What We Saw: Preseason Week 1

The WWS Team recaps the first week of the NFL Preseason

Titans @ Ravens

Final Score: Ravens 23, Titans 10

Writer: Ben Brown (@BenBrownPL on Twitter)

 

I didn’t watch this game live, so I only saw all of the Twitter hype surrounding Malik Willis during it and had to catch up later. After watching, I get the hype. Willis looked calm in the pocket, progressing through his reads in a timely fashion, and generally sensed pressure when it was there. He hit Racey McMath for a 48 yard bomb at one point on a beautiful ball, and threw it accurately downfield on multiple occasions. His rushing touchdown was a thing of beauty as he made multiple defenders miss and ran right through another. Overall, I was impressed.

Meanwhile, for the Ravens, I was most impressed with Tyler HuntleyAnthony Brown, and Isaiah Likely. Huntley stepped in and filled Lamar Jackson‘s shoes admirably last year, and I would have no concerns about him doing the same this year. He’s not as naturally gifted as Jackson, but in this system he’s a perfect fit and the offense shouldn’t skip a beat. Brown is a rookie QB out of Oregon who showed impressive accuracy, poise in the pocket, and mobility. He’s still got a lot to learn, but the Ravens may have something there. I’ll get into Isaiah Likely below, but make sure his name is on your radar because he will be fantasy relevant this year.

 

Tennessee Titans

 

Quarterback

 

Malik Willis: 6/11, 107 yards, 2 Sacks | 5 carries, 38 yards, TD

Logan Woodside: 14/24, 102 yards, 2 INT | 1 carry, 5 yards

 

Malik Willis started the game and played into the second half. He looked very good for a rookie in his first preseason action, but it got off to a rocky start. On his first play he rolled out and threw a ball right through his fullback’s hands – not his fault, of course, but the next pass was. He was nearly intercepted on a ball to an outside receiver where the corner nearly jumped the route and took it to the house. It wasn’t a great decision on third down and the team was forced to punt.

 

 

It was all uphill from there, though. I was impressed with how crisp his play-action fake was, how calm he was in the pocket, and his obvious mobility. He was able to feel the pressure pretty much every time it was near, save for one play where he held onto the ball a half second too long and got sacked. His accuracy on the run was hit or miss, but boy can he run. He didn’t look panicked at any point, which is notable for a rookie in their first professional game. He did make one very poor mistake, getting sacked on a roll-out with 23 seconds left when he should have just thrown the ball away. They were forced to burn a timeout and coach Mike Vrabel was not happy. It’s a good learning experience for Willis, though, and it appears that he’ll have a bright future in the league.

 

 

 

 

Running Back

 

Julius Chestnut: 7 carries, 44 yards, Fumble (Lost) | 1 target, 1 reception, 12 yards

Hassan Haskins: 6 carries, 19 yards | 4 targets, 3 receptions, 29 yards

 

With Derrick Henry firmly entrenched in the starting role, there isn’t much opportunity for any of Tennessee’s other backs unless something were to happen to him. We saw D’Onta Foreman come out of nowhere to be fantasy relevant last season, so it’s possible, but I wasn’t impressed with either Julius Chestnut or Hassan Haskins on Thursday. Chestnut had a nice long run where he broke a couple of tackles, but only after he lost a fumble on a previous drive where he flat-out dropped it.

 

 

Chestnut is an upright runner who seems more like a bouncy ball than a bowling ball, but he had nice burst at times. He earned the start in this game based on his preseason performance, so we’ll see how he looks next week.

 

Wide Receiver/Tight End

 

Treylon Burks: 1 target | 1 carry, 4 yards

Kyle Philips: 1 target

Chigoziem Okonkwo: 2 targets, 1 reception, 5 yards

Racey McMath: 1 target, 1 reception, 48 yards

Terry Godwin: 5 targets, 4 receptions, 31 yards

Mason Kinsey: 4 targets, 2 receptions, 30 yards

Hassan Haskins: 4 targets, 3 receptions, 29 yards

 

The two guys I was most interested in seeing this game were Treylon Burks and Chigoziem Okonkwo, the two rookies who should have the most fantasy impact in this offense in 2022. Unfortunately, they didn’t make an appearance until the fourth quarter, so you may have missed them. Well, you didn’t miss much. Burks had one target, a deep ball where he jumped too soon and couldn’t come up with the ball over a defender.

 

 

Okonkwo’s only catch came in the 4th quarter, a short out-route that he caught near the sideline. He’s been getting some camp buzz due to his immense athleticism and size, and TE is wide open for Tennessee this year so it’s not out of the question that he can contribute. Hopefully we’ll see more of these two in next week’s game against the Buccaneers.

