Monday, August 24, 2009
What to watch: Ravens vs. Jets
By James Walker
Posted by ESPN.com's James Walker
BALTIMORE -- The Ravens wrapped up their training camp in Westminster, Md., over the weekend and will host the New York Jets on ESPN's "Monday Night Football."
Here are a few things to look for:
- Baltimore's defense will look to stay dominant against New York. The starters and backups played tremendously well in preserving a shutout last week against the Washington Redskins. Baltimore has very good depth defensively this year, particularly in the secondary and on the defensive line.
- It will be interesting to continue to watch the maturation process of quarterback Joe Flacco in his second year. Last year in training camp and the preseason, Flacco struggled and often looked lost. But this summer he looks in control and the game looks much easier for him. He hit six different receivers against Washington, which was something Flacco didn't do enough of as a rookie. The Ravens are very pleased by his progress.
- How will the Ravens respond to Rex Ryan's comments? Baltimore's former defensive coordinator and current Jets coach took a few public shots at the Ravens this week, which was surprising considering it is just a preseason game. In spending the past few days with Baltimore, I got the sense the Ravens didn't see it as a big deal and preferred to stay focused on getting their work in tonight.
- Every preseason game is pivotal for Baltimore kickers Steve Hauschka and Graham Gano. The Ravens will carry only one kicker into this season. Baltimore can make its choice late in the preseason or with its first cuts. Both kickers need to be on notice that they have to constantly perform and a decision could come at any time.
- Keep an eye on former Ravens linebacker Bart Scott and safety Jim Leonhard. Both played an important role in Baltimore's success on defense last season and signed free-agent deals with New York to bring that same intensity to the Jets.