Not from this week, but might as well have been
Well, that was even uglier than expected. One of the two teams that took the field tonight looked like a team that had zero offseason organized team activities or minicamps, and was struggling to play catch up, while the other looked halfway decent for the first preseason game. Unfortunately, the Ravens were the former.
The Ravens put on a display of football worthy of the highschool-esque production team and camera crew broadcasting the game in the B’More area. Let’s review our “what to watch for” from the other day, and go over what we saw:
Oneil Cousins made the start at right tackle, and did not play well. On the other side, Michael Oher also struggled mightily, especially in running situations. On the Ravens’ second play, Oher was completely dominated by Trent Cole as he tackled Ray Rice at the line of scrimmage. I believe “bench pressed” was how Qadry Ismail described it, and he wasn’t wrong.
Rice again carried from the Eagles’ 31 yard line on a 1st-and-10, and Dennis Pitta and Oher both stood blocking nobody while their left side completely collapsed and Rice was stuffed for a 6-yard loss.
Of course, there were several false starts as well, one by Cousins when the Ravens were trying to go for it on 4th-and-2. After the penalty, they were forced to punt.
Jah Reid played the majority of the second and third quarters, and seemed to hold his own…but he had not one, but two false start penalties.
You’ll fit right in, Jah.
Wide Receiver/Passing Game
The Ravens made two plays in the passing game, and neither was particularly impressive. Dennis Pitta’s catch on the first play was spectacular, but the throw from Joe Flacco left much to be desired, as Pitta had to reach behind himself and over his defender to bring it in. Ray Rice’s 27-yard grab on the Ravens’ first 3rd down attempt was nice to watch, but was more the result of some completely busted Eagles’ coverage than anything great Joe or Ray did.
The first team offense did nothing else in the passing game. Only one throw went Anquan Boldin’s way, an incompletion on a crossing route that would have been wiped out by an illegal formation call anyway, had it been caught.
Torrey Smith was nowhere to be found.
Tandon Doss had 3 catches for 26 yards, but none came while working with the first team offense.
Joe Flacco’s final play of the game looked exactly like WAY too many plays of his last year…drop back on 3rd down, nobody open, happy feet, attempt to step up, take a sack.
Not many positives here.
Tyrod Taylor was absolutely horrific on Thursday night. His final line: 19/28 for 179 yards and 2 interceptions. He should have had three interceptions. His first pass in an NFL game was picked off.
Taylor also had six carries for 59 yards, which is cool if you’re into your quarterback doing that sort of thing.
The silver lining is that hopefully this will force the Ravens’ brass into going out and signing an ACTUAL backup quarterback here soon, and they’ll stop with all this “Tyrod Taylor can be our backup” nonsense. No, he can’t.
If Joe Flacco gets hurt for any significant amount of time, the Ravens’ season is screwed. There are no quarterbacks on the market who can take the Ravens to the Super Bowl – or even the postseason – should Flacco go down. However, there are guys out there who can keep the team afloat should Flacco be forced out for a series, a quarter, or even a game or two.
Tyrod Taylor? Not that guy. Let the search for a real backup begin.
Kindle, unfortunately, didn’t do much to impress either. He had two tackles, but both came after his teammates whiffed on earlier attempts (more below). I suppose the good news is that Kindle went out there in an NFL game and took some hits, and seems to be no worse for the wear. Let’s hope #94 continues to stay healthy and becomes a contributor in purple this season.
Yeah, Billy can still kick it really far. He connected on 34 and 53 yard field goals, but missed wide left on a 55 yard attempt. He also booted all three of his kickoffs for touchbacks.
That concludes the “what we watched for” categories. If I was to put together a “what we saw” list, it would have to include, in big bold letters, this: MISSED TACKLES
It was just a horrific display of tackling by the Ravens, from the first teamers all the way down to the guys that will be cut before their jerseys are even cleaned. Hopefully it was just a byproduct of the shortened practices and rust from the offseason, but I can’t even count how many times the Ravens whiffed on what should have been sure-thing wrap ups in the backfield or near the line of scrimmage. More often than not, these misses led to big plays and extended drives. Priority #1 for Chuck Pagano moving forward needs to be to get this problem cleared up, and soon.
Speaking of Pagano, I have a bone to pick with him as well. We’ve been hearing all preseason from the media how Pagano is much more aggressive than his predecessor, Greg Mattison. Well, early on in this game, we were treated to a huge contradiction of these assertions. On the Eagles’ opening drive, after Jason Avant’s potential touchdown reception was upheld as incomplete, Philly faced 3rd-and-goal from the Ravens’ 3-yard line. While the drive to that point had been a disaster for the Ravens, they could have saved some significant face (not to mention points) by holding the Eagles to a field goal there. Unfortuantely, Pagano took a page from the Greg Mattison playbook and called for a 3-man rush in that situation. The result, of course, was an easy touchdown for the Eagles.
We were led to believe that the 3-man rush was a thing of the past, yet…here it was, allowing touchdowns just like it did in New England and elsewhere in 2010.
The next game is Friday August 19, at M&T Bank Stadium against “Ravens West” – the Kansas City Chiefs. As we welcome Kelly Gregg, Le’Ron McClain, and Jared Gaither back to Baltimore, let’s hope the guys can figure some things out up in Owings Mills between now and then.
Because damn…that was ugly.