The Ravens rumbled to their 15th consecutive preseason victory. The Baltimore birds have been too physical for their first two opponents, dominating the line of scrimmage on a consistent basis. Let’s hit the tale of the tape and review who stood out in Thursday’s win.
One quick observation is that Willie Snead IV comes in motion as an in-line blocker like no other. There are instances in 2019 football where taking 15 yards is worthwhile. Willie Snead demonstrated that point emphatically on a nasty block that resulted in a touchdown negating penalty.
Let's take a look at the standout players from Thursday:
Pat Ricard had a brilliant night, dominating on both sides of the ball. A four-play stretch saw Ricard line up at defensive tackle twice where he recovered a fumble, then paved the way for a Justice Hill touchdown. Ricard lined up at defensive tackle, full back, then tight end over the four-play stretch.
Three play stretch consecutively..— Spencer N. Schultz (@ravens4dummies) August 16, 2019
Dominates his man for the second straight play
Switches to offense
At FB, Kicks out a defender to set up a nice gain
Then moves to tight end and down blocks to clear a path for a Justice Hill TD
Three plays, DT, FB, TE consecutively pic.twitter.com/w5Xu6wsJ0r
On the counter concept, locates the scraping LB and blows him 5 yards back. Absolute UNIT. pic.twitter.com/Y6KKcTosUc— Spencer N. Schultz (@ravens4dummies) August 16, 2019
It is my conviction that Pat Ricard needs more snaps defensively. His ability to collapse the pocket with a powerful bull-rush and excellent drive from his lower body is outstanding. I’m not sure whether Brandon Williams is asked to push the pocket on passing downs, but either way he doesn’t. I would rather see Ricard attack the A-gap on passing downs.
As a fullback, Ricard is a nightmare for linebackers in the hole. The absolute last person I would want to greet me in with a head of steam is the 290-pound athlete. Ricard will be paving the path for Mark Ingram, Hill, Lamar Jackson and company in heavier doses this season.
Pernell McPhee is going to turn in a strong season in Baltimore. He is back in top shape and hungry for another bowl of super. He flashed the same strong hands and imposing will Ravens fans saw during his first stint in Baltimore.
McPhee mans his side to keep the sideline, diagnoses, then bulls Jimmy Graham RIGHT into Kizer’s lap. pic.twitter.com/AQERVQMKBx— Spencer N. Schultz (@ravens4dummies) August 16, 2019
McPhee hand swipes, rips under, then attacks the back. Didn’t make the play, but forced him inside.— Spencer N. Schultz (@ravens4dummies) August 16, 2019
Chris Board just tosses the OL aside, fills the gap and THUMPS the back. pic.twitter.com/ogatd4JJxN
What’s that, Brian Bulaga?! Just want McPhee to make chopped liver out of your kick out?— Spencer N. Schultz (@ravens4dummies) August 16, 2019
Seriously... couldn’t have disengaged the block faster. pic.twitter.com/2QfIKmwo3V
McPhee showed range and never fails in disengaging from blockers quickly. His ability to set and maintain the edge will allow Matt Judon to roam around the weak side and find spots to attack.
Jermaine Eluemunor turned in perhaps his best performance of his tenure in Baltimore. When Eluemunor is in tune with the offense, he flashes great footwork. He pulled and cleared lanes all night on Thursday. He has taken huge step forward, hopefully solidifying the left guard position.
Second play of the game, Eluemunor clears a nice path for Ingram to find the marker. Opened up a huge gap. Nice pad level, good angle and drives the defender off the LOS. pic.twitter.com/nFcxX3lkzW— Spencer N. Schultz (@ravens4dummies) August 16, 2019
Jermaine sells the PA, then squares up his shoulders to his target with nice slide steps. Used inside hand to wash interior defender out, then resets. Good stuff. pic.twitter.com/rATz5oWAR6— Spencer N. Schultz (@ravens4dummies) August 16, 2019
Eluemunor is starting at left guard week one, although he has some competition from the next subject.
Patrick Mekari is going to continue the Ravens UDFA streak. He took a large portion of snaps at center Thursday, which is a welcome sight. He started a little shaky, but seemingly improved snap-to-snap.
Pat Mekari pulls from LG and seals the hole. He will continue the Ravens UDFA streak. pic.twitter.com/w5YzJqVjaN— Spencer N. Schultz (@ravens4dummies) August 16, 2019
Two plays from Mekari. Clearly fired up from his delicious pancake, he moves like a mad man to double team then SEEKS CONTACT in the second level.— Spencer N. Schultz (@ravens4dummies) August 16, 2019
Watch his snap then feet. Great quick feet, looks athletic and in control. pic.twitter.com/Jr2JkUUWQC
Mekari looked really strong, literally, in pass pro. Gets up under his mans pads and stalemates him. Vice grip, going nowhere. pic.twitter.com/D7p4VAL5Pf— Spencer N. Schultz (@ravens4dummies) August 16, 2019
Chris Board was much more aggressive on Thursday. He uses an awesome push-pull to get off blocks, then attacked to fill holes and deliver blows. His concussion is unfortunate and hopefully he’s able to recover quickly.
As unfortunate as his concussion is, the silver lining is more snaps for another UDFA.
Otaro Alaka has probably solidified a roster spot. If he continues to improve, he will make the 53-man roster. At the bare minimum, a practice squad role awaits. He has enough range to chase plays down and is a sure-tackler. He delivered a highlight reel thump as well as five other tackles.
Marlon Humphrey is continuing to dominate as the top press-man corner in the NFL. Don’t think so? Here ya’ go.
Stephon Gilmore is perhaps the only better cover-man in the league.
Jaleel Scott should make this team. He displayed greater professional caliber and shined on special teams with two tackles. The latter is a key to locking himself a spot.
Kenneth Dixon is one of the most talented 30 players on the roster. His affluence as a receiver and his combination of power and balance are deserving of touches. Keep feeding the beast and he will pay off.
Matt Skura is much more stout in pass pro, and should have a Ryan Jensen like leap in 2019 if he keeps trending upwards.
I have been critical of Chris Moore this summer, and he’s put my foot in my mouth. He looks fast and sharp in his routes.
Tyus Bowser has displayed a great rip move and has been converting speed-to-power well. He won the war of attrition with a nice hesi-bull rush twice. He also runs the arc and rips well.
DeShon Elliott and Chuck Clark both deploy as the best second-team safety tandem in the league. Clark is solid as a tackler and Elliott made an amazing play in coverage to rip the ball away from a Packers tight end.
The negative commentary surrounding Lamar Jackson’s incredible 18 yard scramble is comical. Injuries happen most in the pocket. Playing in the NFL is nearly a 100% to be injured, regardless of style or position. The ability to rehabilitate and recover is underrated. DeShaun Watson has torn both ACLs. Andrew Luck was out of football for nearly two years. Carson Wentz has sustained multiple injuries. The best players overcome. Enjoy the ride, don’t watch in fear.