Who’s Hot, Who’s Not?
It wasn’t pretty, but the Baltimore Ravens escaped Week 1 with a victory against the Buffalo Bills. While Week 1 is often a time for showing off what a team accomplished during the offseason, it can also be a week of slip-ups and inconsistencies with rosters acclimating new players and schemes against foreign opponents. The Ravens fell victim to both, with some players looking to be on the upswing and others on the downswing moving forward.
Investors talk about being “Bullish” on stocks they think are going to go up in value, and “Bearish” on those that have seen better days and are headed down. So without further ado, let’s take a look at who to buy and who to sell after week 1 for the Ravens.
Wright led the defensive charge for Baltimore in its first game. He wasn’t the only one responsible for shutting down the Bills’ attack, but he certainly filled up the stat sheet the most. Wright finished with a team-high 11 tackles and three tackles for loss out of the defensive backfield. It seems silly to declare after just one game, but Wright is on his way to having a career season given the way it started.
Along with Wright, Zach Orr led the onslaught on Tyrod Taylor. He finished with six tackles and a quarterback hit. Besides two team sacks, Baltimore hit Taylor another six times during the game, led by Orr’s pressure. He also helped stunt the Bills’ running attack all game by roving sideline to sideline. Orr, a former special-teamer, overshadowed star linebacker C.J. Mosely in this one.
It was great to see Perriman on the field for the Ravens. After missing his supposed rookie season with a knee injury, Perriman was healthy and active for Week 1 of 2016. Though he only made one catch on two targets, the one catch was quite a display of talent and athleticism, showing off what made Perriman a first-round pick in 2015. Perriman said it was a relief to be back on the field and that this performance was just a taste as he is still getting his feet wet. There will surely be more big plays ahead.
Earlier in the summer, some folks said they did not want Albert McClellan starting for the Baltimore Ravens in Week 1. After the game was played, they may be changing their tune. Against the Bills, McClellan recorded two solo tackles and one of the team’s eight tackles for loss. The 30-year-old veteran has never been a big impact player in the past, but he could find more responsibility this season.
Michael Pierce was yet another piece of a defense that dominated its competition in the season’s first game. He didn’t pack the box score as much as some others, but the rookie proved he belongs on the team and in the rotation. The defensive tackle helped plug up holes all day that led to the Bills averaging just 2.7 yards per carry on the ground.
Steve Smith Sr.
On the other side of the coin, not all Ravens played well. The bears (not the team from Chicago) were unfortunately led by a team leader: Steve Smith, Sr. Smith led all players with nine targets and five receptions, but these were mostly empty calories. He didn’t make a single big play and never registering more than six yards on any catch. His five catches went for a total of 19 yards, which is impressive in its ineptitude.
Zuttah is a veteran center on a line that includes two rookies, yet he didn’t play like the experienced one. He allowed a sack and whiffed on a few block attempts as Joe Flacco got knocked down and battered regularly. As the rookies grow, Zuttah (along with Marshal Yanda) will need to be the steady performers, not the ones giving up hits on their star quarterback.
Hester was signed near the end of the preseason with the sole responsibility of returning kicks and punts. He serves no other purpose on this roster. Yet in game one, Hester had no impact on Baltimore’s special teams. He recorded two kick returns for middling yards and two punt returns for essentially no yards at all. It was an inauspicious start to his Ravens career.
Correa was Baltimore’s second round pick in the 2016 draft. He was beaten out for a starting inside linebacker position this preseason by the aforementioned Zach Orr. Correa had no impact as a substitute in Week 1. We will have to see if he can garner more playing time in the future as he adjusts to the speed of the NFL.
Baltimore “Bears” should have plenty of chances to right their wrongs in Week 2 when they take on the bottom-feeding Cleveland Browns without Robert Griffin III.
Let’s see how investors view the Ravens’ “stocks” after Week 2…