Ravens OT Ronnie Stanley hopes a new deal is imminent and is focused on larger leadership role

first_imgIn addition to being tasked with the reasonabilityprotecting reigning league MVP Lamar Jackson’s blindside and anchoring the leftside of the offense that shattered league and franchise rushing and scoringrecords last year, he must assume more of a leadership role this year. “It’s not really at the forefront of mymind,” Stanley said. “We’re still in talks and hopefully we aretrying to get something done soon, but I think my main focus right now … forme, it’s always been being the best player I can be [and] help my team win. Themoney usually takes care of itself after that.” He would not shy away from lineup across from the bestdefenders on the team in practice in one on one drills and in other situations.He actually sought out those matchups because he knew if he could thriveagainst the best his team had to offer, which was often the best in the league,then the opposing teams stood no chance. Stanley shares the same mindset andbelieves that his reps against the Ravens’ prized offseason acquisition willonly help him become better. Last season Baltimore Ravens franchise left tackleRonnie Stanley established himself as arguably the best blindside protector inthe league by not allowing a single sack and just six pressures all year. Aftermaking earning his first Pro Bowl nod and being named to the All-Pro FirstTeam, he could be poised to become possibly the highest-paid non-quarterback inthe league heading into the fifth and final year of his rookie contract. Following the retirement of eight-time Pro Bowl guardand future Hall of Famer Marshal Yanda earlier this offseason, Stanley is nowthe Ravens’ most tenured and accomplished offensive lineman. While replacinghis friend and mentor in the starting lineup won’t fall on him, he is embracinga larger role in the team’s young locker room. Although Yanda wasn’t the most vocal leader during his13 years in Baltimore and was rarely the one hyping up the troops before games,one way of leading that he did excel at was leading by example and letting histape do the talking for him. He earned his stripes as a young player andinspired others around him as a seasoned vet by practicing with the samediscipline, focus, toughness, and intensity that played with during games. “Calais is a great addition,” Stanley said.“I’m super happy to have him on my side. Playing against him in practiceis only going to make me better [and] only going to him better. He’s a forceout there, and he’s going to really set the tone for our defense.” The Ravens traded a fifth-round pick to theJacksonville Jaguars in exchange for five-time Pro Bowl defensive end CalaisCampbell. He’s one of the most versatile defensive linemen and most completedefenders in the league with the way he excels at being an elite run stufferand pass rusher. The two technicians are two of the best at their respective craftsand will be looked upon as two of the most prominent leaders on this year’steam on and off the field. “I think with Marshal being gone, that leadershiphas to be filled,” Stanley said. “I’m all for helping my teammatesand being there for them. I want to be that person that they can rely on,play-in, and play-out. I think that’s a role of a true leader.” While he knows that he’s in store for a big payday andwould prefer to get a new deal worked out sooner rather than later, Stanley isnot letting it impede his preparation for the upcoming season. Stanley is already arguably the second-best player onthe Ravens roster and the player, after Jackson, that they can the least affordto lose. He desires to be paid his worth but the fact that money isn’t on theforefront of his mind and embracing great competition and more leadershipresponsibilities are, says more about the kind of competitor he is and thestrength of character he possesses.Please follow and like us:last_img read more

His physical attributes appeal to Wenger – possible Arsenal striker assessed

first_img1 Fernando Llorente has scored nine headers in two seasons for Juventus Arsenal are rumoured to be in the market for a striker and Juventus’ Fernando Llorente is apparently on the shortlist. Here, WhoScored.com assesses the 30-year-old Spain striker.Arsenal’s attacking quality was clear for all to see at the weekend’s Emirates Cup triumph, particularly on Saturday when they put Ligue 1 side Lyon to the sword with a 6-0 win.Understandably, excitement levels have gone through the roof among the Gunners faithful, however, there are some who feel Arsenal are one piece short of completing their jigsaw.The capture of Petr Cech naturally appeased fans, but it’s further forward where Arsenal, arguably, need to bolster. Lyon’s obliteration aside, the Gunners have struggled to score against teams who set up to defend staunchly.Yaya Sanogo has joined Ajax on loan and while manager Arsene Wenger can call on Olivier Giroud, Danny Welbeck and Theo Walcott up front, the boss has still been linked with a number of other top strikers, including Juventus’ Fernando Llorente.Boasting strengths on WhoScored.com of ‘aerial duels’ and ‘finishing’, the reports linking Llorente with a move away come as little shock.The Juventus striker has fallen down the pecking order after the Serie A champions secured the services of Paulo Dybala and Mario Mandzukic and, coupled with the permanent return of Simone Zaza, speculation Llorente could be shown the Juventus Stadium exit door has increased.Despite having played second fiddle to Alvaro Morata and Carlos Tevez, Llorente still scored a respectable seven league goals and registered one assist in Juventus’ all-conquering campaign, winning the league and cup double in Italy last season.Llorente boasts the physical attributes to succeed as a lone striker, which would appeal to Wenger, who regularly favours a 4-2-3-1 formation. On WhoScored.com, his style of play – statistically calculated – reports that he ‘likes to do lay offs’ will also suit the players behind him.Wenger is fortunate enough to be able to call on the likes of Mesut Ozil, Alexis Sanchez, Aaron Ramsey and Santi Cazorla in the positions behind the striker, all of whom are able to find the back of the net with aplomb. With Llorente holding up possession in and around the opposition 18-yard box, he is more than capable of bringing his team-mates into play.His goal getting ability is also a strength of his, with the Spaniard netting more headed goals (nine) than any other player in Serie A in the last two seasons. Arsenal scored an impressive 10 headers in the Premier League last term, so they are capable of providing an aerial threat to opposition sides when needs must.This would benefit Llorente’s approach, with the former Athletic Bilbao star utilising his 6’5” frame commendably.Importantly, though, his arrival would provide suitable competition for first choice striker Giroud. In the Frenchman’s absence, Arsenal struggled without their focal point in attack at times, with Welbeck disappointing in his debut campaign at the Emirates.While Llorente’s capture would be something of an admittance of Welbeck’s failure last term, the Spain striker would offer a similar threat in attack to Giroud, while allowing the Gunners’ other offensive players to flourish.With a little under two years of his contract remaining, Juventus will be keen to make a sizeable profit on a striker they signed for free back in 2013. Arsenal are looking to bolster their attack and in Llorente, they would be acquiring a striker of international pedigree who would only boost their chances of returning to the summit of English football.For more stats on reported Arsenal target Fernando Llorente, click here to view his WhoScored.com player pagelast_img read more