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Ravens vs Saints: Observations from the first preseason game

By Chris Schisler

The first thing that stands out is that Tyler Huntley should be the number two quarterback. In a game without Lamar Jackson, the Ravens only had life on offense when Huntley was in the game. Trace McSorley played un-dynamic football. Huntley made mistakes but made exciting plays that won the game.

McSorley came on strong in the second quarter. He took a walloping hit and delivered a nice pass over the middle of the field that sparked a scoring drive. His accuracy was for the most part problematic. After hitting Jaylon Moore for a nice gain, he missed Moore for a potential touchdown. He had an awful interception not long after that. 

McSorley struggled to go through his progressions. On the first drive, he got sacked. He barely let the play develop, he had no room in front of him and he tried to take off. McSorley took his eyes off the receivers multiple times while bailing out of the pocket. His awareness of what was going on down the field was a weak spot for him. He played an entire half and he barely gave his receivers a chance to show off.

As much as this game was about the good things that Huntley did, it was about how ineffective McSorley played. The first quarter in particular was just an awful display of quarterback play. The play-calling started out in a bottled-up style for Huntley, just like it did for McSorley. As Huntley got going, it looked more like the offense that Lamar Jackson runs. I don’t know what offense McSorley was operating, but even in the preseason, it wasn’t looking like the Ravens’ offense. 

Huntley played far from perfect football. This was his first preseason game because last year there was no preseason. McSorley got to play the entire first half and doesn’t have much to show for it. The quarterback understudy is McSorley’s job to lose. Even with the red zone fumble, and a misplaced pass to Josh Oliver, Huntley has the momentum to jump ahead of McSorley. 

How about that Ravens defense? 

The Ravens’ talent at linebacker is awesome. Patrick Queen played very fast and loose. He showed up with four tackles and a sack. It may be the preseason, but Queen looked like a more confident linebacker. 

Malik Harrison forced a fumble with a textbook-perfect hit, Chris Board did well also.

The starting defense was for the most part dominant in this game. It wasn’t quite the full crew as notable Ravens players weren’t on the field. Still, the first-team defense won the day. There were a couple of easy completions for Taysom Hill at the beginning of the game, but the opening drive ended with a turnover. 

The defense stayed sharp for the whole evening. Baltimore forced six turnovers (three fumbles and three interceptions). Jaylon Ferguson, who needed to have a good night, forced one of the fumbles. Ferguson was in on three tackles and had a half-sack.

It would be hard to find an outside linebacker who didn’t play well in this group. Even in limited snaps, Tyus Bowser played well. At times the Ravens had problems setting the edge, but other than that there’s nothing but praise to go around.

It was a good day for the rookies. Odafe Oweh looked great against the run, and his quickness showed. Daelin Hayes got in on a sack and looked very powerful off the edge. Brandon Stephens did a lot of different things. The main takeaway for Stephens is that he’s a fluid athlete that can do about anything as a defensive back. Shaun Wade closed the game out with an awesome leaping interception. 

Young Ravens shining in the spotlight: 

The Ravens have quite the competition at safety. We know that Chuck Clark and DeShon Elliott are the starters. Behind them, you have the blazing fast Ar’Darius Washington and Geno Stone, who had two picks in the contest.

Can both Stone and Washington make the roster? Washington provides the most range. My note for him during the game was that he was a little jitterbug. Stone has more prototypical size and if he keeps picking off passes, that’s a huge quality to have. Stone was overhyped as a sixth-round pick in 2020.U was guilty of it. Washington got talked about a lot this offseason as an undrafted free agent. Both are showing why the buzz and interest got there in the first place.  

The offensive line is a jumbled mess. Injuries and a lack of a cohesive unit were problematic leading up to this game. If J.K. Dobbins can’t get anything going, the line really is lost. Ronnie Stanley just returned to practice and he didn’t suit up for this game (which is a wise decision). We saw a short glimpse of Bradley Bozeman and Alejandro Villanueva. You have to take the offensive line woes with a grain of salt because of the situation. 

Speaking of running backs, Ty’Son Williams made a strong case for being running back number three. The undrafted running back out of BYU has a tough running style and was particularly impressive in short-yardage situations. Williams had 41 yards on 10 carries.

NEXT POST: Baltimore Ravens: Three Big Questions About the Defensive Line

Those are the notes I took from the first preseason game. Much more is on the way here at PBN! It’s good to get writing about a game again.