Tuesday was surprisingly busy in terms of news regarding teams in the area, but Wednesday certainly didn’t disappoint, either.
The Ravens announced that safety Michael Huff and defensive end Marcus Spears were released by the team.
Both veterans were signed in the offseason as bargains on the free agent market to add depth and help fill holes created by several players that were awarded big deals by other teams.
The team actually had high hopes for Huff, figuring they could plug him into the safety spot vacated by Ed Reed without a noticeable drop-off. The Ravens felt that Huff would greatly benefit by leaving Oakland and coming to one of the top organizations in football, as well as a team that is usually among the best in the league on the defensive side of the ball. While they expected he wouldn’t quite have the coverage range of Reed, they knew he would be a much better tackler.
Instead, Huff was played so poorly in the season opener at Denver that he’s hardly seen the field since that time. He was out of position on many plays and missed a ton of tackles. It’s pretty easy to say that he was the most disappointing player for the Ravens in the first half of the season.
As for Spears, there were rumors that he might get cut in training camp, but he actually made some plays in the regular season. Defensive line is the team’s deepest position, however, which made him expendable. The defensive line has been very inconsistent from game-to-game, so the Ravens might be looking to shorten their rotation to develop more chemistry.
John Harbaugh said in a recent press conference that the Ravens would explore every avenue to improve the team, including cutting guys and signing others. I guess he wasn’t just using coach-speak. These moves certainly will serve notice to current players that they have to perform or the team won’t hesitate to release them and go in another direction. In fact, the moves probably are being used as wake-up calls for the current team rather than a way to upgrade the roster and product on the field.
As corresponding moves, the Ravens added Omar Brown and Byrnden Trawick to the roster. Both players operate in the secondary but primarily on special teams. Fans will recall that Brown has played really well late in preseason games the past couple of years. Unfortunately, they will also recall Trawick getting in the way of punt returner Jacoby Jones in the season opener and injuring his knee.
The Ravens have had some issues on special teams this year. They’ve already had two punts blocked and struggled on punt and kickoff return coverage. Harbaugh is probably hoping both players could possible give a boost to the special teams unit.