I was one of the doubters…consider me converted…
I was dreading this opening game. I didn’t think an injury-ridden Ravens secondary could contain Carson Palmer and his arsenal of Pro Bowl receivers.
Well, I was wrong…and I’ll happily enjoy my crow dinner.
Just a few quick thoughts about the game (both good and bad). Feel free to leave your opinions in the comment box:
-I was extremely impressed with Cam Cameron’s offensive scheme. He’s a much better offensive corrdinator than he is a head coach (that’s the NO DUH quote of the day, right?). Who would have thought we’d see the day when the Ravens run 3 or 4 screens and a double reverse? And do it successfully no less!
-From what I’ve seen during the last preseason game and today, the offensive line doesn’t look to be as big of a concern as we all thought…then again, it’s only two games…
-Out-of-towners will look at Joe Flacco’s stat line and wonder why we’re so excited around here. And it wasn’t his 38 yard touchdown run that impressed me the most. It was his demeanor, his poise, his confidence, the way he handled audibles and checks. He actually LOOKED like a quarterback instead of a deer in headlights. I was impressed with his decision making, the quality of most of his throws, his quick release, and his ability to avoid the pass rush. And he wasn’t getting a whole lot of help from the people around him at the skill positions…
-I’m going to file an Amber Alert for Todd Heap. That was not him…he’s obviously been kidnapped. There’s a Todd Heap imposter on the loose and I hope we find the real Todd Heap soon.
-The defensive line, linebackers, and even a few defensive backs made life a living hell for Carson Palmer today. He was only sacked twice, but he was on his backside more so than not. All in all, the performance from the defense was extremely dominating. Take away Ray Rice’s fumble and an a few phantom pass interference calls on Chris McAlister and we’re probably talking about a shut out.
-Yamon Figurs is going to be a special teams stud for a very long time. He was very impressive today, especially from the gunner position. Sadly, he was one of the few bright spots on special teams today. The others were Sam Koch, Zbikowski, and Nakamura.
-Corey Ivy’s injury looked pretty bad. Let’s hope it’s not as bad as it looked. You could literally see his ankle swelling. I’ve met him several times (at the Ed Block Courage Awards and during down time at training camp). It’s always sad when bad injuries happen to good guys.
-Someone needs to chain Frank Walker to the bench and never allow him on the field again. He is a liability on both defense and special teams. He almost gave the Bengals the ball on our 3 yard line today after almost touching the ball off of an arrant punt. You could see Figurs’ frustration after the play, as he was clearly waving his arms in an attempt to tell Walker to get the hell out of the way…all he had to do was move 3 feet to the right and get out of bounds but he almost cost the Ravens the game.
-Thankfully McAlister and Reed were able to play through their injuries. We’re talking about a totally different score if they weren’t out there today.
-Le’Ron McClain is a monster…’nuff said…
-It was probably just opening day jitters, but Ray Rice didn’t play as well as I thought he would today. When that critical fumble happened, my dad and I simultaneously looked at each other and said “uh-oh.” If it weren’t for the staunch defense that momentum swing could have changed the game for the worst. I did, however, see him do something impressive for a rookie back on a sweep play. He stunted a gap to freeze a linebacker before bouncing it outside, which got him an extra 5 yards and almost his first touchdown. What I didn’t like seeing was the fact that his feet stopped moving if he saw a tackler closing in or was met in the backfield by a lineman. With his body size he can’t afford to stop his feet against these mammoth defensive lineman/linebackers. Just ask Maurice Jones-Drew…you’ll lose everytime. I think we’ll see an improved Ray Rice next week.
-Stocks rising: Zbikowski, Nakamura, Flacco
-Stocks falling: Heap, Rice, Walker
-Game ball: Ray Lewis. Were any of you surprised that he (and to be fair Ngata was involved too) made the defensive stop that sealed the game? Throw in a forced fumble and a few first down-preventing tackles and I think it’s a no brainer.
-On the whole, I was happy to see passion and team unity out of our boys in purple today. If nothing else, at least all is well in the locker room. John Harbaugh deserves a lot of credit…not just for the way he had his team motivated but the way he and the coaching staff managed the clock in the second half. I hate to see our second half timeouts go off the board so quickly, though.
With the Entourge season premiere tonight and my fantasy football team running train, it’s turning into quite a nice little Sunday. I may add a few more things later tonight so keep checking back.
What did you see?
Have a good one,