Baltimore Ravens: Busts And Breakouts Of 2012
By Cian Fahey
Looking back on the 2012 Baltimore Ravens' season, it's easy to get lost in the defining moments and the team's leading stars. It's also very easy to forget that the defining moments were often created by under-the-radar players and the leading stars weren't necessarily the ones expected to establish themselves. Joe Flacco and Anquan Boldin ultimately lived up to their billing, but there were a host of other Ravens who both disappointed and surprised the fanbase.
Dannell Ellerbe – Breakout:
Ellerbe entered the final year of his rookie season with a career total of just seven starts. During that time he had 91 tackles, one sack, one interception and one forced fumble. Ellerbe was a bit player who struggled to stay healthy and only got on the field in a limited role. However, with Ray Lewis and Jameel McClain sidelined for long spells this past season, Ellerbe was able to become a key figure in the starting lineup for most of the season. Ellerbe finished with 92 tackles, 4.5 sacks and one forced fumble. Most significantly, however, he became a major difference-maker during the team's Super Bowl run.
Jah Reid – Breakout:
The former college tackle spent 2011 – his rookie season – as a backup and was limited to 42 snaps. Entering the 2012 offseason, the Ravens were hoping to re-sign Ben Grubbs, but he left for the New Orleans Saints. Baltimore shifted its focus to Evan Mathis, but he re-signed with the Philadelphia Eagles. This sequence of events left the Ravens stuck with Reid as their best option to play left guard. Even though he was shifted to a new position in an instant, Reid played over 500 snaps inside and held up relatively well for such an inexperienced player playing out of position.
Jacoby Jones – Breakout:
The main reason Jones was allowed to leave the Houston Texans and sign with Baltimore had to do with his inconsistency. While he didn’t exactly reverse his reputation in his first year with the Ravens, he made enough big plays to justify his contract – both on offense and special teams. Although Jones caught just 30 passes for 406 yards and a touchdown in the regular season, he had five receptions for 147 yards and two touchdowns in the playoffs. But perhaps he saved his best for last, turning his only reception in the Super Bowl into a 56-yard touchdown, tying a Super Bowl record with a 108-yard kick return for another score and breaking a Super Bowl record with 236 all-purpose yards.
Ed Dickson – Bust:
It's too early to call his career a bust, but Dickson definitely dropped down the pecking order this season. Dickson emerged as the more impressive of the team's two tight ends – along with Dennis Pitta – drafted in 2010 last season, but the latter emerged to take over the starting role in 2012. Pitta's seven touchdowns and 69 catches last season overshadowed Dickson's 21 scoreless receptions.
Michael Oher – Bust:
The lasting memories of Michael Oher's 2012 season will be his play late in the season. Oher, after moving back to right tackle, excelled during the team's playoff run and played a crucial part in allowing Flacco to excel. For most of the season, however, he spent his time at left tackle struggling to handle the league's premier pass rushers and made little to no impact in the running game.