The Ravens extended their win streak to 23 preseason games in the 2022 finale with a workmanlike 17-15 victory against the Commanders. Despite resting the vast majority of their starters, Baltimore’s unrivaled depth was too much for Washington to overcome.
More important than the final result of an exhibition game were the performances of several players competing to earn spots on their regular season roster:
Demarcus Robinson - The recent signee displayed crafty technique on a sluggo route that resulted in a 67-yard touchdown. He also moved the chains by uncovering at the top of the route stem on a 13-yard grab, nearly secured a second touchdown, finished with 135 receiving yards and showed some utility as a punt returner. If the former Chief can develop into a reliable field stretcher, he could serve as the final piece that truly unlocks the Ravens offense.
Anthony Brown Jr. - The undrafted rookie quarterback showed great accuracy, completing 15-of-19 passes along with an impressive willingness to go downfield. He delivered a well placed ball to Robinson on the first touchdown, had excellent timing on comeback routes to all of his pass catchers and found the end zone on a 6-yard scramble. If he passes through to the practice squad, Brown should develop into an eventual successor to Tyler Huntley.
Ar’Darius Washington - Washington had a mixed game in coverage but excelled in run support. He played quite physically for a player of his small stature, which is a valuable trait for a slot cornerback. Ar’Darius presented a solid case to roster 12 defensive backs on the Week 1 depth chart.
Josh Oliver - After a quiet first two preseason games, the backup tight end made his presence felt with a 24-yard catch-and-run where he made defenders miss and another 17-yard snare to put the Ravens in the red zone.
Tyler Linderbaum - The first round rookie unexpected suited up for this contest following a foot injury that sidelined him for the first two preseason matches. He showed off his mastery of leverage with a couple impressive drive blocks but was also flagged for a holding penalty. Regardless, Linderbaum’s outing bodes well for his Week 1 availability.
Jeremiah Moon and Chuck Wiley - Both young edge defenders were disruptive, each recorded multiple quarterback pressures, albeit when lined up against backup offensive lineman. Nonetheless, they flashed enough upside to supply decent outside linebacker depth in the wake of Tyus Bowser’s placement on the physically unable to perform list.
Shemar Bridges - The preseason Week 1 standout has been unable to build upon that positive momentum. He did not record his first reception until late in the second quarter and played behind several bubble wideouts, including Raleigh Webb. Robinson, Makai Polk and Binjimin Victor all flashed playmaking ability while the undrafted Bridges was limited to eight receiving yards. His special teams contributions were also underwhelming. The practice squad appears to be his likely destination.
Kristian Welsh - The gamebook credits Welsh for 2.5 sacks but they were all of the clean-up variety. In run defense, he routinely struggled to disengage from blocks and was a step behind quarterback Sam Howell on a chain-moving scramble. Welsh did not notch an impressive special teams stop, which is supposed to be his strength. Overall, it would be mildly surprising if he held off rookie Josh Ross for the final inside linebacker job given the opportunity to reset the service clock.
Brandon Stephens - Brandon atoned for allowing a couple catches into his coverage by sticking with his assignment on an end zone fade. But he continues to show signs that he has not mastered the position of boundary cornerback yet, casting doubt on his ability to step up and perform if called upon this season. As a recent third round selection, his roster spot is secure. Still, Stephens may require another season of development before he can be truly relied upon.
Tyler Badie - The 6th round tailback struggled to break tackles as runner, pass catcher and kickoff returner. He is presumably fourth on the depth chart behind J.K. Dobbins, Mike Davis and Justice Hill. Given the tremendous availability of replacement level running backs, general manager Eric DeCosta could decide to risk Badie to the practice squad and potentially backfill at the position next offseason if he determines the roster spot could be better utilized elsewhere.