On The Clock NFL Mock Draft from Fanspeak.com

You are browsing the archive for September 2012 - Fanspeak.com's Baltimore Ravens Blog.

Week Four Observations

September 28, 2012 in Uncategorized

The Ravens won 23-16 last night avoiding a loss to a scrappy Browns team who fought until the end.  The Ravens will next play October 7th in Kansas City.

Special Teams
If the Ravens want to contend for a Super Bowl they will need to fix their special teams.  They botched a snap on an extra point, missed a 47 yard field goal, and gave up a 40 yard punt return.  This was a big problem for the Ravens last year and it still needs to be fixed.  The snap on the extra point was a little off but holder Sam Koch should have caught it.  This mess up could have had a big impact on the game if the Browns were able to score a touchdown at the end of the game.  The Browns would have had to go for a two point conversion to tie it instead of an extra point. Rookie kicker Justin Tucker missed his first career field goal.  This had to happen eventually and it is good to get it out-of-the-way.  Thankfully it didn't impact the game too much.  Lastly, on the punt return the coverage got out ran.  Backup returner Travis Benjamin ran all the way across the field and picked up 40 yards.  In an important game you can't have 3 big mistakes on special teams.  Simply put, John Harbaugh was a special teams coach so he needs to fix this.

Anquan Boldin
One stat that really stands out for Boldin this game was 8 of his 9 catches were in the 2nd half.  The catches weren't easy either, Boldin made a few great catches on passes from Flacco.  To go along with his 9 catches he had 131 yards on 12 targets.  This was a clutch performance by Boldin.  On the Ravens opening drive of the 2nd half he had 3 catches for 60 yards.  This paved the way for a 1 yard touchdown run by Joe Flacco.  Boldin won't be putting up great numbers this year, but he is still a key component for this offense.

Michael Oher
Most of the time it isn't a good thing for an offensive lineman to make it into this list.  Well, that trend continues as Oher had 1 false start, two holds, and missed a key block on a 3rd and 2 run.  At one point FB Vonta Leach had to hold Oher back from the referees after he got upset over one of the holding calls.  Coming into the game Oher had played good so hopefully this was just an off game.

Ramon Harewood
While he had some good blocks, he looked really confused on a stunt in the 1st half.  On this play he gave up a sack.  Later in the game he was able to draw an offsides call as a defensive lineman jumped and Harewood moved to get the call.  Since this was only his 4th NFL game Harewood looks good and has a lot of potential.

Torrey Smith
Another great performance by Smith on national television.  Before we get into how Smith did last night, I would like to say I correctly predicted the Ravens first offensive play, a deep pass to Smith.  Now we have that out of the way, Smith had 6 catches for 97 yards and 1 TD on 10 targets.  In this game Smith showed how much he improved in the offseason.  Last year he was strictly a deep threat and now he looks like a much more complete receiver.  Deep routes are still his strength but he can now run outs, slants, curls, and crossing routes effectively.

Kelechi Osemele
Like the others Osemele gave up a sack.  Also, I am pretty sure he had a false start.  In the first 3 games of the season the offensive line gave up 5 sacks.  Last night they gave up 4 to the Browns.  This needs to improve if the Ravens want to win a Super Bowl.

Paul Kruger
Kruger played a great game except for one play which I will talk about in a minute.  When he dropped in coverage he played well and made 2 great plays on passes resulting pass deflections.  He also acquired his first sack of the season.  The rest of his stat line reads 2 tackles.  On the last play of the game he got pressure on the passer and forced a bad throw.  The one play that I was talking about was a personal foul.  There was an incompletion on 4th down with 2 seconds left in the game.  It looked like the Ravens had won but after the play Kruger pushed Browns OT Joe Thomas and was called for a personal foul giving the Browns one last chance to win the game.

Haloti Ngata
As usual, Ngata is having an excellent year.  He had many great plays last night and his stat line doesn't give him enough credit.  He was credited with 4 tackles with 1 of them for a loss.  However, he was consistently getting pressure on the QB.  On the play where Paul Kruger got his sack, Ngata pushed his blocker into QB Brandon Weeden before Kruger got there.  On his tackle for a loss he put a great swim move on Pro-Bowl C Alex Mack and stopped the runner in the backfield right away for a loss.  Most importantly, on the last play of the game he got pressure on Weeden along with Kruger.  This forced a bad throw from Weeden allowing the Ravens to win.

