Ravens mail: Wide receiver competition
@jamisonhensley: Heading into the third preseason game, I have Kamar Aiken and Michael Campanaro getting the final two spots at wide receiver. Campanaro is really battling against himself. If he proves he can stay healthy, the rookie seventh-round pick makes the team. Aiken currently has the edge over Deonte Thompson and Jeremy Butler. As far as cornerback, the Ravens are going to sit tight for now. Injured cornerbacks Jimmy Smith, Lardarius Webb and Asa Jackson should be ready for the season opener, according to the Ravens. They will look at cornerbacks who are released in the final major cutdown, which happens next Saturday.
@jamisonhensley Who will the Ravens keep out of Aiken, Campanaro and Thompson? What are they looking to do to address CB injuries?— Luke (@lxschurm) August 21, 2014
@jamisonhensley: Gary Kubiak was criticized for being too predictable during his final season in Houston. There were reports that defensive players were calling out the plays before the ball was snapped. This is a common gripe against coordinators when offenses struggle. Many of the Ravens' defensive players have talked about how unpredictable the Ravens' offense has become. They say Kubiak runs a lot of different plays from the same formation, which puts a defense on its heels. Of course, everyone will form their own opinion when the Ravens' offense plays meaningful games.
@jamisonhensley some people think kubiaks scheme is predictable. Does that stop from winning games— Zach Bull (@zachcch) August 21, 2014
@jamisonhensley: There should be concern. Even though their top three corners are supposed to be ready for the opener, durability is a legitimate issue with Jimmy Smith and Lardarius Webb. Both have struggled to stay healthy during their careers. Because of this track record, I was surprised the Ravens didn't do more to improve their depth at corner. While it was going to be difficult to sign a decent corner in free agency (the Ravens didn't have the cap room to do so), the Ravens could've looked at one late in the third round instead of drafting a tight end.
@jamisonhensley: Not likely. Linebacker Pernell McPhee is entering the final year of his contract. Even though he's looked strong this preseason, McPhee hasn't earned an extension. He only totaled 3.5 sacks the past two seasons after an impressive six-sack rookie season. One way to make sure they'll get the best season out of McPhee is not signing him to an extension. McPhee is going to be more motivated in a contract year.
@jamisonhensley McPhee extension?— Rhett Mitter (@RhettMitter) August 21, 2014
@jamisonhensley: The Ravens will definitely be looking at cornerbacks after the last cuts are made. But let's be realistic. Teams don't release cornerbacks who can make an instant impact. The Ravens, though, may find a corner who is better than one they have on their roster. It's all about upgrades. As far as tight ends, the Ravens won't need to add another one if Owen Daniels can play. That's not a certainty right now. Daniels has missed the last week because of leg fatigue. The Ravens have insisted there is no injury. But I haven't seen a player get this type of extended rest in my 14 years of covering the Ravens. If the Ravens can't depend on Daniels, they will have to pick up another tight end.
@jamisonhensley Will the Ravens look at tight ends & cornerbacks after the cuts in preseason with concern at both positions?— Brent Wright (@BrentWright24) August 21, 2014
@jamisonhensley: Probably not. Rookie running back Lorenzo Taliaferro is leading the NFL in rushing after two preseason games. His physical running style has generated a lot of excitement. Let's also remember most of these yards are came against second- and third-team defenses. He's earned the right to get carries in the regular season. The Ravens, though, are going to rely primarily on Ray Rice and Bernard Pierce if both remain healthy.
@jamisonhensley does Taliaferro become their horse by seasons end?— DeeAblo98 (@DeeAlvis) August 21, 2014
@jamisonhensley: Interesting question. My first guess was quarterback Joe Flacco. But I wanted to give my readers more than a guess, so I did some research. Flacco won a distance-throwing competition in college when he launched a football 74 yards. Justin Tucker's longest kickoff last season traveled 72 yards. So, based on this, Flacco would still be the winner -- but not by much.