Friday, August 8, 2008

The more things change...

On the surface, the new-era John Harbaugh-led Ravens didn't look much different than the old-era Brian Billck-led Ravens.

Only 204 yards of total offense. A game where the defense dominated the game. Conservative play-calling...

But upon closer look, the Ravens cracked down on false start penalties, and penalties overall, and appeared to be a fresher, more disciplined team.

The Good

1. The Defense looked strong all night, even when it was chock-full of third and fourth string players. They recorded 5 sacks, 3 interceptions and pressured the New England QB's all night.

2. Newly acquired CB Fabian Washington recorded 2 INT's.

3. The Special Teams gave the offense good field position all night, as Yamon Figurs had 100 total return yards.

4. The Offensive Line played surprisingly well, only allowing 3 sacks, and 2 of them came late during garbage time. The pocket collapsed a few times and Smith was able to elude the sack, but overall, this young and inexperienced bunch played decently.

The Bad

1. The QB Position - No one set themselves apart from anyone else. Kyle Boller perhaps had the best night, statistically speaking, completing 11 passes out of 15 attempts for 102 yards. However, he had a fumble and a very ugly INT. Troy Smith looked the best out of all 3, with a more compact throwing motion and putting passes where they needed to be, but some were not caught by the WR's. Smith was only 5-12 for 74 yards but looks like he knows what he's doing. Joe Flacco entered the game too late to do much of anything, and fared pretty badly, getting sacked twice, fumbling and not completing a pass. There's always next time.

2. The Running Game looked tedious all night. Ray Rice led the team with 12 yards on 6 carries as Baltimore only had 35 rushing yards for the entire night.

3. The Wide Receivers had several chances to make big plays but didn't go for the ball or keep feet in bounds. A long Boller-to-Figurs pass was a tad underthrown, but Figurs didn't make a solid attempt to catch the ball, which was batted down by the defender. A long Smith-to -McCarens pass would have put the Ravens close to the goal line, but McCarens didn't keep both feet in bounds.

The Ravens won 16-15. They take on the Minnesota Vikings in preseason game #2 at home on August 16th, 7:30 p.m.

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