By: Brett Dickinson and Barry Kamen
With the Baltimore Ravens heading into their second preseason game, there is still a lot of questions pertaining to the current roster. Injuries have plagued the practice field and concerns have arisen about the depth at certain positions. Before the Ravens head to Jerry-World to face the Cowboys, we give you four Ravens to keep an eye on in Week 2 of the preseason.
Sammy Seamster (Cornerback)-Brett
With LarDarius Webb having a back injury, along with Asa Jackson leaving practice earlier this week, an already thin unit now has serious issues. Seamster is an undrafted rookie free agent, but had a legit shot to make the team before the depth chart began to look baron. Now with those injuries the Ravens brass will be counting on Seamster to play significant minutes for the rest of the preseason.
He has good size, standing at 6’0″ and ideal to play on the outside in most defensive alignments. He could even get some minutes against the ones for the Cowboys, which could help examine his merits against the likes of one of the best wide receivers in the league in Dez Bryant. Either way, Dallas has a prolific offense that will be a test for the rookie and determine if he is ready to be the “next man up” or if general manager Ozzie Newsome needs sort through the waiver wire for another cornerback.
Albert McClellan (Inside Linebacker)– Barry
While Brett watches the rookies, I will be watching the veterans. McClellan has been an unheralded player for the Baltimore Ravens since he made his debut three seasons ago. After signing as an undrafted free agent out of Marshall in 2010, McClellan made the transition from college defensive end to outside linebacker, carving his niche on special teams and proving his worth to coach John Harbaugh, who has a soft spot for the special teams units. McClellan also moved to inside linebacker when Ray Lewis fell victim to a triceps injury in 2012.
At the moment, McClellan finds himself buried on the team’s depth chart. With veteran Daryl Smith and two top draft choices in C.J. Mosley and Arthur Brown guaranteed roster spots, McClellan will battle with Josh Bynes for playing time, and possible a roster spot. In order to solidify his position, McClellan must lead a young special teams unit, and show that he can still get to the quarterback from the inside linebacker position.
Crockett Gillmore (Tight End)-Brett
Though he did not come down with a catch in the first preseason game, expect to see more from the rookie tight end against Dallas and their porous defense. With H-back Kyle Juszczyk proving to be an assest in the passing game in week one of the preseason, the team may be switching its direction at tight end. Even though he is known more as a blocker, Gillmore may be the big target the Ravens have been looking for on third down and in the red zone.
With veteran tight end Owen Daniels under-performing at camp, the Ravens could look to save his roster spot for a thinner position. If Gillmore can prove to be a weapon in the passing game, the organization may be inclined to stick with him as the primary backup to tight end Dennis Pitta. With only 53 men available, every roster spot becomes that much more vital; if Gillmore fulfills both roles in the running and passing game, the Ravens have a cheaper option, while adding room for another piece at a different position.
Jah Reid (Guard/Tackle)– Barry
After another disappointing season and an offseason that included an arrest, I thought that the Jah Reid era in Baltimore had finally come to a close. Apparently, the big man has other ideas. Reid has been getting second team repetitions at right tackle behind Rick Wagner, and has shed some weight to help ease the transition to tackle. The former third round pick out of Central Florida has yet to make the leap into the starting lineup that the team expected, but appears to be getting comfortable with offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak and offensive line coach Juan Castillo. While I still cringe at the thought of Reid competing to be the team’s starting right tackle, the mantra “better late than never” applies.
The expectation for Saturday night’s game against the Cowboys is for Reid to continue to play with the second team, which could amount to two full quarters and somewhere between 4-6 offensive series. If Reid has a solid game, there’s a good chance that he sees some time with the first team offense moving forward. Following last year’s week 1 debacle against Denver, where Michael Oher went down early and Wagner was forced to play, the Ravens should ensure that Reid has experience playing next to the team’s best lineman in Marshal Yanda.
Listen to Brett Dickinson and Barry Kamen every Saturday morning from 9a-12p on “The Brett and Barry Show”.