With the Ravens second preseason game to kickoff in just under an hour, I thought I would throw out some things to look for once the game is underway. Here is what i will be watching for.
1. Will any WR step up?- Last week, the Ravens WR corp was dreadful. Torrey Smith was the only starter with a catch(he had 2) and the group as a whole had just 3 receptions at the half. Not only that, Jacoby Jones contributed his fair share to a horrible play which resulted in a Flacco INT. Flacco threw the ball late, but Jacoby ran the route too deep and never came back to the ball. They must play better than that if the Ravens are going to improve offensively. It will be interesting to see if LaQuan Williams gets more play time after a dominant game week one.
2. How Do the new additions look?- The Ravens made two big moves this week, bringing in Brandon Stokley and Dallas Clark. both players are older, but they are still solid players, especially in the intermediate area of the field. It will be interesting to see how much chemistry they have with Flacco after just 4 days of practice together. Both players are expected to either start, or get substantial time with the first unit.
3. The Front Seven- Last week, the Ravens starting front seven, specifically Chris Canty and Daryl Smith, put on a show. The routinely gobbled up plays for losses and forced bad passes and throw-aways. this week, they should be even more in tuned and cohesive. I would watch to see if they draw any more encroachment or offsides penalties like they did last week.
4. Big Play defense- The defense was stellar last week, but the one big issue they had was miscommunications that resulted in big passing plays. none of them were major issues, they just need to be cleaned up a little bit. lucky for them, the Falcons specialize in big play offense and house two of the best downfield WRs in the NFL. The Ravens will get a very stiff tonight. They need to all stay on the same page and communicate well to succeed.
5. Special Teams- You want to see which bubble players will make the roster? watch special teams. the guys minding their gaps and making plays down field on kicks and punts will be the ones with the better odds to make the team. Basically, if you are one of the last 10 players to make the roster, you better know how to play special teams. period. This isn’t to say that any player who makes big special teams plays will make the team, but guys who are solid already will help their chances and guys who might be on the bubble who blow assignments will hurt their chances. Special teams is one of the best things you can watch in the preseason.
Enjoy the game tonight. you can follow live here on ebonybird(i will be posting notes throughout the game) and you can follow us on twitter(@ebony_bird).
Be sure to grab some Baltimore Ravens tickets and enjoy the game this evening. Tickets are much less expensive than the home opener against the Browns, which will set you back at least $127.