Another week, another matchup of two teams buried in the standings. Winner of this game remains on the outside fringe of the playoff race, leading to another week of false hope. Loser gets a leg up on the draft board.
The Dolphins looked like a new team after replacing Joe Philbin with Dan Campbell for a couple of weeks, but came crashing back to earth after a shellacking at the hands of the Pats. Meanwhile, the Ravens have managed to win 3 of 4, but are putting a DIII college team out there at this point. So who really knows how this one’s gonna go. The Ravens seem to have the Dolphins number, having won all 5 games (including 4 in Miami) in the Harbaugh era. But all 5 of those games had Joe Flacco under center. Your guess is as good as mine whether the Ravens continue their dominance in South Beach. Anyway, here’s your news/notes for the week:
Joe Flacco Thanks Fans, Says He Should Be As Good As New
At this point with modern medical science, it’s basically a given that Joe’s going to come back and be his old self. But it’s still encouraging to see him reach out to the fans and show a positive outlook about the whole thing. He hasn’t actually had the surgery yet as they’re waiting for the swelling to go down, but it should come any day now so that he can start the rehab process sooner rather than later.
Ryan Mallett Works Out In Baltimore
The Ravens hosted Mallett for a workout in Baltimore on Wednesday. It would seem to me that the Ravens recognize that Schaub isn’t a long-term option to be Flacco’s backup, so they’re using these 6 games as an opportunity to see who might be up to the task. In the scheme of backup QB’s, Jimmy Clausen and Mallett are both solid candidates given that they’re both still in their 20’s and have a few NFL starts under their belt. As fun as it is to watch Schaub and wonder when he’s gonna toss that imminent pick-6, I’d like to see Clausen get some work too. They didn’t sign Mallett, but I do like the fact that they’re exploring options.
Is James Hurst Turning A Corner?
I should’ve mentioned this in my post-game Tuesday morning, but Hurst did an admirable job on Monday night, especially given that he had Ryan Jansen beside him at LG with Osemele out. I don’t think Hurst is a long-term solution at LT, and he shouldn’t have to be, but Eugene Monroe just can’t get himself onto the field. It’s looking like time to move on from Monroe, so don’t count out LT as a position to target early in the draft in April. I’m hoping we’re not stuck with Hurst as a starter next year. After all, he’s the guy who got bowled into Flacco’s knee. But it’s at least interesting to see him start to progress.
Will Hill Wins Special Teams Player of the Week
Player of the Week awards are kind of a sham, especially for Special Teams, but if you’re giving this award to a Raven, it should’ve gone to Kaelin Clay, or shared with Brent Urban. Clay is a breath of fresh air in the return game, and his TD came on just the 4th return of his career. And then Hill’s play doesn’t happen if Urban doesn’t get a paw on that ball. The Ravens would’ve likely lost right then and there without the block. He deserves just as much, if not more of the credit than Hill. By the way, the Ravens have managed to block a punt or a kick in 5 straight games. Pretty incredible.
Ravens Switching From Artificial Turf To A Real Grass Surface in 2016
An interesting decision to say the least. Team President Dick Cass has stated that injuries are not to blame for the switch, but I’m not completely buying what he’s selling. I do think the players prefer it like he said, but I think the injuries were the last straw to really drive this decision. Personally I like it. I like things to be more natural. Baltimore’s not necessarily a full blown cold weather climate, so maintaining it shouldn’t be a huge issue. I just hope it doesn’t turn out like FedEx or Heinz Field (or Levi Stadium) where it gets torn to bits. I’m also curious if this would change their status when it comes to hosting high school state championships, NCAA lax, and concerts and such. We’ll see.
That’s it for this week. Keep on keepin on, Ravens fans.
Oh, and listen to episode 3 of the Barstool Baltimore Podcast. Tons of good Baltimore sports chat here.