Ravens’ Preseason: Some Takeaways From Saturday’s Game

Featured, Sports and Bets — August 18, 2014 at 6:02 am by

by Babes

The Ravens posted another preseason win Saturday night behind an opportunistic defense and strong special teams play.  Interesting was the fact that 21 points were scored before the Ravens’ offense took a snap, and 14 of those points were for the Ravens.  Although this win was not nearly as impressive as their first win against the Niners, you’ll always take a win on the road.

The defense once again yielded way to much running room.  Dallas running back, DeMarco Murray, was finding it too easy, going for 34 yards on eight carries.  I’m seeing Terrell Suggs do too much freelancing on run plays.  I’m not aware of his responsibilities on any particular play, but he has had multiple runs this preseason go either under him or around him.  Sometimes he takes a hard rush up the field like he’s pass rushing, and runs go right under him.  Other times I see Suggs dive inside and runners bounce right outside him, but I can only assume he was responsible for setting the edge.  Like I said, I’m not privy to the defensive calls, or Suggs responsibilities, but from my eye I see him giving up runs that should be contained.

 

Courtney Upshaw is a valuable asset to this defense.  Not only did he scoop and score the fumble on the first drive, but he is an elite run defender.  Upshaw is very underrated in the little things he does for this defense.  Unlike what I’ve seen from Suggs, Upshaw always sets his egde, and turns run plays back inside to the rest of the pursuing defenders.  He needs to be in on all run downs.

Brynden Trawick played a great game yesterday.  He had an interception playing in cover two; he covered quite a bit of ground to pick the pass and kept his feet in on the sideline.  He also timed a blitz beautifully that really disrupted a play action pass that should have been picked by Josh Bynes.  I also saw him come up in the box and make a great run hit as the eighth defender.  I wouldn’t mind seeing Trawick’s name thrown in the hat for the starting free safety job.

 

It was another tough outing for Chykie Brown.  He drew another defensive holding penalty, and was targeted repeatedly.  He did make a nice pass breakup on a deep ball, it was a play he was beaten on, but he recovered and made a nice play on the ball.  Thank God it was Brandon Weeden throwing the pass and not a starting caliber QB, as the ball was under thrown.

Overall defensively, the Ravens need to tighten up.  I’m quite sure Ozzie will be working the phones to get some fresh bodies in camp at the cornerback position.

Offensively, it’s to be expected that the offense would start slow, considering they had to wait an exorbitant amount of time to get on the field.  Joe Flacco had a tough time finding his rhythm early, as he missed on his first set of throws.  He picked it up though, and made some nice plays to Jacoby Jones and Torrey Smith.  It was great to see Torrey finally get involved in the offense this preseason.  He made a nice touchdown grab taking advantage of one on one coverage.

I thought Steve Smith had a tough day.  He went up and made a nice stabbing catch on a fastball from Flacco on a slant pattern.  But as he brought the ball down, the defender was able to wrestle it out.  It looks like the Flacco to Steve Smith hookup needs more time to fully develop.

I absolutely love the way Kubiak is moving Kyle Juszczyk all over the field.  He is lining up out wide and motioning in, or he is motioning out of the backfield to a wide set.  This motion will really give Joe a good look on the coverage, and it creates matchup problems.  I also love all the fullback under play action plays the Ravens have run this preseason.  These plays are great man beaters, because the fullback comes from across the formation off of play action, which the linebackers have to honor.  Then the backer who has the fullback in man coverage has to sift through all the middle traffic to get across to the opposite flat to cover it, which is nearly impossible.  If the play is run against zone, like it was yesterday when Juszczyk got cut down by a corner, it’s still successful because it puts the corner in a difficult situation.  Does he come up and defend the barreling fullback coming downhill, or does he sit back and defend the crossing tight end or wideout?  It all makes for great play design, because the defense has to choose one or the other, and the QB just has to make the right read.

I saw Rick Wagner get knocked off-balance by George Selvie on that roughing the passer call.  It looks like speed rushers are going to be a challenge for Wagner, but that’s to be expected.  Kubiak just needs to account for that in his protections.  Once again, the offensive line created monster holes for the backs to jet through.  All the Ravens backs who saw significant time had successful nights.  Justin Forsett fumbled for the second time this preseason, that needs to stop.  Bernard Pierce is gonna go for 1200 yards this year, if not more.

Overall. the Ravens had another good performance.  Yes, there are many areas that need attention, but that’s exactly what preseason is all about.  Looking forward to next week, I want to see three things.  Joe Flacco getting on the same page with his receivers, a stout run defense, and some new blood back there at corner.

 

pics: baltimoreravens, AP, usatoday, brownsvilleherald,bleacherreport

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