W2W4: Baltimore Ravens

August, 16, 2014
Aug 16
12:00
PM ET
The Baltimore Ravens (1-0) and Dallas Cowboys (0-1) face off in each team’s second preseason game Saturday night at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.

1. Efficiency of quarterback Joe Flacco. In the season opener last week, Flacco looked like a quarterback who had been in new offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak's system for years. He was decisive and precise on his intermediate throws, only throwing one incompletion on five pass attempts. Flacco has never been known as a high-percentage passer. The last time he completed more than 60 percent of his passes was 2010. The expectations for Flacco are just as heightened in the second preseason game, especially with him throwing against the NFL's third-worst pass defense last season. The Cowboys allowed an average of 287 yards passing per game. Flacco is expected to play more than one quarter but not a full half.

2. Cornerback play outside of Jimmy Smith. Everyone knows Smith is the Ravens' top cornerback on the field, and it's not even close. The concern is the drop-off after him. With Lardarius Webb (back) and Asa Jackson (ankle) both sidelined, the Ravens turn to Chykie Brown to fill in as a starter and safety Terrence Brooks to work at nickelback with the first-team defense. Like most of training camp, Brown struggled in the preseason opener. He was flagged on the first two passes thrown his way. Brooks, who was expected to compete for the starting free safety spot, is now being asked to cover the slot receiver. He has experience playing cornerback at Florida State. Cornerback is clearly the thinnest position on the team.

3. Tyrod Taylor as a pocket passer. After Taylor ran five times in the preseason, it was telling that he rarely took off during team drills since that game. It's obvious that the Ravens want to see what Taylor can do in the pocket. There are questions about his accuracy and decision-making. The Ravens aren't totally sold on Taylor as their backup, which is why they showed interest in Brandon Weeden before he signed with the Cowboys this offseason. Now there are rumblings that the Ravens would pursue Case Keenum if he is released by the Houston Texans after the preseason. Taylor will get plenty of time to convince the Ravens otherwise. He should play the entire second half at Dallas.

Jamison Hensley

ESPN Ravens reporter

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