Flock Mailbag: Secondary Good Enough For SB Run?

We answered your questions about the Ravens entering their third preseason game.

Posted by Ryan Mink on Friday, August 27th, 2010 at 1:28 pm | Categories: Ryan Mink

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The questions continue to fly in from our valued Flock members and I’m here to provide some answers.
So let’s jump into it. If I didn’t answer your question this week, pose it again next week on the Ravens’ official Facebook page or on Twitter.
Leo Rice: do you think we can make a run at the super bowl with the secondary we have?
Mink: There are naturally a lot of questions about the secondary, but I think this one cuts right to the heart of what we all want to know. And my answer is a definitive yes.

For proof, let’s look at the New Orleans Saints from last year. Their top three cornerbacks were Jabari Greer, Tracey Porter and then rookie first-round pick Malcolm Jenkins. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t see Darrelle Revis’ name in there. While not superstars, Greer and Porter solidified as the season went on and Porter made the game-breaking interception and score in the Super Bowl.
Point is, the Ravens don’t need a superstar like Revis or Champ Bailey or anybody else Flock members are calling for to be a Super Bowl contender or even winner. Every team in the NFL has positions that aren’t as loaded as others. Due to injuries, that spot is cornerback for the Ravens. But Baltimore has amped up its pass rush in hopes of helping out its corners and once Lardarius Webb comes back – which keeps looking sooner and sooner – then I feel the Ravens are pretty solid with Fabian Washington, Webb and Chris Carr backed up by good young players such as Cary Williams.

Aaron John Sasser : do you think, since Bulger has shown that he is still a good quarterback and can be productive with a good offense, that once Flacco and the Ravens get a good lead, they would pull Flacco out and let Marc finish the game out so there’s a smaller chance of Flacco getting injured?

Mink: First of all, I must applaud you, Aaron, and the rest of The Flock, for not asking whether Marc Bulger should or will supplant Joe Flacco as the starting quarterback this year. Bravo! Secondly, this is an interesting, fresh topic.

Last year, Flacco remained in every game until at least the fourth quarter – even in blowout games. And that was with a painful leg bruise revealed after the season. Troy Smith ran the offense in three games (Cleveland, 34-3; Detroit, 48-3; Chicago, 31-7) for a total of eight series. Obviously, the Ravens weren’t comfortable taking Flacco out earlier.

But with Bulger in the fold and if he’s performing as well as he did Saturday, I would expect the Ravens to have more faith that they can spell Flacco and not miss a beat (or much of one). But that’s merely my opinion, not fact. Hopefully we’ll have a number of blowouts so we can see what happens come game day.

drstats  @1WinningDrive : We know Boldin and Mason are the teams top two receivers but who else do you expect to step up this season?
Mink: Donte’ Stallworth is definitely a guy to watch but that’s been discussed before. I say Demetrius Williams could be another guy who breaks out this year.

I know what you’re thinking. “We hear this every year and it never happens.” You’re right; unfortunately it’s been the same song for Williams nearly every season. He has loads of promise but gets injured in the preseason and struggles to live up to the hype. And yes, Williams is currently trying to shake off another minor ankle injury. But Offensive Coordinator Cam Cameron likes what he’s seen so far and so do I. Williams is looking more physical and has shown great hands. He could be an under-the-radar contributor.

I also got several questions about rookie David Reed, who stood out Saturday against the Redskins. The Ravens love his talent, but he had a tough time with the grind of training camp and shockingly dropped some balls. In order to make the active roster, he’s going to have to stand out again and contribute on special teams.

Ash Cyress : Hi Ryan, my question is simple, what do you think will be the strongest part of the Ravens this year…Offense, Defense, or Special Teams? I feel like our Special Teams is long overdue for a great season with all the depth and youth we now have.

Mink: Hi Ash, you bring up a good point. The Ravens’ special teams unit has looked spectacular so far this preseason. Sam Koch is pinning teams inside the 20 – or even the 5 – and making it look easy. Tom Zbikowski and Prince Miller have been good on punt return and Jalen Parmele has become a very strong kickoff returner. Oh, and Haruki Nakamura showed he’s a shifty dude that will contribute in a number of ways on special teams. 

Last year, the Ravens ranked No. 22 in the NFL in the end-of-the-year ranking put together by the Dallas Morning News’ Rick Gosselin, the Godfather of special teams scribes. This year I expect the Ravens to shoot up that list and maybe, just maybe, be Baltimore’s top unit. Head Coach John Harbaugh, a former special teams coordinator himself, would sure be happy.

Jeremy Wright: We know that Cam Cameron likes to spice things up in regards to personnel in goal-line situations. Any chance we see Terrance Cody mixed into the offense this season? Or do they avoid that to keep him fresh for his obvious role as a run-stuffer on defense?

Mink: Cameron inserted Cody into the goal line package for two plays in the Ravens’ first preseason game. He missed a block on the first play and was whistled for a false start on the second. He did dominate on the defensive line, however. Sooo, I’m not sure how much we’ll be seeing him on offense anymore. The recent news that Cody may have to deal with a swollen knee throughout the season means Baltimore may save him for the defensive side. However, as you said, Cam likes to spice things up and you just never know.
Joshua Coltrane Curry : What is the meaning of life?

Mink: Sorry Joshua, I only minored in psychology at the University of Maryland. However, I know someone who can help.

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