By now, you know how much the Ravens dominated Thursday’s game versus the Saints:
- 79 offensive plays to 38 for the Saints (I believe that is a new team record fewest defensive snaps for any game, besting the 39 from the Wild Card game in 2010 vs. the Chiefs).
- None of the Saints’ 9 offensive “drives” was longer than 7 plays.
- Time of possession was 42:39 to 17:21.
- The Saints were 0-for-8 on 3rd and 4th down as compared to 12-for-20 for the Ravens.
- Offensive yards were 436 to 190.
But here is the capper for me…the Ravens played just 41 non-specialists as compared to 51 for the Saints.
Penalties kept the Saints on the field as long as they did, as the Ravens were flagged 12 times for 91 yards as compared to 1/5 for the Saints.
Individual Grades and Notes
As in past years, I have given a number of Ravens a grade from +3 to -3 reflecting how much my expectation of their impact on the 2014 Ravens changed based on their most recent performance. The first score is for the last game and the second is aggregate for the preseason. I don’t rate starters, players who have no place on the team, or anyone for whom I don’t think I have data for a judgment. The players here are new to the team, rookies, on the cusp of making the team, have new responsibilities in 2014, in positional battles, or have otherwise have something to prove this season.
Offensive linemen were graded in a separate piece. Except as noted below, all snap totals below are from the Gamebook and as such include penalties and non-competitive plays.
Aiken (+1/+1): Kamar played 53 snaps and was targeted 8 times with 4 catches for 57 yards. His highlight was a 27-yard catch and run (Q1, 13:20) where he juked CB Robinson for 17 YAC. He was badly overthrown twice and also had a difficult corner-of-end-zone TD grab which was reversed on review.
Brooks (0/0): He didn’t make my notes in 21 snaps. How the Ravens use him may be more a function of need than his own skill set.
Brown, A. (+1/+4): Arthur was a defensive standout in 25 snaps. He beat LT Harris inside to take down Cadet for no gain (Q3, 14:19) then on the next play denied Cooks a 3rd down with a fine open-field tackle (Q3, 13:37). His blitz blew up Cadet’s run for a gain of just 2 (Q3, 3:04). He led the team in tackles (4), which doesn’t seem like much, but the Ravens had just 23 tackles as team in 38 defensive snaps.
Brown, C. (0/-1): He missed a tackle in the backfield on Ingram’s 8-yard run (Q1, 7:42). He won’t be cut, but as I see it he is last CB on the depth chart. I look forward to the CB participants in next Friday’s practice more than any season opener I can recall.
Bynes (0/+1): He started with Mosley and played 16 snaps. He’s a 3rd-year player with lots of trade value.
Campanaro (+2/+2): He avoided a mysterious injury (and subsequent IR designation) with 3 catches for 55 yards. He had another 22-yard reception negated by penalty. He also stuck with his run blocks. He won’t be a sure game-day activation without making a special-teams contribution.
Cox (+2/+2): He played well enough in 19 snaps to be no worse than the number 5 corner on opening day. His highlights:
- (Q4, 14:14) He had a front-side collar tackle to take down Strozier for no gain on a run.
- (Q4, 12:56) He had tight coverage of the slanting Jones for a PD.
- (Q4, 3:49) He was up quickly to tackle Jones in bounds for a gain of 3 by the right sideline.
Forsett (0/+3): DNP.
Franks (+2/+3): He played well in just 15 snaps, including a quick takedown of Morgan on a 2-yard completion with 0 YAC (Q1, 7:11). He came off his man to take down Cooks for a gain of 6 (5+ 1 YAC, Q2, 10:48). On 3rd and 4 (Q2, 9:54), he had outstanding coverage of Meachum down the right sideline and nearly had a PD as the pass fell incomplete.
Gilmore (+2/+3): He had significant blocking contributions (Q1, 0:50 and Q1, 6:23 and Q2, 9:37 and Q2, 7:26), each of which played a part in significant runs. However, it’s not a good thing when Qadry makes fun of a rookie TE for being “slow as pond water.”
Hill (+1/-2): Will played 18 snaps at FS and played aggressively on all 3 levels. He’ll be a welcome addition when he returns after week 6. Let’s hope the Ravens can wait that long.
Jackson (-1/+1): DNP.
Jacobs (0/-1): Played 9 snaps late. Running into the kicker did not help his cause, but he hasn’t played well enough to beat out Cox for the last CB spot.
