Ravens reserves make final push for roster spot in preseason game vs Falcons

The 2015 NFL preseason officially came to a close for the Baltimore Ravens and Atlanta Falcons on Thursday. The Falcons came out on top by a score of 20-19. Most of the starters didn’t play in this game but it was a game of utmost importance to some of the Ravens reserve players. They needed to make some plays that would make the Ravens personnel people think long and hard about the roster moves over the next couple of days. NFL teams are required to trim their roster to 53 players by Saturday.

One of the players on the roster bubble is inside linebacker Arthur Brown. The Ravens have waited for him to show the athletic ability that made him a second round pick by the team in 2013. He made a couple of outstanding plays against the Falcons. The first play came when he forced Teron Ward to fumble the ball which was recovered by Kapron Lewis-Moore.

Brown also shot a gap and beat the pulling guard to tackle Antone Smith for a loss of two yards. It is clear that Brown has the ability to stick on the Ravens roster. He just has to work on being more consistent and contribute on special teams.

Brown missed a tackle on punt team and it resulted in a long return by the Falcons. Head coach John Harbaugh found a silver lining in the play but wants more from the athletic linebacker.

“Arthur Brown makes so many splash plays. He’s like an arrow through snow sometimes. He turned a great play into a bad play on the punt return,” Harbaugh said. “All you have to do is just wrap the guy up. He was the first down the field to make the play. You just have to make the tackle.”

Daniel Brown is another player that stood out against the Falcons. Brown has shown that he has a knack for seizing the moment. He hasn’t gotten many opportunities to make plays but he made the most of the targets that he did see. Brown did an excellent job of using his body to gain position on a back shoulder throw from Bryn Renner. It kept a late scoring drive alive for the Ravens.

On the next series, Brown was able to able to beat Sean Baker and create a clear path to the punter setting up a blocked punt which the Ravens recovered in scoring position. Brown wasn’t done. He then boxed out Dezmin Southward to register a catch in the end zone for a touchdown. It is very likely that Brown will be a player that the Ravens try to retain on their practice squad. His size should be intriguing to some NFL teams in need of a red zone threat.

Brennen Beyer made some plays that are likely to land him on the practice squad as well. He had a bit of trouble setting the edge initially but rebounded to make a couple of tackles for a loss and two sacks.

The punt return position remains a question mark for the Ravens. Asa Jackson took the first punt return 53 yards but lost his footing before making a move on the punter. Jackson would have probably scored if he didn’t get tripped up. Jackson also fumbled on one of his punt returns. The fumble was recovered by the Falcons deep in Ravens territory. As a result, the Falcons were able to score a touchdown.

The fumble may have hurt Jackson’s chances to claim the punt return job. That’s bad news for Jackson because it’s his return ability that separates him from the likes of fellow cornerbacks Cassius Vaughn and Quinton Pointer. The Ravens may need to go out and bring a return specialist in if they can’t find the guy to do the job on their roster. Michael Campanaro would be the favorite for the punt return job while Asa Jackson is the likely favorite to return kicks.

The Ravens need to get their roster down from 75 to 53 players by Saturday at 4 pm. There will be some tough decisions to make. Some of the players will be able to be kept on the practice squad if they clear waivers. Others may end up on a different team or even out of football all together.