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5 Players Who Impressed


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There were a bunch of Ravens who stood out in Baltimore's preseason opener against the Carolina Panthers Thursday night. So many that we've decided to condense their accomplishments into one story.

Here's who we're giving game balls:
Terrence Cody, DT

The rookie nose tackle had three Carolina offensive linemen blocking him at one point. Need I say more? Cody didn't fare well as a fullback (he false-started on a goal line snap), but he was a wrecking ball on the defensive line.

Cody's first NFL tackle will go down as a 1-yard loss. He later showed good lateral movement and power by swiping at a Panthers' running back, causing him to fall at the line of scrimmage. The 6-foot-4, 349-pounder even put pressure on Carolina's quarterbacks.

"It felt good out there, running downhill, making plays and holding the line of scrimmage," Cody said. "It was a fun experience to be in the stadium in front of a good crowd in a Ravens uniform. I think I settled down after a few plays and I just started having fun."

Antwan Barnes, OLB

On Thursday, Barnes was the pass-rushing force he's shown in spurts his three previous seasons. The outside linebacker was the main source of pressure on Carolina's quarterbacks and tied for the Ravens' defensive lead with four tackles and one assist.

Barnes also recovered a fumble on the 1-yard line. If he can continue getting to signal-callers, it would go a long way in helping Baltimore improve on its No. 18 sack ranking from last year, which was a big priority this offseason.

"It was just me coming into myself," Barnes said. "The game has basically come down to my level now and that's where I want to be. Or I got up to the game's level."

Tom Zbikowski, FS

Based on his play at training camp and in Baltimore's first preseason game, the Ravens appear safe with Zbikowski starting until Ed Reed can return.

Zbikowski broke free for an open sack/strip in the first quarter, halting Carolina's opening drive. He trailed two Ravens into an open path to quarterback Matt Moore. On the next play, Zbikowski returned Carolina's punt 28 yards and may have had a touchdown had he not been illegally tripped by Carolina's punter.

"If it's a returnable ball, you're going to have time and space to make a play," Zbikowski said. "It's all about making that first guy miss and then getting up field."

Mark Clayton, WR

As Head Coach John Harbaugh said after the game, Clayton has been somewhat of a forgotten man with the arrival of Anquan Boldin and Donte' Stallworth. The Ravens wide receiver was also coming off a career-lows in receptions and has been practicing as Baltimore's No. 4 receiver.

But nothing has changed for Clayton. Just what's around him has. Clayton showed he can still put up big performances with an athletic 30-yard touchdown reception and an 18-yard catch to lead all receivers in yardage.

"Mark played tonight like he has all camp, and he has had a good camp," Offensive Coordinator Cam Cameron said.

Cary Williams, CB

Williams was taken out of the starting lineup at the last minute when Chris Carr informed coaches he wanted to play. But the second-year cornerback more than made up for it when he came in.

The 6-foot-1 Williams used his height to swat away a pass to the end zone in the first half. He intercepted a third quarter pass and returned it 32 yards. Then he got what Carr called a "knockout blow" when he decked Panthers wideout Armanti Edwards, dislodging the ball on what would have been a long completion.

"I think that it was just me going out there and giving it 110 percent," Williams said. "I just wanted to go out there and show guys I can play, that I'm a dependable corner."

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