The Ravens beat the Saints 14-13 in the final preseason game of 2017. While the starters didn’t see much time in this game, the players on the roster bubble had an opportunity to make their final pitch to the coaches of why they should make the 53-man roster. Here are my winners and losers from the Ravens preseason finale.
Davis dominated in the first half of this game. He had an interception as well a pass break up. On a Will Lutz field goal attempt, Davis’ bull rush up the middle allowed for Patrick Ricard to block the kick. Davis was tough to block in the trenches, and made life very difficult for the Saints. If Davis’s roster spot was uncertain before this game, he undoubtedly secured a spot after his performance tonight.
Humphrey got extended playing time for the first time in his NFL career, and he looked fantastic. Humphrey showed off his physicality, a trait of the former Alabama cornerback that has been constantly talked about throughout the offseason, as he hit Saints running back Daniel Lasco hard enough to force a fumble that would be recovered by Patrick Onwuasor.
Humphrey also was excellent in coverage. He was tested on a deep throw multiple times, and was not bothered on any of the passes thrown his way. On the second deep ball he faced, Humphrey was able to get his hand in the way to get a pass breakup. Humphrey finished the game with four tackles and one pass defended.
If Ricard was on the bubble to make the roster coming into this game, he now is surely going to be one of the final 53 as Ricard produced another really good performance. Ricard’s most notable play was a blocked field goal in the first half.
Ricard was used often on offense and as a blocker, and yet again played well in that role. The Ravens have loved using his size to create holes for running backs to burst through.
Ricard also played well in his natural position along the defensive line.
All in all, Ricard has shown that he has value in all three phases: offense, defense and special teams. His roster spot appears locked up after this game.
Bradley came into this game with an opportunity to earn a spot on the 53 man roster due to Albert McClellan’s injury, and he did exactly what he needed to do. Bradley had eight total tackles, and he showed up on both defense and special teams. Bradley truly lived up to his name, as he laid out a couple of thunderous hits. Bradley also had a pass defended. While he was beaten in coverage once and the result was a Saints touchdown, Bradley did enough else in this game to overcome that. He put himself in a really good position to make the 53 man roster.
Clark is a guy that I’ve liked a lot throughout the preseason. He’s been one of the Ravens most reliable tacklers, and he racked up tackles yet again. Clark had five total tackles, bringing his preseason total to 14. In addition tonight, Clark had a sack, a tackle for loss and a QB hit. The Ravens final pick in the 2017 draft will provide great depth in a secondary that appears to be absolutely loaded.
Matthews may have done enough to secure a roster spot for himself with a good game tonight. Matthews had 66 yards on three catches. Matthews hasn’t done much this preseason during games, but his good game tonight may have provided enough of a boost to get him on the roster. This is in addition to the fact that Matthews has often been reported as one the better receivers in Ravens’ practices.
Reynolds hasn’t really pushed Michael Campanaro for the punt return job this preseason, but he surely didn’t help his case to make the roster tonight. Reynolds had two punt returns and totaled 10 yards, not numbers that jump off the page, and what’s worse, Reynolds made the cardinal mistake of any punt returner, a fumbled punt. Reynolds fumble was recovered by the Saints, and led to a field goal. Reynolds may have just lost any chance he may have had at the roster.
Zuttah did not have a great game. During his playing time, he was beaten on bull rushes a couple of times. I don’t think Zuttah is in danger of not making the roster, but he didn’t produce much confidence for the coaches.
Against the Bills, Mallett had his best game of the preseason, which isn’t saying much given how bad he has been overall. He regressed right back to what we saw against the Redskins and Dolphins tonight. Mallett completed three of eight passes for 19 yards. He did, however, have one touchdown pass.
Mallett didn’t play much tonight, put he left me with one clear thought when he left the game: please let Joe Flacco be ready to play in Week 1.
Taliaferro didn’t do anything badly, but he is likely going to find himself on the outside looking in at the 53 man roster. Patrick Ricard has been very effective as a blocker, and given that Ricard can play all three phases, he is in a much better position to make the roster. This is as opposed to Taliaferro who can play offense and maybe special teams, but doesn’t offer anywhere near the same versatility that Ricard does. Taliaferro has been outplayed, and it will hurt him.
Yet again, Adeboyejo has been a non-factor in a preseason game. Adeboyejo did not even have a catch in this game. He is competing with Chris Matthews for what appears to be the final receiver spot, and he is in trouble of losing that battle. Adeboyejo’s hype has come largely from practice, and he just has never backed it up in games. Matthews on the other hand played well tonight, as shown by his status as a winner.
The Ravens final 53-man roster will come out over the weekend, and come Monday, the Ravens will be in their first regular season game week of the year. Boy, does that feel good to write!