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OTL: Remember Melvin?

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Melvin Gordon camp OTL

Following a very late night on Sunday, our guy D.A. recapped the game with the most important story as the dust settled: Baltimore is assured a spot in the dance.

The Ravens became the first team in the AFC to lock up a postseason berth, marking a major box checked on their to-do list. Unfortunately, that list doesn’t get any easier from here, with all three of their remaining opponents vying for the postseason as well. Their next contest, a heavyweight Christmas Day matchup on the road, sees them as an underdog for the first time in a while.

I’d love to be able to tell you that the Niners were going to pull some punches with a postseason berth clinched, but I’d be lying to you. Both teams recognize how important this game could be in pursuit of a first-round BYE (a topic that has been divisive among the Flock) and San Fran is going to throw everything they have at the Ravens. Baltimore’s defense logged a gutsy performance against Jacksonville, but now they’ll have to prep to face a team boasting multiple candidates for MVP.

Wholesome though that bromance may be, the Ravens will do their best to limit any highlight reel material. After all, Brock Purdy has never faced the Ravens before, and QBs facing the Ravens for the first time tend to have an uphill battle on their hands. Speaking of uphill battles, though…

Man, what a gut punch. Keaton Mitchell has been a fantastic X-factor for the Ravens offense, and his absence means less burst in the run game to keep opposing defenses honest. At this time of the year, you hate to make adjustments to the personnel group boasting the #1 rushing attack in the league, because not only have you established a lot of your rhythm, but the free agent market isn’t exactly robust. Shortly after the game on Sunday (by then, it might have been early Monday morning), Coach Harbaugh indicated that they would use in-house reinforcements, calling up veteran running back Melvin Gordon III from the practice squad.

Opinions of Gordon throughout The Castle among players and coaches are high, and have been since he arrived in the offseason. Throughout training camp, you could see every RB in group drills watching Gordon intently, knowing what a weapon he can be at the peak of his game. In a limited sample size early in the season, he rushed for 4.1 yards per carry on 13 attempts.

Now I won’t sit here and sell you snake oil, even as a guy who loves some Wisconsin Badgers alums: Gordon is clearly not the same player we saw shredding defenses on the Chargers. There’s a reason he’s spent a good portion of the year on the practice squad, and I doubt that he’ll all the sudden be a workhorse out of the backfield. Still, Gordon does have some viability as a change-of-pace back, and in pass protection, which… needs some work as of late.

*clears throat loudly*

I recognize what the general sentiment of the Flock is about the change at RB, and I don’t disagree with a lot of it. Still, I would love nothing more than to see Gordon seize an opportunity to prove he still has some tread on those tires. It won’t be an easy game to dive back in, but if he can make something happen against the Niners, I’ll feel a lot better as the guys close out the schedule.

Roster attrition is never fun, and after the way the last few seasons have gone, I’m sure we’re all tired of hearing about the next man up. Just remember, Flock, when you’re gathered with friends and family and celebrating the holiday, be thankful that THIS isn’t the next man that we’re talking about.

The post OTL: Remember Melvin? appeared first on Russell Street Report.


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