Next Man Up: Marlon Brown - Baltimore Ravens WR

Six weeks into the season and you can get a good idea of the identity of teams and players themselves. Every team has an undrafted free agent or late round pick that has stepped in and suddenly started producing or a player that is having his breakout year or that one guy that is suddenly good out of nowhere, etcetera, etcetera. There’s also the reverse of that, the one rookie who had a really good season has hit a sophomore slump, the superstar is having a down year or is starting to decline, or that random guy who was really good last year was a fluke, etcetera, etcetera, again. Who on the Ravens this year fits in these categories so far? Let us take a look:

WR Marlon Brown – Impressed

Talk about a hidden gem, the 6’5” wideout from the University of Georgia earned his roster spot during the pre-season and hasn’t looked back. He has proved to be pivotal to the passing game when Jacoby Jones was lost for 4 weeks during the season opener, catching 17 passes for 221 and 3 touchdowns in 5 games. Brown’s unique mixture of height and speed will make him a dangerous weapon after a year or two after he becomes a better route runner and pass catcher.

S Michael Huff – Disappointing

Honestly, there’s not much to say about Huff that hasn’t already been said, he lost his starting to job to first round pick Matt Elam after just one game and no one has seen him since. I personally though he was going to do very well and I talked him up a lot during the offseason, oh how wrong I was.

LB Elvis Dumervil – Impressed

When I originally heard the Ravens were able to sign Dumervil, I thought two things, “Ozzie has worked some magic again.” and, “Oh my lord, our pass rush will be ridiculous.” I think it’s needless to say he’s lived up to expectation when it comes to pressuring the Quarterback, 5 sacks in 6 games is outstanding. He’s been a little disappointing outside of sacking the Quarterback, just four tackles outside of sacks and two forced fumbles. I expected more out of him than just a pass rusher, but Courtney Upshaw emerged as an every down Linebacker and that allows Dumervil to stay fresh for passing downs.

RBs Ray Rice and Bernard Pierce – Disappointing

I believe it’s common knowledge that the struggles with the run game are not just Rice’s and Pierce’s fault. Some say it is the new zone blocking scheme, some say it is the play calling. Regardless of what it is, both their numbers are not living up to expectations/past numbers, so they are disappointments. Both have been nagged by injuries, most notably Rice’s hip flexor, and have had problems getting out of their own backfield. I just don’t just don’t see the explosiveness in them that I saw a year, Rice is missing hole when they’re not clogged with defenders and Pierce is doing his best impression of an older Jamal Lewis.

LB Daryl Smith – Impressed

Daryl Smith had been one of the most consistent linebackers in the league while playing with the Jacksonville Jaguars, accumulating at least 100 tackles in seven straight seasons with them, but was constantly overlooked because of the losing culture of the Jaguars. So far, Smith looks to be one of the best free agent acquisitions by the Ravens in recent memory, recording 1.5 sacks, 2 interceptions, 8 pass deflections, and 24 tackles over the first six weeks. Smith seems to just have a nose for the ball; seemingly always putting himself in position to make a play.

CB Jimmy Smith – Impressed

I am perfectly fine with anyone disagreeing with me on this. Smith caused a lot of frustration in the Ravens’ pass defense the past season and the beginning of this season. Always getting picked on, getting beat, or getting a Pass Interference penalty, a lot of fans were ready to slap the ‘bust’ tag on the former first round pick, believe me, I was one of them. His past three games, though, have been some of the best play I’ve seen from Smith his whole career. It seems like he’s finally learned how to play physical like he did in college without drawing a Pass Interference call. I don’t feel like it’s a fluke either, as two of the games were against an above average passing attack in the Packers and an average passing attack in the Dolphins, something Smith has struggled against.