So it's finally here, the start of the defending champs season. Plenty has changed and only time and games will tell the results. Here are a few things on each side of the ball to keep an eye on.
1: How much of a mismatch Ed Dickson can be & does Joe find him early enough to keep Ed engaged in games.
2: How many carries Bernard Pierce gets this year. The past 3 season the back up to Ray Rice had about 100 carries. Pierce in 2012 had 108. Look for about 135-155 this year, if I had to guess.
3: Gino Gradkowski takes the reins at Center, lets see if he can help Flacco with line calls while holding down the middle pass rush. Powerful large nose tackles licking their chops to square up on the sophomore from U Del.
4: With so many pieces on the defensive line, look to see many formation combinations with the likes of Suggs, Dumerville, Upshaw (linebackers I know) w/ Spears, Canty, Ngata, Art Jones, rookie Brandon Williams & Cody. Wonder how much NT Haloti plays thru the season. It's a dynamic group that give D-coordinator, Dean Pees, plenty of puzzle pieces to play with.
5: Rookies in the mix, up the middle, like LB Art Brown and S Matt Elam. In sticking with his nature, Head Coach John Harbaugh, gave the nod to more tenured players like Josh Bynes at Will LB & James Ihedigbo at Strong Safety but believe the youngsters will see time. I'd bet 3-5 games before we see one or both rookies starting. Just a guess.
6: Cornerbacks and who emerges. It's the Lardarius Webb show the only question is who are is cast members. Both he and Corey Graham are great in nickel coverage but I think they are the starting pair of DB's with Jimmy Smith as the 3rd; but as seen in the Super Bowl they could be interchanged play by play by play. Interesting to see who steps up and hangs on to the role. They'll play plenty of 3 DB sets (nickel) so everyone will have to step up.
2013 started with a playoff bang and a Super Bowl victory for the Baltimore Ravens, the city is excited to see what this part of the year will bring.
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