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Commanders vs Ravens: A pre-season instant classic?

Updated: Aug 23, 2023

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Typically the 2nd of 3 preseason games is as much about not getting hurt as it is about anything else but not the Commanders vs Ravens as the two teams clashed on national tv after a tense joint practice session.


Offense:


In all, the offensive unit was humming throughout the evening which should boost fan's confidence in Eric Bienemy's attacking offensive system.


Quarterbacks:


Sam Howell looked every bit the part of a starting NFL QB as he remained in control of himself and the offense. This was highlighted by a 17 yard 1st down conversion on 3rd & 15 after taking a sack on 2nd down. Despite his efficient night through the air, all Commander's fans are probably holding their collective breath when he runs the football because he is a bull in a china shop. He'll need to protect himself better as a runner if doesn't want to finish the season on IR. Other than that, Sam Howell defined himself as a starting NFL quarterback, definitively.


Brissett and Fromm both looked strong in their roles as backup QBs but neither was the story tonight.


Running backs:


This continues to be my chief area of concern for the skill players. Yes, statistically they didn't have a bad night but, no Ravens defensive starters played and Gibson was under 4 YPC and Robinson was barely over it. But what is truly concerning is the lack of explosive plays being generated in the run game. Chris Rodriguez continues to be the most effective runner but he coughed up the ball. We'll see if this fixes itself in the regular season but if not, Howell is going to have to carry even more of this offense on his shoulders.


Tight Ends:


Cole Turner seems to be developing a nice chemisty with Howell as he was sought out on several crucial downs. Turner and Thomas will provide Sam Howell with strong receiving options in the middle of the field.


Wide Receivers:


This unit continues to thrive. Dotson & Mclaurin are just next level good. What has been notable is Curtis Samuel's lack of involvement thus far. Hopefully he and Howell just need to continue working on their chemistry but he isn't getting a lot of looks. Dyami Brown is emerging but still doesn't catch the ball cleanly. To his credit, his route running has definitely improved. Let's all say prayers that McLaurin's toe is healthy come week 1.


Offensive Line:


The offensive line did ok against 4- man rushes but never seemed to be able to stop any extra blitzers. Blitz recognition and adjustments seem to be at the core of the OL's issues and it's not clear if that is on the QB , the OL or both.


Defense

For context, Washington didn't play many defensive starters and it showed. The Ravens gashed our defense repeatedly with guys we signed off the street a few seasons ago to play QB (Josh Johnson).


Defensive Backs:


The secondary had some moments including the Quan Martin interception but the 2nd and 3rd unit coverage simply was not sticky enough to slow down the Ravens offense. This only matters if our front-end starters get hurt during the season but perhaps the Commanders will address the position with roster cuts from other teams.


Linebackers:


I'll be blunt here, we need help. Through both preseason games both LBs have looked less than stellar. The middle of the field has been wide open constantly and that could be a real issue for this defense when the season kicks off.


Defensive Line:


Andre Jones might be the real deal. Truly nothing else matters with the D-line because we know what we have in the starters.


In all, our defensive 2nd unit was outclassed by the Ravens offensive 2nd unit. It's not the end of the world but something to be noted for depth issues as the season's battle of attrition gets underway.


Preseason week 2 Superlatives


  • Best part of the game: QB play

  • Most improved area(week 1 to week 2): Tight End consistency

  • Biggest concern: Lack of chunk plays in the running game


Let me know your thoughts on the game. Hit the comments and always #HTTC #HTTR



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