In their second week of the preseason – the first for 30 other teams – the Ravens welcomed the Rams to M&T Bank Stadium. Despite all of the chatter surrounding the Rams owning the Ravens in their two joint practices earlier this week? The boys from Baltimore sure took it to the left coast longhorns… or curled horns I guess, but if you uncurled the Rams horn it would be long and I needed that ‘L’ sound for alliteration purposes so yanno… deal with it.
On an individual basis, a ton of players showed up, while others did their best Breshad Perriman impression once again (ghosted), but all in all, we’re still talking preseason here. Alas, overreactions have already made their rounds, so let’s take a moment to address a few, cool the jets, and bring it on back to reality.
A rather minor note, but it was brought to my attention yesterday that the stadium was at half capacity and ‘oh no! the sky is still falling!’ Let’s blame the knees! Let’s blame the new rules! Let’s blame a lackluster 2017!
OR… we could just take a chill pill, realize that this was a preseason game, and attendance is always low. This has nothing to do with protests, Papa John’s, past performance, paperless tickets, or whatever excuse you can drum up. People literally don’t care about attending preseason games, and sure as hell aren’t interested in paying full price to see a few drives of starters, followed by a bunch of guys you’re Googling along the way, and will surely forget existed in about three weeks.
Think about it… haven’t most folks been offered tickets to go to a preseason game at some juncture? And possibly turned them down simply because it’s preseason and you didn’t want to waste your time and/or money? Hell, in the preseason you don’t need to be Uncle Pennybags to find your way into a parking pass with a suite seat, as some companies literally hand out tickets like candy on Halloween hoping somebody, really anybody will go!
Last week we all laughed our asses off while holding back frustrated tears, as we watched Breshad Perriman take the phrase “soft hands” too literal, as an RGIII pass bounced off his hands, and into the waiting hands of the Bears.
This week? Three receptions for 71 yards and a touchdown! He’s back! He’ll make the team! He’s gonna be good you guys!
PUMP. THE. BRAKES.
Perriman’s success came late in the game versus fringe guys at best, mostly even practice squad fodder. His first reception was solid up the seam, but he sorta freaked out, unsure what to do once he actually caught it, and tripped himself up going for YAC. Second and third receptions, including the touchdown bomb in the back of the endzone? Those were absolute DIMES from BOB, with the latter hitting Perriman in the numbers in the back of the end zone.
I’m not taking away from BP’s catches – his hands look much improved, and his toe tap in the end zone was almost enough to make you forget about the time he missed the toe tap versus the Skins that would’ve sealed the game back in 2016. I simply want to see him do that against better competition. Last week he got earlier snaps and did nothing with them, sans one catch and one drop.
This week he saw the field well after rookies Janarion Grant, Jordan Lasley and Jaleel Scott. That is telling.
The QB Controversy
THIS ISN’T EVEN A THING BUT IT WON’T GO AWAY!
Lamar Jackson was 8 of 17 (not all his fault – there were a handful of horrendous drops sprinkled in) and a phenomenal touchdown run. Trust me, as the Lamar Jackson fan club Prez (self appointed), I am just as excited as all of you are for his day to come… but it’s not going to be anytime soon and everyone needs to accept that.
LJ is still developing – he missed some reads, missed some throws, and took some bad sacks – and that’s perfectly okay! The kid is a rookie and he’ll learn and grow all season, which is what we want!
And one more question for the QB Controversy Crowd: what has Joe done wrong thus far in the preseason that makes you think he’ll fail?
If your response starts with “last year” or “hasn’t been good since _____” you’ve already lost credibility. A healthy Flacco for the first time in eons, with new weapons, potentially improved offensive line, full year of Alex Collins, and an offense that clicked on the backhalf of 2017. There’s your 2018 starting QB right there, not LJ. My sincerest apologies to the anti-Flacco crowd.
The 2016 Draft Class
But there’s been so many nauseating reaches on the rest of the class that’s either returning from injury, or just now showing up. Let me clarify on a few of these guys:
–Kamalei Correa (2nd Rd) came back to earth this week. No, that doesn’t mean he sucks again. Not every defensive player shows up on the stat sheet every week, and not showing up on the stat sheet isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Relax on reaching on KC both as a stud or bust and just let him find his role.
–Bronson Kaufusi had a forced fumble in the Hall of Fame game against the Bears, and a monster 10+ yard tackle for loss yesterday against the Rams. Just like Correa, we need to chillax.
–Alex Lewis (4th Rd) played well thus far, and word from camp is that he’s doing well at Center. He can very well earn the starting job, but can we PLEASE stop insisting he’s a sure-fire starter and a stud? Lewis hasn’t played in a meaningful game since 2016, only started eight games that year at guard and was just good. Not great.
–Kenneth Dixon (4th Rd) again did nothing except hang out in street clothes. Please stop insisting he’s gonna be a stud RB2 when he has multiple suspensions, multiple injuries, and only collected 500-ish total yards in 2016. He’ll be happy to make the roster over Gus Edwards.
–Maurice Canady (7th Rd) had a great pick… but he’s stunk it up otherwise in both games. Please adjust takes accordingly.
The Final Score
Yes, the Ravens won.
Yes, they’ve won 10 straight preseason games.
Yes, a win always feels great.
I can’t help but harp on the fact that final scores in the preseason mean less than a Patriots injury report. At the most, it means the Ravens 1st string was better than the Rams second string, and our backups better than their backups. It means the Ravens ran a better vanilla scheme than the Rams – because we all know that they’re not showing their hand in the preseason.
Don’t believe me? The 2008 Detroit Lions went 4-0 in the preseason… only to go 0-16 in the regular season.