15 days before the start of the 2020 NFL season, the Ravens held scrimmage at M&T Bank Stadium. Reports for the offense were up and down for most of the day, but QB Lamar Jackson finished strong. Let’s take a look at how the scrimmage unfolded Saturday night.
Jamison Hensley of ESPN listed the following players as not suiting up for the scrimmage:
Ravens have seven players not suited up for Saturday’s scrimmage:— Jamison Hensley (@jamisonhensley) August 29, 2020
CB Marcus Peters
CB Anthony Averett
CB Josh Nurse
RB Justice Hill
WR Chris Moore
WR Jaleel Scott
RB Kenjon Barner
Ravens coach John Harbaugh said team doesn’t have anyone dealing with long-term injuries.
The offense started slow with the reigning MVP behind center. This isn’t surprising given the lack of normal offseason preparation.
The Ravens' first-team offense goes three-and-out on its first possession. Lamar Jackson's first pass bounced off the hands of Hollywood Brown, and the second led Mark Ingram too far.— Jonas Shaffer (@jonas_shaffer) August 29, 2020
On Lamar Jackson’s first series, he went 0-for-2 passing and had a 5-yard run. Hollywood Brown dropped the first pass, and Jackson led Mark Ingram too far on the second one.— Jamison Hensley (@jamisonhensley) August 29, 2020
Some good news, however, as noted by Jonas Shaffer of the Baltimore Sun, was that Jackson didn’t seem to be bothered by the reported soft tissue injury that caused him to miss multiple practices last week.
Lamar Jackson’s “soft-tissue thing” looks fine. He’s moving like he used to.— Jonas Shaffer (@jonas_shaffer) August 29, 2020
Passing game hasn’t done much, though. The MVP is 2-for-6 and hasn’t completed a pass to a wide receiver.
Even through the passing game hasn’t been sharp early, Lamar Jackson has looked fine running the ball.— Jamison Hensley (@jamisonhensley) August 29, 2020
He missed two practices with a groin injury earlier in training camp.
The offensive struggles continued past the first drive. Undrafted rookie free agent RB Ty’Son Williams scored the only touchdown early on.
Lamar Jackson has as many completions as Justin Tucker has made field goals so far.— Jonas Shaffer (@jonas_shaffer) August 29, 2020
Lamar Jackson: 3-for-9, 24 yards passing, one spiked ball after a second false-start penalty in three plays
Justin Tucker: 3-for-3 on short field-goal attempts
Ravens RB Ty'Son Williams, an UDFA only days ago, is the unlikely star in the early going here.— Jonas Shaffer (@jonas_shaffer) August 29, 2020
Unofficially, the BYU product has eight carries for 40 yards and the scrimmage's only touchdown.
Things got worse for the offense before they got better. Undrafted S Nigel Warrior intercepted Jackson on a deep pass intended for WR Marquise “Hollywood” Brown. According to Shaffer, Warrior had just made a play on special teams before making the interception on the next play. The former Tennessee Longhorn might be the best shot of keeping Baltimore’s 16-year active streak of at least one undrafted free agent making the final 53-man roster.
Nigel Warrior is the first Ravens player to the returner on one kickoff. On the next play from scrimmage, he catches up to a Lamar Jackson deep shot to Hollywood Brown and picks it off.— Jonas Shaffer (@jonas_shaffer) August 29, 2020
He's making a strong case for the 53-man roster.
Lamar Jackson is intercepted by Nigel Warrior on deep pass to Hollywood Brown. Jackson’s pass just hung in the air and allowed Warrior to pick it off in front of Brown.— Jamison Hensley (@jamisonhensley) August 29, 2020
By my count, Jackson is 8 of 18 for 70 yards and interception tonight.
Jackson didn’t let the rocky start keep him down, however, as he connected with Brown for a 40-yard touchdown. The rapport between the two first-rounders has seemingly grown even stronger over the season.
Finally, we see the best of Lamar Jackson: He rolls out to his right, sees Hollywood Brown heading that way and drops a 40-yard dime for a touchdown. Nice and precise.— Jonas Shaffer (@jonas_shaffer) August 29, 2020
Overall, Jackson's 12-for-23. He nearly threw a second pick earlier in the drive.
So, after throwing that interception, Lamar Jackson responds by going 4-for-5 for 65 yards and a TD.— Jamison Hensley (@jamisonhensley) August 29, 2020
Jackson extended that drive by hitting Mark Andrews for a 9-yard pass on fourth down-and-3.
Jackson ended the scrimmage with another touchdown, this time to his favorite TE Mark Andrews for a 14-yard touchdown.
Lamar Jackson ends the scrimmage on a high note, finding Mark Andrews over the middle in a tight window for a 14-yard score.— Jonas Shaffer (@jonas_shaffer) August 29, 2020
Final unofficial stat line for the Ravens’ MVP: 14-for-25, 166 yards, two passing TDs, one INT.
The offense won the day with a score of 27-22, though reports seemed to agree that the defense really won.
And that’ll do it for the Ravens scrimmage. Scoreboard says Offense won, 27-22, but the defense got the better of the offense, especially in the first half. pic.twitter.com/r88Mf7958v— Daniel Oyefusi (@DanielOyefusi) August 29, 2020
Following the scrimmage, HC John Harbaugh voiced his displeasure for the penalties committed by the offense. “Those are the type of things we need to get cleaned up because winning football is not losing football first,” Harbaugh said.
An interesting battle to keep an eye on is for the possible third QB spot. Second-year Trace McSorley made the roster in 2019, but his spot appears to be threatened by undrafted rookie Tyler Huntley.
In watching the scrimmage, it’s apparent that the Ravens’ No. 3 QB job is up on the air between Trace McSorley and Tyler Huntley. Ravens likely will keep 3 QBs on 53-man roster and another on practice squad. But no one should be surprised if Huntley beats out McSorley.— Jamison Hensley (@jamisonhensley) August 30, 2020
DL Justin Madubuike and WR DeAndrew White both left practice with injuries, though the severity is unclear at the moment. The Ravens will open the 2020 season against the Browns in two weeks on September 13.