We are all eagerly awaiting for the 2015 season opener, and believe me, the enthusiasm is real. While we fixate ourselves for Kickoff Night on September 13, 2015, in Denver, let's take a moment in advance to honor the athletes who will have worked incredibly hard to make the final 53-man roster.
In the first edition of our Push to Start series, we will profile the players on the Ravens roster who are not expected to start games this upcoming season. That said, go ahead and box Kyle Arrington and Breshad Perriman and stick them in the fridge when you get home.
Without further ado, I introduce to you our Fantastic Four:
Maxx Williams, Tight End
Why he's on this list: Fingers are crossed all around Raven Nation for the fully recovered Dennis Pitta to make his valiant return.
Unless he clocks out from football altogether, Pitta holds the starting title. Until further notice, Crockett Gillmore is listed as the No. 1 in many depth chart previews. However Williams, the 6'4", 249-pound tight end out of Minnesota, barring injury, has control of his destiny. Mike Mayock said Williams reminded him of Kyle Rudolph, another ball-catching machine and freakishly, well-built athlete.
Williams' route running will immediately be put to the test--will he follow his instincts and push to start?
I used to have nightmares of these terrifying monsters living under my bed.
Arthur Brown, Inside Linebacker
Why he's on this list: Not a bust, not a bust (I promise!), not a bust.
Brown, 24, is entering his third season with the Ravens after being drafted by the team in the second-round of the 2013 NFL Draft. He notched four tackles in his sophomore season, and was placed on injured reserve with a thigh injury to make way for nose tackle Haloti Ngata to be placed on the active roster in January.
Yet to start a game, most of us watching are hopeful that the same glow that caught Ozzie Newsome's eye in 2013 will catch fire and set the hearts of his onlookers ablaze this offseason.
Lawrence Guy, Defensive End
Why he's on this list: Simply because the guy (no pun intended), has something to prove.
Year Five for the defensive end should be one of harvest. And feast he will. The obstacles he's had to overcome over the past four years, being waived off so often, must have been aggravating. The defensive end probably hates driving through traffic patrols. Jokes aside, Guy has a chip on his shoulder -- and knowing Dean Pees' affinity for changing personnel to put the team in the best position to win -- should be more than enough motivation.
Kamar Aiken, Wide Receiver
Why he's on this list: Definitively, Aiken is not expected to start over Marlon Brown, Breshad Perriman, or Steve Smith Sr.
While Aiken's best season of his career was with the Baltimore Ravens (thank Joe Flacco for that), Aiken's best chance of making the roster is through special teams. He could contribute his speed returning kicoffs, or to the gunner-squad on a punt team. Tough outlook for Aiken especially since the Ravens signed sixth-round draftee Darren Waller (Georgia Tech).
If only the NFL had unlimited roster spots ... sigh. What are your thoughts on the guys who made the Push to Start list?