Yesterday’s roster moves by the Ravens left fans and team observers scratching their heads – even throwing shade at the team’s brass. Among the puzzling moves on the surface, were the departures of Jeremy Butler, Terrence Brooks, Victor Ochi and of course Justin Forsett. Let me help reel in the shade and shed some light on the Ravens surprising cuts.
Butler did what John Harbaugh asked of his men – to stand out and make plays. But the former third team All-American out of Tennessee-Martin was a victim of a numbers game. The Ravens don’t have the roster space to carry seven receivers and given the likely signing of Devin Hester as the team’s return specialist and 6th receiver, Butler was the odd man out. If he does pass waivers, I expect that the Ravens will find a spot for him on their 10-man practice squad. He does have PS eligibility and could be used as a reinforcement to the the team’s injury prone receiving corps.
The release of the former FSU Seminole was a surprise in that the Ravens retained, at least for the moment, Kendrick Lewis instead of Brooks. While Brooks does struggle in space on the back end of the defense, he has been effective in the box and when attacking the line of scrimmage. He provides physicality to a secondary that is devoid of it. Meanwhile Lewis does nothing, NOTHING well. He’s lost in space, can’t cover a corpse with a blanket and couldn’t tackle the meekest member of The Little Sisters of The Poor. Brooks isn’t special but he’s clearly better than Lewis. Maybe the team just concluded that his physical brand of safety play is obsolete in today’s NFL.
Well it’s been real #RavenNation thank you for everything. Definitely a classy organization and I am honored to have played here. ✌?️
— Terrence Brooks (@_Showtime31) September 3, 2016
This is the move that hurt me most – an Ochi ouchy! I love how the former Stony Brook Seawolf can get small and shave the corner while pursuing the quarterback without losing speed. That’s a rare quality and one that the best pass rushers in the game possess. I’ve described him as a poor man’s Robert Mathis. But he is a one-trick pony for now and needs to develop his game in other phases. The Ravens would love to put him on their practice squad but it’s unlikely that a player who flashes on film the way Ochi does will make it through the process. I have a feeling this is a move the Ravens will live to regret and they’ll be reminded of it for years to come.
I’m hearing that the Ravens expect Kenneth Dixon to be the featured back just beyond the quarter pole of the season. Terrance West is expected to be the goal line/short yardage back and Buck Allen a situational third down back. But Allen is a very below average pass blocker, an area where Forsett excels. Expect the Ravens to bring Forsett back at a price more fitting a reserve RB.
The plot thickens.. ? #GodIsInControl
— Justin Forsett (@JForsett) September 3, 2016
James Hurst, Matt Elam and possibly one of the young corners are likely to be moved out or to the practice squad. Let’s call them placeholders for other roster moves expected between now and mid-week.
Hurst has been absolutely awful whether it be at tackle or guard. The way he plays tackle is reminiscent of a blindfolded kid attacking a pinata. Elam isn’t expected to be healthy for a few weeks and it’s doubtful that the Ravens use their “get out of IR free card” on someone like Elam who is down on the depth chart.
And then there’s Devin Hester.
Hester was brought in for a second look on Saturday and the team put him through a full physical. Obviously there’s serious interest but then there’s always the contract. The Ravens could try and get through the first game without Hester and then sign him before Week 2. That way they’ll avoid having to pay him for the entire season if that turf toe issue surfaces again or if it becomes clear that Father Time has not been kind to the most dangerous return man in NFL history. He turns 34 in November.
UPDATE (10:30 AM)
Pro-Bowl return man Devin Hester has agreed to a one-year deal with the Baltimore Ravens, league source tells ESPN. Hester will sign today.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) September 4, 2016
Players must clear waivers by noon today to be eligible for a practice squad spot. Teams can begin filling the PS (10 spots) immediately after 12PM.
Ravens Current 53-man Roster
QB (2): Joe Flacco, Ryan Mallett
RB (3): Terrance West, Buck Allen, Kenneth Dixon
FB (1): Kyle Juszczyk
TE (3): Crockett Gillmore, Maxx Williams, Dennis Pitta
WR (5): Steve Smith, Sr., Mike Wallace, Kamar Aiken, Breshad Perriman, Chris Moore
OL (8): Ronnie Stanley, John Urschel, Jeremy Zuttah, Marshall Yanda, Rick Wagner, Alex Lewis, Ryan Jensen, James Hurst
DL (7): Brandon Williams, Tim Jernigan, Lawrence Guy, Brent Urban, Willie Henry, Michael Pierce, Carl Davis
LB (9): Terrell Suggs, Elvis Dumervil, CJ Mosley, Zach Orr, Kamalei Correa, Matt Judon, Albert McClellan, Chris Carter, Za’Darius Smith
CB (7): Jimmy Smith, Shareece Wright, Tavon Young, Jerraud Powers, Will Davis, Sheldon Price, Maurice Canady
S (5): Eric Weddle, Lardarius Webb, Kendrick Lewis, Anthony Levine, Matt Elam
K (1): Justin Tucker
P (1): Sam Koch
LS (1): Morgan Cox