Baltimore Ravens: Studs and Duds from Thursday’s Game
Studs: Young Pass Rushers
Speaking of improving the pass rush this season, Za’Darius Smith has perhaps been the most improved player on either side of the ball this year. He has the potential to be a double-digit sack type of player, even with Elvis Dumervil and Terrell Suggs coming back.
Smith provided pressure throughout the first half and finally got home when he caused a strip-sack of quarterback Derek Anderson. He came flying of the edge and reached his arm out to make Anderson throw empty-handed, allowing for DT Carl Davis to scoop up the fumble. He looked like Von Miller blowing by the Panthers’ left tackle. He’s in store for a big season.
Rookie fifth-round pick Matt Judon also had an impressive night, accounting for seven tackles and one sack. He looked much better on the field than in practice. He gave the Panthers trouble throughout the second half, showing good run defense in addition to his natural pass rush ability. His most impressive play was when he stuffed running back Fozzie Whitaker for a four yard loss.
Linebacker Chris Carter had a great game, harassing the Panthers’ tackles off the edge. He was a fifth round pick of the Steelers back in 2011 and has bounced around to the Colts and Bengals before signing with the Ravens in December of 2015. He may not earn a roster spot since the Ravens are so deep along the defensive line, but he’s putting out great film for himself.
Rookie Willie Henry also had a nice game, applying consistent pressure from the interior.
All in all, the Ravens have to be happy with their front seven.
Next: Duds: Special Teams