Who is Rashad Ross? This is the question the Baltimore Ravens have to be scratching their head about, as this particular Washington Redskin torched Ravens’ cornerbacks Asa Jackson and Tray Walker for most of the second half as he racked up 6 catches for 56-yards and 2-touchdowns in the 31-13 meaningless preseason beatdown win over the Ravens.
With Pierre Garcon and DeSean Jackson both on the sideline, Ross, Ryan Grant and Jamison Crowder all put in work on the Ravens’ secondary, as the trio totaled 16 catches 169 yards and three touchdowns. So the question is “are the Ravens just that trashy in the secondary or are the Redskins’ backups just that good?
I could fall back on my “Dean Pees is trash” diss, which would be true and all too easy, but lets take a deeper look into this secondary to define the issue.
In my opinion, when press coverage is played, the corner is supposed to place hands on the receiver at the snap and make it a huge problem for them to get off the line of scrimmage. The whole point is to impede receivers and make their life extremely difficult, usher them to the sideline, leave a few bruises and something to thing about the next time they see your number; however this could not be further from reality for the Ravens. Seriously, any WR that lines up against you should be thinking “oh crap it’s this guy again”, not “yes, easy money”.
They might as well have attached hinges to the Ravens’ corners due to them opening their swing-gate hips on the line of scrimmage and giving the skins’ receiving corps everything they wanted on the inside.
As a fan, frustration builds when you constantly see a once aggressive “in your face” defense look dismal because of small changes in the tenacity of the corners. I am not saying this is the whole issue but lack of aggressiveness is part of the problem.
For those true BSHU fans out there, you are familiar with the name Chris McAlister; arguably the most physical corner to ever dawn the purple and black. While Chris and John Harbaugh did not see eye to eye, (which is what led to his release in the 2009 offseason) he, under former Ravens’ head coach Brian Billick was considered one of the top 3 CBs in the league in 2004. According to the Baltimore Sun Billick even went as far as saying
“We believe Chris McAlister is the best cornerback in the National Football League; we concede that,”
This was mostly because of his ability to jam and then shadow the receivers. 26 career interceptions are proof that you need to be a little more physical in order to get the job done and Chris did just that.
What I am getting at is M-Cal’s level of nastiness needs to be reinserted into this secondary. Sure we have Jimmy Smith to help with that. He’s been beating guys up since he was a Colorado Buffalo but that only covers one side of the field, who is going to step up and stop being “Mr. Nice CB”? Lets hope Rashaan Melvin and Tray Walker “bring the nasty” as Spurs head coach Greg Popovich says. Baltimore’s secondary needs all the nasty they can get.
Maybe they can use a little mentoring from Steve Smith Sr. I don’t think it gets any nastier than that guy, especially after seeing him rumble and get ejected tonight.