Ravens Good Again, But Show Room for Improvement in 24-23 Win Over Jets

August 24, 2009 | Glenn Clark

There are two particularly important things that came from the Ravens’ 24-23 win over the New York Jets Monday night.

One-the Ravens starters appeared to thoroughly outplay the Jets’ top units, outscoring them 21-7 in the first half.

Two-the Ravens appeared to stay totally healthy coming out of the game.

But beyond that, the Ravens were far from perfect; which might be the best thing that could happen to a coaching staff coming out of Training Camp.

After taking a 14-0 lead, there were numerous mistakes:
-Multiple penalties that nearly pushed the team out of field goal range on Joe Flacco’s final drive
-Graham Gano’s missed 46 yard FG attempt on that same drive
-Two 3rd and long conversions on Mark Sanchez’s final drive
-A wheel route converted successfully by Sanchez to Leon Washington
-A fumble to open the 2nd half by Lardarius Webb
-2 missed coverages by Frank Walker early in the 2nd half
-2 interceptions by Troy Smith (one which was negated by a penalty)
-4 QB sacks by Jets defenders
-Only 3 second half points
-A pass interference call in the endzone on Evan Oglesby during the Jets’ final drive
-and more

It is easy to pass off such mistakes by saying something along the lines of “well, the starters had been taken out of the game by that point.”

But many of the mistakes came from players who the Ravens are either counting on or hoping to count on during the regular season. Frank Walker may well be part of the cornerback rotation. Troy Smith is one hit away from coming into the game. Matt Birk (who was flagged for holding during Flacco’s final drive) was the team’s most significant offseason acquisition. Graham Gano has been in a heated battle to replace the only kicker the Ravens have ever began a season with.

It is easy for Ray Lewis to shrug off dropping an early interception by saying “I didn’t want that one until the regular season.” Easy because the Ravens coaching staff can firmly believe that come Sept. 13 against the Chiefs, Ray Lewis WILL make that same interception. But it isn’t easy for the team to say that Lardarius Webb will definitely hold on to the ball when he’s in the open field and gets hit. They’ve never seen him do it before. It has to be concerning.

The Ravens looked very good for an extended part of their win Monday night. But when they report back to Owings Mills Wednesday, they’ll have plenty to work on. And that might be the best thing that came out of the game.

We’ll have plenty of reaction to preseason game 2 throughout the day Tuesday on AM1570 WNST and online at WNST.net.

-G

Final stats:

Joe Flacco finished 8/18 for 120 yards. Troy Smith went 4 or 9 for 84 yards with an interception.
Ray Rice lead Ravens rushers with 29 yards on 8 carries. He added a TD. Willis McGahee rushed 8 times for 23 yards.
Derrick Mason lead Ravens receivers with 3 catches for 68 yards. Justin Harper caught 2 balls for 62 yards. Demetrius Williams and Le’Ron McClain each hauled in 2 catches, for 20 and 18 yards respectively.
Haloti Ngata and Jameel McClain each had INT’s, and each returned them for a TD. Ngata’s from 25 yards, McClain’s from 16.
Sam Koch punted 5 times for 242 yards (average of 48.4 yards). He had a net average of 35.8 yards, and pinned 2 punts inside the 20.
Graham Gano missed his only field goal attempt (46), Steve Hauschka missed his (42).
Jameel McClain lead the team with 6 tackles. Tavares Gooden had the team’s only sack.

