This is not going to be the usual Studs and Duds article - because frankly, I don’t think last night’s game HAD any Studs. I guess I could have called it Duds and Duds, but then I risk having the fanbase act like Lemurs throwing themselves off a cliff.
So, for this article, I’ll give you some observations from last night’s game and who I think played themselves on and off the roster.
Backup Quarterbacks: Neither Kyle Allen nor Steven Montez was able to complete above 50 percent of their passes on the evening. There were no touchdowns thrown, however, on a semi-positive note, there were no interceptions either. I did count at least five dropped passes - most coming from balls thrown by Allen (with the running backs accounting for three of the five).
Running Backs: The unit was mundane on the ground against Baltimore’s first and second unit. It wasn’t until later in the game that Jonathan Williams was able to find some lanes. Now, most of this can probably be pinned on the poor play of the offensive line, but still a concern none-the-less.
There were also drops - two by Patterson and one by Barber, in the passing game.
Reserve offensive line: Collectively, the unit was awful - and this may be an understatement. On 14 designed runs, the ball carriers averaged an abysmal 3.2 yards per carry, and much of that was boosted late in the game by Jonathan Williams, who averaged over five yards per carry against the Ravens third stringers.
The line didn’t give up any sacks, but there was plenty of pressure applied to both Allen and Montez on the evening.
It’s pretty sad when your best blockers were tight ends and wide receivers!
Backup Linebackers: Wow - this unit is BAD! I’m sorry, but I don’t know what else to say here. The trio of David Mayo, Jared Norris and Jordan Kunaszyk didn’t even look like they belonged on a college roster; never mind an NFL one.
The unit showed a lack of ability to read plays, couldn’t get off blocks, took poor angles to the ball, were slow and easily reached by lineman traveling to the second level, and couldn’t cover to save their lives.
If the season started today, and a starter went down, we’d be in big trouble.
Defensive Backs: Jimmy Moreland was solid in coverage and excellent in run support (better than our linebackers), in the first half of play. Torry McTyre looked pretty good at corner before exiting the game when friendly fire from Jeremy Reaves put him in the concussion protocol. Troy Apke came in a bit later and gave up some long completions and a touchdown.
Overall, the depth at defensive back is solid, and I’m not overly concerned about some guys who may fill spots on the back end of this roster.
My one question is do we carry four or five safeties...so it really comes down to if Jeremy Reaves did enough to earn a spot or not.
Special Teams: Tress way was easily our best player in Saturday’s game. Dustin Hopkins is still; how should I say it - Dustin Hopkins...with head-scratching plays where he looks like he he shouldn’t even be in the league.
The 53-Man Roster:
- Despite a lack-luster performance by Kyle Allen, I still think he makes the 53-man roster. If I were the head coach, I do not trust Taylor Heinicke as the only viable quarterback behind Fitzpatrick, and in a COVID environment, there is no way we can go with just two active signal callers on the roster.
- Some feel Patterson’s poor performance Saturday night may give the staff pause, but I feel he’d done enough in the previous games, and in practices, to secure a roster spot. It’s the underwhelming Peyton Barber who needs to be worried.
- Antonio Gandy-Golden, who was also being used on special teams, probably showed enough during this preseason to earn a roster spot. Actually, I’m very confident to say he makes this squad with ease now - and after the Patriots game, I was not feeling this confident.
- I’m leaning towards seven WR’s now - I have been stuck on six forever. If one is needed for punt returns, so be it. My seventh is Dax Milne.
- I still think Sammis Reyes makes the team. I’ll be interested to see if we carry three or four tight ends. Personally, I don’t think Seals-Jones did anything special to say he should be on the team. I’d feel more comfortable if we can sneak Caleb Wilson on the practice squad and just roll with three.
- I still feel the number for offensive lineman is nine - and aside from the starters, the other four to make it are Charles, Lucas, Schweitzer and Larsen. I imagine three go to the practice squad, and my guess would be Ismael, Sharpe and Martin.
- Aside from Hudson, who saw limited action in Saturday’s game, I do not feel comfortable with ANY reserve linebacker making the team. I still feel the number will be six, and the final two should come from a mix of roster cuts, free agent pick-ups and possibly a trade.
- I still have Troy Apke making the roster, but it is ONLY because of his special teams ability. He should never see the field as a corner.
- I would be COMPLETELY fine to see Dustin Hopkins replaced by a promising young kicker who was released by another team.