With the Ravens keeping just three running backs on the 53-man roster, De’Lance Turner could have an important role before the 2019 season ends.
Turner was one of 10 players signed to the practice squad Sunday, after his second consecutive impressive preseason. He led the Ravens in rushing during the 2018 preseason and made the practice squad in 2018 after being signed as an undrafted free agent from Alcorn State.
Rookie wide receiver Antoine Wesley, who made a bid to make the Ravens 53-man roster, was also signed to the practice squad.
The Ravens were intrigued by Wesley’s 6-foot-4 size and route-running ability.
Baltimore Ravens’ initial 53-man roster: 4 takeaways on youth, injured reserve decisions and more - Aaron Kasinitz
The youth movement continues
The Ravens don’t just want to place good players around Jackson; they also want to form a young core that can ascend as the second-year QB does. So it’s notable that Baltimore kept all eight of its draft picks plus two undrafted free agents (more on that in a second) on its 53-man roster.
Twelve second-year players, including Jackson, are also on the team. That’s 22 young players who are under cheap contracts through at least the 2021 season.
To make the Ravens’ future bright, these players must produce on the field. For now, we know the potential and the roster flexibility is there.
I asked Bengals defensive coordinator Lou Anarumo whether he had a flexible athlete who could hang with, say, Lamar Jackson, and he answered candidly: He didn’t know yet. “Lamar Jackson is pretty fast. He’s as fast as the corners,” he said. “To say we’ve got one guy who can put his cape on and chase him, we’re still working through that. To say that a safety or linebacker is going to track him down, we’re still working through that.”
Colbert believes the game is played significantly closer to the line of scrimmage—and especially within 20 yards—than in generations past. This matters in team building. It especially applies to the Ravens, whose use of the run game will keep most of the action near the line. Jackson is one of the game’s most exciting players, and defending horizontally, as the Steelers have built their defense to do, will be of particular importance.
John Harbaugh’s T-shirt game is strong and motivating the Ravens - Jamison Hensley
Chase the Lion
The Ravens’ 2018 regular season came down to the final game -- just as it did in 2017. But unlike the previous year, Baltimore wasn’t ousted from playoff contention on a late fourth=quarter touchdown. Instead, middle linebacker C.J. Mosley intercepted Baker Mayfield to secure the victory and the AFC North title.
In the locker room afterward, Harbaugh huddled his players together before saying, “We said we were going to chase the lion. We said we’re not going to flinch, not going to back down and not going to turn. We put this thing aside. We said we’re going to the look the lion in the eye, and when the time came, we were going to chase it in a deep, dark pit. And at the end, kill the lion.”