Baltimore Ravens Week 2 Stock Report
There’s probably a really fancy term for stock that drops a great deal in one day, and if I knew what it was, I’d apply it to the Baltimore Ravens team as a whole. Baltimore went into Denver and came up short 19-13 in what was, in gentle terms, a lackluster effort on offense.
However, everything wasn’t bad news, as some players, in particular on the defensive side of the football, had excellent individual efforts. The Ravens' goal now is to turn around from this loss and attempt to cleanse their collective pallet against the Oakland Raiders.
Whose stock is up, and whose stock is down? Read on and find out.
Terrell Suggs, OLB
It was tragic news for the Ravens when it was reported that the injury outside linebacker Terrell Suggs suffered in the game on Sunday was of the season-ending variety. Suggs will now be forced to miss the remainder of the season in what is his second torn Achilles in the past four seasons and could mean the end of a storied career.
Suggs was the emotional leader of the Ravens defense, and the image of him exiting the tunnel and firing up the crowd is something that will be missed. For all the production that the star linebacker offered, it is his emotional influence that will be missed the most.
Jimmy Smith, CB
After finishing the 2014 season injured, cornerback Jimmy Smith is back with a vengeance. Last season, Smith was somewhat underwhelming in his eight starts. The expectation for a player with Smith's ceiling is only one interception. His length and athleticism compare favorably to any cornerback in the league.
It was great to see Smith open up the season with a strong performance. Not only did Smith provide the the Ravens' highlight of the game, with his pick-six (see the Vine below courtesy of Ravens writer Garrett Downing), but he also provided exceptional coverage all game long and chalked up eight solo tackles as well.
This is what you call reading the QB and jumping a route. https://t.co/H6ahfYd4wt— Garrett Downing (@gdowning14) September 15, 2015
This defense is going to have to carry this team all year, and having Smith playing at a high level will really help the Ravens' cause.
Joe Flacco, QB
If you want to have a good laugh, Ravens fan or not, do a quick Twitter search for “Joe Flacco elite,” and see what the Twitterverse thinks of Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco after Sunday’s performance. Whether or not Flacco is an elite quarterback is a debate for another day, but on Sunday, Flacco played as soft as a gummy bear.
Not everything that happened with Flacco against the Broncos was his fault. Even though he was only sacked twice, Flacco was hit nine more times and pressured on 64.7 percent of his dropbacks, per Pro Football Focus:
You thought Peyton Manning was under pressure a lot - Joe Flacco was pressured on 64.7% of his dropbacks vs Denver— Pro Football Focus (@PFF) September 14, 2015
Broncos linebacker Brandon Marshall was the only player to sack Flacco, but outside linebacker DeMarcus Ware hit him five times, and his partner on the other side, Von Miller, hit him three more. Nevertheless, even when Flacco did have time, he was off. He looked rattled from the beginning and never was able to settle down.
If you are elite, and you are the face of a franchise, you have to not only elevate your play, but also the play of those around you. Flacco did neither. His situation with his skill players isn’t going to get any better (more on them soon), so it is up to him to take that next step.
Brandon Williams, DT
Second-year defensive tackle Brandon Williams had some massive shoes to fill when Haloti Ngata left the Ravens. With one game under his belt, he seems to be doing a great job. Williams came from Division II Missouri Southern after dominating lower-level competition.
Nevertheless, he has made the transition to the NFL seem pretty simple when you are as athletic and physical as he is. However, as they say a picture is worth a thousand words, so what does that make these two Vines, courtesy of Ravens writer Garrett Downing worth?
The more you watch of Brandon Williams the more he stands out. He splits this double team to stuff a run. https://t.co/BZEhfzrpoX— Garrett Downing (@gdowning14) September 15, 2015
Getting six solo tackles from a nose tackle means the opposing running game is on its heels. Look for these sorts of plays out of Williams all season long.
Steve Smith, WR
Let’s just call it the drop heard round the world. The game is on the line, and the Ravens have a chance to win it. Flacco, for all his struggles, recognized that favorite weapon, and future Hall of Fame wide receiver Steve Smith out in the route. And it was the least he could do to get him the football. During the game Flacco only targeted Smith seven times. Unfortunately, Smith had only hauled in two of those.
Nevermind all that. The game is on the line and the franchise quarterback is going to go to his franchise wide receiver and seal the victory for the road team. That’s how this ends, right? Wrong. Instead, this happens.
Now, before everyone gets in a knot about the pass being tipped, you are absolutely right. Denver cornerback Bradley Roby absolutely grazed the football on the way down. But in that moment, with that player, it doesn’t matter.
Smith has 917 career receptions, and that one wouldn’t have ranked in the top 20 most difficult ones he made. Just like with Flacco, Smith has to elevate his game when the rest of the team is down, and just like Flacco, he did not.