Amid all the hoopla surrounding black jerseys, national television coverage and Ray Lewis’ prancing there’s one thing the Ravens starters forgot to do last night — play good football. Too many guys played with an almost "punk" mentality. Scowling and banging helmets is fine but at the end of it all, the New York Giants beat them up at the line of scrimmage. Yes, there were starters out — for both teams. However, with the exception of Jared Gaither, the offensive line (the biggest concern in my opinion) looked pathetic against a Giants swarm that seemed to have Steve McNair under pressure nearly every throw.
And this is a Giants defense without Michael Strahan or a recognizable linebacker except for Antonio Pierce. Guys you’ve never heard of made the Ravens look bad. Too many penalties and too many guys out of position led to a nightmare of an evening for a team expected to challenge for a Super Bowl ring.
Sure, you can say it was only preseason. But let’s remember that it’s the Ravens themselves who said they planned to treat these "practice" games no differently than they will come September. They said it and last night the Giants made them eat their words.
The positives? Mike Anderson ran with authority and looks ready to play. Gaither is a true stud with a bright future ahead of him. Also I saw Troy Smith do some things to suggest he has a place in the organization. Granted he played against second and third string players but he seemed poised, confident and, with the exception of one throw, had a good command of the field.
Best to put last night’s game away and focus on the Redskins. The third game of preseason tends to "count" the most. Starters play longer and guys realize they’re running out of time in the fight for spots on the roster.
The Ravens plan to play every down like the playoffs are on the line. Ray Lewis will talk about inflicting pain. Suggs will grunt and throw a fist in the air. Chris McAlister will do a little sidways dance when he "sorta" helps make a tackle. This year the theme for the Ravens seems to be intimidation — even in August. Whether or not the Redskins will be intimidated remains to be seen. Last night, the Giants certainly weren’t.
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