The defending AFC North champions will break out black uniforms for tonight’s second preseason game against the New York Giants at M&T Bank Stadium, so here are five things to watch:
5 THINGS TO WATCH
1. As the Baltimore Ravens hit the midway point of the preseason tonight against the New York Giants at M&T Bank Stadium, the eyes of the nation will be focused on whether the Ravens’ rejuvenated offense can duplicate last week’s breakthrough at moving the football and scoring. Will Steve McNair and Willis McGahee continue to build chemistry in the backfield? Can the Ravens maintain their intensity and focus after a banner preseason opener?
2. The door has been cracked for rookie first-round draft pick Ben Grubbs at right guard where he’ll start his first NFL game in the absence of Chris Chester. Although Chester is slated to potentially return from a sprained foot early this week, this represents a prime opportunity for Grubbs to prove to the coaching staff that he’s worthy of future starting status.
3. The Ravens’ base defensive philosophy is built around aggression and elaborate blitz packages. Even with a miniscule portion of their schemes unveiled last week, the NFL’s top-ranked defense dominated the Philadelphia Eagles. Is Eli Manning in for a long night
4. How will new starting outside linebacker Jarret Johnson fare against tight end Jeremy Shockey in pass coverage? Johnson had a few issues last week against Eagles running back Brian Westbrook and didn’t tackle as well as he normally does.
5. Will Heisman Trophy winner Troy Smith rebound from last week’s ugly start to his competition with Drew Olson for the third-string job? Could Olson, who clearly outshined the rookie last week, beat the odds and overtake Smith, who has pedigree, draft status and arm strength working in his favor?