Preseason Week Three: Observations

Baltimore Ravens

Lardarius Webb
Webb had a great game and looks ready for the regular season to begin.  In the end Webb led the Ravens with 6 tackles and he also had 1 pass deflection.  One thing I noticed was he blitzed a lot and made those tackles near the line of scrimmage on running plays.  Not many $50 million CBs are willing to do this.  On one play he blitzed from the weak side and chased down a sweep to the other side of the field for a short gain.  Webb also went back to return a punt.  This may seem weird but remember Ed Reed still goes back just for his hands.  Webb has now taken that job away from Reed.

Torrey Smith
Smith looks much more like a complete receiver this year than before.  Last year he was mainly a deep threat but this offseason he has worked on other routes.  Smith had 8 catches for 103 yards on 12 targets which was the most for all Ravens receivers.  Smith ran many curls and crossing routes which he never did last year.  The combo of curls and deep passes could become unstoppable as defenses can guard both at the same time.

Joe Flacco
If Flacco wants to be a top QB in this league he needs to play like this all the time.  Flacco went 27 for 36 with 266 yards and 2 TDs.  He also had 1 INT but that is irrelevant as it was a hail mary as the half ended.  He looked very comfortable with all receivers and ready for the regular season.

Bernard Pollard
Pollard is the prototypical Ravens player.  He plays aggressive and never gives up.  This showed during this game as he was all over the field.  He only finished with 3 tackles but he had 2 pass deflections and just wrecked havoc all over the field.  Everyone usually knocks his pass defense but that looked good against the Jaguars.

Tight Ends
The only TE who is expected to stay on the roster who played was Billy Bajema and he had 3 catches for 26 yards on 5 targets.  Bajema looks good for a 3rd string TE.  The even better news is both Ed Dickson and Dennis Pitta are back to practice so they should be fine for week one against the Bengals.

Running Backs
The RB depth chart looks set now for the Ravens with Ray Rice, Bernard Pierce, and Bobby Rainey all getting playing time with the starters.  Rice had 2 rushes for 30 yards and 1 catch for 13 yards.  Pierce had 10 rushes for 35 yards and 2 catches for 19 yards.  Rainey had 2 rushes for 7 yards, 3 catches for 73 yards with 1 TD, and returned 1 punt for -4 yards.  Expect the Ravens to try and get Damien Berry back on the practice squad again.

Anquan Boldin
Boldin didn’t play much against the Jaguars but in the limited time he had he looked good.  He had 3 catches for 39 yards and 1 TD on 5 targets.  The TD was a very nice play action pass inside the 10 yard line.  Him and Flacco looked in sync and ready for the regular season.  This offense could surprise some people if it keeps playing like this.

Tandon Doss
The reason that Boldin didn’t play long was they wanted to see Doss with the starting unit and he impressed.  Doss played exclusively in the slot and looked good.  His stat line of 3 catches for 11 yards might not look impressive but if you look deeper you will find he converted two 3rd downs which is very important.  Flacco obviously trusts him so Doss should still be competing for the 4th WR spot with LaQuan Williams.

Kelechi Osemele
Osemele started at LG and did a decent job but he made a few mistakes which is understandable.  He gave up one sack on a stunt and then gave up a hold on another play.  Osemele is still in the competition for the starting LG spot and if he doesn’t win it now he could be playing by the end of the year and will be the 6th offensive line

Paul Kruger
On the stat line Kruger finished with 2 tackles and nothing else.  However, on one play he set the edge bad allowing a run of about 10 yards.  Also, in the red zone he got called for a hold which occurred after the Ravens had stopped the Jaguars on first down.  Kruger needs to cut down on the mistakes to help replace Terrell Suggs.

Jacoby Jones
On offense Jones 2 catches for 22 yards on 5 targets.  The more important thing was his return game.  He finished with 1 kick return for 51 yards and 3 punt returns for 36 yards.  The kick return was very impressive as it occurred with less than 1 minute in the 2nd half and set the Ravens up for a possible score at the end of the half.

Kick Coverage
Again the Ravens kickoff coverage was poor.  They allowed an average of 36.5 yards on 4 kicks.  Plus, they allowed two kick returns of more than 40 yards and another was 36 yards.  This needs to improve for the Ravens to be a serious Super Bowl contender.  Kicker Justin Tucker had 1 tackle to help to coverage unit.



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