Will inside linebacker Arthur Brown make the Ravens’ 53-man roster? Or will Thursday night be Brown’s final game in a Ravens’ uniform?
How Brown performs against the Falcons in Atlanta will factor into his fate. The Ravens’ second-round pick in 2013 is on the bubble, and here are the facts. One of the Ravens’ starting inside linebackers is a Pro Bowl player, C. J. Mosley. The other is a savvy veteran, Daryl Smith. And the Ravens have two other inside linebackers who have performed better on special teams than Brown - Albert McClellan and Zach Orr.
That could leave Brown out of the picture, and looking for a job elsewhere when rosters are trimmed to 53 players Saturday. Brown is trying to block out the pressure and focus on football.
“I really don’t approach this game with that in mind,” Brown said following Tuesday’s practice. “It’s a great opportunity for me to showcase and contribute to this team while I’m still here.”
Ravens coach John Harbaugh made it clear Tuesday he believes Brown is an NFL-caliber player who has improved. What wasn’t clear was whether Brown would make the 53-man roster.
“Arthur has really come on,” Harbaugh said.
“He’s in a tough spot. He’s sitting there behind two really good linebackers. Daryl Smith is the most underrated linebacker in football, without question, and I’ll stand on that all day long. And C. J. Mosley, obviously, we all know that he’s one of the best young linebackers in football, if not the best young linebacker in football. That’s where Arthur is at.”
Asked if Brown was not on the bubble, Harbaugh said, “I can’t say right now. Nothing is written in stone. You look at the numbers – you do the count – and you’re going to go, ‘Ok, what is it going to be?’ That’s for us to decide at the end…But I know one thing: (Arthur Brown is) certainly good enough to be on our team and contribute for us.”
Brown admitted it can be difficult mentally, playing behind linebackers as good as Mosley and Smith, after entering the league with high expectations as a second-round pick.
“Honestly, approaching it with a selfish mindset, it can be tough,” Brown said. “That’s why every day I have to come out here with the mindset and the focus on the team.”
However, with the starters not playing against the Falcons, there will be plenty of focus on Brown. Then Brown will either get good news, or bad news, on Saturday.
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