BALTIMORE -Terrence Cody bulled ahead Thursday night, shoving aside a blocker while charging into the backfield.
The Baltimore Ravens’ massive rookie nose guard wasn’t done, though.
Pushing back an offensive lineman with one arm, he rumbled past the line of scrimmage to steamroll Carolina Panthers running back DeAngelo Williams for the tackle and a loss of one yard.
Cody made an impressive NFL debut during the first half of the Ravens’ preseason opener at M&T Bank Stadium.
The 6-foot-4, 350-pound second-round draft pick recorded three tackles in the first half.
It made up for Cody’s shaky turn as a blocking fullback during the Ravens’ opening drive of the first quarter.
First, Cody missed a block. Then, he was flagged for a false start on third down. On the next play, Joe Flacco was sacked and the Ravens settled for a 32-yard Shayne Graham field goal.
Cody, who has battled weight conditioning issues and didn’t initially pass the conditioning test to open training camp, seemed to have good stamina.
The former consensus All-American from Alabama chased the football well and took solid angles of pursuit.
Overall, it was an encouraging performance.
LINEUP SHUFFLE: Shorthanded in the secondary and averse to taking risks in a meaningless preseason game, the Baltimore Ravens started Chris Carr and Travis Fisher at cornerback.
Carr was originally listed as a scratch due to a hamstring injury, but the Ravens opted to play him.
Fisher started in place of Fabian Washington, who is still on the mend from a torn anterior cruciate ligament suffered last season.
Oniel Cousins started at right tackle with Jared Gaither still dealing with back spasms. Gaither indicated on his Twitter account that he flew out of town Thursday. It’s probable that he went to get a second opinion.
Gaither is down to 311 pounds after playing at roughly 340 pounds last season. He has been sidelined for the majority of training camp.
Tom Zbikowski started at free safety in place of Ed Reed, who’s recovering from offseason hip surgery.
The Ravens deactivated Reed, cornerback Lardarius Webb (knee), safety Marcus Paschal (right quadriceps), Washington, running back Matt Lawrence (knee), cornerback K.J. Gerard (hamstring), linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo (quadriceps), Gaither and offensive tackle Tony Moll (concussion).
Offensive guard Ben Grubbs, who suffered an undisclosed injury Tuesday, wound up starting.
The Panthers deactivated cornerback Chris Gamble, safety Aaron Francisco, running back Jonathan Stewart, running back Mike Goodson, linebackers Jordan Senn and Thomas Davis, offensive tackle Garry Williams and offensive tackle Jeff Otah and wide receivers Steve Smith, Trent Guy and Charly Martin.
Kenny Moore started in place of Smith. Captain Munnerlyn and Geoff Schwartz started for Gamble and Otah, respectively.
CRISP RETURN: Zbikowski is also competing for the punt returner job and ripped off a 28-yard return.
"I’ve been working with the punt return for two years, and all of our guys know how to block," Zbikowski said. "If it’s a returnable ball, you’re going to have time and space to make a play. It’s all about making that first guy miss and then getting upfield."
Wide receivers Mark Clayton and Donte’ Stallworth are also in contention for punt return duties.
Clayton returned a punt for 12 yards in the first half.
QUICK HITS: Bulked-up defensive end Paul Kruger, who’s up to 275 pounds after ending last season at 255 pounds, sacked Jimmy Clausen for a loss of six yards. Four plays later, Tavares Gooden blitzed up the middle untouched to sack Clausen again. … In his first game back from a gruesome broken ankle suffered last season against the Cleveland Browns, safety Haruki Nakamura forced Panthers running back Tyrell Sutton to fumble at the one-yard line with outside linebacker Antwan Barnes recovering.
KICK AWAY: One of the few real roster fights this summer is at kicker. Both the incumbent Billy Cundiff and free agent signee Shayne Graham saw lots of action. Coach John Harbaugh had vowed that Cundiff and Graham would alternate kicks during the preseason.
Each kicked off twice.
Cundiff kicked off three times. His first two weren’t returned, and his third was-for just 17 yards. Graham’s only kickoff wasn’t returned. He hit a 32-yard field goal and missed a 50-yarder by a whisker late in the second quarter.
CLAUSEN DEBUTS: Thursday marked the professional debut of Jimmy Clausen, who entered the game in the second quarter for Carolina. Clausen completed 8 of his 15 passes for 80 yards and had one intercepted. He was sacked twice.
On his first drive, Clausen had a pass blocked by Prescott Burgess, Clausen, who surprisingly wasn’t drafted until the 48th pick in the second round, smartly led the Panthers to a field goal in the second quarter.