As the score indicates, there are a lot of positives to pull from the Ravens' 44-16 win in their preseason opener in Tampa Bay Thursday night. There were some small bumps in the road too.
"Obviously good and bad," Head Coach John Harbaugh said. "We had a bit of everything in that game."
With a host of new faces, and younger players trying to make the team, everyone wanted to impress the coaches.
After one preseason game, here's who's stock went up and down:
LB Daryl Smith
Smith had five tackles, including one for a loss, and a pass deflection – all in the first quarter. The Jaguars' all-time tackles leader is starting to build his resume in Baltimore, and already looks to be another excellent bargain free-agent addition by General Manager Ozzie Newsome. Smith was quick getting to the ball in the run game. He almost got a forced fumble when he bulldozed through a blocker to hit backup quarterback Mike Glennon's arm. The ball came out, but was ruled an incomplete pass. Smith has the inside track on the Week 1 starting position.
CB Asa Jackson
If anybody needed a stock boost, it was Jackson. He's facing an eight-game suspension for violating the league's policy on performance-enhancing drugs once the regular-season starts. Harbaugh made it clear that Jackson's roster isn't guaranteed once he returns. Jackson up-ended bruising Bucs running back Peyton Hillis, proving he's not too small to lay a big hit. On the very next play, he reacted to the ball better than the receiver he was covering and came up with an interception.
WR LaQuan Williams
Williams had the game of his career. First he made his impact felt on special teams, where he has made a living in his first two years in the league as a 2011 rookie free agent. Williams jumped on a muffed punt, then pounced on a loose ball in the end zone after a Brynden Trawick punt block. Williams also showed his stuff on offense, where he made a 21-yard touchdown catch by out-leaping a defender. Williams has the athleticism to excel as a receiver, but he has to maintain consistency. He and Harbaugh talked about "stacking days."
OLB Adrian Hamilton
Hamilton consistently got pressure throughout the game. He ended up with one sack, and also influenced a few other plays. His pressure caused Bucs quarterback Adam Weber to throw a pass right to linebacker Brandon Copeland, who made a one-handed interception. Hamilton had a big preseason in Dallas last year but was still cut. The Ravens scooped him up, and are grooming another pass rusher.
DT Brandon Williams
The rookie third-round pick has been getting a lot of buzz this preseason and had a successful debut. He was very active inside and finished with four tackles, the second-most on the defense. Despite coming out of Division II Southern Missouri State, the NFL stage doesn't look too big for Williams.
QB Tyrod Taylor
Knock on wood, Taylor shouldn't have to see any game action this year. Quarterback Joe Flacco has never missed a game. But it's good to see Taylor perform well in his limited chances, showing that the Ravens offense could be in good hand. Taylor played more than two quarters and completed 13 of 23 passes for 154 yards and two touchdowns (106.1 quarterback rating). He also ran five times for 27 yards, showing his trademark elusiveness. Taylor even ran some read-option offense.
It wasn't just Williams who impressed out of the young receivers vying for a roster spot. Rookie seventh-round pick Aaron Mellette got good separation at the line and made a very nice catch over a defender's helmet for a 21-yard touchdown. Undrafted rookie wide receiver Marlon Brown (Georgia) made a couple solid grabs for 31 yards. Tight end Matt Furstenburg also went up high to make an acrobatic 24-yard snag down the middle.
RB Bobby Rainey
Rainey had a monster preseason last year, earning him a spot on the active roster as an undrafted free agent. He's off to a good start again this season. Rainey nearly broke off a kickoff return for a touchdown, taking it 58 yards before being dragged down by the Bucs kicker. Rainey was, however, able to shake off three tacklers during a punt return for 14 yards. He had another punt return of 16 yards. Jacoby Jones didn't do any returning, but Rainey made a case as the second-best returner on the team.
S Brynden Trawick
Trawick made his presence felt on special teams, which is where the rookie will have to excel if he's going to make the team. He came up the middle on a fairly normal punt block formation to stuff Bucs punter Chas Henry in the end zone, resulting in a Ravens touchdown. Trawick also had a key block on Rainey's 58-yard kickoff return, as pointed out by Special Teams Coach Jerry Rosburg.
CB Chykie Brown
Brown has been one of the most impressive players on the team in training camp. So it was surprising to see him have a rough go of it in his first preseason game. Running with the first- and second-team defenses, Brown was caught out of position on a few occasions. He committed two pass interference penalties, including one that set up the Buccaneers for their only touchdown. Brown didn't show good footwork, and got caught flat-footed a couple times.
CB Marc AnthonyThe seventh-round draft choice out of California was picked on by the Buccaneers backups. Anthony gave up back-to-back receptions when he got turned around by his receiver. He was close in coverage on a few others, and made a nice read and tackle on a short third-down pass. Anthony got better as the game went on, but had a tough start.
WR Deonte Thompson
The worst part of Thompson's night was that he left with what appeared to be a leg injury. Before that, he dropped a pass right in his gut on his first opportunity. Thompson, who has excelled in recent practices, rebounded to make a 5-yard catch, but was twisted up when tackled, ending his night. Thompson returned two kicks for an average of 26 yards. The player Thompson is competing mostly with, Tandon Doss, didn't make a reception and saw one ball bounce off his hands. It wasn't an easy catch and it was during the pouring rain.