Mark Sanchez finished 3 of 8 for 43 yards with a TD and an INT. Kellen Clemens finished 5 of 10 for 60 yards with a TD and an INT. Erik Ainge finished 7 of 14 for 57 yards.
Leon Washington rushed 8 times for 48 yards. Danny Woodhead rushed 14 times for 41 yards. Thomas Jones rushed 8 times for 32 yards. Erik Ainge rushed twice for 7 yards, including the Jets’ only rushing TD.
Leon Washington caught 2 passes for 35 yards and a TD. David Clowney caught 2 passes for 33 yards and a TD. Britt Davis and Danny Woodhead each caught 2 passes, for 19 and 12 yards respectively.
Marquice Cole had the Jets’ only INT, he returned it 25 yards.
Reggie Hodges punted 3 times for 109 yards (36.3 yard average). He net all 109 yards. He pinned the Ravens inside the 20 twice. Kenneth Parrish punted twice for 78 yards (39 yard average, 36 yard net average).
Parker Douglass made his only field goal attempt (20 yards).
David Harris, Calvin Pace, Howard Green, and Ropati Pitoitua all tallied sacks for the Jets. Dwight Lowery and Mike DeVito each had 5 tackles to lead the way for the Jets.

The Ravens outgained the Jets offensively 295-248 in net yards. The Jets finished with 18 first downs to the Ravens’ 13. The Ravens were penalized 9 times for 76 yards, the Hets 6 times for 55 yards.

11:10-Ravens win 24-23, improve to 2-0 in fake football games. Back shortly with more.

11:08-Lardarius Webb is the hero, breaking up Ainge’s pass off his back foot. Ravens maintain 24-23 lead with :22 left, Rex will try to get ball back.

11:07-Jets Safety Jim Leonhard:

(on coming back to Baltimore) “It was great. It was good to come back and see the old guys. Obviously, we’ve got to play better than we are right now to win, but we saw some good things.” We faced a great team. (They’re the) AFC Championship team from last year, so we’re going to learn a lot from this.”

(on positives from the first half) “We stopped the run well. They didn’t do much there and I thought we played with the right intensity. We just can’t give up the big plays that we did.”

11:05-Ainge gets in on 3rd down. Now Rex Ryan needs to go for 2. Outcome will be on the line here with 22 seconds left. 24-23 Ravens right now. Rex will do the right thing. Not many fans left, but they’re spirited….

11:02-Jets QB Mark Sanchez:

“(It was) a great experience, not the best start on Monday night, but I learned quite a bit. The first play I thought I was checking the ball down and the D-lineman jumped right in front of the ball so they’re obviously an athletic group. (They’re) very fast. They’re flying around to the ball and as soon as we got our tempo going (and) our running game going (we) came back after taking a big hit on a fumble (and) threw a touchdown. That’s the way you want to respond but (there is) a lot of great film from this and obviously (it is) a great learning experience. It was exciting to play on Monday night and I just want to get better.”

11:00-Not a lot of fans left here, but they are vocal. Paul Kruger still in this game after starting.

Jets will have a first and goal from the 1 after Evan Oglesby is called for pass interference. 49 seconds to play. Jesus.

10:59-Offensive Coordinator Cam Cameron:

(on the offense) “Well, we certainly had to handle a variety of blitzes. Joe [Flacco] got hit a little, and typical of him, he came to the sideline and said ‘It felt like football. I didn’t get hit last week.’”

(on the Ray Rice touchdown) “Joe handled the fake on Ray’s [Rice] touchdown OK. It was really nice to get the touchdown.”

10:57-Defensive Coordinator Greg Mattison:

(on the defense) “We gave up too much on the ground in the first half, especially against the draws. We have to get off the blocks better.”

“We love the big plays for the scores, but we gave up too much on their touchdown drive, particularly on third down. They got three big plays, including the touchdown.”

10:54-Head Coach John Harbaugh:

(on his team’s play in the first half) “We didn’t do a good job in the middle of the second quarter on their touchdown drive. They got it started with a run and hit the screen to get a first down. They hit us on a wheel route for the touchdown.”

“We did make the big plays on defense with Haloti [Ngata] and [Jameel] McClain. It was good to see McClain come back and make the big play after giving up the touchdown and getting caught in a kickoff coverage.”

“Really, without our two big defensive plays, it was a very competitive first half-a 7-7 game.”

10:52-Erik Ainge driving. If Jets score a TD, Rex Ryan better go for 2….

