Notes and observations from the Ravens thrilling win over the Saints

August 16, 2015 | Dennis Koulatsos

I know it’s pre-season.  No one needs to remind of that. But it’s still football, and like all of the Ravens faithful I was glad it was back this past Thursday night! M&T was rockin’, and all was well with the world.

 You knew it was going to be a good night when Mr. #IceUpSon himself – Steve Smith Sr. – appeared in gold bottom shoes! The mercurial and still fleet footed receiver appeared even faster with those shoes! I mean, come on!

 Ladarius Webb was on the sideline….without his dreads! Webby – please grow them back. You don’t seem like your old self without them (and boy oh boy do we need your old self to make an appearance this season).

 Justin Tucker nailing 67 yard field goals while warming up.  He is a stone cold rock star.  We are so fortunate to have gone from Matt Stover to Justin Tucker.  Everyone else in between doesn’t count.  From memory it was Hauschka and Cundiff….and Cundiff definitely doesn’t count.  And we all won’t forget the field goal that Hauschka missed in Minnesota either.  Because we’re hard core Ravens fans that’s why.

 Juice caught a couple of balls out of the backfield.  I liked that.  Want to see more of it.  Want to see more of Juice being used.  I’m counting on Trestman to get the most out of his Swiss Army fullback…I mean H-back….. I mean tailback…..

 Steve Smith made a nice catch and a nice move down field.  That’s enough. (Telepathically communicating with John Harbaugh to take him out. We all know what he can do.  We don’t have Breshad Perriman healthy at this point. Can’t afford to lose Smitty. Can’t).

 O-line looking in mid-season form. Firing off of the ball on running plays.  Taliaferro matching their intensity and running hard with his shoulders square.  It’s a good look. O-line also giving #EliteByNow QB Joe Flacco ample time to go through his progressions and find open receivers. Flacco also took off for a nice run around the left end.  Better athlete – much better than given credit for.  Dude’s got some wheels.

 4th and inches.  Pre-season or not, you know coach Harbaugh is going for it.  In an attack mode already.  You know he’s thinking “If we can’t get a half a yard…”  Got it! Credit o-line here; it’s big, strong, experienced and deep.

 Ravens honored OJ Brigance as their first legend.  Great sign of respect here. Lots of misty eyes everywhere.  No words….

 Ravens defense has been lights out thus far against a Brees-less Saints offense.  Lots of three-and-outs. Saints can’t run and they can’t pass.  Time to get the first team defense off of the field.  Like the Saints, I’ve seen enough.  Oh, and I’ve seen enough of Rob Ryan.  First it was Buddy (yes, I know I’m dating myself), then it was Rex, and now Rob.  I don’t know about you, but I’m all Ryaned out. Seriously.

 Weird seeing Asa Jackson wearing #27, Ray Rice’s old jersey.  Then he went down with a knee injury.  Thought his best chance to make the team was as a return specialist. Doesn’t look good.

 Great special effects on the Ravens TD on TV.  Looked like something straight out of Madden.. They flipped it around and showed it from a different angle.  Way cool.. NFL can learn something from the UFC Fight Pass.  You can select from 6 different camera angles.  Way cool. Again.

 Just saw Ryan Jensen take down 2 d-linemen with one block. Did it from the center position.  Ravens are deep there.  He is playing the position well, and John Urschel can also play man the spot.  Ravens have great depth behind Jeremy Zuttah.  Lots of competition.

 Jeremy Butler couldn’t hang on to the ball right by the sideline.  Looked like the DB got a piece of it, and it would have been one heck of a catch.  But it would have definitely have helped his cause.  For a guy fighting for a roster spot, that would have given him some separation vs the other receivers that are on the proverbial bubble.  He’s been on fire in practice, but has to come through under the bright lights – when it counts.

 Mike Campanaro got himself loose on a deep crossing pattern, and scored on a pass from Matt Schaub.  If – and that’s a big if – he can stay healthy, not only will he make the team, but he can still be a poor man’s Wes Welker.  He’s not dropping any passes any time soon, that much is for sure. Speaking of Schaub, there’s been some whispers around camp due to his interceptions, but he said that he’ll try things in practice that he wouldn’t in a game.  After watching his performance, I have to believe what he said is true.  On the TD to Camp, he really stepped up in to the pocket, really stepped in to the throw and hit him in stride. It was really impressive to see.

 Darren Waller is wearing Jacoby Jones’ old #12, and he looks like him – supersized! At first glance I mistook him for Jacoby – but then he actually caught the ball. My goodness, he is a very tall receiver.  Don’t know how they get them that big at Georgia Tech, but I’m glad that we finally got one of those Yellow Jacket receivers. Made a nice catch with a DB drapped all over him, showing great concentration, focus and hands. He drew a few pass interference calls to boot.  So far I’ve been very impressed by him.  He keeps it up he’ll definitely make the team. Looks to have a high ceiling if he keeps developing.  And you know for a fact he can block.  I mean, look at the college offense he came out of.

