The Ravens lost, 27-12, on Friday night to the Detroit Lions in their second game of the preseason. Below are five who impressed and five who disappointed.
FIVE WHO IMPRESSED
1. Paul Kruger, LB: It wasn’t a flawless game by Kruger, but he was extremely active and he looked quick and strong. He also stepped in front of a pass from Matthew Stafford and nearly had himself a pick six to go along with four tackles.
2. Asa Jackson, CB-KR: It doesn’t matter that it was called back because of a holding penalty on Nigel Carr. The rookie’s 85-yard return, in which he switched fields to cover the final 30 yards, was easily the game’s most exciting play, and it displayed the speed and explosiveness that the Ravens coveted when they drafted Jackson. He added two tackles and a pass defended.
3. Omar Brown, S: After the game, Ravens coach John Harbaugh said about the undrafted free agent, “The guy is always around the ball, right?” Indeed. After having two fumble recoveries and an interception last week, Brown added a fumble recovery and recovered an onside kick Friday night.
4. Justin Tucker, K: Billy Cundiff said after the game that he is primarily competing with himself, but that’s news to the rest of us. While Cundiff converted both his field-goal attempts, from 33 and 44 yards, undrafted rookie Justin Tucker made both of his as well, hitting from 50 and 45 yards. Tucker also kicked a textbook onside kick that was recovered by Brown.
5. Dannell Ellerbe, LB: The fourth-year linebacker needed a good effort after a disappointing training camp, and he delivered. Ellerbe made six total tackles and stood out on the second-team defense.
Honorable mention: Damien Berry, RB; Bernard Pierce, RB; Kelechi Osemele, RT; Marshal Yanda, RG.
FIVE WHO STRUGGLED
1. Tyrod Taylor, QB: His athleticism and speed can be mesmerizing, and he showed that Friday night by rushing seven times for 60 yards. But anytime he committed to throwing the ball, it was a struggle. He completed just eight of 22 passes for 65 yards and posted a 44.9 quarterback rating. The performance certainly won’t ease any fan angst about the backup quarterback situation.
2 Anthony Allen, RB: I hope it doesn’t come across that we’re picking on Allen because he was on this list last week, but he again missed a blitz pickup that led to a sack of Joe Flacco. He also dropped a pass and rushed one time for minus-2 yards. It didn’t help him that Berry and Pierce both had their moments.
3. Nigel Carr, LB: The undrafted rookie out of Alabama State was the talk of the organized team activities with his speed and aggressiveness. But he has been relatively quiet since training camp began and not only did he wipe out Jackson’s punt-return touchdown with a holding call, but he also prolonged a Lions drive with a roughing-the-passer penalty.
4. Courtney Upshaw, LB: Perhaps it’s a little harsh to include him because it was the rookie’s first game and he has been dealing with a shoulder injury. But he still looked a little tentative as he did in practice for much of the week. He also committed an offside penalty that prolonged a Lions touchdown drive.
5. The secondary: It’s hard to isolate just one player because it was a struggle for most of the unit. Lardarius Webb and Emanuel Cook missed key tackles, Cary Williams and Sean Considine looked a step slow at times, and Jimmy Smith was victimized on a couple of plays. Stafford and Calvin Johnson are going to make a lot of defensive backs look bad this year, but this is the second week in a row the secondary has struggled.