The days of seeing outside linebacker Courtney Upshaw 15 yards down the field running with tight end Antonio Gates are thankfully dead and gone. The Baltimore Ravens now have the option to cover tight ends with a specialist in the form of safety Eric Weddle.
In the prior week, inside linebacker Zachary Orr drew tight end Gary Barnidge in man-to-man coverage situations to negative results. Even with the move to safety, Lardarius Webb's movement skills are no longer good enough to stick with tight ends of Thomas' caliber. This leaves Weddle as the only viable option if the Ravens want to match-up spread formations with man to man coverage.
Fans could see the debut of Anthony Levine as a dime backer, replacing Orr in clear passing situations and providing Weddle with a more agile option as inside help. If Thomas is motioned out wide, Weddle should follow. If Thomas is lined up on the outside when the huddle breaks, either Jimmy Smith or Shareece Wright should be expected to draw the assignment.
This is the big test for Weddle. Ravens fans and coaches alike will get a sense of the ceiling of his abilities.