Post from our on-site Baltimore beat writer, Gross, who had technical difficulties getting this up and posted. He’s always a good read!
WAKE UP – It’s Week 2 – Ravens Sunday
Stop me if you have heard this one before….the Ravens are dealing with injuries. It has to be great to be the Strength and Conditioning Coach for the Ravens. What a cushy job. Just be terrible and you have a job. In fact, our last S&C coach was so bad, he was being called out by former players on social media. As a fan, you should never know who the hell the strength and conditioning coach is for your team, unless it’s Jon Gruden’s son. Not Ravens fans. Ravens fans had the distinct pleasure of learning Steve Saunders name before he and the Ravens “parted ways.” Now here we are same story, different year, different S&C guy.
Before we jump all the way into Week Two, let’s recap Week One a little. Obviously, the biggest news coming out of Week One for us Ravens fans was the injury of JK Dobbins. Listen, it sucks. It sucks that a guy we invested that kind of draft capital into (a 2nd round pick for those that forget) cannot escape the injury bug. That all being said, do I think it is the end of the world? Not really. The offense has changed. Once Lamar got his contract and you bring in a guy like Todd Monken, you are not going to see the traditional run heavy offense that we were used to seeing with Greg Roman. I actually would not be surprised if Melvin Gordon ends up becoming the guy. He is a better pass catcher than Gus and a better runner than Hill, so he might be it in the long run. To start we will for sure, I think, see a combination of all three.
Honestly, outside of the injuries was there much else to talk about? Oh wait, one more guy. ZAY FREAKING FLOWERS. Holy electric city. FINALLY, a playmaker on offense. He looked great in his NFL debut, 9 catches on 10 targets for 78 yards. I will be very curious to see how they continue to utilize him in the offense and see if he starts becoming more vertical. Time will tell.
Other than that, this game went how I’d imagine most Ravens fans thought it would. A rookie QB, brand new Head Coach having to come into M&T and attempt to beat the Ravens. The odds of that were low, no offense to Houston. I actually think Ryans will end up being a solid NFL Head Coach, the verdict still out on Stroud for me. This week will look quite different, in my opinion.
Week 2 @ Cincinnati – 1:00 PM Kickoff
This Todd Monken offense will be put to a real test here early in the year. I’m not necessarily worried about the Bengals defense, they have taken a step back losing the likes of Jesse Bates and Vonn Bell hurts the secondary. What I am concerned about is what we just talked about, the injuries. Already down Dobbins, the offensive line should be the biggest story here. Heading into Week Two we are down not only our starting LT, Ronnie Stanley but our second year C in Tyler Linderbaum. I don’t care what team you are in the NFL, heading into a week without your starting LT and C is petrifying. So the question is, how does this offense adjust? Do we trust that the new guys running the ball can make an impact? Do we trust that the new line can hold up in pass protection to potentially expose the middle of that field with weaker safeties and get guys like Andrews and whoever is in the slot going? These are the questions I have. I’ll be honest, I think we have to stay aggressive. See what this makeshift line can do and put pressure on this Bengals defense.
We haven’t had to say this since Ray Lewis was drafted and came to town…but the Ravens defense is the weak part of this team. Again, the injuries don’t necessarily help. Down our top corner is not the right time to be losing your star safety to a torn pec. Down Marlon Humphrey, down Marcus Williams is not the recipe you need for a weak pass rush, which is exactly what the Ravens have. Pretty telling when your GM watches the pre-season play out and goes and signs a guy who had to sacks last season. Welcome to Baltimore, Jadeveon Clowney. This game is honestly going to be won in the trenches. Burrow still looks hurt. Whether that was the weather from last week or the patch work offensive line that Cincinnati continues to throw in front of their start QB, who knows? But that is where this game will be decided. Sounds simple enough but in this game it is truer than most. Can this young Baltimore pass rush put enough pressure on Burrow to make him uncomfortable. If they do, this thin secondary has a chance. And if we don’t….well let’s not talk about that.
Going on the road to a division rival on their home opener is tough, but I think our boys can get it done. If you are a person of gambling interest, play the under 45 1/2, Ravens win, 17-14.
Happy a Magical Sunday!