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Baltimore Sun

Some surprises on the Ravens' 53-man roster

Since I took a drunk bus to Virginia to see Jimmy Buffett in concert on Saturday, I had to be alerted to the Ravens' roster moves via The Baltimore Sun's text alerts (sign up today!). I'll admit, there were a couple of "wow, really?" moments, and it had little to do with alcohol consumption.

The first of those moments was around lunchtime when I received the alert that outside linebacker Antwan Barnes had been dealt to the Eagles for a draft pick. Barnes had been inconsistent in his time in Baltimore, but I figured his ability to rush the passer -- at least a little -- would have kept him in the mix here.

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Now I wonder what the Ravens will do should something happen to Terrell Suggs or Jarret Johnson. Jameel McClain can move to the outside from his inside spot, or maybe the team is toying with the idea of moving Tavares Gooden to the outside. It's not like it was a huge loss or anything, but I was still surprised to see that the Ravens got rid of Barnes.

Inside linebacker Jason Phillips was the beneficiary of the decision, earning a spot on the 53-man roster. There was a minor "wow, really?" moment when I got the text alert just before sunset. Major "wow, really?" cuts included kicker Shayne Graham, quarterback Troy Smith and wide receiver Demetrius Williams.

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There's no doubt Billy Cundiff outperformed Shayne Graham in the preseason, though it wasn't by much. Those booming kickoffs are what kept Cundiff in the fold. Still, I figured Graham would win the job because of the contract he signed in the offseason, but I guess all of you guys were right. I'm OK with that, though, because if Cundiff slips up, I can be the one who says "I told you so" and act like Graham would have delivered. It was a win-win situation for me.

I figured Troy Smith would get cut, but I was still slightly shocked to read that he was actually leaving Baltimore. As much as I like Smith, it's the best move for the Ravens and for him. He's ultimately replaceable, and team was able to keep a prospect off the waiver wire. Here's hoping Troy lands on his feet, preferably in a place where he can eventually compete for a starting spot.

And then there was Williams, who wasn't able to weasel his way onto the roster after all. It was clear that he didn't "play like a Raven," as the saying goes, and he spent much of the past two seasons in doghouse of Ravens coach John Harbaugh. But with the Donte' Stallworth injury and an unremarkable offensive preseason by Marcus Smith, I figured Williams was safe.

Harbaugh ended up hanging on to Smith, a special teams whiz, and rookie David Reed, though, and he made the right calls there. Both will play a role this season, even if it's on special teams. Williams would have just ended up frustrating everyone again.

Other than those moves, cut day went pretty much as I had expected. What do you guys think? Who should the Ravens have kept, and who should they have let go that's still here today?


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