Observation deck: Ravens-Buccaneers
August, 8, 2013
By Jamison Hensley | ESPN.com
Here are some thoughts on the Baltimore Ravens' 44-16 preseason win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium:
- As far as the first-team offense goes, it was a forgettable performance. Joe Flacco went 7-of-9 for 57 yards in one quarter of work. His worst throw was getting the ball late to Jacoby Jones on the sideline, where it was intercepted by former Ravens cornerback Danny Gorrer. The offensive line didn't open many holes for Ray Rice (7 yards on three carries) and let an unblocked Lavonte David sack Flacco, while left tackle Bryant McKinnie was standing and blocking no one).
- Two newcomers on defense, defensive lineman Chris Canty and inside linebacker Daryl Smith, made great first impressions. On the first three plays of the game, Canty pushed his blocker back (which led to a 1-yard loss on a run), hurried quarterback Josh Freeman into an incompletion and then sacked Freeman on third down. Smith was everywhere in that first quarter and displayed great awareness when he jumped on an inside screen pass.
- There were two injuries of note, but it appears neither is serious. Backup running back Bernard Pierce limped off the field after scoring a 20-yard touchdown and didn't get another touch the rest of the game. Wide receiver Deonte Thompson, who is fighting for a starting job, appeared to hurt his ankle late in the second quarter. Because it occurred with less than two minutes remaining, Thompson made sure he got off the field so the Ravens wouldn't be charged with a timeout. Asked about the injuries after the game, coach John Harbaugh told reporters, "We're looking pretty good right now."
- Wide receiver LaQuan Williams made a strong case to make the team. Williams knows he has to to have a presence on special teams and he came up big, recovering a fumble of a muffed punt return and recovering a blocked punt in the end zone for a touchdown. He also caught a 21-yard touchdown pass in the third quarter.
- Nothing was cleared up in the Ravens' competition for the No. 2 receiver spot. Thompson had one catch for 5 yards, and Jacoby Jones and Tandon Doss both didn't make a reception. Jones couldn't hold onto a Flacco pass on third-and-2 in the first quarter.
- Based on the limited action for the first-team defense, it looks like Courtney Upshaw will play outside linebacker on running downs and Elvis Dumervil will come on the field for passing situations. Dumervil, the team's biggest free-agent pickup, is regarded as one of the top pass-rushers in the league.
- The Ravens obviously want to give a lot of work to backup quarterback Tyrod Taylor, who hasn't seen much playing time in the regular season in his two previous seasons. He completed 13 of 23 passes (56.5 percent) for 154 yards and two touchdowns. His last touchdown pass, a 21-yarder to Aaron Mellette, showed nice touch. Taylor also ran for 27 yards.