All NFL teams are a work in progress during the preseason. Agendas vary – case in point, the Rams opted to rest most of their starters during their preseason opener.
Young players look to show up on film while veterans seek to get in their work and exit the game unscathed. For all, the fake games are a building block to prepare for the 17 weeks that comprise the league’s regular season. To that extent, the Ravens have to be happy with the outcome of Thursday night’s 33-7 win.
The Ravens quarterback play was impressive. Joe Flacco was 5 of 7 and his two incompletions were a throwaway to mitigate potential damage and a drop by Michael Crabtree. Lamar Jackson looked more settled and showcased the athleticism that attracted the Ravens to the 2016 Heisman Trophy Winner on his 9-yard scamper into the end zone. Robert Griffin, III cleaned up in style, also going 5 of 7, including a 32-yard scoring strike. The trio combined for a passer rating of 103.4 while adding 28 yards on 7 carries. That said, Jackson’s accuracy issues are something to keep an eye on…The Ravens out-gained the Rams 403 yards to 170 and their average gain per pass play was 7.5 to the Rams 1.5…Without their starters Los Angeles had just 3 yards passing by halftime while the Ravens out-paced the Rams 301 yards to 45.
The turnover differential was 2:0 in the Ravens favor…Alex Collins looks like he’ll pick up where he left off in 2017. Despite adding a little weight (by design) he still shows a burst that propels him into the second level. Hayden Hurst provided a nice lead block for Collins on his 23-yard scamper around the right edge…Hurst had a great week of practice v. the Rams and he started fast, hauling in a 12-yard strike from Flacco on the game’s first play from scrimmage…Chris Moore made a terrific contested catch for a 36-yard gain to the Rams 14 in the first quarter to set up the Ravens second TD…Breshad Perriman did what he could to earn a spot on the 53, hauling in 3 second-half passes for 71 yards including a 32-yard score. That said, it’s interesting that Perriman entered the game after rookies Jordan Lasley and Janarion Grant who worked with the second team over the Ravens 2015 first-round pick…Grant has made plays during camp and with his return experience, look for a battle to the end with the inactive Tim White…Orlando Brown, Jr. held his own allowing zero pressures during the Ravens 32 passing attempts.
— Baltimore Ravens (@Ravens) August 10, 2018
Tim Williams looks and sounds like a player with a new attitude. He’s been explosive during camp and that showed up in Canton against the Bears. On Thursday against the Rams he continued to build on what has been a productive summer for the second-year edge rusher from Alabama. He supported the run fairly effectively but clearly his highlight was an explosive second-half strip sack of Rams backup Brandon Allen…Matt Judon shows no signs of slowing down from the quantum leap he made as an all-around player in 2017. He sacked Sean Mannion to end a Rams drive on their very first possession…Zach Sieler is an interesting player to watch. He’s a rather dominant force when taking on backups. The Ferris State alum contributed a sack and a tackle for loss…Maurice Canady made an acrobatic interception, the only one by either team on the night. He provides quality depth to the Ravens impressive secondary…Anthony Averett was effective during extended action. According to PFF he allowed just 2 completions on 6 targets for 11 yards while taking 39 snaps.
Jordan Lasley had a drop, the result of trying to run after the catch before securing the ball…Jaleel Scott, despite his 6’5” frame, has been rather stealth this summer. Nothing changed against the Rams for the 2018 fourth-round pick. His draft status alone probably keeps him on the team but don’t be shocked if he ends up on IR with a season-ending hang nail…Kenneth Dixon was dressed to play during warmups but opted to not give it a go. He’s had hamstring issues during camp and his regular absence has been one of the big disappointments this summer.
Rams rookie RB John Kelly’s 40-yard run was the result of poor flow to the football from the backside. Bronson Kaufusi set the edge but the inside backers failed to clean up…Crabtree was brought to Baltimore to make contested catches, move the chains and be an inviting red zone target. His first opportunity in purple resulted in a drop that would have gone for a first down. Hopefully that’s not an omen.
Knock on wood, the Ravens did not suffer any significant injuries – at least none that we’re aware of at the moment. When asked about the injuries or lack thereof, John Harbaugh had this to say:
“I think we should just leave that alone. It’s like the dugout – you know where I’m going with that. You kind of just leave some things alone sometimes. Not that we’re superstitious. How does the old saying with Michael Scott go? ‘I’m not superstitious, but I am a little stitious.’”
The Ravens skipper also commented on Perriman’s performance.
“I think the Breshad Perriman thing tonight might be the story. Here is a guy that has been battling back from injuries. Obviously, he is taking a lot of heat. He’s a young guy, and he’s a good person – he works very hard. He has been under siege with it – and that’s part of it. He understands that more than anybody. But I think he deserves a lot of credit for the way he has handled it. He has handled it professionally on the outside, but also on the inside. He has worked really hard at his craft, and to see it pay off with a game like tonight’s … The throw and the catch … Robert [Griffin III]’s throw and his catch were as good as you’re ever going to see. So I’m just really happy for him – he deserves it.”
Tim Williams was asked about his standout contributions:
“It’s just the preseason, so I’m not really getting too excited, because it doesn’t count right now. I’m just building and getting better every day.”
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Rams DL Ethan Westbrooks was asked to comment on his two sacks against the Ravens:
“You know I can’t be mad about that. We got after it tonight. On the first one, I got between the guard and tackle, and got inside to sack him. On the second one, we had been having joint practices, so I knew when they telegraphed things, and I was able to guess right.”
Joe D’Alessandris, are you listening?
The Megan Fox Award
Normally we reserve this for the Player of the Game but let’s be honest, that’s really a tough thing to gauge in a preseason affair. Instead, the Megan Fox goes to this fan, the son of dear friends (Mario & Kathy Scilipoti), say congrats to Tommy Scilipoti! (9:42AM)
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) August 10, 2018