Jernigan (+1/+2): Timmy made 2 pass rush contributions in 15 snaps that included beating Lelito to the outside for a pressure (Q1, 8:11) and a QH shared with Simon (Q1, 6:33).
Juszczyk (+0/+5): DNP. His role is secure.
Levine (0/+1): He played 19 more snaps at corner and was beaten by Meachum for a 52-yard reception when the Saints’ receiver got him to turn the wrong direction (Q2, 11:58). He’s no better than the team’s 7th-best corner, but he didn’t embarrass himself on the outside. I expect he’ll make the team at safety, continue to play special teams at a high level, and will be available if an emergency arises in the secondary.
McPhee (0/+5): DNP. This is just another chance to recall a great preseason and hope he sees plenty of pass-rushing downs during the regular season.
Miles (0/+3): The only notation I have for him in 28 snaps was the inability of him and Mosley to negotiate the rub route employed for the Saints only TD (Q1, 6:33). He’s played well defensively and some team can probably use him if the Ravens decide he is 5th on the depth chart at safety.
Mosley (0/0): He started and played 15 snaps. He was the first up to take down Cadet for a gain of just 1 (Q1, 5:06). He appeared confused on the goal line rub route that was caught by Cadet for a TD (Q1, 6:33).
Pierce (0/-1): DNP.
Reid (0/-3): DNP. While it’s been reported he played with concussion symptoms, he hasn’t played well this preseason.
Seamster (0/-5): Sammy saw late action at corner. He’s not part of the plan.
Simon (+3/+1): The Ravens defensive MVP for week 4. He applied pressure all night, but the results were still mixed. His 40 snaps led the defense. Here is his list of both the good and bad:
- (Q1, 10:22) He missed a tackle on Cadet to allow 4 extra yards after contact (YACo).
- (Q1, 9:13) He penetrated past TE Hill inside to blow up Cadet’s run left for a gain of 1.
- (Q1, 8:41) He took down Cadet for no gain, but negated it with a facemask penalty.
- (Q1, 6:33) He shared a QH with Jernigan, but McCown threw for the Saints only TD.
- (Q1, 4:36) John had outstanding open-field containment of Cadet on a screen left. The running back slipped down just in front of Simon for a loss of 1.
- (Q2, 5:19) Simon was inexplicably unblocked by LT Harris and registered a QH as Griffin threw incomplete.
- (Q2, 4:36) Simon beat RT Welch outside for another QH to force a punt.
- (Q4, 13:37) He made another good tackle in space to hold Toon to a gain of 5 by the right sideline.
- (Q4, 1:51) He used a spin move to shoot by Rooks for a 7-yard sack on the Saints’ final offensive play.
It’s nice to see him break out with a big game against any level of competition, but he’ll play few snaps defensively this season until injuries occur, if he makes the team at all (Ed Note: Which he did not.).
Smith, Steve (0/+3): DNP.
Stewart (0/0): DNP.
Taliaferro (+1/+4): He came back from injury and played well, but did not have any breakaways (long run was 9 yards). He ran low and effectively in short yardage. He was 5 for 5 in converting 3rd down runs of 5 yards or less, but also ran a 3rd-and-14 draw for 4 yards. The Ravens did not have a single running play for negative yardage (excludes kneels) and ran 46 times for 217 yards (4.7 YPC).
Taylor (-1/-2): He was inaccurate again, but the bootleg was a successful staple play for both QBs. As usual, he had the good legs to convert a pair of 3rd-down runs.
Thompson, Deonte (+1/+4): The Ravens have kick returners to spare with Jones, Campanaro, Thompson, and Jackson. That means they won’t make full use of Deonte. Another team needs him more and he has 2 years of inexpensive control for some team.
Toussaint (0/0): 17/103. He waited a long time for holes to develop and they usually did. While he certainly was effective, I don’t think he makes the team or even the PS. The Ravens may be in the market for a running back.
Tyson (0/+3): Played 16 snaps, mostly with Jernigan in the 1st half, and helped control the LoS defensively. The Saints rushed 12 times for just 3.5 YPC with a long of 9.
Wenning (+1/-1): Played and didn’t look bad in a full half. Practice Squad?
Williams, Brandon (0/+6): DNP, but he’d be my choice for a new jersey if I were buying one right now.
With more moves likely to come after Saturday’s cuts…
Most likely to be traded: Aiken, Thompson, Reid, McClellan, Bynes, Miles
Most likely acquisition targets: CB, TE, DE, RB