Preseason week 1: Stock up/down
The Ravens would emerge victorious in their first action of the preseason, beating the 49ers 23-3. Here’s who looked good, and who needs improvement.
Discuss your thoughts on this topic on our message board.
Brandon Williams, Kapron Lewis-Moore, Pernell McPhee, and Chykie Brown all spotted taking reps on the first team defense, first drive of the game. In fact, McPhee and Lewis-Moore got three quarters worth of work in. Quite a bit for preseason game one.
First team offensive line paved the way for a five yard carry on the offenses first drive. A five yard carry pretty much didn’t exist a year ago.
Gary Kubiak’s system showed efficiency and quickness we did not see last year. Dennis Pitta, Kyle Juszczyk, Jacoby Jones, Steve Smith, and Ray Rice all caught passes. A lot of play action and misdirection led to wide open receiving options that got big yards after catch.
Time of possession: The Ravens possessed the ball for over 20 minutes in the first half. You will win a lot of games if you continue to control the ball and shut down the opposing offense like that. Two drives of 10+ plays to start the game.
Asa Jackson had a nice interception of Blaine Gabbert in the 2nd quarter.
Kamar Aiken was taking reps and making some catches on the second team along with other receivers Marlon Brown and Jacoby Jones. He did drop the first pass of the third quarter though.
C.J. Mosley got his name called often making run stops, getting sideline to sideline, and picking up a sack. He’s penciled in as the starter, might as well pen him in now. The rookie showed he belonged here.
Tyrod Taylor finished 13 for 21 (61.9%) for 116 yards with a TD and an INT. Not bad. He also rushed for five times for 59 yards (11.8 ypc). Keith Wenning didn’t attempt a pass which lets you know at least at this point how they feel about QB2. No contest yet. It’s Taylor’s spot.
Lorenzo Taliaferro entered the game in the 3rd quarter and finished with 71 yards on 13 carries (5.5 ypc).
UDFAs Deji Olatoye (CB) and D.J. Roberts (OLB) entered the game in the 3rd quarter, playing alongside the likes of Arthur Brown, Deangelo Tyson and Timmy Jernigan. Coaches must like what they see from these two men as most other UDFAs enter these games later in the 4th quarter. Roberts recorded a TFL and Olatoye made a couple nice fundamental tackle, not allowing any YAC from his guy.
UDFA Nicholas DiMarco (OLB) records a sack.
Jeremy Butler entered the game in the fourth quarter. He hauled in a nice third down grab for the conversion on a quick slant, and later a touchdown grab.
Officiating was atrocious with the ticky tack calls. A roughing the passer on McPhee when he hit Colin Kaepernick right in the chest just as he released the ball. Chykie Brown called for holding when he had just one hand on the receiver for just a moment. The announcers alluded to the fact that officials will emphasize certain things in preseason, but usually when the season starts things will go back to normal. Let’s hope so. These boarder line penalties kill the momentum of the game and can decide a game in some cases. Let the players decide the game, not the refs (Rant over).
James Hurst allowed a sack of Tyrod Taylor on the second drive of the game, and a costly holding penalty in the third quarter negated a first down.
Second team offensive line as a whole needs improvement. The running game never got going, and Taylor was forced to scramble often. This line included Hurst (LT) Ryan Jensen (LG) Gino Gradkowski (C), A.Q. Shipley (RG) Rick Wagner (RT, also on the first team line. Some extra reps for him). Jensen, Gradkowski and Shipley got three quarters worth of work in.
Ball security: Bernard Pierce and Justin Forsett both put the ball on the turf.
Asa Jackson as a punt returner didn’t show much. He did more running across the field rather than up the field.
Jah Reid got beat and allowed a sack in the fourth quarter. Competing for a roster sport, you can’t be giving up sacks to guys playing in the fourth quarter of preseason games.
Dominique Franks didn’t enter the game until late in the 4th quarter and dropped an easy INT. He would redeem himself by holding onto his next opportunity.
Keith Wenning didn’t attempt one pass. That makes me wonder if there is even a competition for QB2, or if they really want to see if Taylor can play in this system by giving him an extended look here.
The Ravens travel to Dallas next Saturday night for preseason week 2.