Ravens Preseason Game 1 Grades
Oh football, how I have missed you. And readers of the weekly grades, how I have missed you as well! I’m back for another year of knee jerk grades. Disagree with something you read? Find me on Twitter @ColeJacksonRSR, on the RSR Forum at GreatWhiteNorthRaven or comment directly on the article and let’s hash the Ravens Preseason Game 1 grades!
The Ravens have become an absolute dynasty of preseason games. That’s 14 straight preseason game wins, with their last loss before the steak coming on September 3rd, 2015.
Imagine if preseason games actually mattered!?
Well I mean, they kind of matter for the fringe players. So, let’s dive in and see who stood out for the right and wrong reasons.
Offense: Overall: C+
The offense definitely had some flashes, including scoring 10 points on three drives with Lamar at the helm. Overall though, it got very stagnant after the first half and, given that the Jaguars couldn’t move the ball anywhere, it basically became a game of going through the motions to run the clock out.
Of the 29 Ravens points, 6 came from defensive touchdowns and 17 from the kicking game.
Welcome to the first edition of the 2019 Jackson on Jackson series! Since Lamar is under the microscope, let’s break down each play:
• 1/1: 30-yard to Chris Moore on play action. Perfect dart while on the run.
• 2/2: 1 yard out to Miles Boykin. Pocket pass. Led Boykin.
• 2/3: slant attempt to Boykin. Thrown behind. Boykin had hands on the ball. I’d call that a drop.
• 2/4: incompletion. In the preseason I would imagine he runs that for a first down, but he threw back across his body just to throw it away and missed his WR.
• 3/5: 18-yard pass to Chris Moore. Personally, thought it was a bad pass and it looked like he overthrew Boyle, but he was bailed but by Moore.
• 4/6: Beautiful out pass to Willie Snead who breaks a tackle and takes it to the house.
Overall, Lamar’s mechanics (only 6 throw sample size) looked much cleaner. He set his feet well and that included getting his base wide when he was on the run. A lot to like…
— Baltimore Ravens (@Ravens) August 8, 2019
Trace McSorley, however, is not a very good QB. He started slow, then went on to make some nice throws, but finished extremely poorly. He gets credit for those throws to Miles Boykin, including the negated TD (which was an absolute dime), but overall 9-22 for 85 yards and 1 INT just isn’t good.
Joe Callahan actually placed the ball well, but not a whole lot to say. McSorley really drags this grade down, but I’m giving it a bump because I was impressed with Lamar and he’s the guy that really matters.
Running back: C+
It was a pretty quiet day for the stable of running backs. They combined for 125 yards on 36 carries, which only translates to a 3.5 yards per rush average.
Not great, however, they showed a few big plays, which gave the grade a slight bump. Kenneth Dixon bounced a beautiful power right through the B gap that went for 16 yards.
De’Lance Turner took a shotgun snap to the left for 21 yards and showed everyone why his nickname is Burner Turner.
Rookie 4th round pick, Justice Hill had a couple of flashes, but didn’t have an overly electric day. He showed off more as a receiver than a runner.
Wide Receiver: A-
I’m going to be super straight forward with this. Miles Boykin had 3 drops (granted the 3rd one was questionable) in his first 5 targets of the game. I would be lying if I said I didn’t put my head in my hands and say ‘not again’.
But, my God, if that isn’t a prime example of how to bounce back then I don’t know what is. On the last drive of the half Boykin had back-to-back-to-back catches (the 3rd catch was called back, but we all know that was a TD) of 7, 24 and 17 yards. With the touchdown nullified, Boykin finished with 4 catches for 39 yards.
The other big standout was Chris Moore who hauled in both of his targets of 30 and 18 yards.
Oh, and Willie Snead made a guy miss in open space. Baltimore fans haven’t seen a lot of that. Call me crazy, but something seems to be developing with this wideout group, and Marquise Brown is still just an observer!
Looking at some of the bubble/depth guys, Jaleel Scott showcased his ability with a beauty – a 20-yard catch on the sideline at the 9:26 mark. He also looked quite solid on special teams with a few nice blocks and good contain on kickoffs. He’s making a very strong case for that 6th WR spot (who can also play STs).
Wesley, Modster, Horn Jr. didn’t show a whole lot, but to be fair they weren’t given a big opportunity. Wesley dropped his only target and Modster had 3 catches for 17 yards. Nothing to write home about.
This group gets a bump because the top guys showed up. Oh yeah, and because I may have a bit of a man crush on Miles Boykin, deal with it.
Offensive Line: C-
Oh boy. This was not a good showing from the first unit offensive line. The interior got very little push when Jermaine Eluemunor, Matt Skura and James Hurst were in the game, resulting in Edwards having no room to maneuver on the first drive.
Eluemunor continued to be awful throughout the first half. On the majority of plays he wasn’t blocking anyone or looking for work. My senior OL coach used to make it very clear “if you aren’t blocking anyone you better be looking for someone”. I don’t want an OG who isn’t looking for work.
On the positive side, the combination of Bradley Bozeman at C and UDFA Patrick Mekari (#65) was actually quite solid. They had a good set of blocks that sprung a Kenneth Dixon 16-yard gain at the 10:20 mark of the second quarter.
