How did the new additions on the offense perform?
It’s hard to really judge but the first unit was very efficient. Flacco appeared cool in the pocket and it was interesting to note that it was Mark Clayton and not Anquan Boldin who scored the pre-season’s first touchdown. Clayton helped himself tonight but I’m still unsure of his future with this team. Does he become the slot receiver, a punt returner or trade bait for a corner? I’m still not sure. I scratched my head at four straight screen passes but it was all just a set-up for Clayton’s bomb. I guess I shouldn’t question Cam’s wisdom.
Which rookies impressed the most?
Terrence Cody. His one-arm tackle of DeAngelo Williams was pretty freakin’ impressive. You can see that this guy looks overweight but he’s incredibly agile and athletic. Think of Bam Bam Bigelow from the old WWF in the 90s and you get the picture. He was also called for a False Start when he was put in the backfield on a Goal Line package. Ugh. Please get it out of your system now Cameron. Sometimes simple is best. Dennis Pitta drew attention due to a challenge that resulted in an offensive penalty. Huh? Pre-season is for officials too. Ed Dickson did nab two catches for 26 yards. I already mentioned Prince Miller’s punt return which was maybe the most exciting play of the day.
Did anyone step up on the Offensive Line?
Um No. Oneil Cousins was rough in his start and was actually blocked into the ball carrier at one point. Even Michael Oher and Ben Grubbs had issues and overall the line gave up six sacks. If Gaither isn’t going to be healthy or even interested in getting on the field then perhaps the Ravens may have to go back to Marshall Yanda at Right Tackle and Chris Chester at the Right Guard. The failure cherry on top of all of this was former baller 6?7? Joe Reitz getting stuffed by the goal post during Troy Smith’s touchdown celebration. Ugh. Send it in big fella.
Who helped themsleves the most with their play tonight?
Mark Clayton. I still think he’ll be lucky to the 4th WR on this team but it’s early. Tom Zbikowski showed off his flexibility as he sacked Matt Moore and forced a fumble. The more I watch him the more I love how he plays. Antawan Barnes provided great burst off the end and forced Pro Bolwer Jordan Gross into two Holding penalties. Paul Kruger scored 1.5 sacks in the second half and showed that his new bulk fit him quite well.
How did the Ravens secondary perform?
Not terrible. They did end up with several pass deflections and Cary Williams had a nice read for an interception. But honestly the Panthers were what I could only politely describe as “Quarterback challenged”. They were unable to pose any real threat and tonight will only delay the inevitable that Baltimore needs at least one more good corner.