Scott Garceau: Pros & Cons From Ravens First Preseason Game
Drew Brees who lead the NFL in passing yards last season didn't play one snap, Joe Flacco played one series, customers paid full price. Welcome to what the NFL calls the preseason. Call them exhibition games or cue Allen Iverson and call it what it really is. "What are we talking about? Practice? We're talking about practice, man. We're talking about practice. We're talking about practice, man." Thank you Allen!
The Ravens won their practice game last night 30-27; about 60-thousand empty seats watched when quarterback Bryn (The Runner) Renner scored the game winning touchdown with just 2 seconds left. As practice games go it was a thriller reminiscent off legendary practice games of the past like the Derrick Anderson to Randy Hymes 66 yard overtime classic that beat the Redskins in 2005. Some notes from game 1 of the practice season.
• The 1's weren't there long but the Ravens controlled the early part of the game when the starters were on the field. Joe Flacco's only series resulted in a 16 play, 80 yard touchdown drive. Flacco was crisp completing 5 of 6 passes and running for 17 yards. Marc Trestman's first test drive was a smooth one. The Ravens defense shut down the Brees-less Saints. The Ravens had a 17-0 lead before New Orleans gained their first first-down.
• Solid play from the tight ends. Crockett Gilmore and rookies Maxx Williams and Nick Boyle all had their moments. The 3 combined for 8 catches for 78 yards. Boyle the 260 pounder rookie from Delaware caught 4 and looks like he could be a contributor. Williams has the most upside and big play ability but should have caught a TD pass when Matt Schaub threw him open between 2 defenders in the back of the end zone, still a good night for this bunch.
• Matt Schaub needed that. Throughout training camp there was a lot of noise about the poor play of Schaub. For the first time since Marc Bulger in 2010 the Ravens have a veteran insurance policy for Flacco. Schaub had a nice night going 11 of 18 for 134 yards and a 34 yard touchdown pass to Michael Campanaro.
Not So Good
• The kick return game has a void with the loss of Jacoby Jones and there wasn't much to be excited about last night. Asa Jackson, rookie DeAndre Carter and Michael Campanero are among the contenders. Jackson left the game in the second quarter with a knee injury and Carter stumbled and fumbled a kickoff return before finally taking a touchback. Need to get better.
• Given a 17-0 lead the defense gave up late drives at the end of both the first half and the second half. John Harbaugh clearly was annoyed when the Saints went 90 yards in 6 plays for a touchdown to end the first half and the Saints scored a TD in 4 plays to take the lead with under 2 minutes left in the fourth quarter.
• The running game shouldn't be an issue but it was ordinary against a weak Saints defense. Justin Forsett only had 2 carries but Lorenzo Taliaferro, Buck Allen, and Fitzgerald Toussaint combined had 29 carries for 82 yards for a pedestrian 2.8 yards a carry.
A couple of defensive rookies improved their stock with their play against the Saints, defensive tackle Carl Davis and edge rusher Za'Darius Smith made plays that got noticed. Just remember we're talking about practice man.
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