Baltimore Ravens: Getting Results From Unexpected Places
The Ravens Are Getting Great Performances From Players They Did Not Know They Could Count On:
The Ravens have gotten great performances from players that did not have the highest of expectations. Zach Orr for example came into training camp competing for a starting job. Now, Orr is the leading tackler on the team and it isn’t even close. The Ravens had a lot of guessing work to do this offseason. They bet on a handful of positions and it worked out for the most part.
When the Ravens made the decision to cut Daryl Smith, it took some stones. They let go of an experienced player that was still very capable. Baltimore drafted Kamalei Correa in the second round. When Correa was moved to inside linebacker it looked like he would start next to C.J. Mosley. Correa struggled to impress and Orr shined. Halfway through the preseason Orr had pretty much locked up the important role on the defense. Financially strapped, Ozzie Newsome had to let go of Smith. John Harbaugh and company have not regretted that decision.
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The Ravens began the season with two rookies making the left side of the offensive line. They drafted Ronnie Stanley sixth overall and selected Alex Lewis in the fourth round. Before a high ankle sprain took him out of the action, Lewis was arguably the Ravens most consistent performer on the line. Lewis has shown to be a viable starter at both guard and tackle.
Michael Pierce is another player that is turning heads. The undrafted free agent from Samford is playing lights out. If opponents thought the Ravens defensive line was intimidating with Brandon Williams at the nose, they must be shaking in their boots knowing that when Williams comes out, Pierce comes in. Pierce has 26 tackles and two sacks on the season. He has a relentless motor and is a 339 pound freight train.
Tavon Young has ended up being critically important. The rookie from Temple was projected to be a slot corner in the NFL. Young has shown the ability to square up with receivers on the outside. The entire secondary has been a surprise. If you would have told Ravens fans that they would see a top 10 pass defense, not many of them would have believed you.