The Baltimore Ravens are done their first preseason game of the 2017 season. Here are my 10 thoughts from the game.
There you have it. The Baltimore Ravens have wrapped up their first preseason game of the 2017 season. It comes as a 23-3 win over the Washington Redskins. There’s a lot to take away from this game. We saw everyone from the starters to third and fourth string guys get their reps. It was especially hard to keep track of who was coming on and off of the field.
For all the questions that have surrounded this team during the offseason, they definitely got out on the right foot. John Harbaugh and company can happy with the overall performance that the team put together. It helps to start off the preseason on a positive note.
Overall, it’s just great to have Baltimore Ravens football back.
Here are my 10 thoughts
- Other than some sparks from third stringer Josh Woodrum, the Ravens did not see much promising quarterback play. Ryan Mallett played the entire first half and finished the night 9-of-18 for 58 yards. He had some nice throws, but struggled to find rhythm. About half of his completions came when throwing to the running back. Twice he under-threw Michael Campanaro on deep passes. It’s not time to panic, but things didn’t look good.
- The starting defense looks great on paper and even better on the field. From the defensive line to the secondary, they suffocated the Redskins offense. The Redskins were not able to get anything going in the pass or ground game. It seemed like every play a Ravens defender was getting pressure in the backfield. Dean Pees has to be elated with the talent he’s working with this season. And how about Brent Urban? Entering the final season of his rookie contract, Urban was a monster in the first half. At 6-7, he was destroying the Redskins offensive line. You’ve got to like what you saw from the presumable starting defensive end.
- While Tim White took most of the return snaps in the first half, we got a good look at Keenan Reynolds the rest of the game. Reynolds broke out for a nice 46-yard punt return that set up a touchdown the following play. He received a big hug from John Harbaugh heading to the sidelines. You can tell the hard work has been paying off over the last year. It will still be an up hill battle for Reynolds. We will need to see more production from him as a wide receiver.
- The defensive line is deep, real deep. They are the major strength on this defense. I wrote about it the other day and it showed out on the field. Brandon Williams and Michael Pierce are absolutely ginormous up front. Willie Henry, Carl Davis and Pat Ricard all made some good plays throughout the game. The key to a good defensive line is depth and the Ravens seem to have a solid rotation going.
- With all the talk about the undrafted rookies, how about Jaylen Hill? The undrafted cornerback out of Jacksonville State had a fantastic game. He was all over the place making open field tackles and covering well. He even grabbed an interception to end the first half. With no clear starter at the slot corner, Hill could be an interesting player to keep in mind.
- Undrafted rookie wide receiver Tim White came into the game with a lot hype surrounding him. He certainly backed that up. We saw White take all of the starting return reps in the first half. He also added a 33-yard touchdown from Josh Woodrum in the third quarter. Out of all the receivers last night, White looked the best. With more opportunities, it will be exciting to see what he can do.
- The most important stat that won’t show up on the score sheet is no injuries. After being decimated with them this offseason, the Ravens were able to stay healthy throughout the game. This is a huge confidence booster for the team. Let’s hope that can be the same narrative throughout the entire preseason (knock on wood)
- We haven’t heard a lot about second round pick Tyus Bowser, but he looked good out on the field. He not only made plays in the pass rush, but showed some solid cover skills in the open field. He’s extremely athletic and will give Matt Judon a run for his money at Sam linebacker.
- The Ravens got solid work from the running backs. Terrance West, Buck Allen and Taquan Mizzell all looked impressive when they got their touches. The commitment to the run game was refreshing to see. After getting away from it last year, the Ravens will look pound the rock this season. Let’s hope Marty can commit to this philosophy.
- A 14 year streak of an undrafted rookie making the 53-man roster could very well continue this season. The Ravens really don’t get enough credit for the talented undrafted players they sign year in and year out. This isn’t the last we will hear from these players. There’s a strong possibility more than one could make the roster.
One thing to add that’s not a thought, but more of a fact is that Justin Tucker is still really good. He hit a 59 yard field goal with ease to end the first half. Let the man kick from 70 yards.
The bottom line
Even with all of the good things we saw, remember this is just the preseason. The Ravens went 4-0 in the preseason last year and finished 8-8. As excited as we are having football back, you have to take some things with a grain of salt. There’s still a lot more football left to play and anything can happen.
The Ravens will continue their preseason action as they travel to Miami next Thursday night to take on the Dolphins. Keep up with us here at Ebony Bird for all of your latest and breaking Ravens news.