It didn't take long for cornerback Shareece Wright to become the latest Ravens defensive player to be the focus of fan discontent and derision after he was beaten for two touchdown passes against the San Francisco 49ers.
I'm not absolving Wright here -- everybody knew coming in that the 49ers would be looking for Torrey Smith to get open on a couple of double moves -- but I think Sunday was more a referendum on the organization's failure to develop or acquire enough quality cornerback depth than on Wright's ability as a player.
I guess to put it more bluntly, what exactly did you expect? Every time another veteran cornerback becomes available, my Twitter messages are infiltrated by fans suggesting that the Ravens need to make a move for said player. And my response is always the same: "OK, but do you really think he's going to make a difference?"
Everybody in the league is looking for cornerbacks. No disrespect to Wright or any of the other street free-agent corners that the Ravens have signed in the past, but if you are a cornerback and you're available at this time of year, that's not usually a good sign. The 49ers have one of the league's worst pass defenses and they let Wright go after he was a weekly gameday inactive.
Sometimes a change of scenery does a player some good. Sometimes coaching makes a big difference. The hope in Wright's case was that he just needed an opportunity to play. But more times than not, what you see is what you get. And with the Ravens, you've seen this movie before with the likes of Derek Cox, Danny Gorrer, Antoine Cason and Dominique Franks.
That the Ravens have had to call on such players and thrust several in key roles can be attributed to the boatload of injuries the team has had at the position, and the front office's inability to sign and draft quality depth.
Speaking of cornerback injuries, Lardarius Webb looked pretty good in warm-ups on Sunday, and didn't appear to be that limited by his hamstring injury. It will be good news if the Ravens can get him back for Monday's game against the Arizona Cardinals. The Cardinals have a strong group of receivers and the Ravens will need all hands on deck.
Asked following Sunday's game if anything about the 49ers' offensive game plan surprised him, Wright mentioned that they threw the ball a lot more than they usually do, and a lot more than he expected. Well, he should probably get used to seeing that every week.
If you're an opposing offensive coordinator facing the Ravens, why would you do anything but go pass-heavy while mixing in a couple of runs from time-to-time to just keep the defense honest?
Until the Ravens prove that they can generate a consistent pass rush and their defensive backs can cover and make plays, teams are going to mostly rely on their passing games to move the ball. And that's a scary thought when the Ravens still have to play against Carson Palmer, Philip Rivers, Russell Wilson, a healthy Ben Roethlisberger and Andy Dalton.
Trade winds change
With the Ravens now 1-5 and heavy underdogs heading into the Cardinals game, the question of "Who is the team trading for?" has largely been replaced by "Who can they trade?" The NFL trade deadline is two weeks away and presumably, the Ravens might have a piece or two that will interest other teams. However, it's not like the Ravens are looking to orchestrate a roster overhaul.
Maybe they'd consider moving some of their would-be free agents for potential draft picks, but the thing to remember there is, in many cases, the compensatory pick that the organization would get for losing the player in free agency might be better than what they'd get from another team in a trade. That's just one of several reasons why I wouldn't expect much activity.
What about Urban?
I've gotten several questions about defensive end Brent Urban, who is on the injured reserve with a designation to return list after he tore his biceps earlier in training camp. Urban, who has been rehabbing with the team, is technically eligible to return to practice this week, but he wouldn't be allowed to return to game action until Nov. 15 against the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Once he returns to practice, the Ravens will have a three-week window where they'll have to decide if they're going to activate him for the 53-man roster or he'll revert to season-ending injured reserve.
As for tight end Dennis Pitta, he remains on the physically unable to perform list as he rehabs a fractured and dislocated hip. Since six weeks have elapsed, the Ravens now have a five-week window in which they can allow the tight end to start practicing.
Once he starts practicing, the Ravens then will have three weeks to decide whether to place him to the active roster or have him finish the season on the PUP list.