Baltimore Ravens: Standout Performances From Preseason Game With Tampa Bay Buccaneers

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COMMENTARY | The 2013 Baltimore Ravens have a multitude of questions facing them, and Thursday's game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers was their first chance to start answering them.

Some players were up to the challenge. Others struggled.

Here's a look at all the guys who stood out, both positively and negatively:

Chris Canty

The defensive MVP for the Ravens had to be Chris Canty in the early part of the game. He disrupted nearly every play he was on the field, blowing up a run play at one point then following that with a sack.

The Ravens' defensive line as a whole was dominant, with Arthur Jones and Haloti Ngata also doing good work. But it was Canty who stood out and had the most noteworthy performance.

Jacoby Jones

Jacoby Jones also stood out, but for all the wrong reasons. He had a drop at one point, though admittedly it was a very difficult catch in traffic.

More concerning was his effort on Joe Flacco's interception. On a deep comeback route, Jones did not come back. He turned around and watched as Danny Gorrer streaked by him to pick off the ball. Not a great pass from Flacco, but it was catchable if only Jones had run the route properly.

Unfortunately, Deonte Thompson and Tandon Doss both failed to stand out as well. This game certainly didn't bode well for the Ravens' receiving corps.

Daryl Smith

While Canty was the most disruptive player on defense, Daryl Smith was the steadying force that helped everything jell. Smith displayed his usual fantastic instincts and tackling ability, regularly being around the ball and making the tackle for a short gain.

Smith won't wow anybody with explosive plays, but he will rack up gaudy tackle totals and be an immediate leader on this defense.

Bernard Pierce

Including Bernard Pierce on this list is a little bittersweet. Pierce once again proved that he's absolutely electric with the ball in his hands, reeling off a 20-yard touchdown run and picking up another key first down. However, Pierce went down with a knee injury that sidelined him for the remainder of the game. Keep posted on what could be a crucial injury.

Asa Jackson

No Ravens backup was more impressive than Asa Jackson, who almost never seemed to be out of position. Jackson was targeted often, yet he did not yield any big plays and even came down with an interception.

Maybe more important, Jackson showed some open-field tackling ability, which was considered a weakness.

Even with an eight-game suspension coming his way, Jackson looks talented enough to make this team. In fact, he even has starting potential with just a bit more development. He's too quick and instinctive to stay on the bench for much longer.

Adrian Hamilton

Adrian Hamilton also deserves a major shoutout as an excellent contributor for the Ravens' backups.

Not only did Hamilton display excellent burst off the line, blowing past the offensive line at a few points, but he also displayed excellent hand use. Few young pass rushers show such a refined ability to get off blocks, but Hamilton was dynamic in all phases.

If Hamilton shows ability on special teams, he should be a shoo-in to make this team. He has some real potential as a rushing linebacker.

Chykie Brown

Not all of the Ravens' backups excelled, though: Chykie Brown struggled badly early in the game. He gave up two pass interference penalties that contributed to Buccaneers points. Brown showcased poor ball skills, failing to turn his head on a couple of plays where he was targeted.

Until Brown learns to play the ball and not just the man, he will continue to struggle.

LaQuan Williams

Perhaps the only receiver to stand out for the Ravens was LaQuan Williams, who caught a brilliant touchdown and showed an ability to make some tough catches in traffic.

Forgive me, though, if I don't get too excited. Every preseason Williams is one of the standouts of training camp and the preseason, but that has yet to translate to regular-season production. He is still a guy who struggles to get open and whose hands are occasionally brilliant and occasionally baffling.

With some more of these performances, though, Williams could start really turning some heads.

Matt Elam

The Ravens had a lot of high-profile rookies playing in this game, and Matt Elam was the standout among them. Elam showed a nose for the ball in run support, and his hard hits really helped set the tone for the backup defense.

James Ihedigbo didn't stand out for the Ravens' starters, so Elam could have gained some traction on the veteran in this competition. Don't be shocked if Elam overtakes Ihedigbo soon.

Marc Anthony

One rookie stood out for all the wrong reasons, as Marc Anthony made several glaring mistakes that hurt his bid for a roster spot.

Anthony was whistled for a dumb late hit, and then was beaten on several passes. At some points, Anthony looked to be trying too hard, biting on double-moves and playing too aggressive.

There were some positive signs from Anthony, such as when he blew up a short pass for no gain. If he settles down a bit, Anthony should have a bounce-back performance at some point this preseason.

Ricky Wagner/Joe Unga

The final standouts are perhaps the most surprising, as tackles Ricky Wagner and Joe Unga did a great job of keeping Tyrod Taylor clean.

Wagner looked very sound in pass protection, showing good quickness to mirror pass-rushers and good flexibility to win the leverage battle. He looks to be a primary backup already.

Unga, meanwhile, is a mountain of a man who showed tremendous technique in pass protection. His feet were quick for such a big man, and he managed to use leverage to his advantage as well. Unga could be a practice-squad candidate based off this performance.

Shawn Brubaker is a graduate of the Catholic University of America. He was a Baltimore Ravens featured columnist for Bleacher Report for two years and is currently a co-host of Ravens Central Radio.

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