Every team has a few players who help keep things together. Call them “glue guys”. Sometimes they are stars. Sometimes they are players that get overlooked. Here are five players I view as “glue guys” for the Ravens:
Kamar Aiken, WR – He had almost 1,000 yards receiving last year, and played all 16 games. Yet, Aiken is being overlooked again in the wide receiver group. He shouldn’t be. We don’t know exactly how Steve Smith Sr., Breshad Perriman, and Michael Campanaro will recover from injuries. We don’t know how quickly Mike Wallace and rookie Chris Moore will assimilate into the offense. We don’t know how smoothly Keenan Reynolds will make the transition from Navy quarterback to NFL wide receiver. But we know Aiken is tough. We know Aiken can make catches lining up wide, and in the slot. Don’t be surprised if Aiken has another solid season.
Joe Flacco, QB – An obvious choice because of the importance of his position. But for the first time in his career, Flacco is coming off an injury, and a losing season. For the first time since 2012, the Ravens are beginning a season with the same offensive coordinator (Marc Trestman) that began the previous season in that role. The Ravens will need, and should expect, a strong season from Flacco – maybe his best.
C. J. Mosley, ILB – Since being a first-round pick in 2014, Mosley has played with the disposition of a veteran, making the Pro Bowl as a rookie. However, Mosley’s responsibility has increased with the departure of inside linebacker Daryl Smith to the Buccaneers. Mosley is the now the unquestioned leader of the linebacker group, and others like Zach Orr and rookie Kamalei Correa will count on Mosley for leadership.
Justin Tucker, K – Thanks to Tucker’s range and accuracy, the Ravens know if they get inside the opponent’s 40-yard line, they can almost count on three points, regardless of weather conditions. They also know Tucker delivers in the clutch.
Eric Weddle, S – He’s a new Raven, but Weddle is already asserting himself as the leader of the secondary. That’s exactly what the Ravens want. Too many mental mistakes in the Ravens secondary led to too many big plays allowed in 2015. If Weddle plays to the level he did most of his career with the Chargers, he could be their most important offseason pickup.