Photo Courtesy: USA Today

5 Ravens To Watch Against the Colts

August 20, 2018 - 10:10 am

By Joe Schiller

The Baltimore Ravens gear up for their third preseason game tonight, matching up against the Indianapolis Colts. They come off a week break following an impressive 33-7 win over the Los Angeles Rams. Both sides of the ball clicked against the Rams' second and third stringers but it’s hard not to like what the Ravens have shown so far.

Tonight will be another chance to highlight the backups and bubble players fighting for a spot on the 53-man roster. The two sides finished up two joint practices on Friday and Saturday as physicality ramped up in the form of a few altercations.

Here’s a look at five Ravens to watch:

Kenneth Dixon

When healthy, Kenneth Dixon has shown flashes both as a runner and receiver. The problem, unfortunately, has been his health. The third-year running back missed the entire 2017 season with a torn meniscus and has battled injuries throughout training camp this year. He’s yet to play in either of the Ravens’ preseason games, prompting plenty of concern.

Alex Collins is penciled in as the starter and Buck Allen is the all-purpose back. But besides those two, the Ravens don’t bolster much depth at the position. Dixon can be considered on the roster bubble at this point. Look to see how he performs with his first game action since 2016. He’ll have to prove he’s the No. 3 option, or there’s a realistic chance an undrafted rookie running back could find their way onto the 53-man roster.

Darren Waller

Speaking of players looking to prove themselves, Darren Waller is officially back on the active roster after being suspended the entire 2017 for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy. The converted tight end is only 25-years-old but is one more suspension away from ending his NFL career.

Since Dennis Pitta’s injury, tight has been a major question mark for the Ravens. They invested heavily into the position with rookies Hayden Hurst and Mark Andrews this year but there’s still no proven target on the depth chart. Waller is an intriguing player, no doubt, but the risk-reward factor will be in play throughout the entire preseason and his performance will be something to watch. 

Kenny Young/Patrick Onwuasor

The Ravens are still searching to find C.J. Mosley’s counterpart this season and the competition at inside linebacker between Patrick Onwuasor and rookie fifth-round pick Kenny Young is ongoing.

Defensive coordinator Don Martindale told reporters that Young is developing as an NFL linebacker. Onwuasor, however, has the experience, having started 13 games last season.

There’s a good chance neither earn a clear starting role. It could very well be a situation where the Ravens use both players interchangeably throughout the season. But with the struggles defending tight ends across the middle of the field last season, look how both fair against the pass tonight. 

Breshad Perriman

Breshad Perriman’s name continues to be a point of discussion this offseason. He led all receivers against the Rams, finishing with three catches for 71 yards and a 32-yard touchdown reception from RGIII.

One late-quarter touchdown by no means secures a roster spot for Perriman but the Ravens continue to show a level of interest in the former first-round pick. They picked up his training camp roster bonus in July and Perriman has shown more confidence hauling in passes this offseason than the season prior.

If he can put together another solid performance, the decision to fill the last wide receiver spot on the depth chart becomes even harder.

Tyus Bowser

Tyus Bowser has missed both preseason games dealing with a groin injury but should play tonight after returning to practice last week. Tim Williams has impressed so far this offseason and his draft counterpart will have a chance to display his progressions heading into Year 2.

Bowser’s roster spot isn’t in question at this point but the expectations are high. Considered to be one of the future starters at outside linebacker, we’ve seen only a small sample size up to this point. Terrell Suggs is entering the final years of his career and Za’Darius Smith is in the final year of his rookie contract. Bowser will look to take on a larger role in the near future and fans should watch to see how he fares.