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Ravens News 8/23: Bubble Assessment and more

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Baltimore Ravens v Carolina Panthers Photo by Chris Keane/Getty Images

Stock Watch: Ravens vs. Panthers Preseason 2 - Ryan Mink

S Nigel Warrior

Warrior led the team with four solo tackles and had a nice pass deflection as well. He overcame a leg injury earlier in training camp to return to the field and make a statement. After spending last year on the practice squad, Warrior has made the Ravens’ safety room quite crowded full of talent this offseason. Head Coach John Harbaugh said there will be very difficult decisions in the secondary.

WR Tylan Wallace

Wallace showed his physicality when he made a Panthers defender miss, bursting up the sideline for a 27-yard gain that set up the Ravens’ first touchdown to take a 10-3 lead in the third quarter. Wallace also had an 11-yard catch earlier on the drive. However, Wallace did have a chance at a touchdown in the fourth quarter on a perfectly-thrown pass by Huntley, but he allowed the defender to come back and make a play on it for an incompletion.

TE Josh Oliver

A red-zone fumble is not a good look for a player on the cusp of making the Ravens’ 53-man roster. Behind Mark Andrews, Oliver has been Baltimore’s best receiving tight end in practice, but he’s got to hold onto the ball after hauling it in. On the flip side, Oliver bounced back after the error to lead the Ravens in receiving with seven catches for 50 yards on a whopping 10 targets – more than twice that of anybody else on the team.

DEFENSIVE NOTES PRESEASON GAME 2 RAVENS @ PANTHERS - Ken McKusick

Oweh (0/0): He rushed unblocked off the offensive right side (ORS) to force Grier to throw incomplete for WR Omar Bayless (Q3, 13:39). He then beat TE Ricci inside then overpowered RB Brown which forced Walker to overthrow WR Shi Smith for Odafe’s 2ndconsecutive drive-ending pressure (Q3, 11:39). However, he was caught inside by LT Aaron Monteiro on Grier’s 35-yard screen pass to RB Chuba Hubbard (Q1, 7:16).

Queen (-1/0): He played most of the first half with mixed results. He made 3 tackles, 2 of which were against the run and defensive wins by the FO definition (Q1, 10:24—at goal line; Q1, 0:12). The third was a quick tackle on a 6-yard pass where he minimized YAC (Q2, 9:33). He was unable to get off a block from LG Pat Elflein on RB Hubbard’s RM9 (Q1, 12:23). His coverage of WR David Moore contributed to Darnold’s throw away (Q1, 11:09). Patrick was called out by Rod Woodson for not carrying coverage of WR Smith on the Panther’s 3rd-and-11 conversion (Q2, 6:25), but it also appeared one of Averett or Warrior was also out of position. He also lost coverage of WR Smith earlier on the same drive (Q2, 8:30).

So far this preseason we’ve seen good downhill play from Queen and a continuation of struggles in coverage between levels 2 and 3. I still believe he’s poised for a breakout with more time spent with Rob Ryan.

NFL Preseason Week 2 Game Recap: Baltimore Ravens 20, Carolina Panthers 3 - Diante Lee

The Baltimore Ravens’ defense controlled Saturday night’s affair with the Carolina Panthers, forcing five consecutive three-and-outs in the second half and allowing its offense to sit on the ball, eventually coming out with a dominant 20-3 win.

Offensive Line

After a 2020 full of injuries has passed, the Ravens’ line has been stabilized, allowing rotational players such as Ben Powers to return to the right spot on the depth chart. He was effectively the only lineman in the 2020 rotation who logged meaningful reps Saturday, and he went without allowing any pressures on first review.

Alejandro Villanueva logged 18 reps and continues to work toward a rhythm within a much different scheme than he was accustomed to in Pittsburgh. The offensive line allowed only five pressures on the night and no sacks, pending review.

Defensive Backs

Anthony Averett logged around a dozen coverage snaps and was targeted only once, resulting in an incompletion. The Ravens’ corners and safeties gave up two first downs on passes aside from Marshall’s big catch, and the Panthers’ quarterbacks mustered a lowly 65.4 passer rating against Baltimore’s defensive backs.

Five things we learned from the Ravens’ 20-3 preseason win over the Panthers - Childs Walker

L.J. Fort’s knee injury could leave the Ravens perilously thin at inside linebacker.

Harbaugh said the early prognosis on Fort wasn’t good after the veteran linebacker got his leg stuck in the turf against Carolina. An MRI on Sunday will provide more information, but Fort could be dealing with a serious knee injury.

That would sting the Ravens at a position where they’re excited about the progress of Queen and Harrison but short on dependable reserves. Chris Board gave them effective snaps on defense last season and remains an essential special teams player. Kristian Welch is also effective on special teams, while Otaro Alaka has been limited by his own knee injury.

None of these players brings as much to the table as Fort, who was terrific against the run and solid in coverage last season. He’s the kind of glue piece who never garners much attention but helps a contender get through rough patches. His injury was easily the worst news for the Ravens on a night that went well overall.

Assessing the Ravens’ bubble: Who is looking good, who is not and whose status is up in the air? - Jeff Zrebiec

Looking good but not a lock

James Proche, WR: He’s been the team’s most productive and durable receiver this summer and while you’d like to see it translate to the games more, he has seemingly done enough to earn a spot. The Ravens do have a glut of smaller receivers and there might be a lingering desire to try to salvage something from the third-round pick invested in Miles Boykin.

Up in the air

Shaun Wade, CB: The former Ohio State cover man has had an uneven summer. He’s shown improvement in recent weeks, but it’s been a struggle at times, particularly in the one-on-one matchups. It seems notable that it was Nigel Warrior and not Wade who got the early call Saturday night. Still, the Ravens abhor cutting rookie draft picks and they understand that young corners need time to develop. They also are thin in the slot.

Not looking good

Ben Mason, FB: He hasn’t really stood out as much as I expected him to since the pads have come on and the preseason games started. Yes, the Ravens hate cutting rookie draft picks. But even with as much as the Ravens run the ball, it would be impossible to justify keeping a backup fullback over an extra defensive back or offensive lineman.