Dannell Ellerbe
This makes back to back good games for him.  During the week it came out that Ellerbe is playing more because he is better in pass coverage than Jameel McClain.  Ellerbe showed this last night by having at least 2 plays were he had flawless coverage.  One special teams he had the hit that knocked out Browns returner Josh Cribbs.  On the play he also forced a fumble.

Cary Williams
Surprise!  Williams is in here for a good reason this week.  Based on my count he only gave up a few receptions.  More importantly he had a 63 yard interception for a TD at the end of the 3rd quarter.  This play turned the momentum of the game back to the Ravens and gave them a two possession lead in a close game with one quarter left.

Week Four Injury Report

September 27, 2012 in Uncategorized

Ravens starting CB Lardarius Webb is probable.


T Jah Reid (calf)

LB Brendon Ayanbadejo (knee)
CB Lardarius Webb (knee)


WR Mohamed Massaquoi (hamstring)
TE Alex Smith (head)
LB James-Michael Johnson (ribs-oblique)

DB Ray Ventrone (hand)

CB Sheldon Brown (chest)
WR Josh Cribbs (knee)
G Jason Pinkston (ankle)
DE Frostee Rucker (wrist)
RBTrent Richardson (knee)
LS Christian Yount (shoulder)

Regular Season Week Four: What To Look For

September 26, 2012 in Uncategorized

1.  Ravens Passing Game
The Cleveland Browns are ranked 27th in the NFL for pass yards allowed per game with 269.  The Baltimore Ravens are 3rd in the NFL in pass yards per game with 301 yards each game.  This creates a big mismatch in favor of the Ravens.  One of the reasons the Browns are ranked so low right now is star CB Joe Haden is suspended 4 games under the NFL substance abuse policy.  The Ravens passing game is way improved from last year with the rise of TE Dennis Pitta, WR Torrey Smith, and QB Joe Flacco.  If I were offensive coordinator Cam Cameron I would start the game off with a deep pass to Smith to set the tone for the game and hopefully get a quick lead.

2.  Browns QB Brandon Weeden vs Ravens S Ed Reed
A savvy, veteran ballhawk, like Reed, feasts on rookie QBs like Weeden.  So far Weeden has thrown 6 INTs, an average of 2 per game.  He also has a completion percentage of 56.5, which isn't good for a starting QB.  In order to stop Reed from having a major impact on the game, Weeden will have to not stare down his targets and looks off Reed before throwing deep.  Odds are the Browns won't throw it deep much because of a few factors.  One of them is Reed obviously.  Another is Weeden is more comfortable  throwing shorter passes.  Lastly, the Ravens will try and blitz Weeden a lot to confuse him so the Browns won't have much time to throw deep.  Reed will most likely be watching Weeden's eyes as it is unlikely Weeden will be able to look off Reed effectively.  Expect Reed to have at least 1 INT and Weeden to throw no less than 2 INTs.

3.  Ravens Offensive Line
This will be a good matchup to watch as it will pit two strong units against each other.  The Ravens have given up 5 sacks so far this year which ranks as tied for 9th best in the NFL.  The strength of the Browns Defense is their pass rush.  In three games they have totaled 9 sacks which is tied for 6th best in the NFL.  It is time to see which unit is better.  If the Browns want to pull the upset they will need to create exotic blitzes to confuse the Ravens inexperienced line.  Expect the blitzes to come over LG and RT where the Ravens have a total of 6 NFL starts coming into this game.  With this being said the offensive line has really impressed so far this year and will look to continue this trend.  I predict the Browns will get 2 sacks which won't be enough to upset the Ravens.

4.  Ravens FB Vonta Leach vs Browns MLB D'Qwell Jackson
If the Ravens want to run effectively against the Browns, Leach will have to block Jackson well.  Jackson is the heart and soul of the Browns Defense and is the main run stuffer.  Leach relishes contact so he will gladly take on the challenge and probably succeed.  Leach is the key run blocker for the Ravens each week as he has to keep the LBs out of the way.  Cleveland is tied for the 22nd best run defense allowing 122.7 yards per game.  They are also allowing just over 4 yards per carry.  If Jackson is kept out of the way Ray Rice will be able to reach the second level of the defense and it will only be a matter of time before he breaks off a long run or two.

