Ok I don’t really think the Ravens are done. Not even close. I just thought the headline would grab your attention which it obviously has since you’re here reading the first couple sentences. I’m sure there are plenty of people out there today talking about how there is no way we are a playoff team and how Joe Flacco sucks, and all that really awesome stuff, but i am not one of them. Let’s briefly cover some of the good and bad.
IT WAS THE FIRST PRESEASON GAME! There I’m glad I got that out of the way first. Some of the new guys on the team only had a week to learn the playbook. Ricky Williams didn’t play because he wanted to get more familiar with it first. Many of the young guys didn’t get rookie camps or OTA’s. The team really has not been together that long to be in any sort of flow or gel. It’s going to take us a little longer with the infusion of young guys we have on both sides of the ball. Give these guys a few weeks to get acclimated to the playbook and to gain chemistry with the rest of their unit.
- The offensive line looked horrible. They couldn’t pass or run protect. Fourth year right tackle Oniel Cousins looked horrible. He was consistently beat and left our quarterbacks feeling the pressure. Michael Oher didn’t look much improved from last season at LT. It’s the first preseason game so he gets a pass but comes season end we may be left thinking that we drafted a GREAT right-tackle but just not a great left-tackle and that’s OK. It just means we will have to address the position next offseason. The Ravens will not succeed without better line play. Joe Flacco WILL get hurt with this type of line play over the course of a 16 game season; I don’t care if he hasn’t missed a game yet.
- Dropped passes hurt. LaQuan Williams had a ball go through his hands that would have tied the game. Dennis Pitta had a ball go through his hands. It was overall a bad night for the receivers, in my opinion, despite some decent numbers. Torrey Smith had trouble finding separation and did not catch a pass.
- We allowed the Eagles to complete almost 69% of their passes and Chris Carr and Ed Reed allowed a big play to get behind them. I remember a play in the 3rd quarter with the Eagles driving where Ladarius Webb was beat for a mid range play near the end zone. The secondary can definitely play better. With that in mind, Pollard came up with an interception which is actually quite rare for him. He definitely has the edge for the starting role, which was expected.
- Nothing made me happier than to see Sergio Kindle on the field in a game and make a few tackles. We now know for sure he can play and we will finally see what our first pick from last year has to offer us. He looked solid in getting to the backfield despite not notching a sack he showed consistent ability to create pressure. THAT WILL BE HUGE during the regular season if he can do it consistently opposite T-Sizzle.
- Paul Kruger may finally be coming into his own. He led the team in tackles with 4 and had 1 of the 2 sacks for the team. I have always dreamed since the day he was drafted of him being a consistent pressure and sack guy and the Ravens playing something with Freddie Kruger on the scoreboard after the play. Again, if he can become a consistent threat all our pass rush worries will disappear.
- We may have a TE battle after all. Dennis Pitta looked very solid despite his one drop. He started the game with a big catch going up over the defender for the pass. Pitta has flown under the radar because of the attention given to fellow second year tight-end Ed Dickson. He took advantage of his opportunity with Dickson out and showed the fans and coaching staff he has a lot to offer the offense. It would be great to have two capable TE’s as we will probably need to use a similar formation as Joe Flacco’s rookie year to protect him. That means at least one TE staying to block.
Overall, it was an alright game. There were some great moments, such as Pittas catch, and some really poor moments with the offensive line. I completely expect the team to get better as the preseason goes along. It was obvious last night that the Ravens do need to get a veteran backup QB if we expect to win. The likelihood of Joe making through an entire season get’s less likely each year, especially with an o-line like this. The offensive line has to improve or we will be unable to run or pass throughout the year. I expect the defense to be fine by September 11th as we still have our solid core remaining. The young guys look like they are stepping up, specifically Kindle and Kruger, which will be huge if they can maintain the level of play. I’m already counting down the days until next Friday to see more of the starters and improvement from the o-line.
This feels like a typical Ravens season to me. The defense will be stout but will the offense be good enough to get us past the Steelers in the division and possibly the playoffs? We will know more as the preseason goes on. I’m not anywhere near a window and I won’t be getting there unless we show no improvement from now until September 11th. Do yourself a favor and back away from the ledge. Everything will be OK.
What do you think? Leave comments below!
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