The Ravens opened the preseason with a 29-0 victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars.
It was an impressive first showing for the Ravens on both sides of the ball, and here’s a deeper look at how the game impacted the stock of several players.
WR Miles Boykin
It was an up-and-down night for the third-round pick out of Notre Dame. He had a couple of drops early, but finished the first half incredibly strong. Quarterback Trace McSorley went Boykin’s direction on three-straight passes to march down the field on Baltimore’s final drive of the second quarter. The duo capped off the drive with a pretty pitch-and-catch on a 17-yard strike in the back of the end zone, but an offensive holding call wiped out the touchdown. Even though the score didn’t count, it was still an impressive play for Boykin. The 6-foot-4 receiver also showed that he knows how to use his big frame to his advantage by boxing out defensive backs on a couple contested catches. The next step for him will be to become even more consistent. The rookie got plenty of reps in the preseason opener and finished the night with four catches for 39 yards.
ILB Kenny Young
Young delivered the biggest “whoa” moment of the night with the hit he put on Jaguars quarterback Gardner Minshew in the second quarter. Minshew fumbled the snap and Young pummeled the quarterback as he was trying to scoop up the football just outside his own end zone. Young is currently behind Chris Board on the depth chart for the starting weak-side linebacker spot, but hits like that will certainly keep him top of mind.
OLB Tyus Bowser
The former second-round pick is at a bit of a crossroads in his career. He’s fighting to earn his spot on the roster, and he helped his cause on the game’s opening drive by forcing his way into the backfield to split a sack with fellow outside linebacker Matthew Judon. Baltimore’s defense forced three-and-outs on Jacksonville’s first three drives of the game, and Bowser’s ability to get into the backfield is an encouraging sign for the third-year defender.
QB Lamar Jackson
Baltimore’s quarterback has been the talk of the town this summer, and Thursday night was the big debut of the team’s new-look offense. Jackson and the first-team offense saw three series, and he led the group on a pair of scoring drives. He completed 4-of-6 passes for 59 yards and a touchdown, a 10-yard connection with veteran Willie Snead. Jackson let his arm do the work and didn’t have a single carry on the night. It’s worth noting that the Jaguars didn’t play their starting defense, but regardless, it was an encouraging showing from Jackson and the offense.
QB Trace McSorley
The Penn State product moved the ball well and led the offense on three scoring drives during his two-plus quarters of work. He throws a pretty ball and found receivers in tight coverage on several throws. The offense didn’t come up with any touchdowns with McSorley at the helm, but he finished with 85 yards on 9-of-22 passing. He also wasn’t afraid to tuck and run when necessary, and he notched 16 rushing yards on three carries. McSorley will want back the throw that got picked off in the second quarter on an attempt to Boykin, but that was the biggest blemish on his night. The rookie still has to develop more consistency, but there was plenty to like in his debut. The Ravens gave McSorley a heavy workload, which will give the coaches plenty of film to evaluate when deciding whether the rookie should have a spot on the 53-man roster.
DB / PR Cyrus Jones
Jones knows how to make plays in front of his hometown fans. The Gilman High School product perfectly read a pass by Jacksonville quarterback Tanner Lee, and then broke on the ball to snag the interception that he returned for a touchdown. It’s that kind of playmaking ability that could earn Jones a spot on the roster. It’s going to be difficult for him to earn playing time among perhaps the best secondary in the league, but he’s also a skilled punt returner. Jones took the first reps at punt returner, and even though he didn’t break any big returns, he looked sure-handed fielding those punts.
DL Patrick Ricard
The two-way player made his impact felt on defense when he shot through the offensive line to bring down Lee for a sack. Rookie outside linebacker Jaylon Ferguson deserves credit for forcing the quarterback to scramble, but Ricard was in perfect position to finish the job. The sack followed a strong week of practice from Ricard, who is fighting to earn his spot on the roster. The Ravens don’t use a traditional fullback as much in their new-look offense, but Ricard is making the case to earn his spot for his abilities as a defensive lineman.
K Kaare Vedvik
Perhaps no player helped himself more than the reserve kicker. He drilled field goals of 55, 45, 29 and 26 yards, and eventually took over the punting duties as well. Barring injury, there won’t be a spot on Baltimore’s roster because Sam Koch and Justin Tucker are among the best in the NFL at their positions, but Vedvik’s audition for the other teams in the league certainly went as well as he could have hoped.