The Ravens need so much help at other positions right now they just couldn't afford to keep LaQuan Williams. Too bad. LaQuan has the kind of work ethic and contagious enthusiasm for the sport which you'd like to keep around. I remember how LaQuan basically made this team a few years ago by literally walking on to tryouts. He had volunteered to help train his friend and fellow Maryland alum Torrey Smith during the lockout back in 2011 in private route-running sessions with Joe Flacco. LaQuan was there to shag footballs basically as an assistant to Smith and Flacco. But Flacco brought the word back to the Ravens that LaQuan deserved a look.
It got better and better from there. The undrafted underdog LaQuan Williams made the team… mostly based upon his desire and hustle shown on special teams.
Now he's got a Super Bowl ring… but currently no team to represent. He's not eligible for the Practice Squad because he's been activated for so many games in the past. So the Ravens had to release him to make room for either a better receiver—or an equally efficient performer on special teams…
The third-year former Maryland product appeared headed for another year as a key special teams contributor. Now the Ravens will likely need rookie wide receivers Aaron Mellette and Marlon Brown to play big special teams roles…or replace LaQuan's spot with another ST specialist.
Williams never really emerged as a wide receiver in Baltimore. He had four catches for 46 yards in his rookie year, but didn’t haul in any passes last season in 11 games played.
He had a big game in this year’s preseason opener in Tampa Bay with two catches for 32 yards and a touchdown, as well as two special teams recoveries, including one for a score on a blocked punt. But Williams only had one more preseason catch after that, and suffered a leg injury in the final game in St. Louis. To be fair, that leg injury is a big part of why LaQuan is being waived. It's not serious enough to spend an "Injured Reserve" spot on the roster for Williams— yet bad enough that he won't be able to play for a few more weeks.
The 25-year-old, who played high school football at Baltimore Poly, will now hit waivers, where any other team could claim him. He cannot be placed on the Ravens' practice squad.
But I'm betting the Ravens will keep LaQuan Williams on speed-dial for the near future. Stay tuned… In fact, if he clears waivers (which he probably will), the Ravens can re-sign him in the future.
Speaking of the Ravens Practice Squad, the Ravens completed their practice squad Monday afternoon with three transactions. There still could be changes, but they have now filled all eight spots.
Baltimore cut undrafted free agent tackle Jordan Devey (Memphis), and re-signed wide receiver Gerrard Sheppard (Towson) and running back Jonas Gray (Notre Dame).
Sheppard was released in the Ravens’ first round of cuts, but it was a particularly hard cut to make, according to Head Coach John Harbaugh.
“These are men with dreams and aspirations who work really hard, [like] a Gerrard Sheppard – local guy from Towson who just did a great job for us,” Harbaugh said at the time. “He is a really talented, hard-working, good person, and no matter what he does in life, he’s going to be amazingly successful.”
Gray was an undrafted rookie who originally signed with the Miami Dolphins. The 5-foot-10, 225-pound Fighting Irish standout ran 114 times for 791 yards and 12 touchdowns as a senior.
He performed well in the preseason too. Gray led the Dolphins with seven carries for 41 yards in the team’s preseason opener, then scored two running touchdowns in the next game. He fizzled off somewhat in the remaining preseason games.
The Ravens were in search of a running back after Bobby Rainey was claimed off waivers by the Cleveland Browns.
The Ravens have added another player to the active roster.
The team was awarded linebacker Robert James off waivers from the Atlanta Falcons, and signed him to the 53-man roster. James will take the roster spot that opened up when wide receiver LaQuan Williams was waived-injured.
James, 29, is a former fifth-round draft pick who is heading into his fourth NFL season.
He played in all 16 games last year and was mostly used on special teams. He finished the season with 10 special teams tackles. The Ravens already have a deep group of inside and outside linebackers, so James will most likely make his mark on special teams.