Week Three Observations

September 24, 2012 in Uncategorized

The won a very important game last night against the New England Patriots.  With the win the Ravens put the Patriots under .500 for the first time since week one of 2003.

I wish I didn't have to write about this again but, the with the way the game went last night I have to.  In total there were 24 penalties accepted for 218 yards.  The Ravens were called for 14 of these for 135 yards including 4 personal fouls.  Also, there were 13 first downs from penalties which is an NFL record.  Along with all the penalties there were many questionable calls throughout the game.  While fans from both teams may complain the refs favored the other team, the reality is they had bad calls both way.  They were very inconsistent on penalties in the secondary. They would call offensive pass interference for almost no contact but they then didn't call it when Brandon Lloyd pushed Cary Williams to the ground.  One important penalty in the secondary was when Ravens CB Lardarius Webb was called for illegal contact when he intercepted a Tom Brady pass.  While the Ravens still won the game 31-30 this penalty would have been even more controversial if they didn't.  Webb seemed to release the receiver right around the 5 yard distance which is the limit.  The funniest call of the game was when John Harbaugh was trying to call a timeout and was called for an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty because he accidentally made contact with a ref while doing it.  This made the whole stadium breakout in chants of "bulls***."  This chant went on for a few plays and I must say was very funny to listen to.  Lastly, the Patriots were unhappy at the end of the game because they thought Justin Tucker missed his game winning field goal.  The ball seemed to go above the post which would make it good.  Former head referee Mike Pereira agreed with the call on the field.  There were some other calls and I could make a whole column on this subject but I feel that would be a waste of time as this seems to happen every week.  I will leave you with one thing on the subject though.

Dear Commissioner Goodell,
Can you please use the money you will get from fining Bill Belichick to pay the regular referees.
Every NFL Fan

Joe Flacco
At the beginning of the game Flacco had happy feet and looked like he did in the Eagles game.  After a few drives he pulled himself together and had a great game.  In total Flacco went 28-of-39 with 382 yards, 3 TDs, and 1 INT.   This is enough to have outplayed Tom Brady but Flacco did even better than that.  In the 4th quarter Flacco went 12-15 with 161 yards, 1 TD, and a QBR of 99.1 (100 is the best QBR possible).  Brady went 5-of-9 with 41 yards and a QBR of 35.7.  If you go off stats or just watching the game, you can conclude that Flacco outplayed Brady for the second time in a row.  Out of Flacco's 28 completions, 9 of them were for 20 yards or longer.  Flacco had a great bounce back game and has preformed when the spotlight has been on him on national tv.

Ray Rice
Rice had a total of 150 total yards on 25 carries which averages out to 6 yards per touch.  He also had a rushing TD.  As usual, when Rice is doing good the Ravens offense also does good.  One thing that impressed me about Rice last night was his pass blocking.  On one play he leveled a pass rusher, giving Flacco time to find his guy down the field.

Bernard Pierce
Even though he didn't play much, he had a big impact on the game.  He had 4 rushes for 17 yards and 1 catch for 10 yards.  The most important play of the game for him was the rush on 4th down.  Pierce didn't convert the 4th down but it wasn't his fault.  There was a missed block which led to him being stuffed.  I still question the play call as 1) it would have been a 50 yard field goal attempt and Tucker made 3 from that range last week and 2) if you are going to run it, at least have your best RB in.

Torrey Smith
There are no words that can describe what Smith went through yesterday.  He lost his younger brother, Tevin, early in the morning.  Then on 1 hour of sleep he played what could be his best game as a professional so far.  He had 6 catches for 127 yards and 2 TDs.  One play that stood out to me that can easily be overlooked is the fact he broke up an INT early in the game.  This was a complete hustle play.  Many receivers wouldn't have been able to make the play and others wouldn't have tried.  The stat line is great but to be doing it under his circumstances is just incredible.  Here is a good story about what Smith did last night.

