The 5 o’clock club aims to provide a forum for reader-driven discussion at a time of day when there isn’t much NFL news being published. Feel free to introduce topics that interest you in the comments below.
Get ready for Ryan Mallett & Dustin Vaughan at QB. (I wrote that sentence even before it was announced that Joe Flacco would miss — probably — 3 to 6 weeks with a back issue, so it’s possible that Ryan Mallett may actually be the starting QB for the Ravens when they open the season against two division rivals... Cincy & Cleveland).
In addition, RB Kenneth Dixon is out for the season, and John Urschel, a center, announced his retirement just prior to training camp. So the Ravens regular season offense will likely start out with some holes.
But these personnel issues probably won’t have much effect on the game against the Redskins coming up on Thursday night since starters don’t usually see much action in the first pre-season matchup anyway.
After half a year without football, there’s a certain sense of palpable excitement prior to kickoff, but it fades away all too quickly — usually no later than midway through the third quarter. Sometimes by the middle of the first half.
The first pre-season game, of course, is exciting for the families of the draft picks, and hard core fans who have their own film rooms in the basement, but often a yawner for the average fan.
Still, after a long, weary off-season, football in pads is almost upon us. A pal of mine at work who is also from Virginia stopped me in the hall today to confirm the time & date of the game, which will be on at 6:30 a.m. Bangkok time. My pal said, “It’s probably worth getting up and watching it; I haven’t seen the team in pads for a long time.”
I mentioned to him that the Texans and Panthers would be playing at 6:30 tomorrow morning (Bangkok time) and he said he’d probably get up to watch that game too.
It’s been too many months without football, for sure.
We know all about the Redskin roster, but what about the Ravens? What young players will the coaches in Baltimore be looking at when their team hosts the Redskins?
Back in April, with his seven draft picks, Ozzie Newsome took 5 defensive players and spent two mid-round picks on offensive linemen. This was a meat & potatoes draft for Ozzie, who clearly wants to put a tough defense on the field again in 2017.
Here’s a quick rundown of the Baltimore Ravens draft picks that you can watch for during the game:
(player summaries for Rounds 1, 2 & 3 from Sports Illustrated)
Marlon Humphrey - CB - Alabama
Cornerback was a need for the Ravens, even after they signed Brandon Carr this off-season. Was it more of a need than other spots on the field, like offensive tackle or pass rusher? Was Humprey a better value than, say, a tumbling O.J. Howard? It doesn’t feel like it right away. Humphrey fits the physical prototype at cornerback, but he has a lot of technique clean-up to do before he can be trusted by his lonesome vs. premier NFL receivers. The ceiling is high, without question, but how long will it take him to get there?
Tyus Bowser - OLB - Houston
The Ravens had the chance to nab a pass rusher in Round 1, but went with CB Marlon Humphrey instead. They addressed their edge situation well here, as Bowser has the potential to be an explosive OLB in Baltimore’s system. He only just now appears to be starting to unlock his capabilities, so the future should be very bright.
Chris Wormley - DE - Michigan
A favorite with lots of Redskin mock-drafters this off-season, Wormley was gonna be a good value for whoever selected him.
There are times when players just look like they belong on a certain roster. That’s the case here with Wormley, a hard-nosed defender who can make noise inside or outside. Maybe not necessarily a steal here, but certainly a strong value—Wormley is a top-50 player in this class.
Tim Williams - OLB - Alabama
Four picks, four defensive players for Baltimore GM Ozzie Newsome. Certainly can’t blame him for doubling down at OLB—Terrell Suggs is nearing the end of his career and Elvis Dumervil’s contract ran out after the ‘16 season. Williams was a pass rush-only player for much of his Alabama career and might be again, but he’s exceptional in that role.
(Player summaries for rounds 4, 5 & 6 from NFL.com)
Nico Siragusa - G - San Diego State
Three-year starter with a penchant for power, but lacking the functional lateral movement to do consistent work outside of his phone booth. Has an NFL-ready frame with the ability to open holes for the running back but will likely appeal to power teams only. Pass protection could be a recurring issue early in his career.
Jermaine Eluemunor - OT - Texas A&M
He grew up in North London, coming over to the United States at the age of 14. He played rugby in England but moved to wrestling and football in his high school days in New Jersey. He went to Lackawanna College in 2012 and 2013, earning second-team all-conference honors in his second season. Eluemunor redshirted in 2014 and was a back-up at right guard and he continued to learn the game in 2015. He finally got on the field in his final year, showing great promise while starting 12 of 13 games, three at right guard and nine at right tackle.
Chuck Clark - DB - Virginia Tech
Clark is yet another tough-minded and athletic defensive back who has patrolled the secondary for the Hokies. One of the top players from Virginia in 2012, Clark stepped into a starting role as a true freshman in the team's bowl game, his second start of the year (22 tackles). Coaches lined him up at safety 11 times in the 13 games he played in 2014, making 73 tackles, 8.5 for loss, 1.5 sacks, an interception and 11 pass break-ups on the year. The interception came in the team's Military Bowl win over Cincinnati. Clark started every game in 2015, being credited with 107 stops, three for loss, an interception, and eight pass break-ups. The Hokies' two-year team captain received honorable mention notice from league media in his final year, as he made 94 stops, 2.5 for loss, and two pass break-ups.
How many snaps will Kirk Cousins get in Thursday night’s game?
This poll is closed
Less than 7
20 or more