If you endured the full four quarters of the Ravens-Eagles preseason game last night, then I tip my cap to you. For me, preseason games become brutal right around the point in which I start calling rookies by former player’s names that previously possessed their same number. “Mark Clayton with a nice down block down the field for Todd Heap.” That happened about 15 minutes in last night.
Monday morning quarterbacks, or I suppose Friday morning in this case, will share what they saw from the Ravens from every aspect and what they were able to take away from the little play of the actual team. But in this piece, I will focus on the biggest problem, the lack of offense I expect from the Ravens this season.
As expected, the Ravens offensive line got pushed around last night. Baltimore never addressed their gaping hole at right tackle, but instead are relying on rookie Jah Reid who got smacked around all game. Mike Preston of The Sun calls Reid “more of project than an immediate solution.” I concur. Oniel Cousins also had a tough night at tackle. It seems like the Ravens only solution for the tackle position would be moving Marshal Yanda over, but then they has a hole at guard.
At center, Bryan Mattison filled in for the injured Matt Birk and he too struggled with blocking for Joe Flacco and Tyrod Taylor as they attempted to pass downfield. Taylor took a few shots from Eagles defenders.
The Ravens receiver corps, as expected, is Anquan Boldin and a bunch of other guys that aren’t very good. If the Ravens are relying on Torrey Smith, he’s going to have to be a different guy than the guy we saw on the field in Philadelphia on Thursday. He didn’t look like he had the confidence of a number two receiver in the NFL.
We didn’t get a chance to see what Ed Dickson could provide at tight end since he sat out with an injury, instead the number two guy Dennis Pitta started. Pitta looked solid in the middle of the field, but he certainly doesn’t have the deep target skills that the Ravens are hoping to get from Dickson.
If this game was any indication of what’s to come from the Ravens this season, I expect their offense to focus primarily on the run. The addition of Vonta Leach will certainly help Ray Rice through the middle of the field. I don’t expect the Ravens to pass downfield not only because they don’t have the protection, but also because they don’t have the targets. It should be a frustrating year for Anquan Boldin as defenses know that if they double cover him, Flacco has no other weapons.
Still you have to take this game, if you could even call it that, with a grain of salt. The Ravens could bring in some new pieces and make this offense more dynamic. They could adjust and cover up some of their problems and tweak the line a bit. Still though, the offense will be defined by Joe Flacco, who relies on his guys in the trenches and so far they don’t look like they have what it takes to give him adequate protection.