FOUR BITS: Former Gators safeties Matt Elam, Will Hill fighting for Ravens starting job

By Adam Silverstein
June 3, 2015

1 » The Baltimore Ravens pulled former first-round draft choice Matt Elam out of their starting rotation after Elam began disappointing with his play on the field. Elam shifting out allowed fellow former Florida Gators safety Will Hill to fill the void and has subsequently created a high-intensity training camp competition between the two teammates.

Baltimore head coach John Harbaugh, who stuck by Hill despite him being suspended for the first six games of the 2014 campaign due to a third NFL drug policy violation, is impressed with what he’s seen from the undrafted free agent. “I almost say [he’s] light-years ahead of where he was last year,” Harbaugh told the Baltimore Sun. “He has been here every single day in the offseason that I’m aware of. Heck, he brought his family in here to work out with him when he was on his own. … I just think he has really dug in to have a great season, and we’ll see how it goes for him. But right now, he looks the part.” Elam is taking the competition in stride and remains confident he will be able to regain the job. “All I can say is, I can’t wait until September. I’m ready,” Elam said.

2 » Three former Gators were selected by the Miami Dolphins in the 2013 NFL Draft. After two full seasons in the big leagues, only linebacker Jelani Jenkins – a fourth-round pick who has transitioned from little-used reserve to starter – has ensured himself of a long-term job with the organization. For a large portion of the 2014 season, Jenkins led the NFL in tackles. He finished the year with 110 takedowns and 3.5 sacks in 15 games. With Miami’s upgraded defensive line, things are only looking up for Jenkins, who is now stepping into a leadership role with the Dolphins.

The future of the other two draftees, kicker Caleb Sturgis and running back Mike Gillislee, are very much up in the air. Insanely accurate in college, Sturgis has been hampered by inconsistency in the NFL. He has booted 77.5 percent of his field goal attempts through the uprights (one of the worst marks in the league over two seasons), hitting 18-of-18 from inside 30 yards, 85 percent from 30-39 yards, 70 percent from 40-49 yards and just 46.2 percent from 50 yards or longer. Injuries have also continued to knock Sturgis down, as he is now set to miss all of organized team activities after hurting his quad on Monday. On Thursday, the Miami Herald‘s Barry Jackson reported that Sturigs actually injured his quad by playing kickball at an outing organized by the team. amazing.

Miami is only expected to keep three running backs and Gillislee, who was not needed in 2013 and missed 2014 with an injury, is currently lining up as the No. 5 rusher on the Dolphins’ depth chart, according to Jackson. With limited reps, Gillislee may be a longshot to make the roster, though he could always be placed on the practice squad.

3 » Things do not appear to be going well for Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Tim Tebow at OTAs. “He struggled,” wrote the Philadelphia Inquirer‘s Jeff McLane on Tuesday while pointing out Tebow was working with the third team offense. “Perhaps it was the rain, but two of his passes to the flat fell awkwardly to the ground well short of their target. He short hopped a swing pass to [Darren] Sproles. He threw high and wide of [Nelson] Agholor. … He took off and ran more than any other quarterback when he went through his reads. He threw to Agholor in double coverage and was intercepted by safety Jaylen Watkins. When Tebow threw an accurate pass to Trey Burton over the middle, the tight end couldn’t hang on and dropped it. Tough luck.” Whether Tebow ultimately makes the Eagles’ roster remains to be seen but at least fans are still on his side; he had the 15th best-selling NFL jersey in may, according to ESPN‘s Darren Rovell.

4 » Washington tight end Jordan Reed simply cannot get healthy. Reed left OTAs last week with soreness in his knee and had a “little procedure” on the joint, according to coach Jay Gruden. He will sit out for the remainder of offseason activities and attempt to take the field again in training camp. “He’ll be fine,” Gruden said, according to‘s John Keim. “He’s going to take this time to get his knee stronger. He’s having a little issue. Nothing serious.”


  1. senuod says:

    If Tebow can’t prove his worth as a QB with the Eagles….then I don’t see him getting another chance. These reports definitely aren’t making that prospect look too great.

    Well, he’ll always be arguably one of the best ever in college. Nothing wrong with that.

  2. Oldflyer says:

    I am sure that Philadelphia writer is imminently qualified to evaluate TT.

  3. Timmy T says:

    Its never, ever, never been “pretty” where Timmy’s quarterbacking is concerned. Unless, you’re concerned with winning. Just give him the damn rock and turn him loose.

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