Two Plays Ravens Fans Will Want to See From Thursday Night
Instead of a third preseason game featured on a Thursday night, the Ravens' next matchup against the Buffalo Bills will take place on Saturday. That gave Baltimore a chance to take in other contests last night.
And if you missed the Miami Dolphins at Philadelphia Eagles game, there are two plays you won't want to miss.
Just like quarterbacks Joe Flacco and Matt Ryan will always be compared because they were the first two signal-callers selected in the 2008 NFL Draft, Ronnie Stanley and Laremy Tunsil are similarly linked. Some thought the Ravens would take Tunsil with the sixth-overall pick in 2016, but instead they passed him over in favor of Stanley.
It was said that time would tell if the Ravens made the right choice.
Well, one busted play in the preseason isn't going to determine that, but Ravens fans on Twitter used it as a reason to celebrate General Manager Ozzie Newsome's decision.
After starting at guard last year, Tunsil is switching to left tackle because he Dolphins traded last year's starting left tackle Branden Albert. Even though he played left tackle in college, Tunsil is still adjusting to the position as this play shows. He was easily beaten by Eagles defensive end Vinny Curry, who then got to Dolphins quarterback Jay Cutler and caused a strip-sack.
"Curry straight up ate Laremy Tunsil's lunch," the analysis team at Pro Football Focus (PFF) wrote. "On top of the sack fumble, Curry whooped Tunsil once more in the passing game and again for a stop in the run game."
Added NFL.com's Gregg Rosenthal: "The Dolphins desperately need Tunsil to live up to the hype after they said goodbye to Branden Albert this offseason."
Stanley started 12 games at left tackle last year, missing four (Weeks 4-7) with a foot injury, and inspired confidence that he can protect quarterback Joe Flacco's blindside for years to come. Stanley has sat out of practices since Aug. 12 with an undisclosed injury, but is expected by the media to be ready Week 1.
The second play from the Eagles-Dolphins matchup that Ravens fans may want to see is this:
Former Ravens wide receiver Torrey Smith caught that 50-yarder on the Eagles' opening offensive drive. It was his first catch as an Eagle after he signed with Philly this offseason.
"If the real thing goes like the dress rehearsal, the Eagles will be very happy with the arrival of receiver Torrey Smith," wrote ProFootballTalk.com's Mike Florio. "Smith and Alshon Jeffery upgrade the passing attack in Philly, giving [Carson] Wentz two potent weapons for his second season."
The Ravens flirted with bringing Smith back to Baltimore this year. Even Flacco reached out to Smith to talk about the possibility, but a deal never materialized and the Ravens ended up adding veteran Jeremy Maclin a few months later.
After playing at the University of Maryland, being drafted by the Ravens in 2011 and still doing community work in the area, Smith will always be a fan-favorite in Baltimore. We wish him well … as long as he keeps that dangerous speed in the NFC.
Undrafted Rookie Jaylen Hill a Top Preseason Corner
Assistant General Manager Eric DeCosta said on "The Lounge" that it does him no good to talk about how well (or not well) undrafted rookies are playing. That makes it more difficult to keep standout performers under the radar and away from teams who would like to pluck them out of Baltimore.
But he doesn't have to talk about Jaylen Hill for him to get noticed. His play, and PFF, are making it impossible to keep his talent under wraps.
In fact, through two preseason games, Hill has only allowed a 24.7 passer rating while targeted, which is the fourth-best mark in the league.
Per PFF, Hill has been targeted 15 times, allowing five receptions and just 4 yards after the catch.
"Given the injuries at nickelback to cornerbacks Tavon Young and Maurice Canady, Hill has opened an opportunity to make the roster," wrote Wola Odeniran of USA Today's Baltimore Wire. "In fact, it's hard to see him not making the Ravens roster at this point. Hill is a big reason why Baltimore currently has the No. 1 ranked defense."
Two More Absences From Ravens Practice, But One Isn't Injury-Related
The Ravens had two more absences from practice Thursday with wide receiver Michael Campanaro and linebacker Albert McClellan.
It doesn't look like this is another injury for Campanaro, however, as The Baltimore Sun's Jeff Zrebiec reported that's not why he was missing.
Lorenzo Taliaferro Not Feeling Threatened by Patrick Ricard
While everyone is buzzing about another undrafted rookie in Patrick Ricard, who is playing on both sides of the ball as a defensive lineman, tight end and fullback, it leaves you wondering how his competition is responding.
Lorenzo Taliaferro, who is also competing for the one fullback spot the Ravens are expected to keep on the 53-man roster, says he doesn't feel threatened by Ricard's emergence, according to The Baltimore Sun's Edward Lee.
"At the end of the day, we're just going to keep competing and do whatever we have to do to get each other better and the team better," Taliaferro told Lee. "Whichever guy is chosen, that guy will be chosen, and the next guy will do whatever he can to keep showing up.
"I don't think anyone is ahead of anyone because the reps have been limited. I think we're all equal when it comes to reps and stuff, and I think we've just got to put more stuff on film during the games and keep progressing during the week."
Both Ricard and Taliaferro have versatility that work in their favor; it's just that Ricard's is on both offense and defense. But Taliaferro is also a running back and would provide more depth there even if his primary role is fullback.
"[The fourth-round pick] has been the first fullback in the first two preseason games," Lee wrote. "Even though he has played only 21 snaps compared with rookie Ricky Ortiz's 46, that is indicative of Taliaferro's being pulled from action when the first offense takes a seat."
Are Preseason Rankings Indicative of Regular-Season Performance?
The Ravens are dominating the preseason rankings, topping the lists of overall yards allowed, rushing yards allowed and passing yards allowed.
Asked for his reaction to the strong preseason start, Defensive Coordinator Dean Pees said it's better than being last, but he isn't ready to put too much more stock into it.
ESPN's Jamison Hensley looked up how many times a strong preseason start has translated to the regular season.
"Over the last five years, the No. 1 defense in the preseason has only finished in the top five in the regular season once," Hensley wrote. "In 2014, the Ravens were the top defense in the preseason and ended with a respectable No. 8 ranking."
That's not many, but this can't hurt Baltimore's chances of continuing its dominance …
- Tight end Benjamin Watson has a trusted voice in the NFL, and he isn't afraid of using it. "Some of the first posts I ever made were talking about race, politics and religion, which are the three things we're never supposed to talk about," Watson told Abraham Madkour. "They're the things everybody thinks about, but there is a fear of saying the wrong thing or offending someone. There are times when I post something and think, 'This might not go over too well.' But you know that you represent other people. You represent your team, your city, your family; so when you say things, you want to be mindful of what you say and how you say it." [Sports Business Daily]