Ravens news, notes and opinions on WR competition, offensive struggles and roster competitions

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Through three NFL preseason games, these are the numbers for the Ravens' wide receivers believed to be on the bubble: Michael Campanaro (six catches for 52 yards), Quincy Adeboyejo (three catches for 31 yards), Chris Moore (three catches for 27 yards), Griff Whalen (three catches for 27 yards), C.J. Board (two catches for 56 yards), Chris Matthews (one catch for 15 yards) and Keenan Reynolds (no catches).

People were questioning not long ago whether the Ravens would keep six wide receivers. However, as I said on Twitter after Saturday night's game, it's hard to find even five who have proved they belong on the 53-man roster. Obviously, Mike Wallace, Jeremy Maclin and Breshad Perriman will be the top three, and Campanaro is the team's top punt returner and has done enough offensively to probably go from "bubble" territory to a roster lock at this point.


Beyond them, who is the fifth guy?

Moore might have the edge just because he was a fourth-round draft pick a year ago, but he has not had a good summer. Adeboyejo has really fallen off from early in camp, though a knee problem probably is a significant reason for that. Matthews hasn't done much either. However, the coaching staff seems to really like him on special teams, so that will be a factor.


As for Reynolds, he has one catch in seven career preseason games with the Ravens. Everybody will be pulling for him to flash in the preseason finale Thursday night in New Orleans. But it's tough to see him doing enough this late in the game to become a serious roster candidate.

I did like Adeboyejo's perspective when I spoke to him last week. He acknowledged that his knee has been bothering him, but he didn't make excuses and he understood that making a team as an undrafted rookie involves playing through some physical challenges. "It shows heart, but coaches want more than that," Adeboyejo said. "I'm out here giving my all, but it's not good enough right now."

Upon further review: Ryan Mallett has led 17 drives in the three preseason games. Two of them have resulted in touchdowns and five of them have ended with field goals by Justin Tucker.

This is where those seven scoring drives started: the Ravens' 43-, 47-, 46- and 30-yard lines, and their opponents' 47-, 24- and 4-yard lines. Five of the 17 drives by the starting offense have been three-and-outs.

Count me among those who don't think Mallett has played as poorly as people have made out. The combination, though, of virtually no downfield passing game, penalties and not much of a ground game has made it a slog for the starting offense.

More numbers: Coach John Harbaugh said after Saturday's game that he'll stick with his usual game plan for preseason finales, which means starters and select veterans will not play.

That means that in the preseason, quarterback Joe Flacco and wide receiver Breshad Perriman will have played no snaps, veteran running back Danny Woodhead will have played seven snaps, left tackle Ronnie Stanley will have played 23 snaps and right guard Marshal Yanda will have played 10 snaps.

The good news is the Ravens are optimistic all five of those players will be ready to face the Cincinnati Bengals on Sept.10. The bad news is the starting offense, led by Flacco, might have only four or five practices to get on the same page.


Running out on time? When a veteran doesn't play much in the third preseason game, it usually means evaluators have seen enough.

With that in mind, it is probably not a good sign that running backs Lorenzo Taliaferro and Bobby Rainey played three and two snaps, respectively, Saturday.

I thought both players had reasonable shots to make the team when training camp began, but both have been outplayed by younger players and others.

Deep in the defensive backfield: The Ravens figure to keep five safeties: Eric Weddle, Tony Jefferson, Lardarius Webb, Anthony Levine Sr. and rookie sixth-round pick Chuck Clark.

Can they also afford to keep more than five corners? Jimmy Smith, Brandon Carr, Marlon Humphrey and impressive undrafted rookie Jaylen Hill are probably locks at this point.

Assuming Maurice Canady (knee) goes to injured reserve, that leaves Sheldon Price, Robertson Daniel, Trevin Wade and undrafted rookie Reggie Porter competing for one or two spots.


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A reminder: There won't be two roster cutdowns this year as the league opted to do away with the trim from 90 to 75 in favor of just one round of cuts, from 90 to the requisite 53. That will have to be done by Saturday at 4 p.m.

The point of the change was to give more young players an opportunity to play in the fourth and final preseason game and get some tape out there. It also gives coaches more flexibility to sit players whom they don't want to play in the final preseason game.

As things stand, the Ravens have 89 players on their roster because they didn't fill the spot that opened with Lamar Louis' release. If you operate under the assumption that running back Kenneth Dixon (knee), wide receiver Tim White, offensive linemen Alex Lewis (shoulder) and Nico Siragusa (knee), and Canady go to IR, that leaves the Ravens with 31 cuts to make by Saturday.

It's not impossible that offensive lineman Stephane Nembot and cornerback Brandon Boykin, both of whom have missed a significant stretch of practices with injuries, could be IR candidates as well.

Bowser keeps impressing: Here's the scary part about how good second-round pick Tyus Bowser has looked this preseason: He's basically learning a new position at strong-side linebacker.

Bowser still might have to rely on his superb athleticism at times rather than instincts, but if it all comes together, he’s going to be a force. He plays so hard, too.

Matthew Judon has also played pretty well, so Bowser might not start. However, he’s certainly earned his snaps this summer.