Since it was brought-up: The Ravens have 5 safeties on the roster, with one of them being a free safety (Huff), two of them being strong safeties (Elam and Ihedigbo) and the other two being just depth on special teams (Levine and Miles).
As you can see, the starting positions were decided by just 3 players. Let's start with strong safety, as James Ihedigbo assumed the position the moment Bernard Pollard was released. While recently draft Matt Elam did everything to win the SS battle, Ihedigbo looked really motivated to keep the job, as he also looked solid in camp and preseason. Thus, John Harbaugh kept Ihedigbo as the starting strong safety. And, so far, James Ihedigbo has done equally to, if not a better job than, what Pollard did in 2012. He might not be the game-changer Pollard is; but, he is better in coverage and doesn't commit as many penalties. Also, it seemed like he learned a thing-or-two from Ed Reed with that almost-interception he got the Dolphins.
Now, for free safety: As I mentioned above, Elam was definitely hungry to become a starter, immediately. Michael Huff, on the other hand, was brought-up in to be a replacement for Reed, at least for a little while. Never did I think Huff was going to be anything more than just "decent"; however, I thought it was smart move for the time-being.
Well, that's where the problems arise. It may have only been one game; but, if the coaches thought so, then, Huff wasn't capable enough of being more than a free safety. Essentially, the position requires vision and communication to recognize the opposing offense's attack. My guess was that Huff just wasn't made to be the free safety for the Ravens. After all, he struggled at the position with Oakland and I guess a change in teams didn't make a difference.
Thus, Matt Elam was given the reigns. While he's versatile, Elam is better suited to succeed as a strong safety, due to his aggression, speed, pursuit and seeing how he was assigned to cover the slot receiver while he was at Florida. However, at this point, there's nothing wrong with the Ravens giving Elam playing time as a starter, especially since he's the future and Huff might actually be cut in the off-season. Worse-comes-to-worse, Elam has held his own playing out-of-position and hopefully, next year, he will revert back to SS. I think a 2nd-or-3rd round pick on someone who can be the team's future FS is much needed in April's draft.
Edited by CompSciTheatreGuy, 23 October 2013 - 03:46 PM.