The Ravens extended their winning streak to 13 games in the preseason after defeating the Washington … Indians? … Native Americans?… 30-20. That’s five wins in a row just this year, something that fans probably won’t see in the regular season (just being realistic here).
In the final exhibition game, rookie QB Lamar Jackson showed further improvement, leaving us to wonder if Robert Griffin III didn’t play because he was already a lock, or if he was trade bait (guess we’ll find out over the next day or so). Rookie ILB Kenny Young appears to have a knee injury, and preseason standout CB Stanley Jean-Baptiste might have a broken arm, so it wasn’t all roses and glitter.
Bronson Kaufusi: He was picked 70th overall by Baltimore in the 2016 NFL Draft, and had the best night of his NFL career. He showed explosiveness and agility off of the edge, racking up 10 tackles and two sacks (leading the team in both statistics), finding his way into the Redskins’ backfield … Sing it with me: “All night long … all night …”
Chris Wormley: He also appears to have found some footing. He posted two tackles and one sack, adding a couple quarterback hits. He showed decisiveness along with a very good first step at the snap. If there’s one place that the Ravens are suddenly very deep at, it’s along the defensive line, and that’s a good problem to have with Willie Henry’s recent injury.
Plays were made all along the defensive line on Thursday night — even Patrick Ricard, the best two-way player in the NFL, made an appearance. He was clearly held, but still managed to strip the ball for a fumble, and then recover it. One of my favorite memories of 2017 was watching “Project Pat” grab a pass, find the end zone, and stop suddenly, causing a defender to literally bounce off of him and fall to the ground — so understandably, I’m quite happy that John Harbaugh confirmed that he would be on the 53-man roster this season.
Breshad “Ghost*” Perriman. While he has been the best (statistical) WR on the roster throughout the preseason, he has still shown a propensity for bad catch technique, form and footwork. He was almost responsible for yet another interception against the Redskins, though the defender ultimately failed (really dropped the ball on that one. Get it? GET IT?) This immediately brought up memories of his 2017 campaign. He’s not making this team, nor should he.
Darren Waller. Every year, there’s a player that I pull for to make the 53-man roster, and usually, they show why they should make it, even if they don’t on cutdown day. You’d think that Waller would fall in line, and continue this trend. But no. He hauled in exactly one of the four passes thrown his way (to be fair, two of the passes were … bad), and didn’t show much on special teams – after I said, repeatedly, that he was better on special teams than Williams (still true). With four tight ends that seem to already be locks, Waller probably ends up being cut.
Kenneth Dixon. C’mon, guys. You knew he was going to make an appearance here. Injured, suspended, injured again, and he finally gets back on the field … just to look bad. He looked slow, out of place, and not nearly as explosive as he did as a rookie. He’s going to make this team, but he shouldn’t.
Normally this part is reserved for bad plays and the like, but in this case, it’s the space dedicated to two guys that I feel really badly for — Kenny Young and Stanley Jean-Baptiste.
As I mentioned at the beginning of the article, SJB appears to have a broken arm, which could end his season. He had had very strong performances in training camp, and in preseason, and likely would’ve made the team, albeit at the end of the roster. Now, the Ravens will likely carry him until Monday, then place him on IR.
Young came on strong all summer, competing for the WLB spot next to CJ Mosley. He showed a proficiency in coverage, sideline-to-sideline speed, and an ability to pick the game up quickly. If his MRI shows a serious injury, the loss of the rookie is an underrated hit.
The Megan Fox Award:
This is where the esteemed Tony Lombardi would name a player of the game. Well, this is my article, and I DO WHAT I WANT. Ipso facto, the Megan Fox Award goes too..
Please? No? Okay.
BRESHAD PERRIMAN. Why, you may ask? For playing himself out of a roster spot and off of this team. I couldn’t have asked for a better end to the preseason. (Now here’s hoping I don’t eat crow … Or raven … Whatever … When cuts happen.)
*I call him ‘Ghost’ because we either never see him on the field, or the ball goes through his hand. Like a Ghost.