Though there's currently a position battle for the Will linebacker spot, it becomes Jameel McClain's whenever he's able to return to the playing field.
But for now, Josh Bynes and Arthur Brown are trying to prove they belong to start. Thus far, Bynes has been given the upper hand in the position battle too.
Coach John Harbaugh, multiple times, has said Bynes has earned the starting job. However, the third preseason game is just one day away, signaling that there's still time for the head coach to change his mind.
Here's a look at why each linebacker deserves the starting spot, with a prediction at the end:
Why Bynes should start: Bynes is a run-stopping linebacker that can stand tailbacks up and drive them back. He's definitely in the same mold as someone like McClain, which is ideal for a division like the AFC North. But there are plenty of teams Baltimore will play this season that like to throw the ball around. The need for a coverage linebacker is there, meaning that even though Brown may not open the season starting, he should still receive a lot of playing time.
Why Brown should start: Brown may be somewhat undersized at 6-1 and 241 pounds, but he can still deliver hits with the best of them. He also has the needed agility for today's spread offenses in the NFL. He can run sideline to sideline and keep running plays from turning the corner, as well as defend the underneath passing game. He's a young linebacker and could use the early experience to his advantage, as he figures to be one of Baltimore's inside linebackers for the long-term.
Prediction: Though Brown winds up being Baltimore's best rookie in 2013, Bynes (or McClain) winds up starting. But much like Dannell Ellerbe a year ago, Brown will get plenty of playing time when the Ravens face pass-happy teams Denver, Green Bay, Chicago, Detroit and New England. During more traditional teams, especially the AFC North foes, the Ravens will probably prefer a run-stopping linebacker first that can force them in third-and-long situations.
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