In their second preseason matchup of the season, the Ravens defeated the visiting Packers by 13 points after maintaining a lead throughout the entire game. Green Bay didn’t play Aaron Rodgers and the Ravens starting offense played just a few possessions, but it was a fairly solid and well-rounded victory nonetheless.
The Ravens extended their preseason winning streak and have still yet to lose a game in the preseason since 2015, an impressive yet relatively meaningless feat. Here are seven takeaways from Baltimore’s victory over the Packers.
1) Mark Ingram makes his presence felt early
For the first time in-game, veteran running back and free agent signee Mark Ingram suited up with the starting offense and looked as advertised. The former Pro Bowler received the first two carries of the night and churned out a quick 11 yards and a first down, and turned two more attempts into eight yards. His final stat line (4 carries, 18 yards) don’t jump off the page but in his limited action on the field, Ingram backed up the hype he’s been receiving this offseason. He looked spry and powerful, churning out tough yardage between the tackles. Ingram’s 4.5 YPC average on the night, although in a small sample size, could be indicative of what to expect when the regular season rolls around.
2) Baltimore’s rushing attack is versatile and dynamic
Keeping things going with the rushing theme, Ingram wasn’t the only ball-carrier to find success on Thursday night. As a team, the Ravens rushed 37 times for 171 total yards (4.6 YPC) and a touchdown, and the production was split between various players. Rookie speedster Justice Hill was very impressive, leading the team in both carries (10) and rushing yards (49). Early in the second half, Hill extended Baltimore’s lead to two touchdowns after scoring on a redzone attempt. Hill received a run up the middle and cut outside before pulling up to evade a Green Bay defender, slipping into the endzone for an athletic score.
Other running backs on the roster were also effective against the Packers, albeit with less attempts than Hill. De’Lance Turner helped his case by breaking off a big 22-yard run and finishing with 29 yards on five carries for the night. Gus Edwards and Tyler Ervin saw four combined carries and each posted a YPC upwards of 4.5. It also helps when your quarterbacks are capable of producing on the ground, as is the case with Lamar Jackson and Trace McSorley - who combined for 31 rushing yards. Jackson had a fairly long highlight touchdown run called back due to penalty, too.
3) Trace McSorley shows progression, improves roster odds
Speaking of McSorley, the rookie signal caller followed up an uneven debut with a more well-rounded performance in Week 2. McSorley completed eight of his 14 pass attempts for 74 yards a touchdown, which came via a 23-yard strike to Chris Moore on a slant route.
It was a well-thrown and accurate pass from McSorley, far better than anything we saw from him against the Jaguars. Is this to say McSorley is a finished product? Certainly not, far from it in fact. McSorley still has a ways to go a thrower, but there’s no denying he’s a few legitimate throws through two preseason games. Compared to where he was earlier in the offseason, it definitely appears that McSorley is improving and the likelihood that he makes the 53-man roster is perhaps increasing.
4) Patrick Ricard making plays on both ends
After his role diminished towards the end of last season, many placed Patrick Ricard on the roster bubble heading into the 2019-20 campaign. However, if the first two preseason contests are any indication, Ricard appears to be a roster lock and could actually return to playing meaningful snaps for the team in the regular season. Ricard’s value stems from his versatility, as the third-year man is adept at playing both fullback and defensive lineman.
Ricard was given two carries in the first half and in addition to providing solid blocking, he was the recipient of a forced and recovered fumble early in the second half. Ricard beat his man off the line of scrimmage immediately and cleanly stripped the ball out of the arms of a Green Bay running back, setting the Ravens up with great field position. If he continues to play at such a high level, Ricard can be considered a lock for the 53-man roster. It’s hard to imagine the team not keeping him based on what we’ve seen thus far.
5) Shane Ray needs a big turnaround
At the outside linebacker position opposite Matthew Judon, the question has been who the Ravens would keep between Tyus Bowser, Tim Williams, and Shane Ray. Pernell McPhee and Jaylon Ferguson are roster locks, but the competition between the former has been one of great anticipation. Right now, Bowser and Williams appear to be far ahead of Ray and if the preseason ended today, it’s hard to imagine Ray would be on the 53-man roster.
The former first-round pick was the sixth outside linebacker to enter the game on Thursday after all of the players listed above, which is not exactly a ringing endorsement. Ray is talented but has been struggling a bit to assimilate and assert himself throughout camp and in the preseason, outside of a few flashes here and there. Some sort of switch needs to flip for Ray soon or he may very well find himself on the open market again in a few weeks.
6) Ben Powers is falling behind at left guard
Rookie and fourth-round pick Ben Powers appeared to be a legitimate candidate for the team’s starting left guard spot early in the offseason. Powers had been receiving first-team reps for a few weeks but has since ceded way to Jermaine Eleumunor, who appears to be the leading challenger for the starting role. Since the pads have come on, Powers has faded a bit, which is somewhat surprising given his reputation as a tough and gritty player. Still, we knew Powers needed some work coming out of Oklahoma, so this shouldn’t be too concerning nor surprising.
On Thursday, Powers ran with the second-team and committed a false start penalty early in the third quarter. In both preseason games, veteran swingman James Hurst and UDFA Patrick Mekari have taken reps away from Powers, which isn’t very encouraging. Barring an unforeseen change in developments, Powers appears to be headed for a backup role in year one, although he could make a last-minute run at playing time. We’ll have to wait and see if the former Sooner can figure things out.
7) Chris Moore demonstrating he belongs
After an uneventful start to the offseason, fourth-year wide receiver Chris Moore is beginning to pick up steam. Pegged a breakout candidate by many, Moore has been the team’s best pass-catcher so far this preseason. Against the Packers, Moore led the team with four receptions for 54 yards a touchdown. In the two exhibition games combined, Moore has posted six catches and 102 yards. Given his improving offensive skills and special teams prowess, Moore is all but a roster lock. In fact, he may even be challenging for a starting WR job right now with Marquise Brown recovering and Seth Roberts dealing with some injuries of his own. Now is a prime opportunity for Moore to sieze the spotlight.