Game 1 of the preseason is in the books with Ravens coming out on top, 23-3.
Preseason is one of the best times of the year to see what your offseason plans have amounted to and Ravens fans just caught a glimpse of the results. The defense looked much improved with some serious athleticism and depth.
The offense, albeit playing without key players, lacked an identity and was unable to take advantage of the good field position they were constantly being given. Let’s take a look at how they graded out in their respective units.
Ryan Mallett’s play can be summarized in one word – pitiful. He set the tone early by missing Michael Campanaro in the 1st quarter with about 12:45 on the clock when he under threw him with nothing but green in front of him. Mallet went on to miss several throws and finished with a whopping 58 yards on 9 of 18 passing and a 57.2 passer rating.
Dustin Vaughan left little to be desired and ended up being sacked 3 times. Not necessarily all his fault, but it was difficult for him to show much.
4th stringer Josh Woodrum had a nice showing to start his preseason going 4 for 4 including a 33-yard scoring strike to UDFA Tim White. He also hit CJ Board with a beautifully placed 36-yard pass on the last play of the game before the victory formation came out. Woodrum was by far the best QB for the Ravens tonight and finished with the highest possible passer rating, 158.3.
Running back: B-
Current starter Terrance West still lacks the explosiveness you’d like to see from a starter, but an 18-yard gain and a great leap over the line for the first score of the game were plus efforts.
Buck Allen looked a little more improved this year. He’s exploding into the hole better than last year, but the problem during his reps is that there were just no holes to go into. His improvement was definitely evident.
The undrafted Taquan Mizzell didn’t have overly impressive numbers, but you have to like what this kid brings. He’s got the shiftiness and explosiveness to be a big play back in this league. In a lot of ways, he reminds you of a Danny Woodhead type player. “Smoke” could carve out a role in the future.
Wide Receiver: C-
Tim White showed his big play ability by securing a 33-yard go-route from Woodrum and fans are starting to see why the camp reports on White have been so glowing. The other undrafted WR Quincy Adeboyejo had a pretty quiet game securing 2 catches for 24 yards, but having a potential first down drop along the sideline in the 2nd quarter.
Chris Moore looks to be the same as last year. A guy the can get behind the defense, but his unpolished routes are still noticeable and has to learn to make a catch going into contact. In the 1st quarter he shied away from an over-the-middle catch as contact was coming.
Offensive Line: C+
The first unit offensive line was actually quite impressive in pass protection for Ryan Mallett. He had several plays with all day to throw. The run blocking was suspect just about every play, with the exception of West’s 18-yard scamper that featured a very solid seal block by James Hurst.
Depth OG/C Matt Skura was quite solid and we’re seeing why the front office was keen on keeping him around. Jermaine Eluemunor showed his rawness and was blown up on several plays.
One guy that deserves a lot of credit was Ryan Jensen. Jensen is penciled in as the starting C and many thought he would struggle in pass protection. He stonewalled the Redskins interior line several times. His run blocking was a little questionable, but it’s going to look a lot different with Alex Lewis and Marshal Yanda beside him.
Tight Ends: C-
The tight end group was almost non-existent. Nick Boyle had a nice catch for a first down, but other than that they were barely noticeable. This is quickly becoming a concerning group.
Wow! That’s all that needs to be said about the first and second team defense. We’ve been hearing all camp about how they’ve dominated and that’s exactly what they did for 2 quarters, including the first 2 series against the Redskins starting offensive line and Kirk Cousins.
Defensive Line: A+
Yes, the d-line gets an A+. This is a group that is so deep that even in garbage time they had solid guys out there.
Brent Urban was an absolute stud tonight and channeled his inner JJ Watt during his reps. He finished with 4 tackles, 1 sack and was disruptive on several running plays including a huge 3rd and 1 stop by Urban at the 10:45 mark in the 1st quarter.
Willie Henry and Carl Davis contributed well behind Brandon Williams and Michael Pierce. Davis blew up a play in the 2nd quarter by basically stopping the run with 1 arm. Willie Henry blew past the Center on several plays and reminded us of what we were seeing from Pierce last preseason.
Bronson Kaufusi had several key pass rushes, but wasn’t able to bring the sack home until the fourth quarter against the Redskins scrubs. However, it’s great to see his relentless pursuit nonetheless.
This group is going to be a force and has the depth to keep a consistent rotation of guys.
Terrell Suggs and Matt Judon’s slimmed down frames are very noticeable. This group looks significantly more athletic than last year. Matt Judon looks like a starting SAM, but Tyus Bowser is breathing down his neck.
Bowser showed a great burst off the line and showcased his ability to drop in coverage at the 8-minute mark of the 1st quarter when he sniffed out a flat route and made the tackle.
Tim Williams didn’t get as much time with 1’s and 2’s as we expected, but he still looks quick off the line and drew a hold in the 3rd quarter. He failed to hold the edge on one play and it led to a big gain. He looks raw, but that explosiveness is something you can’t teach.
Kamalei Correa looked like a different player. He showcased his athleticism well and a big reason could be credited to being more comfortable with the playbook. Having a better understanding of the defense is allowing him to play at a higher speed. Very good sign.
Patrick “Peanut” Onwuasor looked very solid in his backup role and had a nice forced fumble at the 6:53 mark of the 2nd quarter, however it was questionably overturned.
Defensive Backs: A
Look out for Jaylen Hill. Hill had an outstanding game including 3 tackles, a pass deflection, several sticky coverages and a beautiful interception at the end of the 2nd quarter. After losing Tavon Young and Maurice Canady to injury, slot CB was looking quite thin, but Hill is giving Ravens fans a lot to look forward to.
Levine Sr. is a hybrid DB/LB mix, but he stood out tonight and finished with 2 tackles and a solid sack in the 1st quarter.
Cousins and Colt McCoy were held to just 7 of 14 passing for 45 yards and 1 INT in the 1st half. This unit looks much improved and the starters in Brandon Carr and Jimmy Smith looked great in their two series.
Special Teams: A-
The ST unit was very impressive tonight. Most notably the coverage teams did a very good job. Preseason can be a time of many mistakes given the mixture of guys on the field, but it’s obvious Jerry Rosburg is working very hard with these guys.
Fan-favorite Keenan Reynolds showed his playmaking abilities on a punt return in the 3rd quarter which he took for 44 yards and was 1 guy away from taking it to the house. Tim White was all over the ball and looked like a huge improvement over Devin “Fair catch, but I won’t catch it” Hester.
Marty Mornhinweg’s play design left a lot to be desired. Maybe it’s a result of the personnel, but there were still receivers running 5 yard routes on 3rd and 10 that resulted in check downs. Marty has a lot of work to do with the offense to game plan and design plays that are going to be effective. Hard to be too critical when you only have 4 likely starters playing.
Dean Pees was very impressive tonight. He threw in several blitzes and in the first two series against the Redskins starters you could tell he trusted his defensive backs more and was able to send pressure, which resulted in sacks from Urban and Levine. He unleashed several blitzes throughout the game and they were very effective utilizing twists like the one that resulted in the Kaufusi sack in the 4th quarter. If he can maintain this type of play calling and utilize the athleticism of this defense, it could be a very big year for the Ravens defense.
Player of the Game
Player of the game goes to CB Jaylen Hill. This kid is going to make it very difficult to put on the practice squad or let walk to another team. Sheldon Price and Brandon Boykin better keep a close eye on their playing time because it’s now in jeopardy.