Rookies, Like Vet Teammates, Pedestrian

Street Talk Rookies, Like Vet Teammates, Pedestrian

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Rookie Report – Week 2 @ Oakland

The Ravens rookies unsurprisingly had a difficult time standing out during an all-around embarrassing loss Sunday in Oakland. Youngsters like Maxx Williams, Buck Allen, and Carl Davis all took a back seat to players like Crockett Gillmore, Lorenzo Taliaferro, and Timmy Jernigan who played expanded roles against the Raiders. The Ravens are surely looking themselves in the mirror during an earlier-than-expected gut check week, so let’s do the same thing right here on Rookie Report.


With Terrell Suggs out for the year and Jason Babin inactive, outside linebacker Za’Darius Smith saw extended action. He recorded just one tackle on 36 snaps for a -0.2 PFF rating. Smith was part of a pass rush that failed to apply any pressure on Derek Carr at any point in the ballgame. Baltimore’s one “sack” was an insult to the term, as it was accomplished by Jimmy Smith merely ushering Carr to the sideline for no gain.

I am baffled by the frequency with which Dean Pees lined Z.Smith up inside with his hand in the dirt as opposed to as a rush linebacker. The 275-pound Smith is undersized at defensive tackle and got pushed off the ball with ease, either by double teams or by left guard Gabe Jackson who had his way with Smith.

This strategy is especially curious when you consider that the Ravens deactivated the hefty Kapron Lewis-Moore and Christo Bilukidi Sunday, presumably because they felt comfortable with their 5-man rotation of down-linemen….other than Za’Darius.

Look at Smith’s alignment here as a 3-technique on the Raiders’ penultimate touchdown pass.

Za'Darius Smith lines up against Oakland.

He gets double teamed by the guard and tackle, sealing him off from Carr’s rollout left (our right in this shot).

Za'Darius Smith takes on a double team in oakland.

Look at the time and space afforded to the second-year quarterback as he sets his feet and delivers a strike to the deep receiver.

Derek Carr has all day throw against Baltimore.

Carl Davis, like Smith, struggled in the trenches as well. Davis saw a cut in playing time (22 snaps) with Jernigan back in the fold. Dean Pees’ reluctance to blitz left Davis and his fellow interior linemen isolated, facing double teams all afternoon. Davis finished with a -0.8 PFF grade.


Wide receiver Darren Waller saw just two offensive snaps, but Marc Trestman dialed up his number both times, sending Waller on fade routes. On the first pass, the rookie had a step on his man but a lazy, back-footed throw by Joe Flacco (which is increasingly becoming a theme) led to a ball that was considerably underthrown.

The second pass was a better ball by Joe, but Waller was unable to box out cornerback Neiko Thorpe, despite a four-inch height advantage. It was a tough play, but would have been an enormous touchdown had Waller been able to gather himself and go up a little stronger.

Waller did record a nice special teams play, burying the return man for no gain on a third quarter punt. Some doubted the ability of a player of Waller’s size to contribute on special teams, but he seems to be proving such thinking incorrect.

Maxx Williams caught a nice 8-yard play-action bootleg pass from Flacco, but was otherwise pretty quiet through 18 snaps. The tight end did also make my notes for being wide open up the seam on the Ravens’ first offensive play—during which Kamar Aiken would eventually giftwrap possession for the Raiders deep in Ravens territory.

Rookie Notes

  • Breshad Perriman, sporting his patented winter cap (despite a field temperature of roughly 90 degrees) again was a spectator this weekend. Perriman was, however, spotted running lightly before the game, indicating that he’s progressing from his PCL injury and on his way to returning in the next few weeks.
  • The Ravens re-signed guard Robert Myers back to the practice squad after waiving him during final cuts.
  • Tight end Nick Boyle saw just 8 snaps against the Raiders.
  • Buck Allen was on the field for 6 plays, recording just 1 carry and 1 reception as the third running back with Lorenzo Taliaferro returning to the lineup.

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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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