Ravens rookies made major contributions in season opening win
The Baltimore Ravens came into the 2020 season with high expectations for their rookie class despite them having to overcome the adversity of not having any semblance of a real offseason. Since there wasn’t any preseason this year, the seven members of the class that were active for the season opener got their first taste of real NFL action on Sunday.
Of those seven, five played significant roles in all three phases in the Ravens blowout of the Browns. First-round linebacker Patrick Queen led the team in total tackles with eight and added a sack and a forced fumble in his impressive debut. Even though he only gained 22 yards on the ground, second-round running back J.K. Dobbins made the most of his seven carries by scoring his first career touchdowns on two of them.
“I felt very comfortable, the coaches prepared me, guys came and talked to me,” Queen said. “I just felt like I was at home. This is what I expected. I wanted to do better than I did, but I’m grateful for what I got.”
“The linemen were blocking well, I feel comfortable with all of my teammates,” Dobbins said. “I never really get nervous. When I played my first game in college I didn’t get nervous. Today I wasn’t nervous. I think it comes from working super hard in practice, building my confidence. Definitely happy about my touchdowns but now I got to move on.”
Third-round wide receiver Devin Duvernay picked up 12 yards on his lone catch that came on a well-designed and blocked screen, but he made his biggest contribution in the return game by picking up 64 yards on two kick return opportunities including a long of 38 to open the second half that set the offense up almost near midfield.
Third round inside linebacker Malik Harrison rotated in with veteran LJ Fort at the Will linebacker spot and recorded four tackles and made a really athletic pass deflection that would’ve led to an interception had safety secured the gift-wrapped turnover that hit him in between the numbers on his chest.
While third-round pick Tyre Phillips didn’t make any splashy or sexy plays like scoring a pair of touchdowns or dominating on defense, he opened the season as the starting right guard. It was a spot that was vacated by future Hall of Famer Marshal Yanda following his retirement this offseason and was thought to be locked up by veteran DJ Fluker who the team signed back in April.
“I have to give a lot of credit to the rookies,” Harbaugh said. “All of them, really, Phillips, Queen, Harrison, those guys played good, NFL football. There’s other guys, too, that played on special teams; [James] Proche [II] and Devin [Duvernay] and others, I don’t want to forget anybody.
“The fact that now they’ve got a game under their belt, now they can go, ‘OK, I can do this.’ And they did it very well.”