Marshal Yanda is destined for enshrinement into the Pro Football Hall of Fame but before he receives his gold jacket, the 2010s All-Decade Team member will get inducted into the Baltimore Ravens‘ Ring of Honor.
He spent his entire illustrious 13-year career with the team and decided to retire while he was still at the top of his game following the 2019 season. Yanda went from a gritty undersized third-round pick out of Iowa to a perennial Pro Bowler and helped the team punch its ticket to the playoffs as many times as he was voted to the Pro Bowl which was eight and included the 2012 season when the franchise captured its second Superbowl title. He also made the Associated Press (AP) First or Second All-Pro team seven times in his career.
When the Ravens host the Denver Broncos on December 4, 2022, Yanda’s name will be unveiled alongside some of his former teammates Ray Lewis, Ed Reed, and Haloti Ngata, the first two of which are already enshrined in the Hall of Fame. However, that will not be the only time he is honored by the team and fans at a game this season. On October 23, 2022, when the team squares off with their AFC North division foe Cleveland Browns, the Superbowl-winning team that Yanda, Lewis, Reed, and Ngata were a part of will celebrate the 10th anniversary of their magical title run that ended with a 34-31 victory over the San Fransico 49ers.
Marcus Williams Isn’t Surprised By His Impressive Debut
The sixth-year free safety was the Ravens’ prized free agent acquisition this offseason and he had a stellar performance in his first game with the team in a 24-9 win over the New York Jets. He covered a lot of ground, made his presence felt early and often, led the team in total tackles with 12, deflected a pass, and intercepted another from former Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco.
While many pundits were shocked that he was able to make so many impactful plays so soon, Williams is a ballhawk and expects to get his hands on and make plays on the ball every time he touches the field.
“It’s something I do all the time so I’m not really surprised at myself,” Williams said in the post-game press conference on September 11, 2022. “You may be surprised but it’s just something I do.”
He credited his copious amounts of film study in the week leading up to the game for his turnover.
“I’ve been watching film all week and you see the guy sit down and then he does a dig, you drive his dig so (I) seen it, went to go get it and picked it off,” Williams said.
He had a strong outing in coverage and allowed just 25 receiving yards and an opposing passer rating of 53.1. Williams also got involved with the pass rush on a delayed blitz that flushed Flacco from the pocket and forced him to scramble to try to salvage the play with his legs.
Running Game Needs To “Keep Improving”
The Ravens’ had uncharacteristically low production and efficiency from their rushing attack against the Jets albeit in a win but 63 total yards on the ground doesn’t live up to their prolific standards and isn’t going to cut it going forward. They managed just 11 yards in the entire first half alone which was the lowest total in a half since Lamar Jackson became the starter.
“They were very determined to stop the run and the RPOs,” head coach John Harbaugh said in his press conference on September 12, 2022. “You could see on first and second down, that was their plan to try to take those away. At times they did a really good job. Especially in the first half.”
It picked up a little bit more in the second half and while Harbaugh admitted as much, he still wants it to “keep improving”. Running the ball better will allow the Ravens to open up and improve their play-action passing game to take even more shots down the field as they did on Jackson’s 55-yard bomb to Rashod Bateman.
“Play action’s going to be a big part of what we do, and we can execute that so much better,” Harbaugh said. “We can sell it better, make it more believable. If you’re going to be a running team, you going to want to be a play-action team, too. Play action is important. It’s one of the most efficiently successful plays in the NFL. It’s something we should be good at. We want to keep using it.”
Against the Jets, the Ravens running backs were somewhat surprisingly led in snaps, touches, rushes, and rushing yards by newcomer Kenyan Drake. The veteran slasher back hasn’t fully digested the full playbook but was still given the starting nod over fellow veteran Mike Davis who has been with the team since May 10, 2022, of the year and Justice Hill who is in the fourth and final year of his rookie contract.
“He’s still learning the offense in terms of the eyes, assignments, formations, where to line up, routes to run, protections,” Harbaugh said. “There’s carryover but it’s not the same from team to team. It got better as the game went on, got a little more confident. He’s a veteran back, and knows how to run the ball. Still young enough to have a lot of juice. Same with Mike. I thought Justice did a nice job, too.”
Reinforcements and upgrades are on their way with regular starting running back J.K. Dobbins and former First-Team All-Pro left tackle, Ronnie Stanley. Neither played in the season opener as they continue to recover from serious injuries but one or both could make their 2022 debut in the home opener in Week 2.