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Ravens News 8/28: Secondary Decisions and more

Baltimore Ravens v Tampa Bay Buccaneers Photo by Kevin Sabitus/Getty Images

Five Takeaways From The Ravens-Buccaneers Preseason Game

Bo Smolka, PressBox

The Ravens got through the preseason schedule with no major injuries. That’s the biggest win.

John Harbaugh’s approach certainly paid dividends in the sense that no starters suffered any significant injuries in preseason games. In fact, training camp overall was devoid of major injury headlines. The most significant was Pro Bowl cornerback Marlon Humphrey opting for a foot procedure that should be fully recovered early in the regular season.

No starter was carted off with the season essentially over before it began, as with Dobbins two years ago. Yes, the cornerback group is dealing with a litany of injuries, but of that group, only Damarion “Pepe” Wlliams, who had ankle surgery, is expected to be out through the first month of the season. And at linebacker, Tyus Bowser’s availability remains uncertain as he recovers from an offseason knee injury.

But Lamar Jackson is healthy again after missing the end of last season. Odell Beckham looks fully recovered from his knee injury. Patrick Ricard is on the field again after hip surgery, and Rashod Bateman is working back up to speed from his foot injury. By the time the Ravens line up against Houston on Sept. 10 in Week 1, they should have every offensive starter healthy and ready. Forget any preseason streak. That is the biggest win of the summer.

2023 NFL preseason, Week 3: What We Learned from Saturday’s games

Michael Baca,

Ravens bubble players make their final case. Baltimore’s remarkable preseason win streak might be over, but bubble players were still giving their all as they looked to make the final roster. Ravens QB Josh Johnson got the start and rattled off four straight completions, including a 24-yard TD throw to Laquon Treadwell, to quickly try to rekindle the team’s fiery preseason attitude. Johnson’s preseason competition, Anthony Brown, played most of the game but failed to find the end zone through the air and lost a fumble, which was a mistake that could be the deciding factor in the battle. Running back Owen Wright might’ve earned himself a roster spot with 89 yards and a TD run off just 12 carries, and on defense Trey Botts found the team’s only sack of the evening. The film will soon be reviewed and the roster decisions made come Tuesday, but the only conclusion to land on from Saturday night is the Ravens will have to wait a year for an opportunity to end a two-game preseason losing streak.

Five things we learned from the Ravens’ 26-20 preseason loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Childs Walker, The Baltimore Sun

It wasn’t a great evening for those worried about the Ravens’ secondary depth.

Tampa Bay quarterbacks Mayfield and Kyle Trask completed 16 of 23 passes for 140 yards and two touchdowns in the first half as Harbaugh took a long look at the young players he hopes will fortify his injury-plagued defensive backfield.

Rookie cornerback Kyu Kelly lost Chris Godwin in the end zone on the Buccaneers’ first score of the game, though safety Geno Stone also seemed out of position on the play. Kelly didn’t make any glaring mistakes the rest of the night, though Pro Football Focus had him surrendering three catches on five targets overall.

Cornerback Jalyn Armour-Davis, playing for the first time this preseason, was a step slow in coverage several times on the next drive as Trask led his team 94 yards on 12 plays.

Harbaugh was eager to see what Armour-Davis would do with this chance, in part because injuries have made it difficult to get an accurate read on his development and in part because the Ravens are desperate to find outside cornerbacks they can trust while Marlon Humphrey works his way back from foot surgery. But it was not the breakout Armour-Davis, a gifted product of Alabama’s cornerback factory, hoped for.

The best guess right now is free-agent additions Rock Ya-Sin and Ronald Darby will start on the outside, with Ar’Darius Washington in the slot and Kevon Seymour and Brandon Stephens as the first guys off the bench.

Armour-Davis and Kelly simply have not pushed their way into the conversation, though Armour-Davis will be on the 53-man roster and Kelly has a good chance to stick.

Ravens roster projection: With preseason over, here’s how the team (and practice squad) could look

Jonas Shaffer, The Baltimore Banner

Cornerback (8): Marlon Humphrey, Rock Ya-Sin, Brandon Stephens, Ar’Darius Washington, Jalyn Armour-Davis, Ronald Darby, Damarion “Pepe” Williams, Kyu Kelly

Practice squad: Tae Hayes

The Ravens can never have too many cornerbacks, especially with the state of their room. Humphrey’s Week 1 availability is unclear after minor foot surgery. Williams will be sidelined until October by an ankle injury and has to make the initial roster before he can be placed on injured reserve. Ya-Sin missed most of training camp with a knee injury but should be full go for the season opener. Armour-Davis was limited in camp, too, and didn’t make his preseason debut until Saturday. Darby’s less than a year removed from a torn ACL.

Kevon Seymour has played himself into a Week 1 role, but because he’s a vested veteran, the Ravens could release him without exposing him to waivers. After a space-clearing roster move — say, moving Williams to IR — Seymour could then be re-signed. Same goes for Arthur Maulet, who has starting experience in the slot but missed most of camp and all of the preseason with a hamstring injury.

Kelly had an uneven camp, but his preseason struggles came mostly against star receivers. According to the NFL’s Next Gen Stats, he was seldom targeted in the second half of the Ravens’ loss to the Commanders and allowed just one catch on three targets for 6 yards Saturday. (Safety Geno Stone was charged with allowing the 6-yard touchdown catch to wide receiver Chris Godwin.) The Ravens almost never cut draft picks, and they have the flexibility to keep the fifth-rounder.

Safety (3): Marcus Williams, Kyle Hamilton, Geno Stone

Practice squad: Daryl Worley, Jeremy Lucien

The Ravens have enough flexibility in their secondary to get away with having just three full-time safeties. But if they can keep Worley on their practice squad, they’d definitely feel a lot better.

Baltimore Ravens final 2023 projected roster

Jamison Hensley, ESPN

OFFENSIVE LINE (9): Ronnie Stanley, Tyler Linderbaum, Kevin Zeitler, Morgan Moses, Patrick Mekari, Daniel Faalele, Malaesala Aumavae-Laulu, John Simpson, Ben Cleveland

One of the bigger roster decisions is what the Ravens will do with Cleveland, a 2021 third-round pick who never figured into the left guard battle but has looked solid in five career starts. The final spot on the offensive line will be between Cleveland and Sam Mustipher, the top backup at center. Simpson beat out Aumavae-Laulu for the starting left guard spot, coach John Harbaugh announced after the preseason finale.