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Mike Preston's observations from Ravens' preseason win over Colts

Depth, speed on defense overwhelms Colts

Maybe the most surprising elements of the Ravens’ 20-19 Monday night win against the Indianapolis Colts were the depth and speed of the defense.

Usually following two days of scrimmage/practice, the road team starts showing fatigue and plays poorly in the preseason game. But the Ravens looked faster and fresher than the Colts, especially the front seven on defense.

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There were times when the Ravens were simply beating them off the ball. Indianapolis couldn’t handle starting defensive linemen Brandon Williams and Willie Henry and had trouble with backups Michael Pierce and Chris Wormley.

There was no hesitation in the front seven as far as knowing where to go and completing assignments.

As for the Colts, they looked like a team with a first-year head coach in Frank Reich. Quarterback Andrew Luck played like a quarterback who had been out of the starting lineup for quite a while with multiple injuries.

Dixon: better than expected

Ravens running back Ken Dixon surprised and impressed me. After watching him practice last week I thought he looked overweight and out of shape.

But he ran hard against the Colts and showed good acceleration and explosion. He might have caught head coach John Harbaugh’s attention again.

Buck up, rookies

Training camp can be long and brutal, and maybe it is taking a toll on some of the rookies. Against the Colts, rookie receivers Jordan Lasley and Jaleel Scott each dropped a pass, and rookie receiver Janarion Grant fumbled a punt return.

The turnovers bugged Lasley and Grant as they walked, frustrated, to the sidelines. They have to remember to shrug off those kinds of moments or they won’t be in the NFL long.

Williams shows growth

Second-year outside linebacker Tim Williams has had a sack in each of the last two games. He has shown good burst off the snap off the ball and is developing into a solid speed rusher.

A year ago he seemed hesitant — almost as if he were thinking too much about his assignment.

O-line concerns

Right guard Marshal Yanda’s return to the lineup full time will help the offensive line, especially in the middle. But I still have a lot of questions about this group, and the Colts kept steady pressure on the Ravens quarterbacks.

The team also announced that left tackle Ronnie Stanley has a knee strain. There is no set time frame for his return, but those types of injuries can take several weeks to heal.

Hard-headed on helmets

Fans need to calm down about all of these penalties relating to illegal contact with the helmet. Officials are over-emphasizing it now, but will tone it down after the first four weeks of the regular season.

Truth be told, too many players are still putting their heads down. In some cases the contact can’t be avoided, but some of these knuckleheads lower their heads to inflict greater pain.

Memo to Boyle

Please, someone tell Ravens tight end Nick Boyle this is football, not the martial arts. Trying to hurdle opposing players after every catch is not good for your health.

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Now, if Boyle ran the forty in 4.4 and hurdled a tackler without breaking stride, that would be impressive.

Averett earns a ‘like’

I don’t know if he will make the team, but I like rookie cornerback Anthony Averett, the team’s fourth-round pick out of Alabama. He is a tough guy, supports the run well and has a nose for the ball.

Jackson good for Flacco

I am looking forward to seeing quarterback Joe Flacco play a couple of series against a really good defensive team. It’s hard to get a true evaluation of him because the Los Angeles Rams only played two starters against the Ravens and the Colts are struggling.

So far, though, Flacco’s movement looks good and he is spreading the ball around to different receivers. Sometimes, a little Lamar Jackson can go a long way.

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