Dennis Pitta
Another strong performance from Pitta with 5 catches for 50 yards and 1 TD.  More importantly, earlier in the week he was promoted to 1st on the depth chart.

Marshal Yanda
Usually Yanda is reliable and the best offensive lineman the Ravens have.  Last night was the exception to that rule.  By my count, Yanda was called for 1 false start and 2 holds.  He should have been called for a 3rd hold but there was another hold on the play which was called instead. Yanda did have a tough matchup with Vince Wilfork so it is a little explainable.  Expect Yanda to come out motivated next week against the Browns.

Dannell Ellerbe
Usually Ellerbe doesn't play much but he took advantage of his opportunity last night.  By the end of the game he racked up 9 tackles with 1.5 sacks and 2 tackles for a loss.  If he keeps playing like this he will get the chance to start when Ray Lewis decides to retire.  Jameel McClain is the normal starter but he didn't play much and there were not reports of an injury for him.  It will be interesting to see who starts next week.

Cary Williams
I am not sure I have said a good thing about Williams this whole year.  That isn't about to change as he played awful again last night.  It is never a good sign when you have 10 solo tackles as a CB.  Williams was matched up against Brandon Lloyd most of the night and Lloyd had 9 catches for 108 yards.  Based on my observations only one of those didn't come against Williams.  On top of this, Williams was called for an illegal contact penalty which, surprise, was the right call.  This is his contract year and he isn't doing anything to help his cause.  To make matters worse he has already declined a 3 year $15 million contract from the Ravens.

Courtney Upshaw
While he didn't start the game off good he finished strong.  Early in the game he missed a sack on Brady as he didn't wrap up.  All things considered Brady is one of the easiest QBs to take down in the league so it has to be a little embarrassing for Upshaw.  Upshaw had great contain on the few reverses the Patriots ran though.  He stopped one of them for at least a 5 yard loss.  On a sweep play he chased it down from the backside stopping the runner for a short game.

Regular Season Week Three: What To Look For

September 22, 2012 in Uncategorized

1.  QB Tom Brady vs S Ed Reed
This is a matchup between two of the best to ever play their positions.  If you don't think this battle is important just look at this picture.  On the bottom of Brady's wristband with all the plays on, you can see writings saying "Find 20 on every play."  These two have great respect for each other and it will be a great chess match to watch.  Expect Brady to be looking for him before every play again.  If Reed can get interception on Brady it could be a game changer.

2.  Bernard Pollard
Pollard is know as the "Patriot Killer."  This is because he tore Tom Brady's ACL in 2008 with the Chiefs.  He also tore Wes Welker's ACL in 2010 with the Texans.  Last year he gave Rob Gronkowski a high ankle sprain in the AFC Championship game which really limited him in the Super Bowl.  Pollard doesn't think of himself as a "Patriot Killer."  In this weeks game he will have to help cover Patriots star TE Rob Gronkowski.  Last year Gronkowski had 5 catches for 87 yards in the AFC Championship game.  Pollard's job is easier this time around as the other TE for the Patriots, Aaron Hernandez, is out with a sprained ankle.  Pollard is also coming off a rib contusion but is listed as probable on the injury report.

3.  C Matt Birk vs DT Vince Wilfork
In the AFC Championship, Wilfork bull rushed Birk very effectively.  This completely disrupted the Ravens offense at times.  This time around the Ravens should give help to Birk.  They should have G Marshal Yanda provide help on certain plays, especially runs up the middle.  It wouldn't be surprising to see the Patriots blitz up the middle to try and take advantage of Birk's age and the inexperience of the other starting guard, Ramon Harewood who has played in 2 NFL games.

4.  Anquan Boldin and Torrey Smith
The Ravens need to get their two starting WRs more involved this week if they want to win.  Flacco can't just target RB Ray Rice and TE Dennis Pitta all the time.  Last week Boldin and Smith combined for 4 catches for 58 yards.  This could be acceptable if they both had 4 catches for 58 yards but they didn't.  Even that stat line is a little low for what Smith and Boldin should be doing.  The Patriots secondary isn't nearly as good as the Eagles was.  Therefore, Boldin and Smith should be more involved in the game.  If I were calling the plays I would try to at least get them 5 catches.  I would use Smith to take the top off the defense and then run some curls and crossing routes to take advantage of the soft coverage on him.  Boldin should be doing the underneath and crossing routes most of the game.  Boldin is most effective on 3rd down so look for the Ravens to target him more in those situations.

