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Ravens News 8/23: Rookie standouts, Snead a potential punt returner and more

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NFL: Los Angeles Rams at Baltimore Ravens Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Preseason top 10 NFL rookie standout performances on offense and defense - Mike Renner

4. Orlando Brown, OT, Baltimore Ravens

The Ravens have certainly been giving Brown every opportunity possible to prove himself. Including the Hall of Fame game, Brown has played a ridiculous 174 snaps already this preseason. He’s only been off the field for 36 of the Ravens’ 210 offensive plays so far. The Oklahoma product has showed himself well as he’s allowed only three hurries, zero hits and zero sacks in his 111 pass-blocking snaps.

10. Bradley Bozeman, C, Baltimore Ravens

Another Ravens offensive lineman who has showed out in extended action. Bozeman has registered 146 snaps so including the Hall of Fame game and has yet to allow a single pressure.

Other rookie standouts within the division include Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield, Steelers receiver James Washington, Steelers linebacker Matthew Thomas and Bengals safety Jessie Bates.

2017 DVOA by Routes: Quarterbacks - Scott Kacsmar

The curl is the only route where any quarterback attempted at least 75 passes last year. Eli Manning (117) edged out Joe Flacco (100) and Alex Smith (100) for the most curl attempts.

Jeremy Maclin was great for him on that [dig] route in 2016, but Maclin played for Baltimore last year, where Joe Flacco actually had some of his better numbers on this route. However, it wasn’t Maclin helping in that area, as Maclin only accounted for 4 of Flacco’s 58 DYAR on dig routes. Mike Wallace led the way for Baltimore with 28 DYAR on dig routes.

Meanwhile, Flacco finished next to last in DYAR on WR screens for the second year in a row. It’s hard to believe that Baltimore’s revamped receiving corps (Michael Crabtree, John Brown, and Willie Snead) is really set to improve on those numbers.

In terms of DVOA, Joe Flacco’s best routes last season were the dig (+17.2%), go/fly (+11.6%) and curl (-9.0%). Besides the WR screen, his worst routes were the drag (-31.2%) out (-28.7%) and post (-24.8%).

Willie Snead IV Could Be Answer as Ravens Punt Returner - Clifton Brown

The Ravens are still looking for someone to win the job of No. 1 returner after Tim White and Janarion Grant both fumbled punt returns Monday night against the Indianapolis Colts.

If neither White nor Grant earn the confidence of the coaching staff, the Ravens feel they have a viable option in Snead, who returned one kickoff and one punt last year for the New Orleans Saints. The kickoff return went for 18 yards, but he fumbled the punt return.

“The race is on, it has been on, and it continues. The results of this last game were disappointing, because the most important thing a returner does for us is secure the ball. That’s No. 1. We’ve had an efficient return game over the years here, because the priority being, before you can win the game, don’t lose the game. They have a duty to the rest of the team to protect the football, and they know that,” [said special teams coordinator Jerry Rosberg.]

“In both of those situations they needed to lock the ball down and they didn’t. Hopefully the lesson’s been learned.”

The punt Snead fumbled last season is the only one he has fielded during his four-year career. He did not return any kicks in college at Ball State and his athletic measurables are well below average for the position.

Take it to the Bank Podcast

Jimmy Smith’s suspension fallout, Ronnie Stanley’s injury news and a thorough recap of the Ravens preseason performance against Indianapolis.