Thursday, August 11, 2011
Ravens Week 1 preseason recap
By James Walker
The Baltimore Ravens began their 2011 campaign Thursday night with a 13-6 preseason loss to the Philadelphia Eagles.
Here are several observations:
- Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco led the first-team offense to a field goal on the opening drive. Flacco finished 3-of-6 passing for 60 yards against Philadelphia's all-star secondary of Nnamdi Asomugha, Asante Samuel and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie. Flacco's best throw of the night was to tight end Dennis Pitta for 27 yards.
- Ravens linebacker Paul Kruger played well. The former second-round pick recorded five tackles, one sack and another tackle for a loss. Kruger tried to bulk up last year to play defensive end but never looked comfortable. He is back to his natural playing weight around 265 pounds. The Ravens hope Kruger could be another pass-rushing threat to join linebacker/defensive end Terrell Suggs.
- Safety Bernard Pollard was active. He recorded two tackles, an interception and two pass defenses. Pollard recently signed as a free agent and is making an early impression. He is battling Tom Zbikowski and Haruki Nakamura for the strong safety job opposite Ed Reed.
- Baltimore's pass defense didn't look good without first-round pick Jimmy Smith (groin), who was very limited and played a few plays. Philadelphia's explosive offense easily marched down the field against Baltimore's first-team defense. Eagles quarterback Michael Vick picked the Ravens' secondary apart. He completed 4 of 6 passes for 76 yards and a touchdown on the opening drive. Corners Lardarius Webb and Chris Carr remained in the game against the Eagles' second team, and Philadelphia's backups still had decent success through the air.
- Former first-round pick Michael Oher continues to struggle at left tackle. He gave up two sacks -- one to Trent Cole and the other to Darryl Tapp. The Ravens have to hope Oher just had an off night. Oher had a great rookie season at right tackle but has been inconsistent on the left side. His development is something to keep an eye on in the preseason.
- It was a mixed bag from rookie quarterback Tyrod Taylor. The sixth-round pick completed 19 of 28 passes but also made a pair of rookie mistakes and threw two interceptions. Taylor's first pick to Eagles safety (and Temple alum) Jaiquawn Jarrett sailed well above the receiver in the first half. Taylor threw another pick to Jarrad Page in the second half. The good news is Taylor showed plenty of flashes and athleticism. But he has to eliminate turnovers to gain full confidence from the coaching staff in his bid to back up Flacco.