Week Three Injury Report

September 22, 2012 in Uncategorized

Ravens starting S Bernard Pollard is probable after leaving last week's game with an injury.


T Jah Reid (leg)

LB Paul Kruger (back)
LB Jameel McClain (knee)
DE Pernell McPhee (knee)
OT Michael Oher (ankle)
S Bernard Pollard (chest)
CB Lardarius Webb (knee)


DT Justin Francis (ankle)
TE Aaron Hernandez (ankle)

C Dan Connolly (concussion)
DE Brandon Deaderick (ankle)
CB Alfonzo Dennard (hamstring)
TEDaniel Fells (shin)
WR Brandon Lloyd (thigh)
G Logan Mankins (hip)
C Nick McDonald(shoulder)
CB Sterling Moore (knee)
RB Shane Vereen (foot)
T Sebastian Vollmer (back)

S Patrick Chung (shoulder)

Week Two Observations

September 18, 2012 in Uncategorized

The Ravens suffered a close defeat to the Philadelphia Eagles 24-23 on Sunday.  This makes 3 straight years that the Ravens have won their opener but lost the next game.  Their next game is on Sunday Night Football, home against the New England Patriots.

Offensive Play Calling
In my opinion the play calling in this game wasn't very good, and that is putting it nicely.  In the 2nd half the Ravens had 5 situations where it was 3rd or 4th down with 1 or 2 yards to go.  Every time this occurred they passed the ball, despite RB Ray Rice averaging about 6 yards per carry. To make matters worse QB Joe Flacco wasn't playing well at all in the 2nd half.  If your QB is struggling and your RB is running well you keep feeding the RB.  This is just another example of Cam Cameron's play calling which has been frustrating Ravens fans since he was hired in 2008.

Defensive Play Calling
The Eagles offense was able to march up and down the field on the Ravens Defense which is supposed to be a top defense.  The Eagles compiled a total of 486 total yards.  This breakdowns to 357 passing yards and 129 rushing yards.  The Ravens Defense is known as aggressive with lots of blitzing but in the 2nd half there was little of this.  They mainly rushed 4 people and dropped the rest back in zones.  This would be ok if star pass rusher Terrell Suggs was healthy, but he isn't so blitzes must be run in order to get pressure on the QB.  This play calling was very similar to Greg Mattison's from a few years ago when the defense wasn't as successful.  To be successful this defense needs to blitz and cause pressure on the passer allowing the LBs and DBs to make key plays.

John Harbaugh
For some reason Harbaugh challenged a play that had no chance of being overturned.  The only possible explanation of this is he was trying to take advantage of the bad officiating of the replacement officials (see below).  Other than this, he needs to tell Cam Cameron to run the ball. Harbaugh is the head coach so he has to see what is going on and tell his coordinators what adjustments to make.  Lastly, it is really funny watching him argue with the officials with the way he looks while yelling.

If I had to use one word to describe the officiating in this game it would be horrible.  Right from the start the referees had no control over the game with multiple brawls starting.  Usually, to control this a player will be ejected to restore order.  This never happened, the officials just kept calling offsetting personal fouls.  That is just the tip of the iceberg.  In the 2nd half there was two, two minute warnings due to the referees messing up the game clock.  After most penalties and challenges there was a delay over where the ball was to be placed.  Penalty wise, they missed calls on both teams.  The most important call of the game was an offensive pass interference on Ravens WR Jacoby Jones.  He had just caught what appeared to be a touchdown which would give the Ravens a solid, late lead.  On the play, Eagles CB Nnamdi Asomugha was making contact with Jones all the way down the field and Jones was making little contact.  If this wasn't called the Ravens would have won because on this drive the Ravens had to settle for a field goal instead of a TD.  The final score would have been 27-24.  In summary, the NFL needs to reach an agreement with the regular officials to end their lockout.

