Preseason Week Three: What To Look For
Since the third week of preseason is mainly for starters we will only look at position battles for starting positions or starters individually.
1. Left Guard
This is an under the radar position battle for the Ravens position. Ever since they signed veteran Bobbie Williams he was expected to start there. Plus with OT Bryant McKinnie reporting late for camp, the main competition for Williams, Kelechi Osemele, started at RT. Recently, Williams has experienced ankle problems causing this battle to be interesting. This injury may cause Osemele to start and if he plays good he could be the starter week one. Osemele has really impressed this preseason so this is a distinct possibility.
The Ravens are going to have to chose a winner sometime. So far during practice Justin Tucker is kicking about 95% and Billy Cundiff is at about 85%. This may look like Tucker has the advantage but Cundiff does as he is the incumbent and has been told by the coaching staff he has to do very bad to lose the job. The Ravens fans seem to want Tucker but it is tough for a Super Bowl contender to start an undrafted free agent at kicker. For Tucker to win it seems like he needs Cundiff to miss an easy one or two in game as neither has missed yet in game.
3. Starting Outside Linebacker
By now it is obvious Paul Kruger is starting at one OLB but the other is up for grabs. I talked about Albert McClellan here and he is competing now with this years top pick Courtney Upshaw. Whoever wins the job is expected to take over Jarret Johnson’s job which was more run defense than pass rush. If Upshaw doesn’t win he should reclaim the job sometime during the season. The only reason this is even a battle is again due to injury this time it is Upshaw’s shoulder. Expect both of them to contribute tonight with 2 sacks combined between them.
4. Starting Cornerback
The two competing for the job, Cary Williams and Jimmy Smith, have both disappointed this preseason both were burned by Calvin Johnson and Williams also by Julio Jones. Expect both to play good tonight as they play the Jaguars who are weak at WR. Whoever plays better tonight should get the job.