Ravens Starts Look Sloppy in Opener


Aug 8, 2013; Tampa, FL, USA; Baltimore Ravens outside linebacker Terrell Suggs (55) works out prior to the game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The defense looked very sharp on the opening drive forcing a 3 and out, in which they did nothing but lose yardage. The Ravens D stuffed Doug Martin for a 2 yard loss and then used very good back end coverage to force a throw away and finished the drive with a Chris Canty Sack. The defense looked great. The front seven looked every bit as good as advertised and it continues to be thought of as the lynchpin of the defense for this season.

For the record, Josh Bynes and Daryl Smith got the starts at ILB.

The offense also got off to a good start with a Ray Rice run and a Leech reception for a first down. on the next set of downs, Flacco did a great job taking about half a step up to buy time to find Ray Rice on a crosser for a first down, but on the next play Flacco tripped and gave up a sack. A few plays later Flacco threw an INT to Danny Gorrer(a former Raven) on a pass that floated on him. The throw was late, the route was too deep and the play all together was incredibly sloppy and it was just a bad pick. A simple out route like that shouldn’t be resulting in interceptions. The pass was intended for Jacoby Jones. It needed to either be thrown a second earlier as Jones cut, or Joe should have just drilled it in there instead of letting it hang in the air. lazy play.

The Defense looked sloppier on their second series allowing a few big plays(though one was overturned after a Harbaugh challenge). They did get a nice batted pass, but poor plays like a false start on 3rd and 6 made it hard to focus on the good plays. They did lock down in the end and limit the Bucs to a field goal, but it was still a poor series.

One interesting note was that Jimmy Smith blanketed Vincent Jackson the entire time they were on the field together. Overall Smith did a really nice job. He held Jackson catch less. Jackson did nearly have a big gain, but the play was overturned after it was challenged by Harbaugh and ruled that Jackson did not maintain possession and get both feet in bounds. for the record, Smith was in perfect coverage and Jackson just out jumped him on a timing pass. It was Smiths arm that forced Jackson to bobble the ball though so he still gets good marks on the play as far as I am concerned.

Bernard Pierce had a very nice run on the next drive, he dropped his shoulder and ran into a crowd and forced the pile back a couple yards and nearly pick up a first down, but the run was called back after a questionable clipping call against Kelechi Osemele. The Ravens ended up punting on the drive.

The Ravens offense featured almost non-stop check downs and short crosses and outs. There are probably 2 reasons for this. first, Jim Caldwell is much more keen to utilize short passing and crossing routes to open up deep passing which is really the only strength of almost every receiver not named Torrey Smith on the roster. The second reason is because the short passes get the ball out of Flaccos hands quickly. This is the preseason, no need to put a guy in position to get hit if you don’t have to.

The Ravens also ran quite a bit of no huddle. Again, this isnt a surprise, but it is a re-affirmation of what we thought we knew about Jim Caldwell as an OC.

As a whole, the Ravens looked pretty sloppy in this game. they had several penalties, at least one miscommunication on offense and three on defense. Jacoby Jones didn’t look like a starter, neither did Visanthe Shiancoe. All that said, it doesn’t really mean much other than the Ravens aren’t quite ready to start the season. Big deal, they still have almost a month to prepare.