draft pick in hopes of acquiring another team’s second or third cornerback.
The nickel defense has become too much of a staple in today’s NFL to continue to expect an in-house candidate to handle the job. That concern will become a major problem if any of the Ravens’ current injuries linger into the start of the season with Cincinnati and Pittsburgh first up on the schedule.
The clock is ticking and the concern only grew as Smith landed hard on the turf at AT&T Stadium and needed to be helped off the field.
The Ravens need help in the secondary.
But it’s going to be difficult to find it.
 
 
 

1 COMMENT

  1. To count on Webb to play 16 plus games a year is unlikely. Good ball player but small frame and history of injuries back to rookie year. Right now it’s this teams big problem along with lack of experience at safety and some questions on O line. Talifero and Juszczyk look awesome together.

Comments are closed.

Latest News

Ricard, Madubuike, Cox join Jackson as latest additions to Ravens’ COVID-19 list

Pittsburgh also added three players to its reserve-COVID-19 list on Friday afternoon.

On the move again: Ravens-Steelers game shifts to Tuesday night

Should that game be played, next week's originally scheduled Thursday game against Dallas would move to Monday, Dec. 7 at 5 p.m.

The latest on Lamar Jackson and Ravens COVID situation before Pittsburgh

Here's everything we know about Lamar Jackson testing positive and the Baltimore Ravens status for playing the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday.

Order your delicious Baltimore Positive Taharka ice cream special 8-pack here!

Running the scoop shops is difficult during a pandemic so let Kowfi Dorman-El bring the deliciousness to you. And we'll save you $15.70 on every order beginning on Black Friday. Do you prefer pumpkin spice latte or egg nog? Make sure you get the sweet potato crumble!

Lamar Jackson tests positive for COVID-19 as Ravens’ virus outbreak nightmare continues

The reigning NFL MVP was among the latest Baltimore players to test positive, putting Sunday's game against Pittsburgh in clear jeopardy.

More Articles Like This