Ravens 17 - Carolina 12
We”ll there”s nothing like Ravens football! Here are some observations from the first Ravens” preseason game.
It seems like the Ravens” first team offense started out on fire, while the defense also played well. Many of the rookies were involved, including defensive tackle Terrence Cody, cornerback Prince Miller, tight end Ed Dickson, and rookie free-agent running back Curtis Steel.
Defensive Coordinator Greg Mattison may have scrapped his “front four pressure theory” when he brought a load of blitzes. FS Tom Zbikowski played well (getting a sack and forced fumble) for the secondary and showed great special teams play with a nice punt return. With all the talk of the secondary being so depleted, they really held their own. Cary Williams had a decent game starting as cornerback, snatching one interception. Of course Carolina couldn”t muster much at the quarterback position. OLB Antwan Barnes wreaked havoc on Carolina’s O-line, forcing them to get multiple holding penalties. No suprise since Barnes always had a knack of getting to the QB. Overall, the defense played surprisingly well with full-out intensity throughout the entire game.
Offensive Coordinator Cam Cameron called numerous pass plays, which showed the Ravens” intention of giving QB Joe Flacco many, many reps. Though the empty backfield plays never seemed to work well, Flacco looked very poised and accurate in general. But the much anticipated debut of WR Anquan Boldin was not as exciting as expected. WR Mark Clayton stole the show on offense with the long touchdown reception.
But where was RB Ray Rice? Also, the first team offensive line will have to pinch it in more; Flacco was seen scrambling at times and getting sacked as a result.
Putting Terrence Cody in as fullback was a pleasant surprise. The negatives for the offense, however, were the two crucial fumbles lost by the online casinos rookie running backs.
- Ed Dickson had some terrific catches; he showed great speed and was a big target.
- Terrence Cody played well on defense and made some excellent tackles. He had one false start on offense (that should be easily forgivable), but it was still exciting to see him in on the offensive side of the ball.
- Prince Miller got the MVP award with the long punt return of 57 yards. Playing as cornerback, he showed off his coverage skills and ended up with a productive night.
PLAYERS WHO COULD IMPROVE:
- Right Tackle Oniel Cousins needs to keep his ground and slow down the pass rush.
- Rookie running back Curtis Steel had some good runs, but needs to work on ball security.
- Rookie David Reed, had good ball security, but lacked speed in the return game.
- Linebacker Jameel McClain had an okay game, nothing stand-out.
- Backup QB Troy Smith seemed to spend too much time in the pocket. The run call on 3rd and 12 late in the games said it all— the coaches didn”t feel comfortable with Smith throwing when the game was on the line.
Both Billy Cundiff and Shayne Graham had good kick-offs. However, Graham had a long field goal miss. The competition should continue to build between the two throughout preseason.
Head Coach John Harbaugh’s challenge; it cost the team 5 yards!