The Ravens moved to 2-0 this preseason, beating the Dolphins 31-7 in Miami. RSR staff react to what we saw here:
You know it’s coming Friday on sports talk radio…
Josh Woodrum over Ryan Mallett!
And you know what? There might be something to the story. Mallett threw late, off the mark, locks in on his receivers and plays with little poise. Woodrum on the other hand, plays as if he has nothing to lose and everything to gain. Perhaps he does.
The Dolphins were gratuitous with an overall uninspired effort and special teams that were anything but. I feel bad for fans who actually spent money to watch this ugly game on an even uglier field. I’ll have many more details in The Good, Bad, Ugly & The Megan Fox on Friday.
— For some inexplicable reason, the Ravens let Ryan Mallett continuously drop back to pass, even on a 4th and 2 in the opening quarter — an obvious run play. It’s a head-scratcher as to why the Ravens didn’t commit to running the ball with the mishmash offensive line in front of a backup quarterback. Mallett produced on a short field provided by special teams. When given opportunities, starting running back Terrance West didn’t inspire any confidence. He was outplayed by Buck Allen, who was not overly impressive either.
— The Ravens’ defense is already showing signs of trying to overcompensate for the shortcomings of the offense. This meant some careless penalties and an over-aggressive pass rush. The cornerbacks tried to jump plays. The Dolphins, however, were rarely able to take advantage.
— Undrafted rookie defensive lineman Patrick Ricard got snaps at fullback. This does not bode well for either Lorenzo Taliaferro or Ricky Ortiz making the team.
— Special teams were huge for the Ravens — blocked punt, forced fumble, field goals. This could pave the way for some success this season.
— Receiver Chris Matthews boosted his stock by blocking a punt that led to a touchdown. Matthews is having an uneven camp with several drops, but he can overcome those mistakes with solid special teams play.
The piecemeal offensive line saw Austin Howard‘s Ravens debut and it was mostly silent. While the o-line remains raw, their run protection and pass pro still leave a lot to be desired. Mallett is not the answer even with the struggles in pass protection. When the veteran back up had time his throws were errant even if the interceptions weren’t his fault. He almost missed a wide open Ben Watson for the touchdown. I’m not sure what to make of the first team wide receiver corps as they were rarely targeted.
The first team defense held their own and the defensive front of Brandon Williams, Michael Pierce and Brent Urban should continue to cause problems for offenses. Second-year linebacker Kamalei Correa is finally starting to show the motor we all saw last year in camp. The secondary played well but it seems that Brandon Carr will be picked on heavily this year.
Special teams continues to pick up the pace this preseason as Jerry Rosburg has this unit tightly knitted. Kick coverage has been stellar with what’s likely his starting cast of players. Justin Tucker had perhaps the best performance of the first half with two field goals and a fumble recovery. Time to put the shrink warp on him for the rest of the preseason.
I once again enjoyed Brian Billick on the broadcast, though I thought the coach was overly generous to Mallett on a couple occasions. But hey, maybe that was just muscle memory by Billick – after all, Ryan looked a whole lot like Kyle Boller out there at times. He should be feeling the heat from Josh Woodrum.
Urban stood out again. If you’re looking for a new jersey, #96 might be a good investment. Speaking of investments, you could probably make a lot of money taking the “under” on Ravens games this season.
It was great to see Buck Allen make some big plays for the first time since the 2015 season. Same goes for Maxx Williams, but change that to the 2015 preseason. Mad Maxx also looked to be significantly bulked up!
That offensive line…hoooooo boy. Hopefully Howard was just rusty. And hopefully the real starters can stay healthy for the majority of the season. The depth looks to again be severely lacking in quality.
No apparent injuries is the only victory I cared about in this game.
A few major notes from tonight:
-The defense continues to control preseason games, from the starters through the 3rd string players pining for a roster spot.
-1st round pick Marlon Humphrey played like, what, a single snap? But again- didn’t get hurt!
-Justin Tucker continues to be the team MVP, drilling another 50+ yard FG and decided to recover a fumble like a boss because he was bored, I guess.
-Comparatively, Josh Woodrum made Ryan Mallett look like Dustin Vaughan.
-Also, Mallett made himself look even more disposable.
-Maxx Williams looked like a real Tight End for the first time in his NFL career
All in all, a solid all-around effort. Except for Mallet. And the first shuffle of O-Line early in the game. And Mallett again.
The biggest takeaway from this game is we don’t know any more about this team than we did yesterday. Ryan Mallett was uneven at best but people shouldn’t read too much into the Josh Woodrum hype train. Remember Josh Johnson last year and Bryn Renner in 2015. The level of competition falls off dramatically when third string players take the field.
The defense again was dominant and they’ll need to be once again when games start counting. Even if Flacco is ready for the regular season opener this offense will likely struggle early on in the season. Given the state of their offensive line they won’t be able to lean on the run either. There could be some frustrating football to watch come September.