Joe Flacco
This was a tale of two halves as Flacco played well in the first half but looked awful in the second.  He had a chance to shake the inconsistent label but did nothing to silence the doubters in the second half.  His accuracy, deep and short, was all over the place.  For most of the second half he just looked to Ray Rice and Dennis Pitta, even if they were triple covered, like Pitta was on Flacco's interception.  Flacco needs to bounce back strong against the Patriots as he will have to play well for the Ravens to win.

Ray Rice
As usual, Rice played great but the Ravens didn't fed him the ball enough.  He had 16 carries for 99 yards and 6 catches for 53 yards.  In the clutch you are supposed to give the ball to your best players but the Ravens didn't do that.  An easy way to figure out if the Ravens will win a game is look at Rice's touches and what he does with them.  A total of 16 carries in a close game isn't enough to win.

Courtney Upshaw
In his first start of his career, Upshaw played very well and will be pushing for more playing time now.  Overall, he had 6 tackles but that doesn't tell the whole tale.  On the Eagles first drive, he got pressure on Michael Vick causing Vick to scramble and then throw an interception.  Upshaw also forced pressure on other plays as well.

Jacoby Jones
Jones has looked like a completely different player so far this year than he did last year.  He had one catch for 21 yards which was a TD.  What makes this even more impressive is he did it against one of the best CBs in the NFL, Nnamdi Asomugha.  Jones completely burned him for the TD.  As discussed above, he should have had another TD on Asomugha but it was called back due to a questionable pass interference call.

Cary Williams
Against the Eagles, Williams was all talk and no game.  He was constantly arguing with Eagles WR DeSean Jackson.  Williams didn't finish with a pass deflection and gave up a very, very bad touchdown.  He let Jeremy Maclin run right past and into the end zone with nobody within 15 yards.  It wouldn't be surprising to see Jimmy Smith starting at CB next week against the Patriots.

Justin Tucker
Tucker was flawless on Sunday.  He made all 3 of the field goals he attempted.  They weren't your normal kicks either, as they were from 56, 51, and 48 yards.  He was also perfect on extra points and all of his kickoffs were good.  Tucker played like a seasoned veteran, not an undrafted rookie.

Bernard Pollard
Pollard didn't play long due to injury, but he did make a big impact.  On the first drive off the game he had an interception in the end zone to end the Eagles drive.  Later, he had a big hit on Eagle TE Brent Celek.  Pollard had 4 tackles, 1 sack, 1 INT, and 1 pass deflection.  When he went out of the game with a rib contusion, the Ravens Defense was never they same.  This game really showed his importance to the defense.


Week Two Injury Report

September 15, 2012 in Uncategorized

Ravens starting OLB Paul Kruger is questionable


T Jah Reid (leg)

LB Paul Kruger (back)
DE Pernell McPhee (knee)

C Matt Birk (thigh)
S Ed Reed (thigh)


WR Riley Cooper (collarbone)

WR DeSean Jackson (hamstring)
WR Jeremy Maclin (hip)
CB Curtis Marsh (hamstring)

S Colt Anderson (knee)
S Kurt Coleman (facial lacerations)
WR Jason Avant (wrist)

Regular Season Week Two: What To Look For

September 15, 2012 in Uncategorized

After starting the season with a resounding win on Monday Night Football the Ravens travel to Philadelphia to face the 1-0 Eagles.

1.  Eagles Wide Receivers vs the Ravens Secondary
The Eagles two starting WRs, Jeremy Maclin and DeSean Jackson, are both questionable but are expected to play.  If they do play it will be a good matchup to watch the Ravens talented, young CBs.  Since, the WRs will be hampered a little by injuries the Ravens will have a small advantage.  Expect the Eagles to run many deep routes off play action and many quick passes to take advantage of the speed their WRs have.

2.  The Starting Quarterbacks
The Eagles Michael Vick and the Ravens Joe Flacco had polar opposite games in week one.  Vick look horrible throwing 4 INTs and had at least one more dropped.  Flacco had a great game throwing for just under 300 yards and 2 TDs.  He also ran the Ravens new hurry up offense to perfection.  Vick will need a good game to silence his doubters for now while Flacco will need to play just like last week to keep his doubters away and prove week one wasn't a fluke.

