The Ravens kicked off their season Thursday Night, defeating the Chicago Bears by a score of 17-16 in the NFL’s annual Hall of Fame Game.
It was a defensive struggle for much of the contest, as the two teams combined for six total turnovers. The Ravens were able to force two interceptions and recover two fumbles, which helped offset a poor offensive outing.
Chicago was able to erase a ten-point deficit in the fourth quarter, but the Ravens hung on for a narrow victory.
It is important not to overreact too much to preseason action, especially the Hall of Fame contest. It was just the first of five total preseason contests, and the majority of players on the field were 3rd or 4th string guys.
However, a good or poor showing in the preseason can go a long way in determing the fate of a player. Some Ravens stood out Thursday night, while others struggled to make an impact.
Here are some key takeaways from the Ravens’ victory:
Lamar Jackson is a work-in-progress
All eyes were on Lamar Jackson Thursday night. After reaping praise from coaches and teammates alike throughout OTA’s and training camp, he finally made his much-anticipated NFL debut.
It was an overall uneasy performance from the former heisman trophy winner.
There is no denying Jackson’s elite athleticism and mobility. He made some impressive plays on the ground last night, scrambling outside the pocket and shaking defenders. However, his accuracy throwing the ball left much to be desired.
He missed his intended target on several throws, including an interception pass late in the third quarter.
Aaaand there's Lamar Jackson's first INT as a pro.pic.twitter.com/RWIhRlmKEQ
— Sporting News (@sportingnews) August 3, 2018
Concerns over his accuracy was one of the reasons Jackson fell to the end of the first round in the draft. Mechanics and footwork will certainly be an area of emphasis for Jackson and the coaching staff throughout the season.
While he missed some throws, he also made some impressive ones. He connected with Jordan Lasley for a conversion on 3rd & 10, and threw his first career touchdown pass to fellow first-round pick Hayden Hurst. Ravens fans can only hope to see this for years to come.
— Sports ON Tap (@SONTSports) August 4, 2018
On the night, Jackson’s final stat line included 4-10 passing, 33 yards, 1 TD and 1 INT. He also rushed eight times for 25 yards.
Jackson is only getting his feet wet. He will see a lot more playing time in the remaining four preseason games, and figures to only improve with more experience. While it was not the explosive debut many were hoping, Jackson will be just fine.
Robert Griffin III has a shot at making the roster
After the Ravens selected Lamar Jackson in the draft, many expected it would spell the end of RG3’s short tenure in Baltimore. However, if his play from last night carries into the remaining preseason action, Griffin could very well make the final roster.
Griffin played the first half of the contest and looked composed. He orchestrated an eight-play, 77 yard drive midway through the first quarter, which resulted in an impressive touchdown pass to Maxx Williams.
RGIII to Maxx Williams for 6.pic.twitter.com/u81ZbamL3g
— LeadingNFL ™ (@LeadingNFL) August 3, 2018
Griffin threw for 58 yards on 7-11 passing and a touchdown. He did have an interception, but it came as a result of a dropped pass.
Does this performance mean Griffin will make the 53-man roster? Obviously not. The Ravens have not kept three quarterbacks on the active roster in several years.
However, RG3 certainly helped his chances with an impressive showing.
Breshad Perriman, What’s New?
The island of Breshad Perriman believers, if one exists, is all but deserted at this point. Perriman has been a huge disappointment for the Ravens, and this preseason will ultimately determine his fate in Baltimore.
The top three receivers on the roster are set in stone – Michael Crabtree, John Brown and Willie Snead. Chris Moore is likely to slot in at the fourth spot at the depth chart. Tim White has had an impressive training camp, too.
That leaves Perriman fighting with White, Jordan Lasley and Jaleel Scott to earn a spot on the final roster. If last night was any indication, he is certainly on the outside looking in.
Breshad Perriman is a cut candidate and this won't help him at all. Former first-round pick in thin waters.pic.twitter.com/LZUClLgaB9
— NFL Update (@MySportsUpdate) August 3, 2018
Perriman has been plagued with drop issues since his days in college. This problem has persisted since he entered the league and has prevented him from being an effective receiver.
There is no denying his athletic ability, but it just feels like his time in Baltimore has been exhausted. Perriman needs a miracle to stick around.
Orlando Brown Jr, OT — The Ravens third-round selection in this years’ draft stood out Thursday night. Brown was a stout presence on the offensive line, allowing just one QB pressure in 38 pass protection snaps. Brown looked the part of a starting tackle in the NFL.
Hayden Hurst — Hurst also had a solid NFL debut. His yardage does not jump off the page, but he hauled in three passes and caught a touchdown pass from Lamar Jackson. His three receptions led the team.
DeShon Elliot — Elliot had a knack for making plays in college. He wasted no time doing so in the NFL, poking the ball away from bears receiver DeMarcus Ayers early in the third quarter. Elliot was the fourth-highest graded Raven on defense.
Breshad Perriman — Perriman did have two catches for 19 yards, but his dropped pass was the real story. A well-thrown ball from RGIII hit him right in the hands and was picked off. Sigh
Mark Thompson — If he wants any chance of sticking around, Thompson will have to perform much better. He ran for just nine yards on five carries and lost a fumble.
Kamalei Correa — Correa was the star of the night. Entering his third season, Correa is on the roster bubble and certainly helped himself with this performance. He was the highest-graded player from either team, making plays all over the field. Correa filled up the stat sheet with 11 tackles, 3 sacks, an interception and a forced fumble.
One forced fumble.
And a pick for the @Ravens.
— NFL (@NFL) August 3, 2018
The Ravens head home to host the Los Angeles Rams on Thursday, August 9 at 7:30 PM.