Will the boys of summer survive the chill of winter? The Ravens owned August (and the first day of September) with a perfect 4-0 exhibition season record. That and about $8.95 will get you a cup of Starbucks finest. The practice games mean next to nothing but for a team that staggered to a 5-11 record in 2015 there’s nothing wrong with winning, even if the games are littered with players who won’t be part of their team’s final 53 man roster.
Now more than ever you have to pump the brakes on preseason football; the stars of August can be released in September or relegated to the far end of the bench or the practice squad. Still after training camp and the preseason here are some things I think I saw.
Joe Flacco: Limited duty in one game but he appears to have passed all the tests in his recovery from knee surgery. He’s the biggest piece of this Ravens puzzle.
Matt Judon: The rookie from Grand Valley State led the nation in sacks last season and led the Ravens in sacks in the preseason. I’m not sure he’s ready for a prominent role in the Ravens defense but he looks like a player.
Kenneth Dixon: The fourth-round rookie running back showed flashes of special before his knee injury in the third preseason game. He made me want to see more.
Breshard Perriman: On the field! Don’t expect too much too soon after his 2 catch 25 yard game at New Orleans. The hope here is they take it slow (he’s got a lot to learn) and maybe by the second half of this season he starts looking like a first-round draft pick.
Ronnie Stanley: The rookie literally has Joe Flacco’s back and so far so good. The first-round pick from Notre Dame has the physical tools and the smarts to hold down left tackle in Baltimore for a long time. We’ll see how it goes when defensive coordinators try to take advantage of his inexperience in the regular season.
Eric Weddle: Like most core veterans didn’t see much of him on the field but the former Chargers Pro Bowl safety looks like a leader, he was engaged and rallying his teammates on the sideline. The Ravens need Weddle to be the quarterback of a secondary that often seemed disjointed last season.
Here are some things I didn’t like about the Ravens preseason:
Kamalei Correa: There was plenty of buzz about the second-round pick from Boise State in training camp but he wasn’t able to do much in the preseason games. Probably too early to jump to conclusions but his first impression wasn’t a good one.
Penalties: Too many flags. Late hits, bench penalties, pre-snap penalties just undisciplined stuff at times. Only Buffalo and Tampa Bay had more penalty yards last season, the Ravens need to play aggressive football without being stupid.
Ben Watson & Bronson Kaufusi: Hate it, hate it, hate it, these two players had their season’s end before they started due to injuries. Watson was one of the team’s big off-season moves; he caught 74 passes in New Orleans last season and would have been a terrific mentor for the Ravens young tight ends. Kaufusi a defensive end and third- round pick from Brigham Young has had his rookie season turn into a red-shirt season.
Here’s what I REALLY like about the preseason T.G.I.O. (Thank God it’s over)!! Bring on the Bills.