Sizing Up the Baltimore Ravens' Roster
The high number of injuries has clouded the roster outlook in the last few weeks. Key injuries to tackles Jared Gaither and Adam Terry, running back Willis McGahee, defensive tackles Kelly Gregg and Haloti Ngata, cornerback Chris McAlister, and safety Ed Reed have caused the front office to search for added depth at certain positions.
Listed in parentheses behind each position is the number of players the team would likely keep. Players no longer on the roster are listed as either CUT or I.R. (injured-reserve).
LOCK: Kyle Boller, Joe Flacco, Troy Smith
CUT: Brad Roach
Skinny: The quarterback competition is as uncertain now as it was in late July, as Boller and Smith had uneven performances against New England. Hopefully, the picture becomes clearer when Smith gets the start against Minnesota.
Running Back (3)
LOCK: Willis McGahee, Ray Rice
BUBBLE: Alex Haynes, Allen Patrick, Corey Ross
I.R.: P.J. Daniels
Skinny: McGahee’s arthroscopic left-knee surgery has thrown Rice into the starting tailback position for the time being. Coaches would really like to see a running back emerge from the pack to win the third running-back spot.
This becomes more critical has McGahee’s status for Week One remains unclear. The Ravens could conceivably carry a fourth running back, depending on special-teams play.
LOCK: Le’Ron McClain
BUBBLE: Lorenzo Neal
CUT: Justin Green, Jake Nordin
Skinny: In a surprise move, the Ravens cut Green on Monday and signed the former Pro Bowl veteran Neal on Aug. 12. Neal is very familiar with Cam Cameron’s offense, dating back to their days with the San Diego Chargers.
Neal will provide tutoring to the talented younger McClain. McClain was more involved in the offense in the first preseason game than he was at any point last season.
Tight End (3)
LOCK: Todd Heap, Daniel Wilcox
BUBBLE: Adam Bergen, Aaron Walker, Keith Weinrich
CUT: Lee Vickers
Skinny: Depth at tight end continues to be a major concern, as Heap battles a nagging calf injury and Wilcox continues to recover from offseason toe surgery. Bergen blocked poorly against New England. The tight ends will need to be strong blockers, given the Ravens’ uncertainty at the offensive tackle position.
Wide Receiver (6)
LOCK: Mark Clayton, Yamon Figurs (return specialist), Derrick Mason, Marcus Smith, Demetrius Williams
BUBBLE: Patrick Carter, Justin Harper, Darnerien McCants,
LONGSHOT: Kerry Reed, Ernie Wheelwright, Matt Willis
Skinny: Williams has battled a sore Achilles' tendon but figures to return soon. Smith has distanced himself from the field for a receiver spot. Harper has shown strong skills and is likely in control for the last receiver spot.
The veteran McCants had a 30-yard reception but followed that with a drop inside the five-yard line in the second quarter against New England.
Offensive Linemen (9)
LOCK: Jason Brown, Chris Chester, Oniel Cousins, Jared Gaither, Ben Grubbs, Mike Kracalik, Adam Terry, Marshal Yanda
BUBBLE: David Hale, Chad Slaugther
LONGSHOT: Adrien Clarke, Adam Kraus, Joe Reitz, Isaiah Wiggins
CUT: Sean Dumford
Skinny: Tackle remains a desperate area of concern, with Gaither and Terry missing most of camp with ankle injuries. The veteran Slaughter was signed to add depth but needs to improve his conditioning. The coaching staff has given Cousins more reps as the starting right tackle this week, so this is something to watch on Saturday.
Defensive Linemen (6)
LOCK: Justin Bannan, Dwan Edwards, Kelly Gregg, Haloti Ngata, Trevor Pryce
BUBBLE: Amon Gordon, J'Vonne Parker, Lorenzo Williams
LONGSHOT: Darrell Campbell, Kelly Talavou
Skinny: Gregg underwent arthroscopic surgery on his left knee and will miss the remainder of the preseason. Ngata is recovering from a sprained MCL but is expected to return soon.
Bannan and Edwards got great penetration while working with the first unit against New England. Gordon, Parker, and Williams have all impressed at different times in the preseason.
LOCK: Brendon Ayanbadejo, Antwan Barnes, Tavares Gooden, Nick Greisen, Jarret Johnson, Ray Lewis, Bart Scott, Terrell Suggs
BUBBLE: Edgar Jones, Jameel McClain, Gary Stills
LONGSHOT: Dan Cody, Robert McCune, Terrence Melton
I.R.: Prescott Burgess
Skinny: The competition for linebacker continues to be close, even after a fractured wrist landed Burgess on the injured-reserve list. Cody has missed most of training camp with an injured right foot, hurting his chances of earning a spot.
McClain, the undrafted, rookie free-agent, has impressed the coaches and has earned consideration for a roster spot.
LOCK: Chris McAlister, Samari Rolle, Fabian Washington
BUBBLE: Corey Ivy, Derrick Martin, David Pittman, Frank Walker
LONGSHOT: Ronnie Prude
CUT: Anwar Phillips, Lenny Walls
Skinny: McAlister continues to miss time due to soreness in his right knee, an injury dating back to last season. Veterans Ivy and Walker played well against New England and have a slight edge over the younger cornerbacks on the roster.
LOCK: Dawan Landry, Ed Reed
BUBBLE: Jim Leonhard, Haruki Nakamura, Tom Zbikowski
Skinny: Reed's left shoulder injury continues to be a major concern, as there are nerve-related issues. His status is uncertain for Week One of the regular season. The veteran Leonhard and the rookies Nakamura and Zbikowski all impressed in the preseason opener.
Providing all three play well on special teams, the team could potentially carry five safeties, especially if Reed's shoulder does not improve.
LOCK: Matt Stover
LONGSHOT: Piotr Czech
Skinny: Stover is clearly the man. Czech has a strong leg and could find a spot on the practice squad.
LOCK: Sam Koch
Skinny: Koch is the only punter in camp and has even practiced kicking a few field goals in case of an emergency situation.
Long Snapper (1)
LOCK: Matt Katula
Skinny: Katula is one of the league's best long snappers.
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