10:49-WR Derrick Mason:

“In the first game of the preseason, everybody is getting used to each other, being out there playing against another team. But in the second game, you clear up all the mistakes, and you go out there and run your offense more fluidly. We put together a little game plan for this game. It wasn’t extensive, but it was 15 or 20 plays that we really wanted to work on. Today it seemed to work.”

(on his timing with QB Joe Flacco) “The timing is good between Joe and me. Once I got back into practice, we started clicking right away. Early on, though, you’re trying to get everyone else involved. You want to focus on the other receivers, because the coaches know what I can do out there. In the second and third preseason game, that’s really when you try to get your main guys involved in the game.”

10:47-I will be forced to admit, I must have slept through the part of the game when Erik Ainge came in. Did John Beck come in yet too?

10:45-Prescott Burgess forced a fumble from Aundrae Allison on the kickoff, but Allison recovered it himself. Burgess could be flirting with the cut line.

10:43-RB Ray Rice:

(on the touchdown handoff from QB Joe Flacco) “We worked on it in practice, the little Statue of Liberty play, which I was representing the New York area. Fortunately, we were able to execute it, and we got it done. That’s what you have to do in the preseason. It’s all about executing and making plays.”

(on getting the tough rushing yards) “The Jets’ defense definitely played tough. We expected them to be tough, and that’s only going to make us better when we play other teams.”

10:42-Hauschka is true on his 42 yard attempt, and may have really taken a step tonight towards winning the job. 24-17 Ravens with 7:12 to play. More quotes…..

10:39-After taking another sack; Troy Smith unloads downfield for a 51 yard completion to Justin Harper. He then used his legs to pick up another first down; and finally has this team moving a bit. Jalen Parmele will be stopped on 3rd down, and Hauschka will stare down what looks like a pretty important 42 yard kick.

10:36-QB Joe Flacco:

“I had a couple of incompletions early, where I wasn’t really completing the ball. But, we came out on that second drive and made some big plays. My last drive out there, we really did a good job converting third downs. Guys made some big plays, including Todd [Heap], who came across the middle and made a nice catch on third down. That’s what we need to to to complete those long drives. We have to get those third downs, which is important. I felt pretty comfortable overall. We kind of killed ourselves once we got down there in the red zone. I took a sack, and we had that holding call after I ran for the first down. But as long as we eliminate those things, we’ll be OK and be on our way.”

(on the touchdown handoff to RB Ray Rice) “My ball handling was kind of wrong. We did a little bait and throw handoff, and I didn’t do it right. It still worke. So, I’m happy.”

10:35-Ravens maintain 21-17 lead, Troy Smith back out on the field to start a drive from his own 14 with 11:28 to play. More quotes…..

10:22-Here are some halftime quotes:

LB Ray Lewis:

(on shutting out the Jets in the 1st half) “I don’t care if you’ve coached for us or not, when you play against our defense, it’s hard. You put a young guy like [Mark] Sanchez in there, and you see our defense, it can be difficult. We shut them out again, and we take pride in that-bottom line. They threw everything at us-draws, reverses. They really threw everything at us. I just think as a defense overall, we just made some great plays.”

(on pressuring Sanchez) “You don’t know what you’re playing against until you actually play against us. You saw his eyes get big, and he was jumping around in the pocket. He threw one [interception-touchdown return] to Haloti [Ngata]. He threw another one to me, which I could’ve caught, but I didn’t want that one until the regular season. Bottom line, we gave a lot of looks and disguises, and we confused him a little bit. He will be OK, but right now, as a first-team defense, we are definitely clicking.”

10:16-LJ Smith has a pulled hamstring and is doubtful to return. I wouldn’t expect him. Jets again on Ravens side of field.

10:09-Smith sacked again. A lot of anti-Troy Smith sentiment on Twitter and Facebook tonight. He’s struggled; but I don’t think it’s anything to be concerned about. Smith needs to be able to use his feet to be successful; and he’s clearly not able to incorporate that tonight.

10:07-Tonight’s attendance announced at 70,335. Nestor believes there’s legitimately 60,000.

