Game Notes From Ravens Preseason Win Over Panthers
The Ravens beat the defending NFC Champion Carolina Panthers tonight, 22-19 in preseason game number one of the summer. Here are notes from tonight’s action if you missed it. Also who’s stock went up and who’s went down with their performances tonight.
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Our first look at Eric Weddle as he was warming up. I might refer to him as “Robo-Safety”, see if that catches on. He wears the visor on his helmet. His beard covers the rest of his face and neck. He sported the long-sleeve compression shirt, besides the gloveless hands, not a thing about him looks human roaming around the secondary.
Defense – Eric Weddle, Jerraud Powers, Shareece Wright, Lardarius Webb, C.J.Mosley, Zachary Orr, Albert McClellan, Kapron Lewis-Moore, Lawrence Guy, Carl Davis, Za’Darius Smith.
Offense – Ryan Mallett, Buck Allen, Kyle Juszczyk, Jeremy Butler, Daniel Brown, Darren Waller, Jeremy Zuttah, Vladimir Ducasse, John Urschel, Rick Wagner, Ronnie Stanley.
For the Panthers, reigning league MVP Cam Newton was in action for the first drive.
We catch a glimpse of Dean Pees coaching on field instead of up in the coaches box this year. I like that.
The first drive for the defense was a carbon copy of Dean Pees’ scheme we are accustomed too. Bend but don’t break. Carolina scores, moving the ball slowly, but with ease. Made it a 3-0 game after a nearly seven-minute drive to start things off.
Rookie Tavon Young on the kickoff return team as the Ravens take over. No Joe Flacco tonight, Ryan Mallett gets the start, and quickly goes three and out.
Za’Darius Smith strips Derek Anderson on the Panthers second drive, Carl Davis falls on the ball. On the ensuing possession, Jeremy Butler had his man beat deep into the endzone, but Mallet underthrew him, then underthrew Darren Waller for another would be score. Mallet would settle into a groove a little later.
Terrence West running with a purpose. Looks like good speed and burst off the edge from him. What’s been reported from camp about him appears true.
Darren Waller bobbled a pass right into a defender’s hand for a pick-six…but penalties negate the score. Panthers kept the ball, it was Cam newton running on to the field to celebrate during the return.
Matt Elam and Terrence Brooks sightings with the second group of safeties to see action.
Shareece Wright has been getting beat by big receivers. Kelvin Benjamin and Devin Funchess use their size to expose Wright on a couple catches. Funchess’ went for a touchdown.
As the first quarter wound down, James Hurst saw some action at left guard, with Stanley remaining at tackle. With Hurst getting looks at guard, John Urschel slides over to center for Jeremy Zuttah. Urschel struggled with snaps in the shotgun last year, and still doesn’t look crisp in that situation tonight.
Kenneth Dixon with a 19-yard run on his first touch and the crowd greets the rookie with a rousing applause. He was one of the most elusive runners in college at Louisiana Tech, and showed off that skill right away.
Terrance West puts the Ravens on the board with a one-yard leap, 10-7 Carolina lead.
Michael Pierce (DT), Willie Henry (DT) and Sheldon Price (CB) getting some early action for some guys not likely near the bubble. Maybe John Harbaugh wants to see if someone rises to the challenge. Price certainly did as the Panthers picked on his side of the field and he held his own. He see’s the field before Kyle Arrington does.
Our first look at second round pick, Kamalei Correa comes in quarter two, subbed in as a stand up rusher on a third down. He rushed from both sides and generated a little pressure on his second attempt. Along with Correa, fellow rookie edge rusher Matt Judon saw action in the sub package making a nice tackle coming out of the two-minute warning. He was rushing the passer, but reacted to the delayed run, didn’t over pursue, and made a fundamental tackle for loss. Fundamental tackling has been missing from this team for a couple years.
As the Panthers line up to punt it away for the first time in the game, it’s Keenan Reynolds lining up back deep. The punt went out of bounds, which you hate to see when Reynolds needs to show his skills in order to make the team. On his next attempt, Reynolds was interfered with before the ball gets there.
Ravens get a shot to run the two-minute drill starting from the Carolina 30-yard line. They convert the touchdown with a screen pass to Buck Allen for 19-yards. Jeremy Butler did his job with a nice block helping to give Allen a clear path, going in about untouched. 14-10 Ravens lead.
The Ravens ability to close out halves has been nauseating the last couple years. Carolina had 59 seconds to make something happen. We saw Terrence Brooks break up a clutch pass that would have been a big gain, then Chris Carter (OLB) with a nice rush to disrupt Anderson’s pass attempt, nearly causing a fumble. But with 23 seconds left, Sheldon Price, whom I praised earlier, committed pass interference by simply not looking for the football. The penalty moved Carolina into FG range. After two more plays, they converted a 31-yard FG cutting the Ravens lead to one, 14-13 at the half.
I was happy to see aggressive play calls during the last defensive stand of the half. Dean Pees’ dialed up a number of blitzes and press coverages. They didn’t sit on their heels in prevent. The defense allowed the field goal opportunity, but they are on the right track with what I want to see more of. They nearly forced Carolina into two turnovers on that final drive of the half with aggressive play calling.
