In case you haven’t seen the injury report for the Baltimore Ravens and the Pittsburgh Steelers, you would see that inside linebacker Josh Bynes is listed as out with a thigh and finger injury. That means that rookie linebacker Arthur Brown could get the start at weak inside linebacker and his first real action as a full-time player.
Bynes has been a guy who has provided a nice complement to inside linebacker Daryl Smith, especially in stopping the run, but doesn’t have the same abilities that Brown has in defending the pass. That being said, this Ravens-Steelers game always comes down to which team can be more physical, run the football better, win the field position battle, and play stout defense.
Personally, I think Brown is a guy who could really earn his stripes in this game and possibly steal the starting job as Bynes misses the game due to injury. The former Kansas State Wildcat was the defensive player of the year in the Big 12 in 2012 and was highly-regarded heading into the NFL Draft. One of the criticisms that he has consistently received has been his lack of size; you would have to figure that would affect his ability to stop the run in the NFL.
However, Brown hasn’t been used thus far against the run and in early down situations because the Ravens know he excels against the pass. The 23 year 0ld has seen limited action thus far, and has only tallied three tackles on the season combined on the defensive side of the football and on special teams. Clearly, he isn’t on the fastest track to becoming a great football player as expected, given that he was a second-round pick, but that’s why the experts say some rookies have to go through growing pains much longer than others.
I expect Brown to see a significant amount of snaps this week and probably a 60-40 split between he and the probable Jameel McClain. With McClain possibly seeing his first action of the 2013 season, it will be interesting to see how the Ravens tread with caution, as his spinal cord injury almost ended his NFL career.