The second half opening with Bozeman, Mekari and 4th round pick Ben Powers at LG looked a lot better, but to be fair they’re seeing the Jags 3rd stringers so it’s a tough assessment. The Ravens 3rd stringers definitely outplayed the Jaguars, but in the grand scheme of things, that’s pretty meaningless.
Overall, I would think that giving guys like Bozeman and Powers a crack at LG is going to be more productive at this point. Oh yeah, and don’t sleep on Patrick Mekari.
Tight Ends: C
Super average day, with not a heck of a whole lot to say. Mark Andrews caught both of his targets and Cole Herdman had a nice catch.
Other than that Hayden Hurst and Charles Scarff were targeted 1 and 3 times, respectively.
That’s about all I got on these guys. Yawn.
Well, it’s nice to see the defense is in midseason form scoring defensive touchdowns and shutting the opposition out.
What was blatantly clear is just how deep this group is. The Jaguars 3rd stringers were no match for some of these guys and I have a feeling a lot of teams will be looking at who gets cut from Baltimore to make some additions as we approach the final 53-man rosters.
Defensive Line: A
On the first 3rd down at the 14:13 mark, we saw our first 4-man rush of the year. It was basically a split of 1/3 of a sack to Chris Wormley, Tyus Bowser and Matt Judon (Judon & Bowser each got 0.5 sack, but Wormley had the initial pressure).
Jaylon Ferguson had a few standout plays, which has not been a trend in practice. At the 4:30 mark he had a nice back-to-back sequence where he had the pressure resulting in an incomplete throwaway pass, and then stuffed the run on the very next play forcing 3rd and long.
Later in that drive, Ferguson forced Lee to scramble and resulted in a Patrick Ricard sack. It was a disruptive day for the young 3rd round draft pick, who may very well be a guy that plays better in games than in practices.
Looking at the interior line, Wormley played quite well and looks to have the first string 5-technique DE position locked down. Zach Seiler flashed a few times, but it should be Wormley’s spot to lose.
At the 3-technique, Patrick Ricard was the standout of the night with 4 tackles, 2 sacks, 3 QB hurries and 1 pass defensed.
However, it should be noted Willie Henry played only at the very start and showed a tremendous burst off the ball. Let’s hope he’s back and healthy for 2019. This DL group looks to be as deep as ever and I think they may have to go with 7 guys this year, given that Ricard can also play FB.
Patrick Onwuasor is clearly taking his new role seriously. He was absolutely all over the field, including a big hit on the second drive of the game after DeShon Elliott whiffed on a tackle.
Kenny Young also stood out, including the play of the night where he had a devastating, helmet popping sack on Gardner Minshew:
— Baltimore Ravens (@Ravens) August 9, 2019
One guy to keep an eye is UDFA LB Otaro Alaka. He flashed a few times tonight, including at 1:48 in Q3 with a beautifully executed sweeping tackle that resulted in a loss.
The LB group looked quite solid, and is recovering well from losing their leader, CJ Mosley.
Defensive Backs: A+
I know Nick Foles wasn’t playing, but the Jaguars had just 10 catches on 25 attempts that resulted in 65 receiving yards.
That’s absolutely insane.
The big conversation on Twitter seemed to revolve around 2018 4th round pick Anthony Averett. He was criticized for his play, but I’m not entirely sure why. I have him marked down as being targeted 7 times and giving up 2 completions, which is quite solid from a statistical standpoint.
If I were to critique his game, I would say that he did a poor job of bringing his head around once the ball went in the air on his targets and it looked a little Cary Williams-like. However, he Is awfully sticky and on none of these targets did the pass catcher get a step on him. He also had 2 pass breakups. I thought he played quite well and it shows his development, which is great given that Jimmy Smith and Brandon Carr may not be Ravens next year.
Cyrus Jones was also a standout. I thought he looked quite good as the starting CB and he took a pick to the house, while having some good punt returns. Honestly, even though they were fair catches, it’s great to see a guy that gets to the ball and doesn’t let it hit the ground. Remember Devin Hester’s stint here? Dude couldn’t fair catch a thing.
— Baltimore Ravens (@Ravens) August 9, 2019
Bennett Jackson is also a guy to keep an eye on. He may continue to ball out, but unfortunately, he may fall victim to a numbers game.
Oh yeah, and someone teach Chuck Clark how to catch a ball, PLEASE!
Special Teams: A
Justin Tucker in his first kick of the preseason absolutely drilled a 52 yarder. Directly in the middle. It looks like my buddy Adam Bonaccorsi can cool it on the Kaare Vedvik hype. AutomaTUCK isn’t going anywhere.
To Vedvik’s credit though he did go 4/4 and Eric DeCosta may want to get the Chicago Bears on the line to see if there’s some interest. That should cost a a 5th round pick. Thank you.
Big Justin Bethel sighting at the punt on the Ravens second drive. Bethel gunned the punt down and caught it at the 2-yard line. Will Bethel’s ST abilities be worth a 5th round compensatory pick? With plays like that, yes, yes, yes!
Player of the Game
My game ball goes to bubble player Patrick Ricard. He stood out significantly as a 3-technique and I think he’s going to make it very hard to cut him this year given his versatility to play both sides of the ball and come off the bench as an absolute pressure cooker of energy.
Kudos Ricard, I see you.