10:04-Paul Kruger with the deflection, and the Jets will be forced to kick a field goal. Surprised they wouldn’t let Clemens try to convert here; especially considering the fact that they’re playing a backup kicker. 21-17 Ravens after Douglass connects from 20.

10:02-Kellen Clemens is just carving up the Ravens’ reserves right now. They tried to throw a fade route to Smith over Walker in the corner of the endzone; but Smith couldn’t get there. Big 3rd and goal for the Ravens’ defense here.

9:59-Brad Smith had Frank Walker beaten AGAIN on that play, but dropped a sure fire TD in the endzone. Walker is fighting the wrong side of the cut line right now.

9:57-Another interception from Marquice Cole just a few plays later, and this one counts. Jets will take over at Baltimore’s 39; and the positive energy from the first team has given way to serious disappointment.

9:55-Ravens take over at own 44, but Troy Smith is intercepted by James Ihedigbo one play later. The Ravens got the ball back after offsetting penalties; but John Harbaugh CANNOT be happy with how his 2nd unit is playing right now.

9:47-Webb fumbles 2nd half kickoff return, recovered by Marques Murrell. Clemens will have short field to try to maneuver. The ball never touched the ground on the fumble.

9:33-Ravens take 21-7 lead to intermission. I’ll be back shortly with more.

9:30-If that’s a regular season game, the Jets probably play for the half. Instead, Clemens finds Jameel McClain when he’s looking for Brad Smith, and McClain finds the endzone. 21-7 Ravens after a Hauschka XP. No idea why Clemens tried throwing that ball. Ngata with the hit.

Did Gano’s miss cost him the chance to kick the rest of the game?

9:27-Took 30 seconds to get 2 plays off. Would have been worth it had Jayson Foster hauled in pass downfield; but he might have heard Emanuel Cook’s footsteps. Troy Smith is sacked by David Harris on 3rd down; and the Ravens will have to punt with 1:03 to play in the half.

9:25-Lardarius Webb with the fair catch on this punt, and the Ravens will take over at their own 32. Troy Smith was successful in this situation last week; finding Justin Harper for a late TD.

9:21-Kellen Clemens into the game for the Jets.

Sanchez finishes 3/8 for 43 yards with a TD and a pick.

9:16-This is looking like a drive for the Ravens to determine the “rest” of the running game. We know Ray Rice is “the guy”, but how will this team utilize their other backs? McGahee provided a nice change of pace last week, but that needs to be a week in, week out thing.

Le’Ron McClain looked strong coming out of the backfield. It will be hard to keep the ball out of his hands.

Koch will be forced to punt again after a holding call. Crowd certainly looked happy to see Jim Leonhard back to field the punt.

9:13-Flacco finishes 8/18 for 120 yards as Troy Smith enters the game. National analysts really hyping the importance of Mark Sanchez’s scoring drive-especially considering he’s probably done now. Leon Washington carried him on the drive; and it was done without the Ravens’ top 2 defensive players. But the Jets clearly want to start Sanchez this season; so he could really use some positive feelings.

9:09-Sanchez finally gets a high in this game; as he finds Leon Washington for a 19 yard TD strike. 14-7 Ravens after Douglass adds the XP.

9:08-3rd and long conversions will be a concern for the Ravens coaching staff. This team should be safer on those plays, tougher to hurt in the middle. The Jets have actually done a pretty nice job in the middle all game.

9:04-No Reed or Lewis this time out; but Tavares Gooden records the Ravens’ first QB sack of the day, even though he couldn’t actually get Sanchez into the ground.

9:01-Facebook and Twitter reaction after Gano’s miss?

“Anyone have Matt Stover’s number?”

9:00-A screen to Demetrius Williams gets 13 and at least puts Gano back in field goal range. He’s wide right on a try from 46; which will hurt him in this competition. Jets take over.

8:59-Nice run for Flacco meaningless after veteran Matt Birk called for a hold.

Calvin Pace gets previous sack; not Bryan Thomas. We’re working out the kinks, people.

