Every week there is a player that breaks out. A player that puts the team on his back and says; "follow me to the promised land!" More often than not on this team it has been a defensive player. With the likes of Terrell Suggs, Ray Lewis, Ed Reed, Haloti Ngata, Paul Kruger, Pernell McPhee, Lardarius Webb, Terrence Cody, Bernard Pollard, Jameel McClain, Jimmy Smith and Cory Redding it could be any one at any time. All these guys are monsters and are capable of taking the game into their own hands.
Let's just keep it to the offense then. The JV squad has been doing some catching up of late and has some high quality players of their own. Players like Anquan Boldin, Ray Rice, Ed Dickson, Vonta Leach, Joe Flacco, Lee Evans, Torrey Smith, Ricky Williams, Dennis Pitta and our beastly offensive line are very capable of doing the same. For once we seem to have as much or almost as much talent on our offense as we do on our defense.
I think the obvious picks would be players like Flacco, Smith or Rice because they are "big play" players. Smith and Rice are capable of going the distance any time they touch the ball. Flacco is also a "big play" player. He has the ability to change a game with his arm at any time!
Let's look at the less obvious selections though. Vonta Leach is capable of being this week's hero and most fans may not even see it. Trust me after a full game of taking hits from Leach many defenders may start taking bad angles to get to the ball carrier to stay out of his way. He has laid more wood than a lumberjack this season. I love this guy!
Having a player like Lee Evans back out on the field is huge for the Ravens. Evans truely takes the top off of the defense. You may see Anquan Boldin start to tear it up over the middle on crossing routs or skinny posts. The whole reason he is able to do this is because a player like Evans is taking the safety down the field and out of the play. Add in a few deep balls and a touchdown or two and boom!, there is our hero!
Then you have players like Ed Dickson and Dennis Pitta. When playing an opponent like Cleveland you want to exploit any weakness they may have. Pass defense is not one of them. The Browns feature Joe Haden as their number one corner and he is a beast. If our receiver gets locked up it will be time to exploit our favorable match ups and that could be Dickson or Pitta being covered by a linebacker or safety. I believe the Browns have some injuries at linebacker so this may be the area to attack in the passing game.
I think we should leave Joe out of this one. Quarterbacks always get to be the hero if you win and are always the goat if you lose. Let's keep it to the guys receiving the ball. We all know Flacco is going to tear it up this week, it's just a question of who is going to be his go-to guy?
Anyway you slice it, for the first time in a long time, or maybe ever, the Baltimore Ravens have a truly deep offense with players that can beat you all over the place. I personally would like to see Lee Evans get in on the act. We will need him to be ready for the playoffs. A big game against a division opponent will help Lee and Joe get back that connection they so briefly showed in the preseason.