Thoughts And Observations: Ravens Vs. Buccaneers Preseason Week 1

Credit: baltimoreravens.com

Credit: baltimoreravens.com

Week 1 of a preseason game in the NFL gives the Baltimore Ravens an opportunity to go out and hit someone in a different color uniform and a first chance to see where they are in the present, playing in a game situation for the first time since last February.

Many things can happen between now and the start of the regular season. We have already seen a great deal of things happen to this team since the start of training camp, but this first tilt gives everyone a chance to see what the young players have taken from what was learned on the practice field and translate it to game situations.

Its also an opportunity to take a look at some of the veterans brought in this offseason to bolster the defense. Here is my take on what I saw from the Ravens preseason opener in Tampa Bay.

Defensive Line Shines

Its just the first game, but the defensive line (if healthy) could be very scary. Haloti Ngata ran well and was consistently in open space, gunning for the quarterback.

Chris Canty really impressed me. His legs looked fresh and set the tone early for his inital Ravens debut, swallowing up the hole during the Bucs first drive, recording a sack. It’s the reason they brought Canty in because he excels in both rush and pass situations and played both well last night. That kind of speed will do wonders for Ngata and Art Jones to name a few.

ILB Looking Strong

I mentioned recently Daryl Smith in the positional battle article being the potential starter at ILB. He started there last night and looked good in pursuit. He’s strong, physical and tackles well. He also forced a fumble in the 2nd quarter that was overturned. Smith played often on all three downs and Dean Pees mixed in Arthur Brown as well. That will certainly go a long way in easing the concern about who will start there, allowing Brown to work his way into the mix.

All reports during training camp about Josh Bynes showed up last night. A couple open field tackles where he slipped off defenders to make plays. If Jameel McClain is still recovering, Josh Bynes could be the guy next to Smith as he continues to grow confidence and make plays on the field.

Wide Receivers Outside of Torrey Smith Need Work

Torrey Smith ran good routes as the Ravens displayed some new looks. Some crossing routes and five-to-ten yard outs. Again, I stress, its very early in this season, and yes, the offensive game plan is very vanilla, but relying on Jacoby Jones for meaningful catches behind Torrey Smith may not be the best bet.

We saw a drop from Deonte Thompson, Jones also had a drop while Joe Flacco was in the game. Jones is certainly capable of the big play, but the young, unproven receivers need to begin stepping up behind him.

One guy who did just that was LaQuan Williams who hauled in a 21-yard touchdown from Tyrod Taylor in some heavy traffic. Williams has good hands and maybe the coaches are waiting for him to jump ahead of guys like Doss and Thompson. Ravens Insider, Aaron Wilson tweeted this gem last night:

No bueno.

What’s important is continuing to establish rapport with Joe Flacco and to a certain extent, Tyrod Taylor in the last three weeks of preseason.

Other Notes

- Quite a statement from LaQuan Williams who is battling hard for a roster spot and made coaches take notice tonight in special teams and the battle for play time at WR. In addition to the receiving TD, recovered two fumbles and one was for a TD.

Adrian Hamilton is also looking to make an impact at linebacker. In three consecutive plays just before the half, pressured Bucs QB Mike Glennon on first down, narrowly missed a sack on 2nd down but was able to hit the QB. Then on third down, recorded the sack to force Tampa Bay into a punt deep in their own territory.

- Its always a great thing to hear some pad-popping action going on, and there were plenty to go around last night. Bryan Hall, returning from an injury, had one and Matt Elam, fighting for a starting safety spot, had two form tackles which is nice to see.

- Tyrod Taylor actually made some really nice throws in the game, showing some touch off the back foot. Hooked up with rookie Aaron Mellette for a nice pitch and catch TD.

- Much maligned last season, Jerry Rosburg’s special teams set the tone in the preseason opener. They were alert, got to the football on recoveries and cleared the way for a nice 58-yard run by Bobby Rainey.

- Kyle Juszczyk received a lot of opportunity at fullback as a lead blocker in the 4th quarter and struggled at times. He had struggled at times in camp, getting blown up at the spot of contact or finding someone to block. He’ll be fine as he gets more experience under his belt, but that’s why Vonta Leach was brought back.

Justin Tucker nailed a 57-yard field goal that hit the cross bar and went through. His leg is ready to go. Earlier, he connected on field goals from 43 and 29 yards respectively.

Matt Lund is a co-host of the BSR Podcast and regular contributor to BSR. A Towson University alum, Matt is a lifelong Baltimore sports fan and native of Charm City working in sports broadcasting.

15 Comments

  1. Pingback: NFL Training Camp Snapshot 2013: Tampa Bay Buccaneers – SI.com

  2. Chris S

    August 10, 2013 at 12:07 am

    “Tyrod Taylor actually made some really nice throws in the game”

    Stunning analysis!

    • spy

      August 11, 2013 at 10:26 am

      Hey , what’s your problem,,,,,,,,,Matt made some pretty decent observations about a pre-season game , it’s difficult to comment on a pre-season game anyway so lighten up,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,by the way , Tyrod Taylor isn’t known for having a very good touch on the ball and this game did show improvement in that area , so ‘bug off buddy’,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

  3. Matt Lund

    August 11, 2013 at 1:54 pm

    Can’t please everyone. I’m more shocked I just had Spy come to my defense though it’s not needed.

  4. Matt Lund

    August 11, 2013 at 2:07 pm

    And if you included the second half of the sentence, Chris S, you would have your analysis. Thanks for reading!

  5. JarJar

    August 12, 2013 at 10:07 am

    No comment on our 120.6 million dollar mistake of a QB? 7-9 with a pick. Time will tell but we could have wrapped him up for 80 million easy, no one else in the league thinks he is worth more then that.

    • EVP1990

      August 12, 2013 at 10:59 am

      You really discredit yourself when you criticize a super bowl winning GM and then use incorrect grammar.

  6. JarJar

    August 12, 2013 at 11:13 am

    Sorry to upset the grammer police. But he didn’t address Flacco going 7-9. And he did have a pick. You can stick your head in the sand, and I may be wrong, but no way Flacco is worth his contract.

    • Mystery Man

      August 13, 2013 at 9:49 am

      Look at who he is throwing to , a bunch of turds…

      • 9inchnails

        August 13, 2013 at 7:34 pm

        Speaking of turds, Jim from Dundalk, Ravens2488, and Chow aka the three stooges.

  7. EVP1990

    August 12, 2013 at 2:48 pm

    Just pointing out that accusing a very well respected man of making a mistake, while making a mistake in the accusation itself, voids your statement of any weight.

  8. JarJar

    August 13, 2013 at 8:39 am

    Oppinions are like assholes everyone has one. I’m willing to bet you will agree with me by the end of the season. Flacco had an amazing run last post season. He struggled with consistancy in the regular season, like he has done every year. If his stats are not as good as Brady, Manning, Rogers, we over paid him.

  9. JarJar

    August 13, 2013 at 8:49 am

    Though I tend to forget the Baltimore sports media praises every move Ozzie makes like it is the best in franchise history. How could the great Ozz be wrong? He is omnipotent and flawless. The general consensus in the sports media outside the purple curtain is that no one would have touched Flacco for more than 17.

    Your a hommer that drinks the purple cool aid and can’t analyzie anything past what you are spoonfed by local media.

    • Mystery Man

      August 13, 2013 at 9:51 am

      Obviously you have not read my comments,,,,,I think Ozzie is way over-rated,,,,,,,,,,,,

  10. JarJar

    August 13, 2013 at 10:10 am

    Wasn’t talking to the Mystery Man