Rookie Pass Catching Picture Clearer Photo Credit: Michael DeMocker, NOLA.com

Street Talk Rookie Pass Catching Picture Clearer

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Rookie Report – Preseason Week 2

Ravens vs. Eagles – What We Learned

Not much went right for the Ravens this weekend in Philadelphia, as they were thoroughly outplayed on both sides of the ball. Apart from the general poor play, there were some rookie performances that definitely stood out and we can start to glean some insight into many young players’ standings on the roster.

Rookie Pass Catching Rotation Better Defined

We have a much clearer picture of the wide receiver position than we did this time last week. Behind Steve Smith Sr., Breshad Perriman remains out with his knee injury. Kamar Aiken, Marlon Brown, and Michael Campanaro have all shown (when healthy) why they belong in the rotation. That leaves just one spot—potentially two—for a number of young wideouts.

Darren Waller further staked his claim to the #6 spot with a solid performance Saturday, highlighted by a 7-yard touchdown catch on a WR screen. Matt Schaub especially seemed to trust Waller, as he settled into the soft spot when facing zone, worked to create space, and made a good play to get out of bounds during the two minute drill. He needs to rid himself of the alligator arms he displayed on a third quarter slant route, but overall I’m impressed with the big man.

The tight end rotation is also steadying a bit. Crockett Gillmore is the clear starter, but Maxx Williams reeled in three catches Saturday. He should’ve gone up with two hands on a wayward first quarter Joe Flacco pass, and absolutely must stop hurdling defenders—he took a huge hit in the second quarter after doing so—but otherwise Williams was productive. He will likely earn quite a few snaps as the backup.

Defensive Youngsters Steady

Between Carl Davis, Za’Darius Smith, and Tray Walker, many rookie defenders impressed.

While definitely not as dominant as he was against the Saints, Carl Davis again played a ton of snaps and made a few nice stops. He was part of a defensive line in the first half that largely looked gassed due to the Eagles up-tempo offense, but still looks like he will be a crucial cog to the front-3 rotation.

Za’Darius Smith really brought the noise Saturday, showing active hands while getting to the quarterback from the edge. Despite a ticky-tack third quarter illegal use of hands penalty, he made a great move to get to the quarterback. On a later play, he refused to quit and cleaned up a sack that was negated due to penalty.

Tray Walker put his long frame to good use, making several plays against the pass and even as a blitzer against the run. Veteran Cassius Vaughn also played well. In the likely event that the Ravens carry five or six corners, Vaughn and Walker have the inside track.

Undrafted Rookies: Hit or Miss

DeAndre Carter struggled once again with two drops in the fourth quarter. If Week 1 Carter was like the kid who forged his parent’s signature on a bad report card, the week 2 version is like the kid who crashed the family car while joyriding. The poor kid cannot field a kick cleanly, and will likely miss the 53-man roster.

While outside linebacker Brennen Beyer played quite well delivering a few QB pressures and sliding down the line to shut down inside runs, he is still buried on the depth chart at a deep position.

Running back Terrence Magee, however, shined in Philly. The 5’8” ball of energy flashed above-average vision when the offensive line opened up holes, bounced off contact exceptionally well, and had a nice 14-yard catch and run.

Rookie Notes

Buck Allen bounced back with a better performance, consistently hitting the hole with aggression. With Lorenzo Taliaferro out for a few weeks, Allen will likely get an extended look the next two preseason games—see if Marc Trestman gets him involved in the passing game.

– Guard Robert “Snacks” Myers got his first game action with mixed results: he made a nice block here and there, but a well-timed linebacker blitz forced Myers to hold on the two-point conversion and he got beat badly on an early fourth quarter run play.

-I jinxed us with my praise for the team’s discipline last week, as the Ravens committed a ludicrous 17 accepted penalties against the Eagles.

Next week, Rookie Report will come to you on Cut Day #1 as the Ravens trim the roster from 90 down to 75. So not only will we analyze the weekend action against the Redskins, but we’ll see if any surprise rookies must hand in their playbooks as victims of the first cut.

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Kyle Rate

About Kyle Rate

On his seventh birthday in August of 1996, Kyle opened an envelope to find two tickets to the Ravens’ first ever football game to be played later that night. Ever since attending that game (a 17-9 victory), Kyle has been a die-hard Ravens fan. He grew up just outside of Baltimore and although he has since moved south, he remains extremely passionate about all Baltimore sports—the Ravens especially. Attending games as a kid with his Dad’s Section 528 season tickets, he grew up with the team and eventually reveled in Super Bowl glory on Bourbon Street after attending the big game with his girlfriend Kimberly who, luckily for Kyle, is equally as faithful to the purple and black. An attorney in Tennessee, Kyle brings a unique approach to covering the Ravens and gets out of the office enough to make it to plenty of home and away games. More from Kyle Rate

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