May 22, 2013 in Observations
In the coming weeks I will do a series of posts on the Baltimore Ravens and how their players stack up at each position. These Tiers are an indication of what talent level can reasonably be expected of each player for the 2013 season. Future potential and contract status are not really taken into consideration, as this is more an indication of a players talent level and expected production.
Description: Top level starter, at elite or near elite level, absolute lock to both make the team and start. Won't face any competition for his job.
Description: Quality starter who may have some minor struggles in a given year, but overall is a good football player. Typically just outside the elite/near elite leavel. Should both easily make the team and start. Will be one of the key players on the team.
-Flacco is the Super Bowl winner and no one can take that away from him, but he is still not deserving of being in the top tier. He still had just good numbers overall, and really didn't excel in any one area. Though the Ravens typically came out on top, there were a number of games where Flacco's play early on allowed the opponent to remain in the game. Further complicating matters is the loss of wide receiver Anquan Boldin who was a major cog in the Ravens offense and was the target that Flacco's numbers were the most impressive throwing too. While he hasn't fully reached his elite status yet, it could be coming this year. Remember Eli Manning struggled up until his successful Super Bowl run in 2007 (playoffs of 2008). From that point on he took his game to a higher level. Perhaps Falcco will spring board this year into top Tier status.
Description: Passable starter, can play the position and be okay, but won't consistently play at a high level. Will be streaky throughout the season and over the course of many seasons. Depending on position would be better served as a good role player, or would be the best reserve player at a position. Should make the team, though not a lock and should face competition for a starting job.
Description: Replacement level starter. This is a guy who could start in a pinch or as a long-term injury replacement but will max out as an average starter, and will probably be below average. He's a guy who could be okay as a short term filler, but over an extended period will struggle. Depending on position could be a solid player, or would be a good back-up. Has a decent chance to make the team, and could get a look at a starting job, but nothing is set in stone for him.
Description: Solid back-up caliber player. Shouldn't really ever start, and would be below average in that capacity, but can be a short term injury replacement. Shouldn't even be much of a role player depending on the position, their best value is in their reliability as a replacement. Depending on the position, should be capable of backing up multiple positions or roles to increase their value. Has a chance to make the team, but really shouldn't be considered a starting option at all.
Taylor was drafted by the Ravens in the 6th round in 2011. He has worked his way to the number two spot on the depth chart, though the Ravens haven't really brought in significant competition. Taylor has not been too bad in limited spot work, and has really good athleticism which can create problems for opposing defenses. He's still pretty raw and limited overall, and probably isn't a viable option beyond a short term stop gap. If Joe Flacco were to miss multiple games it would cause problems to have Taylor start that long of a period. For a shorter term like a half or even one full game, Taylor would probably be okay.
-Hanie had a little promise when he signed as an undrafted free agent out of Colorado State with the Bears back in 2008. It looked like that promise was going to be fulfilled when in the NFC Championship game he came in during the 2nd half and nearly led the Bears back against the Packers to send them to the Super Bowl. Hanie was moved up to the 2nd string quarterback the next year, but failed when Jay Cutler got injured that season. Though still fairly young Hanie would not be a real viable option for the Ravens other than as a 3rd quarterback.
Description: Replacement level player. Not considered at all for a starting role, and isn't even considered a viable back-up. Really only has a shot to make the team if injuries thin out the competition. Overall has a poor chance to make a roster, and is a player who will likely be replaced during the season.
-The former Notre Dame and Kansas quarterback was signed as an undrafted free agent by the Ravens this year. Though he was once highly touted he for the most part underperformed in college. He could a shot at a practice squad spot, but he is unlikely to challenge for much more than that.