8:58-Jets finally get to Flacco. Credit Bryan Thomas with the sack. Ravens face 3rd and 15 now.

8:56-Shame on me. Ravens go to endzone for fade route with Demetrius Williams. Surprised to see them go for it on 4th down knowing they want to see Gano try meaningful kicks. McClain gets the first down; but Gano could have gotten some good experience from a 46 yard try there.

8:55-Ravens take first timeout facing 3rd and 1 from Jets 29. I’m going to go out on a limb and say they convert….

8:52-I already feel like I should just write the same post-game column I wrote last week. “It Was Just a Preseason Game But…..”

This team looked VERY good AGAIN in the 1st quarter. Frighteningly good. Are there areas the first units will be able to work on? Of course. And does preseason football mean ANYTHING? Of course not. But they look very good.

8:49-A part time host at 105.7 spent a day last week in Westminster telling everyone who’d listen on the sidelines that Kelley Washington was a “jack***” who hadn’t made the team yet.

Right…..

Two more first down passes from Flacco-to Heap and Mason. Ravens will start 2nd quarter at Jets 31. 14-0 Ravens at the end of 1.

8:46-Another good night early for the defensive line. Having Kelly Gregg back and drafting Paul Kruger should really help this unit’s success this season.

Flacco steps up and delivers a 22 yard strike to Kelley Washington; who celebrates after. I don’t care how much Washington celebrates if he can contribute.

8:44-Finally Sanchez with a completion-to Dustin Keller-but it is short of a first down. Reggie Hodges’ punt downed at Ravens’ own 10 yard line; where Joe Flacco will go back to work.

8:42-I really am surprised to see Ed Reed and Ray Lewis are still on the field. I know you want to prepare them for 60 minute games again; but I have to imagine those guys kinda know the drill.

Jack Simmons with the drop; meaning Mark Sanchez is still ofer on the night.

8:40-Very nice 2nd down run from Leon Washington will leave the Jets with a 3rd and 1. Washington shows off his moves again in converting.

8:38-From Chris Pika-ESPN mentions there are 26 scouts in attendance tonight. He says they are looking at players who might end up being cut before the start of the regular season.

He’s right, but you have to wonder if any of those teams are also involved in trade talks with the Ravens. We’ve heard rumors that the Broncos might again have been talking Brandon Marshall; and I tried to start some rumors about the Chiefs and Dwayne Bowe.

8:35-Some “trickeration” from Cam Cameron as Ray Rice takes a Statue of Liberty-esque handoff and scampers in to finish off the first TD drive Joe Flacco has lead this preseason. 14-0 after a Graham Gano XP. 6 plays, 49 yards, 1:19; and I’m happy because I don’t have to bitch about the Ravens again failing to score a TD in the red zone.

8:33-Fade route to Kelley Washington knocked away (on a very nice play by Lito Sheppard) at last second in endzone. 3rd and goal.

8:31-Did Jon Gruden really compare Joe Flacco to Joe Montana on tonight’s ESPN broadcast? What was the reference?

Joe Flacco picks on Drew Coleman (who even tried to throw in an illegal contact) in finding Derrick Mason for 43 yards down to the Jets’ 3. That was kinda unfair. Safety help was too late.

8:28-3 and out again from Sanchez, who might not exactly sew up the Jets’ starting QB job tonight. Ravens take over from Jets’ 49 after Kenneth Parrish’s punt. That’s creating offense via a punt, as Koch had previously punted from his own 38.

8:25-Fanhouse.com (AOL Sports)’s Chris Burke wonders if the Ravens are openly trying to trade Troy Smith.

I would say no, but I think they’d certainly listen if other teams are interested in him.

8:23-Sam Koch with a(nother) solid punt, forcing the Jets to take over at their own 9. This was the first time a Joe Flacco-led drive didn’t result in points this preseason.

8:22-Bart Scott with the hit after Flacco had delivered the deep incomplete ball towards Derrick Mason. You know “The Hot Sauce” wants just one sack tonight. Flacco is a bit high looking for Ray Rice on 3rd and 10, and the Ravens will be forced to punt.

