It's hard for me to believe that the final preseason game means much, even to those players on the bubble. John Harbaugh seemed to suggest as much in his press conference when he said that very rarely does a roster decision depend on a couple of good plays in the final preseason game. If I had to guess, it's far more likely that people play themselves out of a roster spot in the final preseason game. After all, wouldn't we expect players who eventually make the 53 dominate in this kind of game? Only a handful of people playing in these games will make the team, so shouldn't those players who eventually do make the team play better than the future cuts? Playing well in the final preseason game is what you HAVE to do in order to prove you belong on the roster. Having said that, making a few bonehead plays, like Anthony Allen's fumble on the 1 yard line, is a surefire way to get cut.
The other thing that we need to remember is that almost all of these players are fighting for spots on special teams. I may like Delone Carter as a runningback, but you need your third runningback to play on special teams, and by all accounts that's not his forte (how many carries is our third runningback likely to get anyway....?). We may like Aaron Mellette as a fourth or fifth wide receiver, but can he be a factor on punt coverage? I did see him miss a tackle in kick coverage. Nobody really impressed me solely on their special teams play.
Absolutely best of luck to everybody on the team, whether they make the Ravens 53 or not. Unfortunately not everybody can make the team, and I truly hope that the ones we do cut get jobs elsewhere.
1) Assuming Tyrod Taylor is not experiencing any concussion symptoms, Caleb Hanie will be cut. He did not play well enough to convince Ravens brass that it's worth it to carry him as a 3rd QB. His timing was off and the interception he threw was baffling.
2) Anthony Allen was praised for his special teams play last year, especially being the lead blocker for Jacoby Jones. However, based on this preseason (and I think last preseason as well), Bobby Rainey is a better runningback. I really loved Rainey's determination on his two touchdown runs. Rainey can also serve as a backup kick returner, and from what I heard Kyle Juszczyk can theoretically serve as the lead blocker for Jacoby. I honestly have on idea how good Rainey is at kick coverage, but I've seen enough to give Rainey the roster spot ahead of Anthony Allen.
3) Marlon Brown and Aaron Mellette continue to impress me, especially Marlon Brown. And what was up with Tandon Doss finally having a good game? It's a shame Deonte hurt his ankle because he was legitimately competing for the #3 receiver only a few weeks ago, yet I still have absolutely no clue what his potential is. Where has LaQuan been since the first preseason game? LaQuan Williams is considered a very good special teams player, probably the best among the wide receiver group, so I have to think he makes the team. I hope that we can somehow keep all 8 of our receivers but don't see how they could afford to keep them all on the active roster. Maybe Deonte gets put on the PUP list for his ankle and we wait to see what happens after week 6. I just don't know how we can cut any of these guys.
4) Disappointed that Matt Furstenburg was a no show tonight. I really wanted him to make the team and think he has loads of potential as an athletic tight end. In my gut I still think we keep him over Bajema, but I honestly can't speak to Furstenburg's blocking ability.
5) O-line generally looked pretty bad. Glad none of these guys are going to start. Didn't seem like there were many holes for our runningbacks.
6) D-line also didn't impress me very much. Terrence Cody had a nice tackle, and he's been ranked as one of our better players according to PFF. Didn't think anybody else did much.
7) We are definitely keeping Albert McClellan, especially because he can play both inside and outside linebacker. I thought he played pretty well. John Simon was able to put a little pressure on the QB even though he didn't register any hits, but it doesn't seem like he can do much other than rush the passer. He got abused in pass coverage on that one play early in the game when the guy he was covering caught the ball and then Simon missed the tackle. I don't think DJ Bryant did enough to make the team, nor do I think Brandon Copeland will either.
8) I'll go berserk if Omar Brown doesn't make the team over Anthony Levine. I have NO idea what it is, but he always seems to be around the ball. He forced a fumble. He read a bubble screen well (though he missed the tackle, so take that for what it's worth). He just has a quality about him that isn't quite identifiable, but he's done this two preseasons in a row now and has earned himself a roster spot.
I do not envy Ravens brass for having to make these incredibly tough decisions, but I have confidence that they'll make the right ones.
Can't wait for the regular season to start! Happy end to the preseason!