FOOTBALL IS BACK…….kinda.
When the Ravens hit the field this evening against the Eagles, they will do so with more questions than answers. That’s OK. This is what preseason football is for.
The Ravens won’t wow you with 80 yard bombs to speedy receivers or flea flickers. They are going to play basic football. The bare minimum. The fundamentals. With second year player Dennis Pitta starting at Tight End and rookie Torrey Smith starting at Wide Receiver, there is only so much you can do. And the starting center spent last year in the practice squad……..playing defense.
So needless to say, it may get pretty ugly out there. Timing remains an issue. But not just with the Ravens. It’s an issue with all 32 teams in the NFL. No OTA’s and no minicamps will make for a sloppy preseason. The Ravens coaches and vets have raved about how well the team is doing in training camp so far. So much so that Flacco was asked whether or not OTA’s and minicamps are overrated.
“It’s a little overrated,” said Flacco. “It’s not overrated for the rookies. They need it.”
I disagree completely. You need as many reps as you can get with your receivers. This includes Boldin and Rice. Training Camp just isn’t enough. In fact neither are OTA’s and minicamps. The kind of rapport you want to have with receivers Doss and Smith won’t really come to fruition until the middle of the season. Every snap is huge in the NFL. The rookies as well as Flacco need to take advantage. It’s a shame they couldn’t.
Football is back. Thursday night is going to be exciting. Just don’t expect too much.
Things to watch vs. Eagles
WR Tandon Doss – The media knows how special this guy can be. But in his only showing against the fans of Baltimore, Doss was anything but great. He dropped a couple of easy catches and you could tell by his body language that he was taking it hard. That’s a good thing. There will be plenty of overthrown balls on Thursday, but Doss has to catch the ones that hit his hands. I think he’ll do fine.
QB Tyrod Taylor – Taylor is scheduled to receive the bulk of the snaps on Thursday. Expect a lot of scrambles from this guy. Cam Cameron is high on this kid. He’s picking up the offense better than expected and his accuracy is underrated. He is making a case for the number 2 spot. A good showing tonight will go a long way in proving he deserves it.
OT Jah Reid – Reid has performed well in camp. Lately Oneil Cousins has fielded with the first team. But if Jah Reid can perform in games like he has in practice, Reid will start against the Steelers.
LB Sergio Kindle – This is probably the biggest game of Kindle’s life. He missed all of 2010 with a fractured skull. And while many people believed he would never play football again, Kindle is stepping on the field for the first time. He may be the Ravens only hope at a legitimate pass rusher outside of Terrell Suggs. It’ll be interesting to see how Kindle handles live football.
CB Cary Williams – By far, the biggest surprise in camp so far is Cary Williams. He’s been all over the ball. The Ravens love playmakers, and Williams is proving to be just that. Keep an eye on how this guy performs in this game. I know I will.
Player under the radar: WR Laquan Williams – He’s had a stellar camp. Williams has made a load of big plays. But when you get to his part of the depth chart, special teams is key. He’s been great as a Wide Receiver, but those last few spots are reserved for key members of special teams. He’ll have to make an impact on special teams in order to gain a spot on the team. Look out for him tonight.