It’s Week two in fake football. The objectives are fairly simple, stay healthy, compile more information to select your final roster, and don’t get anyone hurt before these games actually count in a few weeks.
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As always there is still plenty to look for as the Ravens travel to Texas to face the Cowboys tonight.
- In a fairly small sample size the Offensive Line looked solid in their exhibition debut, especially Right Tackle Rick Wagner who played the entire First Half. The same could not be said for the backups as several players struggled with their assignments. Pay attention to James Hurst, Jah Reid, Ryan Jensen, and John Urschel this evening. As these players jockey for position on the depth chart a solid performance by any of them would go a long way for their job security.
- The season ending injuries to rookie Brent Urban and Kapron Lewis-Moore have greatly impacted the depth of the Defensive line on the edges. I’ll be interested to see how DeAngelo Tyson can handle moving to the end since he’s now the primary backup behind Chris Canty and maybe seeing more of Pernell McPhee back in his old spot on the line with a hand in the dirt.
- Asa Jackson seemed to have the inside track on the third corner job until an ankle injury has placed him on the sidelines. He won’t play tonight so that gives his competition a chance to shine in Texas. Chykie Brown needs to stay away from penalties while Dominique Franks and Tramain Jacobs has started to play much as of late.
- I said last week that regardless of how Gary Kubiak’s offense performed we shouldn’t be too up or down as a result of their performance. Still it was hard not to at least get a bit giddy watching the run game churn out consistent yards all night and Joe Flacco march the Ones into the end-zone on the first drive. The starters will probably get a bit more time tonight and another positive outcome will keep the good vibes going about the offensive transition.
- I’d be very surprised at this point if local product Michael Campanaro doesn’t make the final 53. That means that you have a whole lot of players vying for one spot among the receivers. Kamar Aiken, Jeremy Butler, Deonte Thompson, LaQuan Williams, Mike Willie, and Jace Davis. The buzz seems to favor Aiken right now but that all could change by Monday.
- Owen Daniels is one of several players who won’t hit the field tonight. He’s currently listed with “leg soreness” and hasn’t looked explosive after the catch for much of camp. Crockett Gilmore should get plenty of chances tonight in the vet’s absence to see if he’s ready to contribute right away.
- Terrence Brooks played about twenty snaps against the Niners and mostly ran with the third team. Not what many expected from the third round selection but the hope is that he’ll be able to continue his transition to the pro game and maybe see some action at Nickel Corner as well. Will Hill is still an intriguing option as reports have him at times playing very well in practice but of course won’t be available until his six-game suspension is over. Hill didn’t see the field last week which could mean many things or nothing at all.
- The Ravens Defense was strong all night against San Francisco holding them to a mere 187 total yards. Sure it was mostly backups, even still the 2nd/3rd stringers looked even better than I would have expected. There is still concern about getting quarterback pressure and how the line will hold up after losing a few bodies which are just a few questions that will still need to be answered from Dean Pees group. The starters looked like last season – bend but don’t break as they limited SF to a field goal.
- Rolando McClain. The Ravens acquired him in 2013. He retired and un-retired more times than the number of snaps he played in purple. Now he’s with Dallas and may see some action tonight even though he has been battling injuries.
- Steve Smith Sr. is going to be a lot of fun to cover this season and he appears to have fully embraced his new team. His comments about breaking sporks in the lunchroom had me smiling. Hopefully he has enough juice left in his legs to match his confidence in 2014.