After 12 practices facing themselves, the Baltimore Ravens get a change to compete against new blood as the Tennessee Titans come to M&T Bank Stadium. With it being the preseason, Ravens Head Coach John Harbaugh stating numerous starters will not tonight. However, there is plenty to look forward to observing.
Wide Receiver Competition
Let’s get this out of the way early. Yes, it’s exciting to watch pass-catchers but I don’t want to linger too long on this topic. It’s unlikely we see Rashod Bateman tonight. Same goes for James Proche, who missed Tuesday’s practice. The Ravens may also be missing Devon Williams, Bailey Gaither and Slade Bolden, as Williams missed multiple practices for reasons unknown and both Gaither and Bolden exited recent practices due to injury.
Wide Receivers to Watch
Currently, Moore is my No. 4 receiver. I have been more impressed with him than anybody outside of Bateman, Proche and Devin Duvernay. He’s consistently made plays in practice against good competition.
This is the time to get Wallace to get back in the conversation. He’s had a rough training camp and needs to make plays. He’s had a couple decent catches in practice but there hasn’t been a big play made by Wallace thus far. Scoring a touchdown or a big chain-moving third down play could nullify most of that.
I think Victor is in strong contention for the No. 5 spot. It’s not secure, but he’s looked good in camp and made decent grabs. There’s no doubt the coaching staff need to see more from him, though.
I haven’t seen what others have in regard to Bridges. Many have been high on him but I haven’t been. Maybe tonight he makes me eat my words.
Left Guard Competition
This is the stuff to watch for in the preseason. There is a critical starting offensive line position available and I strongly recommend keeping your eyes on who is out there getting reps.
Left Guards to Watch
Ravens Offensive Coordinator Greg Roman said Powers is the current front runner for the starting role. He’s seen the majority of snaps through training camp and tonight will be interesting to see how many series they put him through before testing the others.
Many are expecting Phillips to make this a two-horse race, and a great showing from Phillips tonight could do so. If he can open some running lanes or stonewall the pass rush for his reps, look for this to become a bigger competition.
No better opportunity to nullify those missed practices due to a failed conditioning test than to show out at M&T Bank Stadium. Just like Phillips, if Cleveland comes out and plays a great game, Cleveland could breathe new life into this left guard competition.
Defensive Back Competition
After last season, the Ravens will take even more care into their depth at defensive back. They’ve already done so, with arguably the most talented safety group in the NFL, with players to spare. As for cornerback, they’re sturdy in the department but could always improve.
Safeties to Watch
Honestly, Jefferson’s podium session on Tuesday was one of the realest I’ve attended. He talked about how he went from being a big-time free agent addition joining the Ravens to returning as a member of the practice squad. How he’s felt humbled and grown. He’s a player to root for because of the person he is, and that’s reason enough to watch him tonight.
Nearly one year ago, Geno Stone went out and picked off the New Orleans Saints twice in his preseason debut. Now, he’s back to competing for a roster spot with the Ravens again and will need more of those splash plays to stay on the final 53.
Cornerbacks to Watch
As training camp has wore on, I’ve become more intrigued by Seymour’s game. He’s highly competitive and battles. Taking a line from the Twitter memes: “He got that dog in ‘em,”
Another highly competitive cornerback who has been involved in numerous pass break ups and one-on-one battles. I expect he’ll get a healthy workload tonight.
Running Back Competition
Though J.K. Dobbins has returned, he’s still a ways out from Week 1. In the mean time, the competition for a serious role is wide open and there are plenty of interesting players.
Running Backs to Watch
He’s been the primary starter throughout camp and has really looked sharp. His vision, pass-catching and cuts have been clean and tonight may be a demonstration of him growing into his role with the Ravens.
I’ve really enjoyed watching Clement in practice. I’ve been greatly looking forward to seeing him play due to his bruising physicality. He looks like a guy that improves when the hitting starts.
The Ravens signed the veteran back to have options until Dobbins and Gus Edwards returned. Both aren’t in game shape yet, so this is the time for Davis to earn a greater role. He has an advantage over some of the others due to his experience, so watch for him to get a few series and show his value.
Outside Linebacker Competition
Arguably the thinnest part of the defense is the outside linebacker position. Both Tyus Bowser and David Ojabo are recovering from Achilles tears from earlier this year. Then, there’s second-year pass rusher Odafe Oweh and veteran Justin Houston. There has yet to be a player who steps up, though many expected Daelin Hayes to be further along. Sadly, Vince Biegel, who was taking a fair amount of first-team reps, suffered a torn Achilles and will miss the season.
Outside Linebackers to Watch
By far one of the best players of organized team activities and minicamp, but I have yet to see him make a significant impact in training camp. His pass rush skills are good and he could be in line for a great role if he can put it together over these next three preseason games.
After trying out with the Ravens during minicamp, Means was signed to a one-year deal. He’s looked good at times in camp, and has notched a sack or two over the past 12 practices, but there’s room to grow.
I’d love to see more out of this undrafted free agent in particular. He has a fair shot to make the roster and has been up-and-down in camp. He’ll make a play rushing the edge or batting down a screen pass, but give up the edge later on. He needs some consistency and that’s what to look for out of Moon tonight.
Tyler Huntley Time
With Lamar Jackson not playing tonight, it’s up to Huntley to make the most of it before Anthony Brown and Brett Hundley get their run. Huntley’s scored four touchdowns in a preseason game against the Washington Football Team last year and then did the same to the Green Bay Packers in Week 14. Could he outplay his backup role in Baltimore?\
The best was saved for last. The preseason is for the rookies. To show what their respective franchises brought in from the NFL draft. So, a quick run down of the Ravens’ rookies who may play tonight.
Kyle Hamilton, S
The No. 14 overall pick ended the last practice on the highest of notes, intercepting quarterback Tyler Huntley and winning all three one-on-one reps against rookie tight end Isaiah Likely. Watch for that momentum to translate as he gains confidence.
Travis Jones, DT
This is the guy I may be the most interested in watching this preseason. He has been violent in his one-on-one drills against some of the best blockers on the Ravens’ roster. I’m curious to see if he can generate a few pressures tonight.
Daniel Faalele, OT
Faalele has come a long way from minicamp, where questions arose regarding his conditioning. That said, it’s known that he was considered more of a project and will need time, but to see how far he’s already come with the Ravens and Offensive Line Coach Joe D’Alessandris is valuable. Faalele is a player who has “bought in” to the Ravens’ system and him passing the conditioning test without missing a practice was proof he’s putting in the work.
Jordan Stout, P
The rookie has done nothing but hit field-flipping bombs inside the 10-yard line and hold for the best kicker in NFL history. Honestly, a few three and outs by the Ravens offense isn’t so bad as we’ll get the opportunity to watch Stout work.
Isaiah Likely, TE
Arguably the most-hyped player on the Ravens’ roster. He’s delivered all throughout training camp and it’s time to see it on the field. Unless he only plays a series or two, I don’t see how Likely isn’t finding the end zone.
Damarion “Pepe” Williams, CB
The reigning training camp interception leader (2) should get a lengthy amount of run tonight and that’s a good thing. Pepe has been a great player to watch in training camp and he’s been developing well. He looks more comfortable and is battling with the best of the Ravens’ receivers and holding his own for a rookie. Definitely make sure to watch No. 22 tonight.
Tyler Badie, RB
It’s very hard to judge running backs in training camp. They don’t get to use their physicality to shed tacklers. Tacklers in training camp aren’t zeroing in on the opposing player and going for the hit, so it’s hard to judge their agility and strength. In short, watch for Badie tonight as he is in an open competition for a role with the Ravens.