Week 5 will be remembered not only for a disappointing loss to the Redskins, but a down day for the rookie class, as only Michael Pierce, Tavon Young, and Alex Lewis saw significant playing time. With that painful memory in the rearview, let’s turn to Week 6 by examining the best case and worst case scenarios (within reason) for each rookie heading into an important road game.
Best Case: Pierce has a monster day against the Giants struggling offensive line. He is disruptive in the running game, setting up his teammates for simple tackles, and he bursts through to record a few hurries on Eli Manning, flattening him for a bone-crushing sack.
Worst Case: The undrafted rookie is unable to generate consistent penetration, and coaches rely on more senior players up front, scaling back Pierce’s snap count into the 10-15 range.
Best Case: Stanley’s health improves and he returns to anchoring the left side of the line, resulting in Joe Flacco’s jersey staying mostly clean. Stanley practicing Thursday (albeit as a limited participant) was good news, as his injury has caused a unnerving ripple effect across the offensive line.
Worst Case: Stanley’s foot doesn’t react well to practice and the first rounder gets shut down for another week.
Best Case: The coaches reward Correa for a committed week of practice, he dresses, contributes on special teams, and logs a handful of productive snaps on defense.
Worst Case: The ex-Boise State linebacker is a healthy scratch for the second week in a row, showing the team’s distrust in this youngster at this point.
Best Case: He makes the most of his role within a depleted cornerback position, builds off his gargantuan 62 snap count from Week 5, and continues to ball out by covering Victor Cruz in the slot and getting his hands on his second career interception. Young celebrates while OBJ attacks another kicking net.
Worst Case: Young struggles to cover the Giants’ talented receiving corps and is put on the wrong side of a few salsa dance-inducing touchdown highlights.
Best Case: Moore bounces back from his deactivation, uses his speed to get open on several occasions, and shows sure hands to reel in five catches, strengthening his rapport with Joe Flacco.
Worst Case: The fourth rounder is again considered surplus at the receiver position and is a surprise deactivation, despite the injuries to other wideouts.
Best Case: Lewis slots in wherever new offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg needs him (probably not at his scheduled left guard spot) and passes the test with flying colors. The fourth-rounder is mostly able to diagnose and nullify late blitzers and adds a bit of a mean streak to his run game assignments.
Worst Case: Lewis is shuffled around to multiple positions within the game because he is struggling to slow down the Giants’ front four. The offensive line cannot stabilize itself and Joe Flacco is running for his life.
Best Case: The former Michigan man is activated for the first time in his career and logs a handful of productive snaps.
Worst Case: Once again, Henry rides the pine.
Best Case: Dixon’s snaps increase dramatically, and he officially leapfrogs Buck Allen as the Ravens second running back. The fourth-round pick records seven carries, adds three catches, and posts a hard-to-ignore 75 yards and his first career touchdown.
Worst Case: It’s clear the coaches don’t think he’s quite ready to handle a bulk of the touches and Dixon is again mostly a spectator on Sunday.
Best Case: Judon gets on the field, shows improved edge-setting capabilities, and uses his 20 snaps to cause havoc in the backfield, and brings Manning down for a sack, showcasing a powerful rip move.
Worst Case: Judon still hasn’t shown that he adds special teams value, and is again deactivated.
*Note: Last Thursday, Maurice Canady joined fellow rookie Bronson Kaufusi on the injured reserve list.