Mallett’s night is done and its Josh Johnson taking over. Johnson played for Jim Harbaugh at the University of San Diego some eight years ago. Johnson looks like a bigger Tyrod Taylor. Not afraid to pull the ball down and run. Showed nice touch on his passes, including a floater on a two-point conversion to Nick Boyle.
The conversion came after Terrence West’s second TD of the night. An impressive run where he stopped and changed directions, crossing the field and reaching the pylon. 22-13 Ravens lead.
With so many starters out, the second and third stringers on both sides of the ball for the Ravens are getting a lot of playing time. Notably Kapron Lewis-Moore is still in there come quarter number three after starting the game. Brent Urban gets to see his first action of the night as the defense took the field in the second half.
After a nice defensive showing, Kalien Clay muffs a punt, and that is the fastest way to lose your job. Gives Carolina new life at the Ravens 12-yard line and they settle for a field goal, 22-16 Ravens lead.
Nick Boyle is getting into the Olympic spirit with a catch and run on a seam route, and hurdling a defender mid-sprint. One step forward, two steps back though, as DeOndre Wesley and Ryan Jensen allowed a sack leading to a fumble. It was Baltimore’s third turnover of the night.
Carolina capitalized on the turnover, and later a terrible attempt at stopping a ball carrier by Arthur Brown. They kicked another FG, cutting the Ravens lead in half, 22-19.
Matt Judon getting a lot of reps in tonight as we see him still doing work into the fourth quarter. Judon and Wille Henry combined for a sack late in the 4th quarter, both men had the names called often on the night.
On offense, wideouts Jeremy Butler, Daniel Brown and Darren Waller played the entire game.
Carolina ate up a lot of clock in the mid to late portion of the final quarter where watching these preseason games is…tough for the fans to say the least. But the remaining crowd rallied behind the Ravens defense as they held Carolina scoreless, going for the touchdown and the lead with about two minutes left. Matt Elam disrupted a pass on the goal line to give the ball back to the Ravens offense.
Ronnie Stanley – I saw enough in the first two drives to anoint him the starter at left tackle. He’s light on his feet in pass blocking, his punch and long arms kept the rusher well out of the pocket. Getting out in front and blocking downhill, the big man runs with a full head of steam clearing the road. You want to see your rookies get plenty of time in these games, but Kudos to Harbaugh for pulling Stanley after one quarter. We are going to need him badly this year, no sense getting him hurt. Stanley knows what he’s doing out there. Night and day compared to Eugene Monroe and whoever else they’ve had to stick there.
Terrence West – He got plenty of touches early and looked sharp on his cuts, quick through the holes, nice leap over the goal line for the Ravens first TD. Also on the kick return team to open the second half. The rumblings about his stellar camp appear to be true.
Sheldon Price – Aside from the defensive PI at the end of the first half, he excelled in press coverage. Price also stands 6’2” and could maybe win some of those size battles that Shareece Wright struggled with against big guys like Kelvin Benjamin and Devin Funchess.
Matt Elam – They said 2015 was his last best shot at making an impact, but a torn biceps in camp ended his season. If that was supposed to be it, this season is definitely it and Elam looks to be off to a good start. Fundamentally sound in all aspects. A real nice showing, much needed, by the 2013 first round pick.
Dean Pees – See above, the end of the first half play calling. Give credit to the oft criticized coordinator for the adjustments and different looks we saw. His first drive of the game was a bend but don’t break style that some folks can’t get past. But he changed gears at times throughout the half and turned up the heat toward the end. The secondary played a lot more man coverage and press coverage. I’m not sure if Leslie Frazier being a part of the coaching staff has anything to do with that. But the secondary broke up a lot of passes and were sticking to their men a lot better. Not many blown coverages and finger pointing when the zone gets exposed like we saw often last year.
Darren Waller – Already suspended for four games, he shows us a bad attempt at going for a bad pass, then a dropped ball right in his numbers. Redeemed himself on the first pass of the next drive with a catch for a 1st down. Did end up playing into the 3rd quarter and looked better. But mistakes that lead to points the other way won’t be tolerated on an already deep position.
Jerraud Powers – Beat twice in the first quarter for lengthy gains. Poor technique leads to falling down once. Have to do better than that as the third option at CB.
Kyle Arrington – He didn’t get into action until after guys like Sheldon Price and Anthony Levine. He didn’t show well, and ended up leaving the game with an apparent head injury.
James Hurst – On one play while at left guard, he and Alex Lewis at left tackle were blocking one guy. Lewis had the man engaged, and Hurst, “trying to help” I guess, pushed the defender off Lewis allowing him to get past Lewis around the end. Didn’t matter as it was away from the play. But just dumb looking. Hurst can’t make this team if the current O-line remains intact. I’d like to see Alex Lewis moved around the line in the next preseason game to see if the rookie can play right tackle or left guard. Time to move on from the James Hurst experiment that has gone on far too long.
Arthur Brown – He has to be on his last shot to make this team, and didn’t see the field until quarter number three. Brown’s best shot at an impact play was a chance to stop a scrambling Joe Webb in the open field to bring up a 4th down. The third string QB ran past Brown like the LB was standing still. First down, and set the Panthers up for a score. About as bad a play that was made on the night.