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RAVENS 23, REDSKINS 17: 5 Good, 5 Bad Takeaways

Lombardi's Way RAVENS 23, REDSKINS 17: 5 Good, 5 Bad Takeaways

Posted in Lombardi's Way
7+ Comments PG County Raven says That was pretty good test to assess the state of our team this preseason. Still lots of work to do on both sides of the ball.

Usually the most physical play in an NFL preseason game takes place in the second half.

It’s then that players fighting for their jobs, in some cases for their careers, run around with their hair on fire seeking assurance that they’ll receive regular paychecks on Fridays from September through December.

That wasn’t the case on Saturday night at M&T Bank Stadium.

Starters seek to get in their work, refine their craft and escape fake games with their health in tact. And that seems to be generally understood by both teams.

Redskins rookie head coach Jay Gruden apparently didn’t get that memo.

Washington was firing to the line of scrimmage, blitzing regularly in both run and passing situation. And collectively their defense seemed hell bent on delivering kill shots.

When the Ravens ultimately responded the result was an unusually physical preseason game.

Here’s what it produced…

 

PLUS 5

1. Justin Forsett: One of the most important plays that had little bearing on the game but perhaps huge consequences this season took place when Joe Flacco dropped back to pass, set and fired to Torrey Smith on a crosser. Outside linebacker Perry Riley was untouched as Dennis Pitta vacated the left side and ran his pattern. Eugene Monroe scraped in towards the center leaving the 190-pound Forsett to protect Flacco’s blindside against the 240-pound linebacker with a full head of steam.

Forsett dived to cut Riley at the knees and keep his quarterback clean. Who knows what might have happened if the diminutive back had failed.

2. The “D” Returned: The Ravens starting front seven played very well. Despite a 19-yard run by Alfred Morris the Redskins could only muster 35 first half rushing yards while the Ravens kept RG3 in check limiting him to 20 first half passing yards and sacking him 3 times for a loss of 15. The up front pressure helped the Ravens thin secondary to compete with the likes of DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garcon. Elvis Dumervil was very solid with 3 tackles, a sack, a hurry, forcing a holding penalty and a nice read on a bubble screen.

3. Brandon Williams: The second year nose tackle deserves his own space among the Plus 5. Williams had 5 tackles, 2 for losses and delivered a crunching blow to RG3 to force an incompletion. He was a menacing force who pushed back the Redskins interior line paving the way for others to make plays when defending the run or pass.

4. Terrence Brooks: Largely unnoticed until recently, Brooks played with confidence that enabled him to use his great closing speed. He took down a scrambling RG3 for a 5-yard loss on a sack (why RG3 didn’t throw it away is mind boggling) and then later closed on a bubble screen to stop the receiver for a very short gain. He also had an interception negated by a pass interference penalty on Dominique Franks.

5. Steve Smith, Sr.: Has there ever been an offensive player acquired via free agency that embodies the meaning of “Play Like a Raven” more than Smith? The 35-year old vet chipped in with 6 catches for 80 yards and a score in 30 minutes of football.

5A. Joe Flacco: The Ravens signal caller shook off a rough start and intense pressure from the Redskins front 7 to complete 16 of 23 for 180 yards and a score in the first half. His accuracy on short drops does need a little work.

 

MINUS 5

1. The Running Game: Heading into this contest the Ravens ran the rock more effectively than any other NFL team during the preseason. Against the Redskins they were caught by surprise with the many run blitzes that defensive coordinator Jim Haslett had cooked up for Bernard Pierce & Co. The Ravens managed just 17 rushing yards in the first half and the struggled mightily in short yardage situations. Their failure negated the value of play action and left the Ravens with many 2nd and 3rd and long situations.

2. Pierce Pierced Again: The third-year former Temple Owl will be looked upon to carry the load for the Ravens during their first two contests at home against the Bengals and Steelers. But Pierce has yet to show any kind of consistent durability during his career and Saturday night was no exception. It’s a big concern to start the season.

