Posted in Pregame Content

Baltimore Ravens vs. New Orleans Saints: Preseason preview (Offense)

By Chris Schisler

The Baltimore Ravens take on the New Orleans Saints on Saturday night… kind of. It’s the first preseason game of the year for the Ravens and it should feature almost exclusively backups. This is an important evening for the Ravens. The importance of preseason games feels admittedly muted, but there is purpose in this process.

Let’s take a look at what we should watch for when the Ravens have the ball. I already wrote an article about the backup quarterbacks and their role in the bout with the Saints. I encourage you to check that out for a more fleshed-out take on the quarterback play. This is a look at the offense as a whole, and since we’ve already dived into the quarterbacks, let’s jump right into my favorite position grouping, the offensive line.

Offensive Line:

One reason the Ravens may not play their starters much in the opening preseason game is that the offensive line is caught up in the injury bug along with the wide receivers. According to Jonas Shaffer of the Baltimore SunAlejandro Villanueva, Kevin Zeitler, and Ben Cleveland all missed practice Thursday. Ronnie Stanley just returned to practice recently. It wouldn’t be shocking if none of these players got involved on Saturday night.

The players to watch on the offensive line are Tyre Phillips and Trystan Colon-Castillo. Phillips could end up at left guard or right tackle. The fact that there are options for Phillips makes him the most interesting player for the offensive line. Phillips could either be a starter or the preferred backup at two different positions on the offensive line. We need to see if he made progress and where he lines up will be interesting.

Trystan Colon-Castillo is competing to be the backup center. I still don’t hate the idea of just keeping Bradley Bozeman at left guard and having Colon-Castillo as the starting center. I’d like for Colon-Castillo to sell me on that a bit more in this game.

He’s a player we’ve seen a small sample size out of. The postponed game against the Pittsburgh Steelers was a nice showcase for Colon-Castillo. I want to see him dominate against backups. I want to see if he shows he’s a step ahead of the backup-level linemen on this team. If he does that, it makes the shaping of the offensive line a more interesting tale.

Let’s talk about tight ends now.

What do the Ravens have outside of Mark Andrews and Nick Boyle? Boyle still hasn’t returned from his injury and has had surgery to get ready for the season. The third tight end spot has become important, perhaps more important than it was this time last season.

The standout of training camp at tight end has been Josh Oliver. Oliver probably has the most talent as a pass-catcher. He certainly has a skill-set in the passing game that could help the Ravens. If Oliver can make some of the tough grabs he’s made at practice in the games, he’s going to help himself. Still, blocking is incredibly important.

It will be interesting to see who the best blocking tight end will be. Eric Tomlinson and Eli Wolfe are more in the mold of a Nick Boyle than a Mark Andrews. Tomlinson is the veteran the Ravens are familiar with. That makes a bigger impact than people tend to realize. So while Oliver has looked great at camp, the Ravens really need to see him as a blocker.

Now about the Baltimore Ravens’ receivers

At wide receiver it gets interesting. We know we won’t see Marquise Brown, Rashod Bateman, or Miles Boykin. It looks like we may not see Bateman until after week three of the regular season. We’ll see. Let’s focus on the players we will see on Saturday night: James Proche, Devin Duvernay, and Tylan Wallace.

As a blogger who hasn’t been at camp, I want to see the new look James Proche that everybody is raving about. This is a chance to see what Proche brings to the table. Devin Duvernay is a player I’ve been a big proponent of. With a lot of the main guys of the position out of the way, Baltimore needs to see his talent shine through.

Tylan Wallace is a player that also intrigues me. This is the first time he’s playing against another team at M&T Bank Stadium. His potential ceiling is very high. While I think he’s behind some of the players we’ve already talked about, I want to see how much of that positive potential shines through on Saturday night.

These are the receivers we need to see something out of. These are the players of interest. The rest of the receivers, like Binjimen Victor, Jaylon Moore, and Deon Cain, have to give us a reason to be invested in their roster spot. That’s their mission, to just become relevant. That will matter when the first wave of roster cuts happens.

NEXT POST: Baltimore Ravens: 10 predictions for the preseason

Hopefully, that gets you ready to watch the offense on Saturday night. Honing in on the big picture makes the preseason more enjoyable and more meaningful.