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Major weaknesses show in first preseason game

John Harbaugh is going to have to take a serious look at that game film because based on that performance they are not a Super Bowl contender.

All I know if that the Ravens better sit down with that game film and seriously look at what they put out on turf at Lincoln Financial Field tonight because it was not pretty.

Sure, it was only the first preseason game so there was a lot of rust that had to be kicked off but the problems were pretty clear for the Ravens.

For the most part the defensive front seven played well. While Paul Krugar and Arthur Jones both need to work on the fundamentals of tackling they both showed that they could help the passing rush, getting into the backfield on a consistent basis.

The only really disappoint on defense was Chris Carr, who was caught out of position several times in the first quarter. Carr got absolutely torched by Riley Cooper in the first quarter for a 42-yard gain by the Eagles and while the next play wasn’t a touchdown, he was caught out of position again.

If Carr continues to struggle it just might allow Cary Williams or Chykie Brown to get more looks this preseason.

But for the most part the problems were with the offense.

Tyrod Taylor showed some improvement as the game went on (and as the defensive players got worse) but it was pretty clear that he is not ready to be the primary backup to Joe Flacco. He was very inaccurate, was intercepted twice, and…well a 55.5 passer rating explains a lot.

I’ve been very vocal about my firm belief that he has an exceptional amount of ability and will one day be a guy capable of being a solid quarterback in the NFL even if it’s simply in a backup role, but he is not ready yet. Taylor was good in college because he was in a system that was formed around his ability so asking the sixth-round draft pick to be able to step in an success right away should something happen to Joe Flacco just isn’t a good plan and that seemed proven tonight.

But I’ll be honest, a lot of his problems had to do with the very poor play by the offensive line and the lack of explosiveness by the receivers and complete ineffectiveness of the running game.

Taylor was actually the team’s leading rusher with 59 yards. Jalen Parmele was second with 35; otherwise nobody did much of anything. Ray Rice was completely ineffective behind a line that never gave him a chance to make a run, totaling only seven yards on five carries.

As for the receiving corp. while Dennis Pitta played a spectacular game, making a ridiculous 27-yard catch in the first quarter, the rest of the group has to step up. I’m not talking about Anquan Boldin, who didn’t really even play at all; I’m talking about guys like Torrey Smith, who didn’t even make a catch and looked lost running the routes. Tandon Doss played a decent game, as did LaQuan Williams, but their really stood out in the passing game. Doss averaged only 8.7 yards per catch and Williams didn’t show too much speed, though he did lead the receiving corp. in yards per catch average.

Waiting so long to go out and get free agents to bolster those positions may end up backfiring. While one might say those guys deserve one more week before getting the boot, it would not be wise to wait and add a player when he would only have a week to learn the system.

Maybe Michael Oher just isn't cut out for left tackle.

The biggest problems were on the offensive line, though. The line just didn’t let the running game get going and it was horrible in pass protection. When the Ravens were going up the Eagles starting defensive line Michael Oher and backup center Bryan Mattison were both really struggling in pass protection. The Ravens may have to just kill the experiment with Oher at left tackle and force him back to right tackle because he hasn’t shown he’s capable of the job. It would also alleviate the right tackle problems because the game proved to be a different monster than camp for Jah Reid, who struggled when he didn’t have a tight end next to him.

They also really have to get a veteran in the middle of the line and giving Casey Rabach another chance at making the roster after his shoulder finishes healing in the next week or so seems like as good of an option as any.

But overall the most disappointing player had to have been Oniel Cousins, who to be honest should worry about being cut right now. Even late in the game when he was going up against the Eagles third and fourth-string defenders he was getting burnt.

Cousins started the game at right tackle, over Jah Reid who did nothing special but also nothing great against the Eagles backsups. Right away Cousins seemed out of Jason Babin’s league and thing just got worse as the night went on and he switched over to left tackle. If he plays like that again it might be a problem if he has to go in for even a single snap.

Hopefully some of the problems get fixed soon because an effort like that on offense is not going to be very successful throughout the course of an NFL season.

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Corey Johns

Editor in Chief
You could say Corey was born to become a sports journalist. His father won a national championship coaching college soccer. His mother is a baseball fanatic who hasn't missed seeing an Orioles game since 1983 (literally, sometimes it's annoying). His great uncle was a big-time boxing promoter and his maternal grandfather was once a department head at the Baltimore Sun. Basically, sports and journalism run through his blood. He played just about every little league sports there was when he was a kid and was a multi-sport athlete in high school; even playing in the first-ever high school sanction Rugby game in the country. Eventually he retired from sports as an undefeated Maryland state Rugby champion as a high school senior. Perhaps lack of athletic talent has more to do with the retirement, but he will tell you that it more had to do with a great desire to jump right into media. Upon his graduation from University of Maryland, Baltimore County as a triple communications major, Corey started the So Much Sports network and has continued to grow his websites and continues to work to make them premier sports media outlets.

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