Sunday, October 2, 2022

Twelve Ravens thoughts following 23-10 preseason win over Tennessee

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Luke Jones
Luke Jones
Luke Jones is the Ravens and Orioles beat reporter for WNST BaltimorePositive.com and is a PFWA member. His mind is consumed with useless sports knowledge, pro wrestler promos, and movie quotes, but he struggles to remember where he put his phone. Luke's favorite sports memories include being one of the thousands of kids who waited to get Cal Ripken's autograph after Orioles games in the summer of 1995, attending the Super Bowl XXXV victory parade with his father in the pouring rain, and watching the Terps advance to the Final Four at the Carrier Dome in 2002. Follow him on Twitter @BaltimoreLuke or email him at Luke@wnst.net.

With the Ravens continuing their multiyear preseason dominance in a 23-10 win over Tennessee on Thursday night, I’ve offered a dozen thoughts, each in 50 words or less:

1. What does a 21st consecutive preseason win mean when all but three projected starters and several key reserves sit out? As we’ve stated before, the Ravens have done an impeccable job assembling 90-man preseason rosters, especially on defense. But it’s tough to say that’s meant much to the big picture.

2. Considering other young players who didn’t play and the lack of depth at outside linebacker, seeing Odafe Oweh suit up was surprising, but the 2021 first-round pick saw just one snap before calling it a night. Michael Pierce and Ben Powers were the only other projected starters to play.

3. Having seen numerous examples that don’t pan out, I temper enthusiasm for rookies who impress in the spring and early summer, but Isaiah Likely made the same plays we’ve watched in practice. You can correct the holding penalties, but you can’t teach his moves and ability to get the football.

4. After flashing early in camp, Shemar Bridges — Likely’s roommate — had been quiet of late before his terrific game. The Fort Valley State product needs to build on that to maximize his roster chances, but shaky receiver depth and a 6-foot-4 frame help his case. Bridges has a fun story.

(Rookie wide receiver Shemar Bridges reflects on his strong preseason debut on Thursday night.)

5. Though Tyler Huntley doesn’t push the ball down the field much, you can’t argue with completing just under 89% of his passes and playing turnover-free football. He didn’t have the best start to camp, so it was good to see Lamar Jackson’s backup play well.

6. Geno Stone was out to showcase his improvement in a deep safety group with a tackle for a loss, a breakup of a deep pass, and an interception on Tennessee’s opening drive of the fourth quarter. The third-year Iowa product figures to play a prominent role on special teams.

7. It was the tale of two quarters for Malik Harrison, who was arguably the best player on the field in the opening period with a forced fumble, a quarterback hit, two tackles, and a special-teams tackle. However, he missed multiple tackles on Tennessee’s touchdown drive in the second quarter.

8. Harrison and rookie first-round safety Kyle Hamilton won’t enjoy reviewing that touchdown run, but Titans rookie quarterback Malik Willis could be really fun to watch with the proper development. He has a long way to go, but the Liberty product definitely has some electricity to his game.

9. Travis Jones played 23 defensive snaps and looked the part of someone who can make a serious impact in the defensive line rotation. The 327-pound rookie disrupted the line of scrimmage and showed off the wheels to pursue Willis for a sack. That was impressive.

10. An underwhelming summer continued for Tylan Wallace, who suffered a minor knee sprain carrying the ball for a 4-yard loss and didn’t flash before the injury while Rashod Bateman, Devin Duvernay, and James Proche sat out. You hope the 2021 fourth-round pick can return quickly to start stacking stronger practices.

11. I’m hardly an offensive line expert and Tennessee rested most starters, but Ja’Wuan James appeared to hold up pretty well at left tackle in his first game action since December 2019. I also thought Tyre Phillips and Ben Cleveland performed well in extensive playing time.

12. If Justin Tucker is going to kick field goals in the fourth quarter of a preseason game, isn’t it only fair that he’s forced to use his left foot? More seriously, Jordan Stout averaging 47.8 yards per punt was a promising debut.

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