Monday, August 25, 2008

Preseason Game #3

Well, that was interesting.

Minutes before the game started, rookie QB Joe Flacco was named the starter and played the entire game. Turns out Troy Smith has tonsillitis and Kyle Boller has a sore shoulder. Both are not expected to be back at full strength by the opener, so it looks like Flacco could be the starting QB by default after all.

This leaves me to wonder if the Ravens will attempt to sign another QB, one who is healthy, and part ways with Kyle Boller. Healthy, Boller isn't of much use to the team any more.

At any rate, we got to see a lot of Joe Flacco in this game, and after a first half where he struggled to complete passes and maintain drives, he turned in a decent if not solid second half complete with a touchdown. His final line was 18-37, 152 yards, 1 TD and 0 INT with most of the yards coming in the second half.

Derrick Mason proved that he still has a little something left in the tank at age 34, catching 6 passes for 85 yards and the only Ravens TD of the game. It looks like Mason will again be the #1 WR as third-year WR Mark Clayton continues to find his way in Cam Cameron's offense after an impressive rookie season.

As for the running game, fullback Laron McClain had the most carries (8) and yards (41) while rookie Ray Rice only managed 20 yards on 5 carries after an impressive game 2 as the starting RB in Willis McGahee's absence from an injured knee. The Ravens haven't run very much this preseason, which is something Cam Cameron usually accounts for by designing a lot of screen passes.

It's also unknown how much of Cameron's playbook was used during the preseason. By the looks of it, hopefully the Ravens didn't get past page 1. The offense, as always, has looked sluggish and uninspired through 3 preseason games.

The defense looked the same. The Rams moved the ball on the Ravens defense at will, though granted, a handful of regulars including Chris McAllister, Ed Reed and Kelly Gregg were no-shows.

The third preseason game is usually the game that is the most like the regular season as starters play longer and game plans are drawn up and executed. The fourth game doesn't look like it'll offer much of anything except more Flacco as Boller and Smith get healthy.

From the looks of it, this is going to be a long season, but one of development if the Ravens can get Flacco in as the starting QB around the mid-way point.

Until then, it's Troy Smith's show.

I also just did a game-by-game look at the Ravens schedule and my most conservative approach had them going 2-14.


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