8:20-Flacco to Mason on 3rd down. Where have I heard that before? Ravens with 2 first downs on first 6 offensive plays.

8:19-A few (national football) folks on Twitter are saying “Ray Lewis wanted to be a Jet and was angry they didn’t want him” or some variation of that. Ray Lewis probably wanted an OFFER from the Jets, but assuming he wanted to go to New York might be a bit of a stretch.

8:18-As I’ve said, the Ravens want to get Ray Rice as many touches as they can. A catch and a rush net 9 yards on the Ravens’ first 2 plays from scrimmage. Strange 3rd down pitch call, but Rice may have converted anyway.

8:16-Harbs had said that the starters would go into the 2nd quarter for the Ravens, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the day is over for Ray Lewis and Ed Reed. No reason to risk anything there. They’ve done what they needed to do tonight.

8:14-Hold on Foxworth during Reggie Hodges’ punt, and the Ravens will be forced to start from their own 16.

Certainly a level of intensity from the Ravens defense early on playing in front of Rex Ryan; but nothing that seems out of the ordinary.

8:12-After an offsides penalty; Sanchez appeared to complete a long pass to Brad Smith; but Smith was called for pushing off; leaving the Jets with a 3rd and long. I imagine a draw is coming.

8:11-Sanchez’s 2nd pass ABSOLUTELY should have been picked by Ray. That was a classic drop on a ball that was thrown right to him on 2nd down.

8:09-52 had the pressure on that intended pass to Tony Richardson. Gano adds the extra point to make things 7-0. It was a slow developing play with late pressure; and Haloti Ngata had an easy line to the endzone for the 25 yard return.

Leon Washington decided to take things out of the back of the endzone; and made it all the way to the Jets’ own 46 before Graham Gano made the stop. 52 yard return.

8:07-Jets open up on the ground with a nice run from Thomas Jones. I’d imagine we’d see a healthy amount of throwing, considering the Jets probably know what to expect from Jones.

One pass from Sanchez and he’s already in trouble. Haloti Ngata with the interception; and he takes it to the house for a TD. 6-0 Ravens, welcome to Baltimore rook.

8:05-Graham Gano handling opening kickoff; which makes me think he’ll handle all kicking duties in the first half. Steve Hauschka handled kicking duties in the first half last week.

Leon Washington returns the kick to the 24, where the Jets start.

8:02-After introducing the offense a week ago, the Ravens again introduced their defense tonight. Ray Lewis was of course introduced last; and was back to his familiar dancing to Nelly’s “Hot in Here.”

Loud ovations for Kelly Gregg and Dawan Landry in return from injury.

The Jets call heads, win the toss, and will receive.

7:55-Rest of Jets starters:

QB Mark Sanchez
FB Tony Richardson
RB Thomas Jones
WR Chansi Stuckey
WR Jerricho Cotchery
TE Dustin Keller
LT D’Brickashaw Ferguson
LG Alan Faneca
C Nick Mangold
RG Brandon Moore
RT Wayne Hunter

Defense:
DE Shaun Ellis
NT Siona Pouha
T Marques Douglas
OLB Bryan Thomas
WILL Bart Scott
MIKE David Harris
OLB Calvin Pace
LCB Darrelle Revis
RCB Lito Sheppard
S Jim Leonhard
S Kerry Rhodes

7:52-Rest of Ravens starters:

Offense:
QB Joe Flacco
FB Le’Ron McClain
RB Ray Rice
WR Demetrius Williams
WR Derrick Mason
LT Jared Gaither
LG Ben Grubbs
C Matt Birk
RG Chris Chester
RT Michael Oher
TE Todd Heap

Defense:
DT Haloti Ngata
NT Kelly Gregg
DE Trevor Pryce
RLB Paul Kruger
JACK Tavares Gooden
MIKE Ray Lewis
SLB Jarrett Johnson
LCB Fabian Washington
RCB Domonique Foxworth
SS Dawan Landry
FS Ed Reed

Jets choose to introduce Special Teams unit. Strange.

