GOOD EVENING FOOTBALL!
Yes, there is real live football happening in downtown Baltimore TONIGHT. Not that fake slow motion instagram shit in shorts and non-contact jerseys that we’ve been watching for a few weeks now. REAL FOOTBALL. We’re talking linemen putting hats on hats, real QB’s making real throws to real receivers covered by real cornerbacks, real snaps, real holds, real kicks. All that good shit. It may not count in the standings, but we’ll take anything we can get on our journey to that beautiful 0.69% I waxed poetic about at the start of camp. We’re getting one step closer my friends.
There’s been plenty of happenings since the start of camp so if you’ve been asleep at the wheel, let me catch you up on what’s been going on in the world of Ravens football.
The GOAT safety Ed Reed goes into the Football Hall of Fame
I’d be remiss not to open up with Ed Reed. That guy is just the best. In so so so many ways. It wasn’t enough that he was the best damn safety who ever lived. The guy just oozes such a ridiculous amount of swagger and charisma. From the suit to the cigar to his bust looking EXACTLY like him… he absolutely owned the weekend. That’s not easy to do when you’ve got a damn good HOF class with the likes of Tony Gonzalez, Champ Bailey, Ty Law, and Kevin Mawae. I mean two of those guys are his defensive back peers, and it was like they weren’t even there. Everything I saw over the weekend was all about Ed Ed Ed.
And rightfully so. Never have I seen such an electric football player on the defensive side of the ball. Anytime he got the ball in his hands (which was pretty damn often for a defensive player) it was an absolute thrill. You knew a moment was unfolding before your very eyes. Only thing in football I can compare it to in my lifetime is watching Mike Vick leave the pocket. You held your breath every time. Guy scored touchdowns on interceptions, fumbles, punts, punt blocks… it was incredible. Those 13 TD’s he scored in his career are all gravy on top of the effect he had on the rest of the game. He gave QB’s and opposing coaches nightmares. If you were one of those guys, you knew you weren’t getting a wink of sleep the week you were playing the Ravens.
I can’t think of a higher compliment for a defensive player than having Tom Brady and Bill Belichick drool over you the way they did. We’ve all seen the “Find 20 on every play” pic at this point.
So shout out to Ed Reed. My favorite Raven of all time and probably my favorite person of all time. Put him on the Mt Rushmore of Baltimore with Ripken, Ray, and Johnny U. Congrats my man.
Early Camp Cuts: Alex Lewis and Jordan Lasley
We’re about three weeks into camp and these are the departures we’ve had before we even got to tonight’s game. One is a little more surprising than the other.
I don’t fully understand the reason to let Alex Lewis go. Sure, he’s missed a lot of time to injury since a pretty damn good 2016 rookie campaign. He never really got back to full form since then and didn’t really thrill anyone this past offseason by choosing to rehab injuries on his own away from the team. For a lot of teams, that track record may be enough grounds to cut a guy loose and focus on developing your other guys. But I wouldn’t really describe the Ravens’ OL situation as flexible enough to let anyone go at age 27 who has had success in the NFL. This offense is all about pounding the rock, and his run-blocking is his biggest asset. I’m not saying their reasons weren’t good enough to move on from him, I just don’t think we were in a position to do so. Jermaine Eluemanor is inexperienced and hasn’t really lit the world on fire at LG. Ben Powers and James Hurst are the alternatives… not exactly great. Kudos to DeCosta for being able to at least get something (a conditional 7th rounder) for him, but the fact that the Jets were willing to give something up when they’re 3rd on the waiver wire says a good deal about the potential that Lewis has. It may not have worked out anyway, but it’s a shame to see him go. I always felt like there was something more to be had with him.
Jordan Lasley is not as surprising. He was a WR taken in the 5th round last year as a flier after showing flashes in the PAC-12, but could never really seem to get it together. He barely made the 53-man out of camp last year, and never dressed for a game. Immaturity and inconsistency seemed to surround him. After he got in a camp scuffle with Cyrus Jones and subsequently threw a football into a nearby pond RIGHT in front of Steve Bisciotti, it appears the team had had just about enough. Coach Harbs dressed it up nice saying he just “wasn’t a fit” for the Ravens new offense, but I think we can read between the lines.
The WR competition
Last week brought us our first glimpses of 1st rounder Marquise Brown. He’s working his way back from a foot injury and is still being held out of full team drills, but his speed was on full display in individual drills.
Now I don’t care that this ball was slightly overthrown and wasn’t caught. Just look at that lil guy motor. We’ve never seen that kind of speed in purple and black. Cannot wait to see what he can do once we take off the training wheels.
It’ll be interesting to see where he falls in line with the rest of this WR group. Willie Snead is pretty locked in as a starter, and it looks like Seth Roberts has shown out well enough in camp to solidify a significant role. The guy who has really stood out as more advanced than we all anticipated is rookie Miles Boykin. TON of buzz surrounding his play so far in camp, and it’s not like he’s going against some scrubs in the Ravens secondary. He has tools (6’4, 220 lbs, 4.41 40 time) that made his availability in the late 3rd round a little bit head-scratching, and I’m continuing to scratch my head. There’s a chance we got an absolute STEAL with Boykin. Here you can see him with a step on Jimmy Smith and making a nice catch.
It’s so so early to start making declarations, but it’s fun to think about what this young offense could be in the future. Obviously Lamar Jackson and the electricity he brings to the table, but throw in Boykin as the X, a strong red zone target… Hollywood as the Z, going in motion on play action jet sweeps and wreaking havoc on everything underneath. And oh. Oh yeah…
Mark Andrews Is About To Put The NFL In His Pocket
This is the one thing I’m most bullish about in 2019. There are a ton of question marks up and down this Ravens team that could either go fantastic or horribly wrong this year. The new Lamar offense could boom or bust, the defense obviously has a lot of turnover, but this is what I’m most confident in. Mark Andrews is going to tear it up. He showed flashes down the stretch last year, especially with that long touchdown catch on the road against the Chargers. It’s pretty much tried and true that rookie tight ends don’t really pop off in the NFL. Year 2 is where they show their true colors, and Mark Andrews has the mark of a guy who could be one of the next greats after leading rookie TE’s in receiving yards last year. Just look at the best TE’s we’ve seen drafted this century. Guy has this year’s George Kittle written all over him. Just another weapon for Lamar to lean on for years to come.
What to watch tonight
#1 thing I’m watching for tonight is just some good ol fashioned football. It’s back, so just try to enjoy it. Sure, we can sit there and hyper-analyze and overreact to the one or two Lamar drives we’ll see, and then make rash judgments on whether Trace McSorley could ever cut it as an NFL backup. But just take a step back and remember where we are. Welcome football for what it is. It’s a nice diversion from all the shitty things we have going on both in our own lives and in our world these days. Who cares if we’re watching 4th street undrafted QB’s duke it out in the final minute? It’s the best 4-5 months we get out of the near, so let’s not take it for granted. Just sit back, relax, and try to enjoy the ride.
So with that said.
You’re a fucking clown if you don’t take Ravens -3. Hammer that -160 moneyline. It’s free money baby!!! John Harbaugh is 29-15-1 ATS in the preseason, and 10-1 in Preseason week 1’s. So you can go ahead and fucking forget what I said about taking it easy and just enjoying the breeze tonight, we’re taking your bookie for all he’s got and we’re taking his family down with him. Fuck the Jags, fuck Nick Foles, fuck your bookie, fuck your bookie’s family, and definitely fuck Lee Evans. Can’t say that enough.