The Ravens knew when they took a chance on Will Hill by signing him to a one year contract that they were potentially getting a talented player at a bargain basement price. They just weren’t sure if he could step on the field after missing the first six games of the season and perform at a reasonable level. On Sunday against the Falcons, he proved that he is not only ready to contribute at a reasonable level, but a high one.
The Ravens employed a full on safety rotation against the Falcons, giving all four guys a chance to prove themselves. The final snap count looked like this: Terrence Brooks 46, Darian Stewart 45, Matt Elam 24, Will Hill 24. Will Hill and Darian Stewart tied for the best overall grade from Pro Football Focus with a 1.1, Elam had a 0.2, and Brooks had a -0.7.
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Perhaps a more eye opening statistic is how many times each player was targeted in coverage. Stewart gave up 3 receptions on 4 targets for 19 yards, Brooks gave up 3 receptions on 3 targets for 43 yards, and Elam gave up 0 receptions on one target. Hill, on the other hand, wasn’t targeted a single time.
Hill also recorded a QB hit and a defensive stop in his limited work, along with a tackle on special teams. Stewart had four tackles and two stops, Elam had a goose egg in every category, and Brooks had six tackles. Stewart continues to hold up well in run support, but he also continues to struggle in coverage. Elam struggles in every category.
While the Ravens stuck to their intentions to ease Will Hill into action Sunday, they won’t be able to keep him off the field going forward. Their usage of Elam and Brooks against the Falcons is a clear indication they are making moves at the safety position. And rightfully so, as it has been by far their biggest weakness this season.