BALTIMORE — The Baltimore Ravens will head into their last preseason game this Thursday night at M&T Bank Stadium looking to run their preseason winning streak to 13 games as they welcome the Washington Redskins to town.
The emphasis will be on the bubble players Thursday night as the Ravens look to narrow down which guys will be a part of their 53-man roster that is slated to be submitted to the NFL prior to 4PM on Saturday.
The Ravens ended the suspense for one of the bubble guys when they traded 2016 second-round pick Kamalei Correa to the Tennessee Titans on Tuesday in exchange for a sixth-round pick. Correa had struggled in his first two years in Baltimore but had done enough this preseason for the Titans to take a flyer. The outside linebacker simply fell victim to the numbers game.
With Correa out of the picture, a roster spot may have opened up. Here are three things to watch for Thursday night in preseason game number five for the Ravens.
1) Quarterback battle
In the last game against Miami, Robert Griffin III got the start and played the entire first half, going 9-for-15 for 66 yards. Griffin also added 41 yards rushing on the night as well and continued what has been a strong preseason for the former Redskins first-round pick out of Baylor. Griffin commented on taking on his former team Thursday night in Baltimore:
Lamar Jackson took over and played into the fourth quarter, finishing 7-of-10 for 98 yards and a touchdown. Jackson also added his second rushing touchdown of the preseason as well. Jackson looked much improved in his fourth career NFL appearance and felt good after the game.
“My decision-making is getting better,” Jackson said. “I’m working my way up. I feel like I’m doing pretty good, but there’s still room for improvement.”
Both quarterbacks SHOULD make the team. Thursday’s final contest could go a long way in determining if both of them actually DO make the club. I still give the edge to Griffin III in the backup quarterback race and all three of our Charm City Bird Watch podcast regulars agreed in predicting the Ravens 53-man roster on Monday.
It will be interesting to see how the Ravens backup quarterbacks are deployed on Thursday. Do the Ravens really want to risk injury to one or both of their potential backup quarterbacks or do they want to allow Josh Woodrum to play the entire game?
We will find out.
2) Wide Receivers
In discussing the Ravens bubble, we would be remiss not to address the wide receiver position. The Ravens have four locks for the roster in Michael Crabtree, Willie Snead, John Brown, and Chris Moore but from there it gets cloudy.
The fight for the final two (we think) spots in the receivers group is currently between four players after Jaleel Scott fell out of the running having been placed on IR this week with a “serious hamstring” issue.
Jordan Lasley appears to be the safest bet at this point to find his way onto the roster. The fifth-round pick out of UCLA put together his best game of the preseason against the Dolphins last Saturday night finishing with three catches for 30 yards. It would also be difficult for the Ravens to cut Lasley and get him to the practice squad without him being claimed by another team. Lasley is in barring a nightmare performance on Thursday night.
That leaves Tim White, Janarion Grant, and Breshad Perriman as the three wide receivers fighting for the last spot. White had a huge night against the Dolphins catching three passes for 70 yards but didn’t really factor into the return game where it appears the Ravens have a need. Grant was solid returning kicks and punts, combining for seven returns and 102 yards total.
Perriman once again didn’t provide much last week finishing with just two catches and 13 yards. It is likely that he will need a better performance against the Redskins to make the 53-man roster. It also works against Perriman that he doesn’t play special teams as both White and Grant do. Often times the last spot in a wide receiver group will go to the player who has the most versatility. It will be a tough decision for the Ravens.
Do any of these guys step to the forefront on Thursday night? Do any of them play their way off the roster thus opening the door for one of the others?
The Ravens will be looking to see who steps up to steal some of the last few roster spots ahead of the 53-man cut down on Saturday. But first and foremost, they will be looking to get out of Thursday night’s contest with the Redskins healthy.
The final preseason game rarely possesses a ton of intrigue for either of the teams involved. While there are certainly some spots on the roster bubble that can be decided with either a great performance or a poor one, the biggest goal for the Ravens is to avoid any more injuries.
While it is unlikely that any of the Ravens starters will play on Thursday night, it is important that they avoid injuries to their position depth. The past week has been rough from that front as rookie safety DeShon Elliott broke his forearm, rookie left tackle Greg Senat hurt his foot, and rookie tight end Hayden Hurst had surgery on his foot. Defensive tackle Willie Henry was also ruled out for a few weeks after undergoing surgery to fix an umbilical hernia.
Hopefully these are the last injuries of the preseason.
- When: Thursday, August 30, 7:30pm
- Where: M&T Bank Stadium Baltimore,MD
- Radio: 98 Rock/WBAL 1090 AM
- TV: WBALTV
- Commentary: Gerry Sandusky, Brian Billick, Evan Washburn
Image Credit: Youtube