7:44-The Golden Knights parachute team just landed. There had been a rumor about a video tribute to Rex Ryan before tonight’s game; but there is nothing on tonight’s schedule about a pre-game video.

7:39-CB/KR Darrelle Revis, CB Donald Strickland, RB Jehuu Caulcrick, LB Joshua Mauga, OL Damien Woody, and DT Kris Jenkins all out for the Jets along with Jay Feely.

Dwight Lowery will start for Revis, Sione Pouha starts for Jenkins, Wayne Hunter for Damien Woody.

The Jets made a roster move last week, waiving Dennis Conley and signing rookie QB Chris Pizzotti (Harvard).

7:34-WR Biren Ealy and OT Stefan Rodgers are also OUT for the Ravens tonight. Demetrius Williams will start for Mark Clayton, Paul Kruger will start for Terrell Suggs to give Rex Ryan an up close and personal look at the rookie wearing Michael McCrary’s number.

7:26-There has been a Michael Phelps sighting here at M&T Bank Stadium. Does anyone know how his swimming showdown with Shaquille O’Neal ended yesterday?

7:20-No surprises amongst Ravens inactives: LB Dannell Ellerbe, LB Terrell Suggs, WR Mark Clayton,  and CB Samari Rolle. Waiting for full list of depth chart changes for both teams.

7:04-Rookie QB Mark Sanchez (USC) gets the start tonight for Rex Ryan’s Jets. I’ve heard rumblings that Sanchez might be in for a brutal night at the hands of the Ravens defense; but I don’t imagine Greg Mattison has any interest in showing any particularly comprehensive blitzing schemes tonight (or anytime before the Sept. 13 opener against the Chiefs). Sanchez will not have an easy time facing the Ravens defense in general; but I don’t expect he will face anything particularly brutal.

Joe Flacco is expected to play into the 2nd quarter tonight; but I wouldn’t be stunned if Rex Ryan DID choose to send a few extra blitzes tonight. If so, Flacco could be pulled a bit early if Cam Cameron is happy with what he sees from the offense early on.

6:56-Lots of hugs and handshakes from Ravens players for their former coach on the field before the game. Ryan was extremely popular in Baltimore, and was certainly the man the players were hoping Steve Bisciotti would hire in ’08. Things seem to have worked out well for Bisciotti with the decision he ended up making; but that doesn’t appear to diminish Rex’s popularity amongst Ravens players.

6:39-The most compelling storyline for tonight’s fake football game is the return of former Ravens assistant Rex Ryan, who served as Defensive Line Coach, then Defensive Coordinator, and eventually Assistant Head Coach before departing during the offseason to become the head man with the Mean Green. Ryan was with the Ravens from 1999 until this past January, and was an assistant on the Super Bowl XXXV Championship team. Ryan was a candidate to replace Brian Billick in 2008, put was passed over in favor of current Ravens head man John Harbaugh. Ryan publicly said last week that he thought the Ravens’ decision to choose Harbaugh over him was “BS.” Harbaugh and Ryan remain friends, however.

Rex won’t be the only familiar face tonight at The Purple Crab Cake though. Jets Defensive Coordinator Mike Pettine was with the Ravens from 2001 until this past January when he joined Rex with the Jets. Pettine served as OLB’s Coach last season. Defensive Backs coach Dennis Thurman also departed with Rex Ryan following the 2008 campaign. Thurman served 6 seasons in Baltimore; 4 as secondary coach. Jets Offensive Coordinator Brian Schottenheimer was also a candidate for the Ravens’ Head Coaching position in 208 before Harbaugh was picked.

Jets LB Bart Scott will look rather strange in green and white considering he had played every snap of his 7 year career as a Baltimore Raven until leaving as a free agent this past winter. Scott remained active in the Baltimore community despite leaving for New York.

