After key players left the team earlier this year, The Baltimore Ravens have some positions that need filled. These openings have resulted in some nice battles between players hoping to win a starting spot.
One of these openings comes at right tackle, when former starter, Michael Oher, signed with the Tennessee Titans during free agency. Backup to Oher, Ricky Wagner seems to be the favorite so far in camp. Battling Wagner for the starting spot is Jah Reid. Reid has spent most of his career at guard, but has played some tackle.
Moving to the defensive side, the Ravens are looking to see who will secure the starting free safety position. The Ravens moved former free safety Matt Elam to strong safety after James Ihedigbo signed with the Detroit Lions during free agency. The favorite right now in camp is Darian Stewart. Stewart has played well so far, and is familiar with the Ravens secondary coach Steve Spagnuolo. Jeremy Miles seems to be the number one backup right now, while rookie Terrence Brooks seems to be struggling. Will Hill could also be in the mix for the starting spot after he’s eligible to play in week 7 after being suspended for abusing the NFL’s substance-abuse policy.
This next battle isn’t for a number one spot, but rather the number three cornerback spot. The battle is between Chykie Brown and Asa Jackson. Chykie Brown has been struggling in camp, specifically on deep passes. He’s just not keeping up with the wide receivers. Browns struggles give Jackson the perfect opportunity to step up and make some plays to make his presence known.
The defensive tackle position is also one that is up for grabs. The Ravens lost starter Arthur Jones to the Indianapolis Colts during free agency earlier in the year, which left the position open for several players to compete for. Second year player Brandon Williams is the favorite as he was the back up to Jones last season. The biggest issue with Williams is his lack of starting experience. DeAngelo Tyson is working hard to become a starter. Tyson has played defensive end for most of his career, but has moved to tackle in camp. Tyson also lacks game time experience. Rookie Timmy Jernigan is also a candidate for the spot. Jernigan has looked good so far in camp and could be considered if he continues to shine.
Thursday night the Ravens had their first preseason game against the San Francisco 49ers. The Ravens won the game 23-3. Joe Flacco was on the field for only one series during the game. In that series the Ravens scored on a 10 play, 80 yard drive that finished with running back Bernard Pierce scoring from two yards out. Flacco went four for five on the drive and spent the rest of the evening watching from the sidelines as backup Tyrod Taylor led the team to four scoring drives. The Ravens had 237 yards of rushing on 48 carries. Kicker Justin Tucker was three for three for field goals for the night.
On the defensive side of the ball the Ravens allowed the 49ers to get a field goal on their opening drive and then shut them down the rest of the night. First round draft pick C.J. Mosley finished the night with the most tackles at five. Mosley struggled at first letting a few long runs break out as well as letting his receiver get open, but after that he buckled down. According to Ryan Mink of baltimoreravens.com Mosley said “I was just doing my job.”
One of the best things to come out of the first preseason game was that there were no injuries. This is really good for the Ravens as a team considering they lost a few players to injury during training camp. Lardarious Webb sat out the first game and will sit out the next preseason game as well due to a back injury he suffered on the 25th of July.