The Ravens continued their impressive yet irrelevant preseason winning streak as they won their 18th straight game Saturday night against the New Orleans Saints. The defense paved the way to the tune of six turnovers and three sacks, giving fans a glimpse of what was hopefully to come this upcoming season. The offense, on the other hand, looked unimpressive to say the least as nothing got going until late in the game. But whose stock is up and down following the game? Let’s take a look.
Geno Stone, DB
Geno Stone was hands down the player of the game following a performance that included 2 interceptions, 3 passes defended and 3 combined tackles. The former 7th round pick out of Iowa was a force to be reckoned with as he looked more like Ed Reed rather than a late round afterthought. The competition to be the top backup at safety is wide open and Stone made tremendous strides in securing that roster spot for himself. Ravens fans long thought Stone had much more potential than his 7th round draft slot suggested and he showed a glimpse of that potential Saturday night against the Saints.
Tyler Huntley, QB
The battle to be Lamar Jackson’s backup has been one that has been closely watched by media personnel and fans alike. Most thought that Tyler Huntley and Trace McSorely were neck and neck in that race but not anymore. There was clearly a difference in offensive energies between the two quarterbacks. Huntley brought the offense to life once he took over in the 2nd half and eventually ran in the game winning touchdown. It has to be taken with a grain of salt as McSorely was battling against the New Orleans starters while Huntley was playing against backups. Most would like to see what Huntley can do against a starting defense before handing him the backup job but it’s clear he distanced himself from McSorely.
It’s difficult to pick just one player for this one. Nearly every first year player on defense that played on Saturday made outstanding plays. Odafe Oweh and Daelin Hayes both look fast off the edge and were continually in the opponent’s backfield. Brandon Stephens was all over the field, his range and instincts on full display. Shaun Wade sealed the game with a late 4th quarter interception, capping off a solid night for him. Even undrafted free agent Ar’Darius Washington made a handful of plays, looking like he fully deserved to be in the pros. Ravens fans got a small glimpse of what this rookie draft class looks like and the early results are promising to say the least.
The Offensive Line
The line was atrocious. There is no other way to say it. The blockers got no push in the running game for a majority of the game while Saints pass rushers were applying pressure at will. There has been a lot of shuffling and reshuffling along Baltimore’s offensive line in order to figure out where everyone fits in and it’s safe to say there is still a lot left to figure out.
Trace McSorely, QB
McSorely played against the New Orleans starters with a piecemeal offensive line and he got absolutely swallowed up. He simply had no time to throw or run and he looked extremely rattled. The former Penn State quarterback is better than what he showed against the Saints but if he wants to be the top backup, he has to make the most of his opportunities. There is time to still grab that backup spot but he will have a much more difficult time following Saturday’s performance.