Training camp is officially over, and franchises are getting ready to finalize their rosters. Position battles are at their most fierce, and players on the bubble will likely have one more chance to crack the roster. The Ravens and Bills are both in an interesting position, with injuries and trades dominating their headlines. This preseason game will most likely have the younger players see their most significant time before roster cuts and depth chart positions are determined.
Bills: What To Look For
Tyrod Taylor is entering his third season as the Bills starting quarterback, but he has had to deal with a lot of uncertainty at the wide receiver position since he got the job. In a matter of weeks, the Bills have traded their former first round draft pick, Sammy Watkins, and veteran Anquan Boldin announced his retirement from the NFL. The Bills acquired Jordan Matthews in the Watkins trade, but he is currently dealing with a cracked sternum at the moment. Taylor is under a lot of pressure to perform with no reliable receivers on the roster, so it will be interesting to see if he cracks under the pressure, or makes the best of a poor situation.
Reggie Ragland, the former standout linebacker from Alabama, is trying to make the roster in Buffalo after suffering a knee injury that ended his 2016 season before it started. This game will likely be his best chance, but it’s concerning that your second round pick may not make the roster in only his second season. What the Bills need to see from Ragland is if he can cover the middle of the field or not. The Ravens will likely have all their healthy tight ends available, and that should test Ragland’s coverage ability. With the make shift offensive line of the Ravens, Ragland should be able to cause some disruption, but if he struggles, he could find himself out of a job.
Ravens: What To Look For
The Ravens first team offense has been underwhelming in their first two preseason games, but much of that has to do with injuries plaguing this team since training camp opened. In week two, the Ravens offensive line committed five penalties in the first half. With LT Ronnie Stanley, and possibly Marshal Yanda not playing, it’s going to be paramount for the young offensive line to step up.
Ryan Mallet has looked lost at times on the field by throwing behind receivers and not connecting on deep throws to make big plays. It will be interesting to see how long the Ravens will keep Mallett out there if struggles early in the game. With how well Josh Woodrum has played, the Ravens may not stick with Mallett long.