Friday, October 25, 2013
How ex-Ravens are faring this season
By Jamison Hensley
With the Baltimore Ravens on their bye, it's a good time to check out how the key members of last season's Super Bowl team are faring with their current teams. A special thanks to the ESPN.com team reporters who provided their assessment of the ex-Ravens. I then give my take on whether the Ravens miss these players.
A look at the numbers: Boldin was traded to the San Francisco 49ers for a sixth-round draft pick. The wide receiver ranks 19th in the NFL with 495 yards receiving. He has 34 catches and two touchdowns. Boldin made an immediate splash with 208 yards receiving in the season opener, but he's come back down in the next six games.
Bill Williamson, ESPN.com 49ers reporter: With Michael Crabtree and Mario Manningham out, Boldin is the 49ers’ only legitimate threat at receiver. He will be even more dangerous when Manningham and Crabtree return and he sees fewer double-teams.
Do the Ravens miss Boldin? Yes. Even though they miss tight end Dennis Pitta more, the Ravens could use Boldin on third down and in the red zone. Marlon Brown has stepped up, but Joe Flacco had a certain trust with Boldin.
A look at the numbers: Ellerbe signed a five-year, $34.75 million contract with the Miami Dolphins that included $14 million guaranteed. The inside linebacker ranks third on the Dolphins with 40 tackles. Ellerbe has no sacks and no passes defensed, but he has recovered two fumbles. He's missed one game this season with a shoulder injury.
James Walker, ESPN.com Dolphins reporter: Ellerbe has been a mostly good addition for the Dolphins. He's taken to his new role as a leader and defensive playcaller, leading the Dolphins in tackles before his shoulder injury, but he has struggled at times against the pass.
Do the Ravens miss Ellerbe? Yes. But it's not like the Ravens had the salary-cap room to match the Dolphins overpaying for Ellerbe. He would be an upgrade over Josh Bynes as well as Jameel McClain, who is 10 months removed from a spinal-cord contusion.
A look at the numbers: Kruger signed a five-year, $40.5 million contract with the Cleveland Browns that includes $20 million guaranteed. The outside linebacker has had more penalties (two) than sacks (1.5). His 19 quarterback hurries lead the Browns, and his eight missed tackles are tied for the most on the team.
Pat McManamon, ESPN.com Browns reporter: Kruger has been solid but not spectacular for the Browns. The main issue: His sack numbers are not what he or the team had hoped for. Through seven games, Kruger has 1.5 sacks, and he admits that's not enough. Especially for a guy paid as handsomely as he was in the offseason.
Do the Ravens miss Kruger? Not at all, especially after Elvis Dumervil fell into their laps. Dumervil has 5.5 sacks, two forced fumbles and seven quarterback hits.
A look at the numbers: Pollard signed a one-year, $2 million contract with the Tennessee Titans after being cut by the Ravens. The strong safety leads the Titans with 47 tackles. He also has two interceptions and three passes defended, and has even blocked a kick.
Paul Kuharsky, ESPN.com Titans reporter: Pollard has been great for the Titans. He's been the sort of outspoken leader they needed, and he's backed it up with solid play. The Titans have schemed in a way that's kept him out of difficult coverage situations, and he's been good in pass defense.
Do the Ravens miss Pollard? Yes. James Ihedigbo has exceeded expectations, but Pollard brought a level of intimidation that the Ravens' defense misses. You have to wonder whether the Ravens' run defense would be better with Pollard and whether receivers would think twice going over the middle with him in the defensive backfield.
A look at the numbers: Reed signed a three-year, $15 million contract with the Houston Texans that included $6 million guaranteed. The free safety missed the first two games of the season with a hip injury, and he doesn't have an interception or a pass defended this season. He ranks 13th on the Texans with 14 tackles.
Tania Ganguli, ESPN.com Texans reporter: Reed has not yet made the kind of impact many expected from him. He wants to be tested more than he has been -- he's only been targeted three times by quarterbacks this season.
Do the Ravens miss Reed? For the short term? Probably. In the long term? Probably not. Quarterbacks likely wouldn't test the Ravens deep as much with Reed playing center field. But the Ravens will be better in the future with Matt Elam, a first-round pick who is learning on the job this season.
A look at the numbers: Williams signed a three-year, $17 million contract with the Philadelphia Eagles that includes $10.5 million guaranteed. The cornerback has two interceptions and five passes defended this season. He's allowed two touchdowns and has been flagged for four penalties.
Phil Sheridan, ESPN.com Eagles reporter: Williams got off to a bit of an odd start, missing some voluntary workouts for personal reasons (and famously saying he was picking out sconces for the home he was building), then fighting with Riley Cooper in practice. But he brings that same attitude to the field, which has helped give this rebuilding Eagles defense a personality. He hasn't been great on the field, but he's been good and getting better as the defense in front of him becomes more competent. Mostly, I'd say he's a guy who knows what it's like to be part of a winning, intimidating defense, and that's in short supply around here.
Do the Ravens miss Williams? Hard to say. Once again, this is a case where the Ravens couldn't have come close to matching the offer from the other team. Even if the Ravens had Williams, I'm not sure he starts. Lardarius Webb was going to reclaim his starting job, and Jimmy Smith was going to start because it was time to see if he was worth a first-round pick.