Breaking down the bubble

The Ravens make their major cutdown on Saturday. Here's some predictions on the players on the bubble:

Quarterback: Injuries at wide receiver and defensive line (along with suspension of cornerback Cary Williams) mean the Ravens need to use the roster spot on something else than a No. 3 quarterback. Troy Smith's spot is definitely in jeopardy. The best scenario for the Ravens is another team wanting to trade for Smith.


Fullback: The Ravens placed the only backup fullback (Mike McLaughlin) on injured reserve. Don't be surprised if the team picks up a fullback, which would allow Le'Ron McClain to play some tailback.

Wide receiver: Marcus Smith makes the roster on the strength of special teams. David Reed has played so well the past two games that it would be difficult to sneak him onto the practice squad. Demetrius Williams is the best replacement for injured Donte' Stallworth (broken foot). Keeping all three wouldn't be a surprise.


Offensive line: It could be difficult for the Ravens to carry injured backup David Hale (bruised tailbone). The Ravens could use that roster spot and will be looking at linemen on the waive wire Saturday. Rookie Ramon Harewood is a candidate for injured reserve.

Defensive line: Kelly Talavou is one of the best 53 players on the team. Keeping Brandon McKinney would be insurance for rookie nose tackle Terrence Cody, who is expected to miss the season opener with a knee injury. It would be hard for the Ravens to get Arthur Jones onto the practice squad. So, all three could be safe.

Linebacker: Jason Phillips struggled in the preseason finale, but that shouldn't tarnish a strong summer. Edgar Jones showed some urgency Thursday, but he has made some late hits this preseason. Prescott Burgess didn't look great Thursday, but he has experience on his side. This will be a tough call. Phillips might be the only one who survives.

Cornerback: The Ravens' fourth cornerback (Cary Williams) is suspended for the first two games, so they need to keep an extra one especially with Lardarius Webb not fully back. It wouldn't be a sound financial decision to keep Travis Fisher (vested veterans are guaranteed a full year salary if they're on the season-opening roster). Prince Miller could work but he doesn't give much on special teams outside of being a returner. K.J. Gerard seems to be the best temporary option.

Safety: If Ed Reed goes on PUP, the Ravens would need to keep Ken Hamlin. If Reed is on the active roster, Hamlin might not be needed.

Kicker: This will be a tough decision. Shayne Graham has the better track record, but Billy Cundiff has been more consistent this summer. Let's give this one to Graham. The Ravens lured him here for a reason.

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