When reading this title you may think that I am referring to the fact that upstart WR and special teams standout Marcus Smith is hurt. That is indeed a tragedy, but I have unearthed something so deceitful, and so contradictory, that I simply couldn’t believe it. During a commercial sometime in the second quarter a Heinz ketchup commercial came on. I instantly thought of our rivals, the Pittsburgh Steelers and their stadium, Heinz Field. Everything was fine until the last sentence of the commercial; “We are proud to be the official ketchup for your Baltimore Ravens”. Excuse me, what did they just say? Those two timing, back stabbing tomatoe-heads! How can you be the official ketchup of the Ravens when you are the name for the Steeler’s stadium? You can’t. Hurry up Hunt’s Ketchup get with the program! Buy that Baltimore Raven’s Official Ketchup Label…please.
Now for a bit more serious talk. As I can see my partner beat me to the punch on posting what we thought about the preseason game, but I blog on. The Ravens won their preseason opener against the Washington Redskins pretty handily, 23-0. Our starters played better than their starters, and our scrubs played better than their scrubs. Here are a few notes that I took from the game:
- If you didn’t know that Rex Ryan was gone, you wouldn’t have guessed it. Our defense remained strong and on the attack. As the switch from Marvin Lewis to Greg Nolan to Rex Ryan was smooth; expect the transition from Rex Ryan to Greg Mattison to be the same.
- Antwan Barnes, Tavares Gooden, and Jameel McClain all look aggressive and poised to assume the role left vacant by Bart Scott.
- Chris Carr and Lardarius Webb will continue from where Jim Leonhard left off, and continue to give Flacco good field position.
- Speaking of Lardarius Webb; he looked great at corner. He blitzed and covered very well. Chris Carr? Not so much. He was targeted and exploited in three straight plays. He should stick to special teams.
- Paul Kruger recorded a sack and looks to be another great addition to one of the best fronts in football.
- It was good to see Dawan Landry back in action. He along with Haruki Nakamura, and Tom Zbikowski impressed me with their great range and ability to help on gang tackles. Zbikowski recorded a sack as well.
- Kelly Gregg was back and healthy. And if he isn’t Prescott Burgess looked pretty good, especially when he forced a fumble.
- That’s about it for the defense. Overall, I was impressed. Well, obviously they played well because the Redskins failed to put a point on the board. Now for the offense…
- The first thing that I noticed was that I was given false information. Demetrius Williams and Derrick Mason both started. Both had one reception and looked good before they made their early exit. Mark Clayton did not play.
- Marcus Smith made a nice catch, but on the following punt he made the tackle injuring his right ankle in the process. He looked good and we at Ebonybird hope that he is alright.
- JOE FLACCO! He played great. He was poised. He was accurate and strong. Flacco was in midseason form and if that is a look into what is in store this season, he will have a good sophomore year.
- On the receiving end of Flacco’s bullets were three key receivers; Jayson Foster, Justin Harper, and Kelley Washington. Foster had one long catch and run, but was otherwise quiet. He showed a little bit of electricity, and for a 5 foot 7 wideout played very well. Kelly Washington proved that he is a valuable possesion receiver catching two passes for 31 yards in limited playing time. The biggest performer in my eyes was Justin Harper. In fact, he should get his own bullet.
- Justin Harper is special. He dropped the first two passes that came his way. Not great passes from Try Smith, but they were catchable. However, he fought past his nerves and caught four balls for 57 yards, including a 19 yard TD reception. He in my opinion is the #4 receiver.
- Troy Smith started off rocky, overthrowing and appeared to be a bit anxious. However, as he cooled he got better. He escaped the onslaught of defenders and completed tough passes. Can you say wildcat?
- Michael Oher is the new Jonathon Ogden. In his limited time I counted two pancakes including one where his helmet flew off and cut his forehead. Oher is a warrior, and will anchor this line for the next decade.
- Our three headed beast of a backfield, or Cerberus if you will looked good. Ray Rice came out firing. He was shifty and his pass catching ability makes him LT like. Le’Ron McClain didn’t get much action, and Willis McGahee looked great. He sliced and diced and appears to be healthy.
- Graham Gano is out. He missed a FG and Steve Hauschka was spot on.
That is it until we face off against our old defensive coordinator Rex Ryan, and Bart Scott our ex- outside linebacker…and Jim Leonhard our ex- punt returner and safety. You can see the official stats and whatnot here.