Although there was a Baltimore Ravens preseason game tonight, it sure doesn't feel like it. Even before kickoff at the Georgia Dome, the Ravens had decided not to play very many starters. Instead this game went to backups and other players who are trying to become backups.
The end result was a 21-7 Ravens victory giving them their third preseason win. Still, more so than any other preseason game, the outcome of this one was meaningless. What was far more important was an injury in the first quarter.
Tyrod Taylor took a big hit from Falcons defensive end Kroy Biermann, forcing him to leave the game. It was only the Ravens second series and this was the first game that Taylor had started in his brief NFL career. Now his status is in doubt for the Ravens first regular season game so they may need to pick up another veteran backup quarterback.
After Taylor's injury, the game settled into a predictable preseason finale. Although it had been hinted otherwise, the Ravens starting offensive line did in fact not play at all this game. Instead the line that played was made up of three rookies, a practice-squader and a guy who was on injured reserve all of last year.
Obviously it's difficult to take too much stock in how this game went. The main thing this game determines is which fringe players will stay and which ones will get cut.
Players That Could Stay
Unsigned rookie defensive end Michael McAdoo certainly hasn't had ideal circumstances this preseason. This preseason game was his only one and he took advantage of the opportunity. McAdoo had one tackle, a forced fumble and a sack. Although it was short, his play may have given him the chance to survive roster cuts.
The Ravens defensive backups as a whole were stellar in the game which was evidenced by the fact that they only allowed seven points and caused four turnovers. Another underrated backup that played well was linebacker Jason Philips. Philips contributed to two turnovers catching both an interception and pouncing on a fumble.
Players That Hurt Their Causes
Hunter Cantwell probably won't get cut but that doesn't change the fact that he played terribly. He finished 13/28 with an interception and no touchdowns. He will likely be back to a practice squad position and will not see any time as quarterback during this season.
Some other offensive players that failed to impress tonight and might not make it are Jalen Parmele and Marcus Smith. Parmele only managed 21 yards on 10 attempts and seems to have lost the battle for third-string running back to Anthony Allen. Smith has underwhelmed during his entire time in Baltimore and right now it seems like LaQuan Williams would be a better #6 receiver for the Ravens. Both players could be practice squad players or find new homes on other teams.
In only nine days, the Ravens will get a chance to avenge their divisional round playoff loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers. An entire offseason of thinking about that loss should have the Ravens extra fired up to take on their rivals. This game should also be vital in the fight for the AFC North crown.