3. Eugene Monroe: For the second consecutive game Monroe left observers wondering how the former Jaguar is a match for Ozzie Newsome’s “right player, right price” credo. Is there a reason not many called when Monroe was a free agent this past offseason? We can only hope not…

4. Defending The Screen: The Ravens are vulnerable to the screen and that combined with the shoddy tackling of the secondary ushers in the opportunity for big plays. Dean Pees needs to clean this up. The Bengals, Hue Jackson and Giovanni Bernard are surely watching.

5. Setting the Edge: During the second half Pernell McPhee (who has had a very good preseason) was called upon to set the edge a few times. He failed miserably on two occasions enabling the Redskins to spring free for a couple of 10+ yard runs. Overall McPhee did play well and is relentless as a pass rusher.

 

OTHER OBSERVATIONS

  • Kyle Juszczyk looks like he can create havoc in open space. He’s an excellent ball catcher and is fearless. He’ll present some problems for opponents but he’ll also need to watch those blown blocking assignments. Just ask Bernard Pierce.
  • Where are you Matt Elam?
  • The defensive line is susceptible to hard counts and they’ll need better discipline.
  • Haloti Ngata might get a bill in the mail from Roger Goodell. He put a knee to Redskins tackle Shawn Lauvao at the tail end of Morris’ 19-yard first quarter run. The cheap shot wasn’t flagged and was inspired by Lauvao’s unnecessary late block on Dominique Franks.
  • Deonte Thompson made a strong push to be the team’s 6th WR. Michael Campanaro has no chance of slipping through to the practice squad. He’ll get the No. 5 WR slot.
  • Tim Jernigan continues to prove that he’s the real deal. He pushed the pocket, hit Kirk Cousins on one throw and showed great speed for a big man forcing RG3 out of bounds for a sack.
  • Daryl Smith continues to show why he’s one of the best pass defenders amongst the league’s inside backers.
  • I couldn’t tell if that was Graham Parker or Parker Graham out there at right tackle for the Ravens during the second half pretending to be a bullfighter. Ozzie, does he have any future in the NFL?
Who deserves a game ball after Saturday night's 23-17 victory over the Redskins? (Select up to 3)
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Tony Lombardi

About Tony Lombardi

Tony is 24x7 Networks, LLC's founder (the parent of EutawStreetReport.com and RussellStreetReport.com) His work has been featured on various sports websites and he is a regular guest on 105.7 The Fan. A diehard Fab Four fan, Tony is a frustrated musician who thinks beating on the steering wheel is akin to being John Bonham. Follow Tony on Twitter @RussellStReport. More from Tony Lombardi
7 comments
PG County Raven
PG County Raven

That was pretty good test to assess the state of our team this preseason. Still lots of work to do on both sides of the ball.

rocky mattioli
rocky mattioli

I`m not all that impressed with brooks yet....in college he had a rep for being undisciplined...that won`t work in the pros... forsett is one of the more pleasant surprises for me....apparently he`s a guy who just can`t get any respect....Taliaferro was basically shut down vs the skins 1st team d but forsett continues to be our most consistent back......as small as he is,he`s a willing pass blocker,runs the ball inside and out and makes yardage after catching the ball....I doubt he`ll last a whole season,but,we really need the guy for the first two games..... I`m happy he`s here...we`re gonna need him...

JerryB
JerryB

Steve Smith appears to be a smaller, but faster version of Anquan Boldin, who was sorely missed last year! This team is loaded with talented receivers, something Joe Flacco has never had. Should be fun to watch this year....

matt
matt

all i can say is 92 better rethink his standoff in contract talks. I think by the end of this year his value will change drastically for an extension in the eyes of the great OZ. having some great up and coming talent on the line. and haloti is coming up on the wrong side of 30. shoulda, woulda coulda. made that extension. ngata chance he gets half of what he wants now. unless he has his best year in the nfl. pro-bowl or bust

Tyler
Tyler

I'd give all 3 to B. Williams! That man was wrecking the Skins all night long! He is gonna be a monster and our anchor for years to come!

Joshua
Joshua

I was screaming at my TV for us to select Jernigan before his name was officially called. I think we got one of the steals of the draft.

BmoreB
BmoreB

Terrence Brooks' speed was impressive, can't wait to see him start. He's going to be a playmaker for sure.

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