Unsung Raven of The Year

Featured, Sports and Bets — February 7, 2013 at 4:21 pm by

Charmcitywire.com has only existed for four-and-a-half weeks but we already feel important enough to begin giving out awards.  The first of these awards will be our Annual Unsung Raven Award.  Everyone in town knows about Flacco, Reed, Boldin, Suggs, and the Rays.  I mean I can discuss  these players with anyone,  including that homeless woman in Canton who pushes a shopping cart around and cusses at people.  So we are going to dig a little deeper.  This award will go to the player we feel has had the biggest impact on the team without all the hype. Baltimore is a tough town and this player must represent.   This year’s Unsung Raven Award goes to Danell Ellerbe.

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Ellerbe finished the year with 92 tackles and 4.5 sacks.  Good numbers, especially since Ellerbe is usually the Will Linebacker of the Ravens’ line-backing corps. (The middle linebackers as a rule usually accumulate the most tackles.)  This means that Ellerbe is the weak side linebacker.  The Will linebackers is usually the best athlete of the line-backing corp, and Ellerbe is no exception.  Ellerbe’s speed gives him the ability to cover tight ends and running backs.  His speed is also essential when chasing down running backs from behind, which Will linebackers do often since teams run more to their own strong side.  Ellerbe is also very physical, and his 92 tackles were second on the team, despite the fact that Ellerbe missed three full games and was banged up throughout the end of the season.  But what is perhaps most eye opening is the Ravens’ record with and without Ellerbe on the field.  With Ellerbe, the Ravens were 14-3 (including playoffs).  Without him they were 0-3.  Now we understand that this stat is skewed and that those loses could be attributed to multiple injuries and other reasons, but we also believe that Ellerbe was instrumental in the wins that this football team piled up.  When Ray Lewis went down, Ellerbe filled in with Jameel McClain admirably, and the Ravens went 5-1 during that stretch.  He was still able to get into coverage, and he showed his ability to shift to middle linebacker.  When Ellerbe got hurt the line-backing corp looked slow, and pass coverage in short to immediate routes became problematic.  Pittburgh, Washington, and Denver repeatedly exploited the middle of the field with the pass; without 59, the field between the hashes was wide open.  But as the playoffs approached Ellerbe returned to health, and the playoffs is where he really shined.  He recorded 32 tackles in four games, including leading the team in tackles with 9 in the Super Bowl.  He was all over the field in Denver, especially in the second half and overtime, when the D really bullied the Broncos offense.  He registered a critical interception against New England and was one of the leading tacklers in the game,  a game in which the opposition was physically punished.  Ellerbe’s presence in these games was critical.  Without his speed and tackling ability, the Ravens would have never been able to make their Super Bowl run.

So, if anyone can get a hold of Dannell, tell him we have his prize awaiting.  Since we are broke as hell we don’t have anything to give that is as nice as Flacco’s MVP Corvette, but technically it is still a Corvette.  Congrats #59 Danell Ellerbe!

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P.S.  Ellerbe was the player who pushed Frank Gore out of bounds to set up the goal line stand late in the fourth quarter.  Without that speed and hustle the 49ers take the lead with a little over two minutes left.

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