For the first time since their disappointing season-closer against the Bengals in which Flacco and Company missed the postseason for the first time his career, we get our first glimpse at this Ravens squad. This being a preseason game, we can only wait and watch how this Baltimore team will perform. It will by no means give us a definitive answer to what we should expect from the Ravens this season, but if nothing else it will be an enticing teaser.
This is merely the first of four evaluations predominantly of the Ravens draft class. Two who remain a toss up virtually until game-time are Timmy Jernigan and Michael Campanero. Should they play, it will be very interesting to see them play in their first real-time game. Jernigan was dominate in college, and River Hill native Campanero is considered to be a much better talent than a typical seventh rounder.
The rookies I am most to watch are CJ Mosley and Rick Wagner. CJ Mosley is the most recent winner of the Dick Butkus Award, while Rick Wagner is looking to start his rookie year. Mosley, should he make a strong case over e course of the preseason, could very well start over Daryl Smith or Arthur. Brown come time for the Regular Season. Wagner can also hold a starting job at the tackle position if he performs well.
As for the starters, two or three possessions may matter more than they and us fans think. Joe Flacco is under the magnifying glass once more after coming off his worst statistical year. How he performs in the limited shifts he is given will give us a taste of how confident and polished he has become during the offseason.
Steve Smith should also give the us a small preview of his lasting capabilities as a wideout and whether or not he can still be a productive asset to an offense. Jacoby Jones is not a full-time receiver but can show his speed can compensate for his weaker receiving mechanics. The entire receiving corp will most likely not be thrown any passes save mostly during play action and bootlegs given Kubiak’s system.
Then there is the curious case of Ray Rice, who will miss the first two regular season games. I would rather see Bernard Pierce make the start tonight since he will be the one to take the majority of the carries against Cincy and Pitt. We have seen it time after time, starters that have had their job taken away by lower tier players whether it was from lack of productivity or absences, that could end up being the case here. That is why Ray Rice must make the absolute most of the carries he is given if he wishes to return as the starter Week 3.
This is the first preseason game, standard evaluation of the team roster. Expect a typical unofficial football game that will by no stretch be exciting, rather, a timed scrimmage just to see where the Ravens are currently at as a unit.