3.  Eagles RB LeSean McCoy vs Ravens LB Ray Lewis
This will determine whether the Eagles will be able to run well or if they will have to rely on their passing game.  Last week McCoy had 110 yard rushing on 20 carries plus 6 catches for 26 yards.  Lewis is the Ravens main run stuffer on the inside and will need to prevent McCoy from getting to the second level.  Since the Ravens run a lot of zone defense Lewis won't be matched up McCoy one on one.  This plays to the Ravens advantage as Lewis could get burned by McCoy in one on one coverage and if Vick sees this he will need to take advantage of it.

4.  Ravens Offensive Line vs Eagles Defensive Line
Last week the Ravens displayed a new look offensive line and for the most part it was good.  Now they face the dominant Eagles line.  The Eagles had 2 sacks last week against the Browns which was less than expected.  The main battle will be on the outside with rookie RT Kelechi Osemele facing veterans Trent Cole and Jason Babin.  Expect the Ravens to line up with TEs on the right side to help out.  They also could have the RBs run chip blocks on the ends which can be very effective if done correctly.

Week One Observations

September 12, 2012 in Uncategorized

The Ravens started off the regular season with a 44-13 win over a divisional rival in the Cincinnati Bengals.

Joe Flacco
We may as well start off with the obvious which is Flacco.  You could argue this was Flacco's best games ever in his career.  He looked very comfortable in the Ravens new hurry up offense.  Overall, Flacco went 21-29 with 299 yards and 2 TDs.  He wasn't just throwing to one or two people either.  In total Flacco completed passes to 7 different players.  This season is critical for the Ravens and Flacco and so far he looks ready for the challenge.

Ray Rice
The first thing you notice when you look at the box score for Rice is he only had 13 touches.  However, he had 93 yards on these touches and 2 TDs.  The Ravens didn't really need Rice for the game and he didn't play much late in the game.  This may be a sign of a shift in the offense and the fact the Ravens didn't need Rice at his best on Monday night.  If this amount of touches continue over the coming weeks it will mean Rice will be fresher for the playoffs were you need a solid run game to win.

Dennis Pitta
Originally it looked like Pitta wouldn't play because he broke his hand in the first preseason game.  Pitta recovered fast though and played well showing he really is Flacco's favorite target and security blanket.  He led the Ravens in catches with 5 and yards with 73.  He also had a touchdown where Flacco just lobbed it up and Pitta came down with it.  Flacco was under pressure so he threw it up to his favorite target trusting he would come down with it.  The Ravens depth chart doesn't show the trust Flacco and Pitta have in each other, as Pitta puts up starting TE stats and Ed Dickson puts up backups stats usually (for a team that plays 2 TEs a lot that is).

Deonte Thompson
Thompson did return kickoffs which means he should be able to bring one back for a TD at some point this season.  More importantly when he came in at WR late in the game he looked impressive.  He had 1 catch for 25 yards and another catch that would have been very impressive had he stayed in bounds.  The throw from Tyrod Taylor was to far outside making Thompson go out-of-bounds but he still made a great play on it.

Ray Lewis
Lewis had lost about 10 lbs over the offseason in order to keep up with the modern-day NFL.  Overall he looked impressive, leading the Ravens with 14 tackles and also had 1 sack.  Lewis showed he still has it and should be fine in the middle again for the Ravens in their quest for a Super Bowl title.

Ed Reed
When I hear Ed Reed's name the first thing that I think of is interception returns.  On Monday night Reed became the all-time leader in interception return yards with 1,497 passing Rod Woodson.  He had 1 INT which, naturally, he returned for a TD.  On this play Reed broke the record.  Along with the interception Reed had 2 tackles and 2 pass deflections.

Courtney Upshaw
The Ravens top draft pick this year had limited playing time but made the most of it.  On one play he completely blew up a screen by himself. The Bengals tried doing a TE screen but Upshaw pushed the TE back about 5 yards before he shook him off and went after the QB.  On another play Upshaw received half a sack with Phernell McPhee where about half the Ravens rushing the QB made it through the line.  In total he had 4 tackles and 0.5 sacks.

Ma'ake Kemoeatu
After a year out of football Kemoeatu started for one of the best defenses in the league and made a few plays.  In order to play again he lost 80 lbs.  He had 1 tackle during the game but for a NT that is good as their main job is to take up blockers.