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Ravens News 8/10: Observations, standouts vs. Rams and more

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Los Angeles Rams v Baltimore Ravens Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images

NFL Running Back Rankings – PFF’s team-by-team breakdown for 2018 - Mike Renner

17. BALTIMORE RAVENS

Starting RB overall grade, rank: Alex Collins, 83.4 (3rd)

Alex Collins’ breakout was one of the more compelling stories of the 2017 season. Cast off from the Seahawks, Collins went on to earn the highest rushing grade (86.9) of any back last season. While he’s fairly limited in the passing game, former fourth-round pick Kenneth Dixon has shown the receiving skill to contribute there when healthy.

Considering that Alex Collins finished as PFF’s 3rd best run-in back last season, their ranking is questionable. Elsewhere in the division, the Steelers were ranked 2nd, the Browns 12th and the Bengals 20th.

Five Thoughts on Ravens vs. Rams - John Eisenberg

The moment everyone will be talking about came late in the first quarter. Rookie quarterback Lamar Jackson was on the field in place of Joe Flacco, who had led the starting offense to a touchdown to open the game. Jackson had the offense back in the red zone and took off running when he couldn’t find an open receiver. Sam Shields, a veteran cornerback for the Rams, closed in for the tackle, but Jackson danced by him with a classic stutter-step cutback that sent Shields tumbling as Jackson crossed the goal line. It was the first time with the Ravens that he publicly exhibited the unique, dynamic playmaking he is known for, and the first in-game indication that his ceiling might be high as a change-of-pace option under center, especially in the red zone. I’m sure the Ravens’ coaches were pleased to see him get a bunch of snaps, command the offense and complete passes from the pocket, all a measure of his development, but the “ankle-breaking” cutback showed how he can contribute right now – with the ball in his hands, one way or another.

Lamar Jackson appeared much more comfortable against the Rams after an inconsistent showing in his debut versus the Bears.

Preseason Stock Watch: Ravens vs. Rams - Ryan Mink

WR Breshad Perriman

After a pass bounced off his hands and was intercepted last week, Perriman got on the field after several of the Ravens’ other “bubble” wide receivers. He stood out from the pack, however, catching a team-high three passes for 71 yards, including a 32-yard touchdown with a tightly-contested leap. It’s a big step for a player that needs to make plays in games to stick around.

OLB Tim Williams

Williams had six quarterback hurries last week without any sacks. This time, he got home. Williams annihilated backup quarterback Brandon Allen, forcing a fumble that was recovered by the Ravens. The second-year pass rusher is showing improved moves to go along with his top-end speed around the edge. Even among a crowded room of outside linebackers, he could find a niche getting after quarterbacks and keeping his teammates fresh.

Tim Williams also provided a tackle for loss on a run play after using his speed to shoot into the backfield off the edge. The next step for the second year player is to make an impact against first-string offensive lineman.

ReFocused, NFL Preseason Week 1: Baltimore Ravens 33, Los Angeles Rams 7 - Pro Football Focus

Joe Flacco looked like the clear No. 1 in his short duty while Lamar Jacksonmade plays with his feet but also looked inconsistent passing the ball including some errors in judgement that could have resulted in interceptions.

Baltimore: Ravens’ quarterbacks made plays most of the night even when things broke down. Jackson flashed his athletic ability with scrambes and Flacco looked as sharp as he has in a long time. The Rams defense seemed to be a step behind most of the night.

Both Joe Flacco and Jackson impressed with their ability to extend plays and deliver passes with pinpoint accuracy.