Jets S Jim Leonhard was quite the fan favorite in Baltimore last season, helping the Ravens reach the AFC Championship Game after replacing an injured Dawan Landry in the starting lineup. He didn’t get the 6 years, $48 million “The Madbacker” got, but Leonhard did pocket $6 million for 3 years to join his former Ravens coaches and teammates with the Jets.

Former Raven Marques Douglas joined the Jets in the offseason as well. The DE played in Baltimore from 2001-2004, and was reacquired by the Ravens in a trade with the Buccaneers before Week 1 last year.

DL Kris Jenkins started 27 games at the University of Maryland before being selected in the 2nd Round of the 2001 NFL Draft. Jenkins is in his 2nd year with the Jets, and was named to the Pro Bowl in his first campaign.

6:08-The Trevor Pryce soccer revolution continues tonight with a number of Ravens players (including Haruki Nakamura for sure) joining the veteran DE in a pre-game soccer match on-field against a team that appears to be made up of mostly ball kids. Pryce played a similar game before the game against the Skins; and is rumored to be the best soccer player on the team.

We all knew the AC Milan-Chelsea showdown was really going to inspire the future of the game here in Charm City, didn’t we?

6:03-Tonight’s Monday Night Football game can be seen on ESPN-with Mike Tirico on the call alongside analysts Jon Gruden and Ron Jaworksi. Michelle Tafoya and Suzy Kolber will patrol the sidelines. The game will be seen over the air in Baltimore on WBAL11. But if you don’t have cable at this point in your life; you would probably deserve to miss the game.

5:57-A couple of early notes to pass along to you some two hours before gametime:

Jets kicker Jay Feely did not make the trip down 95 due to a groin injury. Parker Douglass-who previously kicked for the South Dakota State Jackrabbits and Sioux Falls Storm-will handle the kicking responsibilities. I was personally rooting for Chad Ochocinco; but apparently your kicker must come from your own roster. Silly NFL rules.

The US Army Parachute team will make a pre-game appearance. They are called the Golden Knights. They will also present the game ball. If I had more info or any witty thoughts, I’d pass it along here. Instead I just give you the facts. That’s why they call me Glenn “Hard Hitting” Clark, folks.

5:43-Greetings from M&T Bank Stadium where I am stationed in the luxurious purple press box. I will be hanging with you throughout the night tonight, and will be offering updates on Twitter via #wnst. Drew Forrester may or may not be joining me at some point tonight; he will remind you that he is a major celebrity who is much too important to make appearances at preseason games.

The Ravens are 1-0 in practice games this season, having defeated the Redskins 23-0 11 days ago right here in Baltimore. The Jets lost their first practice football game 23-20 to the Rams at the Meadowlands 10 days ago.

The Ravens lead the all-time series with the Jets 5-1 in the regular season, but the Jets actually hold a 3-2 edge in preseason contests. How about that?

The most interesting game in Ravens-Jets history is undoubtedly the November 14, 2004 contest where the Ravens rallied from a 14-0 second quarter deficit to beat the Jets 20-17 in overtime up in New York. You’ll remember this game as the game where the Jets were driving to pad their lead before halftime when LaMont Jordan’s halfback option pass was picked by Ed Reed, sparking a Kyle Boller drive that culminated with a TD pass to Clarence Moore to get the Ravens back in it at intermission. You’ll also remember this game as the game when Dave Zastudil was forced to leave due to injury; leaving Kordell Stewart to handle punt responsibilities. Stewart did such an admirable job that he ended up being named AFC Special Teams Player of the Week. Matt Stover eventually booted home a 42 yarder in extra time to give the Ravens the victory.

This game could also serve as a 40th anniversary “celebration” of sorts for Super Bowl III. If you don’t know about Super Bowl III; please ask someone who is older than you. When they get angry, don’t blame me. Joe Namath’s legendary “guarantee” game was actually played in January of 1969, but this as close to the anniversary as Baltimore will play the Jets. While Rex Ryan has been known to do some silly things, I doubt a “guarantee” in a preseason game would be his way of celebrating the memory.

-G

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