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‘He’s a hidden gem’: Maurice Canady’s rise to aid an injured Ravens secondary

‘He’s a hidden gem’: Maurice Canady’s rise to aid an injured Ravens secondary

Maurice Canady knows teams have been picking on him this season. He’s also thriving in that environment.

Time and time again against the Steelers on Sunday, the ball was thrown in Canady’s direction. And he rarely had a lapse in coverage. 

With injuries to Tavon Young and Jimmy Smith in the secondary, Canady’s play the last three weeks has been much needed for a depleted Ravens secondary.

“Maurice really stepped up,” coach John Harbaugh said of Canady’s performance in Pittsburgh. “He played well. He covered man, covered zone, made plays on the ball, made tackles. I thought he played very well. It’s nice to see a guy step up when the opportunity comes, and he did it.”

Canady had seven total tackles and had one forced fumble against the Steelers. He played in 53 defensive snaps (91 percent), the fourth most on the defense. 

A week prior, he played 25 snaps (37 percent) against Cleveland. He had an interception in that game, too, the first of his NFL career. 

He’s playing more and more each week, and his confidence is a big reason why. The fact that teams are continually testing him doesn’t phase him one bit.

“I’m a firm believer that if you don’t believe in yourself, nobody else is going to believe in you,” Canady said. “So it doesn’t really matter what somebody else thinks about me. If I’m out there and I’m timid, or if I’m out there and I don’t believe I can check the guy, it don’t matter who I’m trying to show off for.”

Opposite Marlon Humphrey, it’s expected that opposing teams have been testing Canady instead of the proven Pro Bowl talent. But Canady’s performance has come when the team needed it most. 

Young went out with a neck injury in the preseason and was lost for the year and Smith has been out since week one with an MCL sprain. In search of answers, Canady has been the current solution. 

“Thank God he’s here,” defensive coordinator Don Martindale began. “...and obviously, ‘Mo’ did a lot of good things in the last two games, really. So, we have to just keep working.”

Canady began the season on the practice squad after being waived by the team ahead of the original 53-man cutdown and was added to the team on Sept. 14 ahead of the team’s game against the Cardinals. 

Since then, Canady has been a crucial part of the Ravens defense. 

“He’s a hidden gem, I’m very very glad we have him on our team,” Earl Thomas said. “He’s been lockin’ up.”

Moving forward, Canady will be relied upon more and more to play more snaps in a secondary that struggled for the first quarter of the season. 

And so far, he’s shown just why he’s got so much confidence in himself.

“He has so much confidence, that’s what going to keep separating him and keep making this league notice his talent,” Thomas said. “He has confidence, he knows he can play, he knows the scheme, he’s a great off-corner.”

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Lamar Jackson leading vote-getter, Ravens lead all clubs in votes

Lamar Jackson leading vote-getter, Ravens lead all clubs in votes

The Ravens are the hottest team in the NFL, and their signal-caller Lamar Jackson leads all players in Pro Bowl voting.

The NFL announced today that Jackson has a nearly 30,000-vote lead on Chiefs' star Patrick Mahomes.

Jackson has been taking the league by storm through the first 10 games of the season. Baltimore is sitting in second place in the AFC and has standout wins over Seattle, New England and Houston going into Week 12.

The Ravens lead all clubs in votes with five players currently sitting atop the totals at their respective position in the AFC. 

In addition to Jackson, FB Patrick Ricard, RT Orlando Brown Jr., LG Marshal Yanda, DB Marcus Peters and PK Justin Tucker are all currently leading in Pro Bowl voting in the AFC.

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The Ravens have been the NFL's best team since Week 7 according to this advanced metric

The Ravens have been the NFL's best team since Week 7 according to this advanced metric

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Currently riding on a six-game win streak, the Ravens are the hottest team in the NFL right now.

And not only do they look good on the surface, but a deeper dive indicates they’ve been the NFL’s best team in recent weeks. 

According to Football Outsiders, the Ravens have the NFL’s No. 1 defense and offense by DVOA since Week 7.

DVOA is a statistic used to calculate the efficiency of a team’s offense or defense by breaking down how successful a particular play is. The formula takes into account strength of opponent and whether or not plays constituted a first down, amongst other variables.

For the first six weeks of the season, with the Dolphins opening week blowout as an outlier, the Ravens’ defense struggled to get off the field and didn’t show much improvement from Arizona in Week 2 to Cincinnati in Week 6. 

Then, the team traded for Marcus Peters, and with a few other savvy defensive acquisitions, the Ravens defense took off. They’ve only gotten better since the Seahawks game, too.

In the four games since the Peters acquisition, the Ravens have allowed just 56 total points and scored three touchdowns of their own. 

Analytically, the defense has been stout, but paired with the offense, the Ravens have made themselves perhaps the most complete team in the NFL.

Through the last four games, they’ve scored 157 points, though three touchdowns were defensive scores. 

With the Ravens surging headed into the home stretch of the season, there’s ample evidence to believe that as of Week 12, they’re the most complete team in the NFL.

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