The Ravens head into Week 2 with their heads held high and confidence gaining steam after putting on a clinic against the Dolphins. Players like Lamar Jackson, Mark Ingram and Marquise Brown will look to build on their impressive start. Five players who will aim to make their mark against the Cardinals:
Leading up to Week 1, the left guard position remained unsettled as the Ravens chose not to show their hand in naming the starter prior to the game. Bozeman was given the nod and performed admirably as the offensive line gave Lamar Jackson all day to throw, leading to his record-breaking performance. Bozeman’s presence was felt right away as he pulled to the right and delivered a block which opened the hole for Mark Ingram’s 49-yard run. In Week 2, I will be looking for Bozeman to remain consistent and begin to stack weeks as continuity across the line will be important to the offensive success. If he can entrench himself as the unquestioned starter moving forward, the offensive line will have ample time to grow together and become a cohesive unit week in and week out.
Orlando Brown Jr.
Sticking with the offensive line theme, Zeus Jr. had himself a solid day. We rarely heard his name called which means he wasn’t committing penalties or getting beat by his man. With the Cardinals coming to town he will be facing a greater test against Chandler Jones and Terrell Suggs coming off the edge. Although Suggs is no longer the pass rushing terror which made him an icon in Baltimore, he is still a master at setting the edge in the run game and can disrupt the game in multiple ways. When asked if he’ll be looking for Suggs out of the corner of his eye, Jackson replied “No, that’s Ronnie and Orlando’s job. I’m looking to throw the ball down the field.” With a depleted secondary and the Ravens passing game now on tape destroying an NFL defense, Jackson may be in for another huge passing day if the offensive line can keep the pass rush at bay.
When Jimmy Smith went down early in the game with a knee injury, Averett was called upon to take his place and finished the day with four tackles and a pass break up. It was a solid but unspectacular showing for the second-year corner out of Alabama. He was picked on early and was beat deep for a big gain when DeVante Parker went up for a grown man catch. Now with Smith out multiple weeks following an MCL sprain, Averett will be tasked with replacing him and not becoming a liability on an otherwise stout secondary. The Cardinals love to run out four receiver sets and Averett will need to be versatile whether he lines up outside on in the slot. With Marlon Humphrey on the opposite side, Averett will be targeted early and often. He has the opportunity to show the coaching staff he can handle the spotlight and starting duties in the future as Smith is on the last year of his deal.
As mentioned above, The Cardinals will be running out of four wide receiver sets often which should mean a big role on Sunday for the second-year safety out of Texas. Elliott could be moved into the slot to be an extra cover man, a role we briefly saw him in this preseason. The Ravens coaching staff praised Elliott in the off season as a standout performer and need to find ways to get him on the field which shouldn’t be a problem Sunday as they will need plenty of defensive backs involved. Elliott should have his first real crack at regular season game action with a chance to impress the coaching staff and build confidence moving forward.
Boykin found the end zone in the first game of his career, but besides that was mostly quiet. It was tough to gauge his role as Jackson was spreading the ball around getting everyone involved. Boykin did not even play past halftime last Sunday, his usage should become clearer as the season progresses. The Cardinals are very thin in the secondary, Boykin will be a huge mismatch the Ravens may be looking to exploit on the outside and in the red zone. A lot of the focus has shifted to Hollywood Brown but Boykin could fly under the radar to have a huge impact in this game.