 

Baltimore Ravens

 

Quarterback

 

Tyler Huntley: 16/18, 109 yards, TD, Sacks, Fumble | 3 carries, 17 yards

Anthony Brown Jr.: 10/15, 117 yards | 2 carries, 14 yards

Brett Hundley: 2/2, 42 yards, 2 Sacks, Fumble (Lost) | 2 carries, 3 yards

 

Tyler Huntley isn’t as fast, quick, or elusive as Lamar Jackson, but he is able to effectively run the Baltimore offense and Not as fast, quick, or elusive as Lamar, but Huntley knows how to run the offense and can do it effectively. If something were to happen to Lamar, I wouldn’t worry too much about the performance of the supporting cast from a fantasy perspective. He mostly dinked and dunked his way up and down the field on Thursday, but he did have one beautiful throw for a TD right before the half that displayed his arm talent.

 

 

The only thing I question about Huntley is his choice of footwear.

 

 

Anthony Brown started the 2nd half for Baltimore and the rookie flashed in a big way. I was very impressed with his accuracy and his poise in the pocket. Check out these two throws.

 

 

 

 

 

At one point he almost threw a pick but the defender dropped it, and it appeared to be a miscommunication with the receiver. Whether it was his fault or the receiver’s fault I’m not sure, but he definitely dodged a bullet.

He also displayed good elusiveness and the ability to scramble and make a play.

 

 

He was able to feel the pressure on multiple occasions and use his feet to either evade it or keep the play alive. Brown nearly converted a miracle play where he looked one way, pumped the other way, then scrambled and made an off-balance throw to Corey Clement, who dropped the pass.

 

 

I’m really excited to see what Brown does next week and if he’s able to build on his success in this one.

 

Running Back

 

Mike Davis: 5 carries, 22 yards, TD

Nate McCrary: 5 carries, 31 yards,

Tyler Badie: 6 carries, 19 yards | 1 target, 1 reception, 9 yards

Corey Clement: 4 carries, 17 yards | 1 target

Justice Hill: 3 carries, 11 yards

 

With so much uncertainty surrounding the health of both J.K. Dobbins and Gus Edwards, the focus was on free agent acquisition Mike Davis. He delivered, looking spry in his short time on the field where he was able to bounce it outside around the edge on multiple occasions and ward off defenders. His touchdown came on a designed outside run where he got excellent blocking to give him some space.

 

 

He also made an excellent block.

 

 

Here’s another angle:

 

 

Davis disappointed in Atlanta last year, but he may end up with a role this season and for that his situation is worth monitoring.

Tyler Badie is a rookie who has received some hype this year, and I liked what I saw. He’s obviously low to the ground (listed at 5’8″), but he runs with some power and has good, quick feet.

 

 

 

He’s another guy worth keeping an eye on in this backfield.

Nate McCrary was well liked in Baltimore last year but got signed and stashed on Denver’s practice squad last year before coming back this year. He runs hard, and he had a nice 21 yard run that raised my eyebrows.

 

 

The slight hesitation move he made before turning on the jets and getting around the defender on the edge was something else. It’s only one game, but it seems like the Ravens have a plethora of good, young talent in their backfield and they’ve got some tough decisions to make.

 

Wide Receiver/Tight End

 

Shemar Bridges: 5 targets, 4 receptions, 62 yards, TD

Isaiah Likely: 4 targets, 4 receptions, 44 yards

Makai Polk: 8 targets, 6 receptions, 43 yards

Binjimen Victor: 5 targets, 4 receptions, 30 yards

Raleigh Webb: 2 targets, 1 reception, 34 yards

Jaylon Moore: 2 targets, 2 receptions, 15 yards, X TDs, X Fumbles (Lost) | X carries, X yards, X TDs

 

This is the Isaiah Likely section of the article. He’s received hype from fans, media, and teammates since minicamp and the legend of Likely should only grow after his solid performance Thursday night. Lamar Jackson called him “… baby Mark (Andrews)”, which says a lot considering Andrews is one of the best tight ends in the league. The broadcast showed a highlight video of his four catches, so I’ll let the footage do the talking.

 

 

Agility, good footwork, athleticism, good hands. He did bobble the last catch, and it was initially ruled incomplete, but it was eventually overturned on review. A good first showing for a rookie who should carve out a role if he continues to build on this success. Keep Likely in mind when you’re drafting Mark Andrews in the 2nd and 3rd round.

Given that this is a run-first offense and the fantasy community is still debating whether James Proche or Devin Duvernay are even worth rostering if either are the #2 WR, I won’t waste any time on the rest of the wideouts who played in this one.

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