 Buck Allen seemed to have some opening day jitters.  He needs to focus more, and lower his pads.  Reminds me a bit of Taliaferro a year ago.  He’ll learn in the course of a year just like Lorenzo did.  Still, I like the way he runs and particularly his body lean.  Sort of Charles White back when he was at USC. Both always running downhill.

 Brandin Cooks for a TD on a bubble screen.  Real slick receiver.  Ravens had their eye on him pre-draft last year.  None of our second and third stringers had a shot at catching him.

 Maxx Williams just took a linebacker and drove him from here to there.  We all knew he could catch, but my goodness he can block too.  Looked like the Gronk 2.0 as he took his man down.

 Kevin Gausman wearing some Saints gear.  Brah….this is B-More.  That stuff just doesn’t work here.  Get that weak sauce outta here.  Seriously.

 Anthony Levine is a tackling machine.  Steady not flashy player.  No wonder Harbaugh likes him. Plays safety and corner, both equally well.  Gives the Ravens much needed depth.

 It’s the middle of the third quarter and I’m still looking for an Arthur Brown sighting.  Time for me to launch my annual #FreeArthurBrown campaign.  I don’t think he’s in Harbaugh’s dawghouse (I know, it doesn’t really exist <cough>).  I think that Zach Orr and Albert McClellan are better special team players, and that’s why they dress on game day and why Arthur gets talked to other teams about being traded to them.  Still, I want him to succeed.  The Ravens missed on Matt Elam.  Please tell me it isn’t so….that they missed or Arthur Brown too!

 Carl Davis is really standing out.  He is a wrecking machine in the interior of the defensive line.  He’s everything Kapron Lewis- Moore is not.  Powerful, explosive, heavy hands, nasty disposition.  The Ravens need him to play big and contribute right away – in the absense of one Haloti Ngata – and he is like the U.S. Post Office.  He is delivering. Non-stop motor and making plays.  Could be the steal of the draft.

 #YAY  Arthur Brown is in the game. Looks pretty explosive.  (He finished the game with 6 tackles, one for a loss.) Seems to me like he’s always around the ball.  I get he’s playing against 3rd stringers and street free agents, but he’s standing out vs getting washed out. He passes the eyeball test.  Maybe he’s a gamer – not a practice player.  So was Bryant McKinnie.  And if Mt. McKinnie doesn’t come off of the pine late in the Super Bowl season to solidify the o-line, there is no parade downtown with the Lombardi Trophy.  Coach Harbs is old school and I trust him. However, I’d love to see more of Arthur Brown. Besides, if CJ Mosley or Daryl Smith go down with an injury, I’d feel much better with Brown still on the roster (vs traded to another team for a 6th or 7th round draft pick next year and a complementary bag of chips).

 Second and third string defense are going to have some tough practices ahead of them.  They’re making Saints QB Garrett Grayson look like Michael Vick – in his prime. No one is setting the edge, and the secondary doesn’t seem to have an appetite for tackling. Making Tim Hightower look like Earl Campbell – in his prime. Flash to the sideline and coach Harbaugh is turning 50 shades of red.  Or is it purple? Or blue?

 Za’Darius Smith is looking better than former Kentucky bookend (and Steelers first round draft pick) Bud Dupree.  He is displaying good speed off of the edge.  Another year in the weight room will do him some good, and he will eventually be a very good replacement for Pernell McPhee.  Like his upside too.

 Maxx Wiliams converts a 4th and 20 from an out pass from Bryn Renner.  Took the ball downfield, hurdled one defender, and took out 2 more as he fell forward for the first down.  Got the entire team jacked up.  May have to drop the Gronk 2.0 moniker.  Maybe the Gronk will eventually become Mad Maxx Williams 2.0.  We shall see.  But I digress.  If that was a peek in to Maxx Williams’ pro career, than we are all in for a treat.

 Speaking of TEs, Crockett Gillmore looked like a man’s man out there tonight.  He’s added 15-20 pounds of muscle, and contributed in the run and passing game.  He looked very strong and confident.  Nick Boyle also looked like a stout NFL TE as well.  He blocked well and caught the ball equally well.  The Ravens’ TE position is going to be a strong point not only for this season, but in the years to come.  Well done Ozzie Newsome!

 That will wrap it up until the Ravens’ next game against the Philadelphia Eagles on August 22.  We’ll see how good our defense’s cardio stands up against Chip Kelly’s fast-paced high-powered offense.  Looking forward to the matchup, as well as the continued progress and development of our team.