This is a continuation of our Ravens revival: Defensive players with the most to prove. Today we look at the offense and who needs to show up in 2014.
Google search "offensive players with a lot to prove" and the three most recently published articles to pop up on your screen are as follows: Jaguars offensive line, the Redskins, and the Seattle Seahawks offensive line. Again, what constitutes the phrase "a lot to prove"?
Offensive linemen have it the worst in today's pass-concentrated game. They're not paid enough, they protect the most valuable player on the team and usually sail through their careers like a tree branch on a placid lake. Nothing wrong with that -- just saying.
The Ravens own a handful of players on their roster with a lot to prove this upcoming season. According to John Eisenburg, Ray Rice, Joe Flacco, Kyle Juszczyk, Jeremy Zuttah to name a few. They sure do have a lot to prove this season, based on Eisenburg's brief reasons -- but who has the MOST to prove for the rest of the year?
Starting today, these Ravens have the most to prove, not only to us, but themselves, in 2014.
Quarterback Joe Flacco
Flacco destroyed defenses in the 2012 postseason en route to the team's Super Bowl victory over Colin Kaepernick and the 49ers. Eisenburg expressed it best:
Joe Flacco wants to prove he’s the clutch, big-play quarterback who won a Super Bowl in 2012 and warranted a record contract, not the mistake-prone quarterback who, by his own admission, didn't take care of the ball well enough in 2013.
Our editor Matt Stevens says that under Gary Kubiak, Flacco will continue the trend as one of the League's most winning-est quarterbacks.
Ravens offensive line
The Denver Broncos are yelling "35!" to motivate them this offseason. The Ravens aren't, but should, yell "48!" this summer to keep them fired up. The offensive line allowed an average of three sacks a game, which ranks them second in the league behind Miami's awful offensive line.
Marshal Yanda, Jeremy Zuttah, Kelechi Osemele, rookie John Urschel, A.Q. Shipley, Eugene Monroe, Ryan Jensen, Gino Gradkowski, Rick Wagner, Will Rackley and Jah Reid -- all of these men have the most to prove.
Wide Receiver Marlon Brown
This guy is special. I saw Brown sparkle in a preseason game against the Carolina Panthers. This guy is truly special. Steve Smith Sr. will mentor Brown, and under the elder's tutelage, Brown will be that much closer to becoming the Ravens' future star. The wideout started 12 games, registered 49 catches for 524 yards and crossed the endzone seven times as a rookie in 2013. However sophomore slump is a thing for a reason and Brown needs to not slide into that trap in 2014 and instead improve on his route running and catching ability to take over the reigns as the legitimate number two receiver on the team.
Brown's good, but he has the most to prove on this offense.