Fans are in the stands here at M&T Bank Stadium as the Baltimore Ravens host the New Orleans Saints for Week 1 of their preseason. There is a real excitement here in the building as fans return to witness a game for the first time in nearly two years.
Many of the starters are suited up, though it’s unclear if they’ll be playing until their unit is on the field.
What to Watch
I’ve stated it on social media and in podcasts. There is no better thing to watch during the preseason than the offensive and defensive lines. During practice, the Ravens defensive line is not allowed to play at 100%. The chance of injuring any of the teams’ quarterbacks is too great, therefore players show restraint. Against the Saints tonight, neither teams’ defensive unit will be playing less than full throttle. For that reason, watch how the Ravens’ offensive line holds up against their opponents. Look for the Ravens’ defensive line to battle strong. See who is making the most of their opportunities and who else is struggling.
Names to Watch
Bradley Bozeman — If Bradley Bozeman is in, key in on him during the first couple series’. This is his first live action at center, a position he previously played in college before moving to left guard with the Ravens. Now, he’s back at center for the 2021 season and this transition is important for the Ravens.
Patrick Mekari — He will likely see action at three positions tonight. Watch where he lines up during offensive series.
James Proche — He has thrived during camp this season. Now, it’s time to show it during a game.
Devin Duvernay — A year two player who is looking to take the next step. Will likely see some extended snaps in the first half.
The third tight end spot is iup for grabs and don’t let anybody tell you otherwise. Nobody has ran away with it and though there’s excitement with Josh Oliver, there is Tony Pojan and Eric Tomlinson right on his heels.
Justin Madubuike — His play has been heralded by teammates Calais Campbell, Derek Wolfe and Brandon Williams. See if he can get penetration against a decent starting unit on the Saints’ roster.
Broderick Washington — The Ravens defense is needing youth to develop as Williams, Campbell and Wolfe are all veterans in this league. Washington’s development is important, as they’d much rather develop him than burn more draft capital or cap space on a replacement. He’s young but they need players in the system ready to make an impact.
The spot beside second-year linebacker Patrick Queen is an open competition. There is great competition between Malik Harrison, L.J. Fort and Chris Board. They all have specialty skills in specific areas, which have them vying for the No. 2 role as of now. If one could further develop into other areas, they can win the job.
The No. 3 safety role is another open area of competition. After Chuck Clark and DeShon Elliott, this team is craving a third safety to utilize in dime defense. They’d like it to be Brandon Stephens but Geno Stone and Anthony Levine Sr. have opportunities.
Anthony Averett — He’s heading into the final year of his deal and the Ravens really like him. He’d start on many teams in the league but he’s stuck behind two All-Pro cornerbacks on this roster. This is where he can show his ability for the Ravens and other teams if Baltimore would be unable to re-sign him next season.
Chris Westry — An absolute darling of training camp thus far, Westry has thoroughly impressed with consistent coverage and pass breakups galore. Look for his involvement tonight.
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