The Baltimore Ravens faced off against a quality Philadelphia Eagles team in a severe weather-shortened game last night. One of the main story lines that’s trending is Lamar Jackson watching from the sidelines. With an injury-riddled offensive line, missing three projected starters (Ronnie Stanley, Jermaine Eluemunor, Marshall Yanda), this was a smart move by John Harbaugh considering the circumstances.
Remember, this is simply a preseason game and the Ravens held two joint practices with the Eagles this week, so Lamar was able to get close to game action during the scrimmages. Certainly Lamar missed the opportunity to play with his new weapon, Marquise Brown. Brown has able to haul in three catches for 17 yards last night, stats that may not jump off the page, but certainly a good stepping stone towards Week 1 in Miami.
Patrick Ricard was able to get in the game with the starting defense and disrupted the Eagles offensive line. Ricard has cemented himself on the this roster being not only a quality rotational defensive tackle, but also as the primary full back. He looks primed for a breakout season.
1) Marquise Brown’s first game action a success
Brown was physically able to get some live game action last night against the majority of the Eagles first-team defense. Catching three balls for 17 yards and running a blown up jet sweep doesn’t exactly make your hair stand up, but this was good constructive work for someone who has barely been able to practice because of a Lisfranc injury. More important then anything else, he was able to come out of the game healthy and was able to test his foot limitations.
Everyone would have loved to see Lamar Jackson and Marquise Brown on the same field last night and we will soon enough. This will be an exciting thing to watch from a fan perspective come Week 1 in Miami, pending any setbacks.
2) Trace McSorley looks like he belongs
As each preseason game or joint practice comes and goes, Trace McSorley tends to make significant adjustments to improve dramatically. When Robert Griffin III went down with a hairline fracture in his thumb, Trace was able to elevate his game and take on the new responsibilities of working primarily with the second team. The reason that McSorley was brought in through the draft was because the Ravens saw a player that was an athlete, not just a quarterback.
With that being said, he was able to put the majority of his throws exactly where his receivers were able to catch them. One deep ball to Michael Floyd at the pylon was thrown perfectly right over his shoulder for a touchdown. Another touchdown was caught by Jaleel Scott that only he could adjust to and come down with. The toughness in Trace also came out last night, throwing his body at the goal line for unorthodox touchdown.
In an event of an injury, Trace McSorley has the confidence and the athleticism to step up and produce. I’m not saying RG3 should be on the chopping block by any means, but the front office should think long and hard about what they should do to keep McSorley on the 53-man roster. At this point, he’s been showcasing for 31 other teams that need a backup quarterback.
3.) Wide receivers are a tough decision
At this point in the preseason, there are four locks to make the roster at the wide receiver position: Marquise Brown, Willie Snead, Chris Moore and Miles Boykin. Throughout most of the offseason, Seth Roberts looked poised to make this team as the fifth wide receiver on the roster until an undisclosed injury has kept him out of practice and exhibition games. Jaleel Scott and Michael Floyd have been on an absolute tear since Roberts has been sidelined.
Last night against the Eagles, it seemed like Scott and Floyd were going punch for punch for what seems like the last roster spot. Scott hauled in two catches for 11 yards and a touchdown and provided some good physicality against Philadelphia’s secondary. Michael Floyd caught three balls for 54 yards and a touchdown as he showed he is able to get behind defenses. Both players are literally fighting tooth and nail for a spot on this team and it shows. They have consistently been making plays to show that they are worth that spot on final 53.
At this point in camp, I don’t think anyone knows what the Ravens staff thoughts are on the 53-man roster. I don’t recall camp ever being this exciting.
4.) Patrick Ricard is a force
Anytime you are watching the Ravens this preseason, number 42 has been around the ball or around the quarterback on both sides of the line of scrimmage. The man is everywhere! Ricard was able to knife through the Eagles offensive line last night multiple times and get in the face of their quarterbacks. Brandon Williams was inactive last night, therefore, “Project Pat” was able to get some run against Philly’s first-team offense (and defense). Not only did Ricard play at a high level in Williams normal position, but he picked up blocks for several would be tacklers as a fullback. Baltimore is able to kill two birds with one stone by keeping Pat Ricard on the final roster.
There was talk from pundits surrounding the Ravens that Ricard would be on the outside looking in because of the new scheme changes under Greg Roman’s offense. Not only is Patrick Ricard most certainly going to make this roster, but he is also going to receive some significant playing time on both sides of the football.
5.) Kenny Young should start at linebacker
Chris Board is currently out after leaving the Packers game last week with a concussion and Kenny Young has officially stole the scene after a consistent string of practices and preseason games over the course of the offseason. Young plays quick and swarms to the football when he’s on the field. When Board went down with a concussion, he was trucked over by the ball carrier and wasn’t able to bring him down effectively. I know that coaches are raving about how fast and athletic Board has been playing but he plays timid.
He hasn’t shown me he’ll be the player to come up and smack a running back when they are pushing for extra yardage. Kenny is the complete opposite. Young initiates contact and throws his body around appropriately. Look around the league at players that have either played for the Ravens or other teams, Earl Thomas being a prime example. Defenders who are constantly around the football and who initiate contact are usually playmakers.
Maybe Chris Board has played precautionary knowing that it is the preseason, which is completely understanding, but not on this defense. The Ravens have always been known to make plays and swarm to the ball and I don’t see that changing in the middle with Kenny Young and Patrick Onwausor.