Pre Mini-Camp Thoughts
Now that the draft is over… it’s time to go to work. Pre season mini-camps and OTA’s are important enough and I guess we can talk some about what’s going on. All though there are no pads, the more players you have participating in voluntary programs, the better your team is usually. This is a big part of the year for the younger players and guys that suffered injuries. There’s a long list of returning players who everyone is looking to get better. Paul Kruger, K.J. Gerard, Justin Harper, Marcus Smith, Eron Riley, Lamar Divens and Jason Phillips are all looking to earn playing time.
Hopefully our new additions at WR can get on the same page with Joe Flacco. I would love to see McClain get more carries too. But let’s look at the 3 things that WILL determine how far this season goes. Check back, but I promise. If these 3 things happen, the Ravens will be at least in the final 4.
#3) Put the RUSH in Pass RUSH once again
To have a truly elite defense, you have to do 2 things. Force turnovers (we’re great at it) and get after the other QB (not so good at it). For the past 2 seasons, our pass rush is getting worse and worse. Watching us play the Bengals and not touch Carson Palmer in TWO 4th quarters last year. Whether they blitzed or sent 4….they were getting locked out. No one was coming free from a blitz, and no one could DEFEAT A BLOCK…and get home. This has to change and quickly. It doesn’t matter who’s playing DB, if the QB is back there 6 seconds…someone is getting open. We need more sacks, more QB hits, more QB pressures…more making QB’s uncomfortable.
#2) The O-Line has to take a step forward, not backward
Understand in sports, especially football nothing stays the same. Either you’re getting better, or you’re slipping…there is no in between. Our line is young except for the wily Vet Matt Birk, but we need guys to get better. Oher and Gaither need to be in better shape (especially Gaither… if he was in shape he wouldn’t be hurt all the time). Grubbs and Yanda need to be EVEN more dominant, really start to get that GREAT push all the time. The thing with lineman are they need to be ready and IN SHAPE. When lineman start getting fat, slow…that’s when they start playing bad (see Vikings LT Mt. McKinney). If our line can take that next step to be a top 3 unit in the league…watch for us to win 12-13 games.
#1) Joe Flacco takes the final step and starts playing up to his full potential.
Let me just say, Joe is the man to me. He’s had the best beginning to a career I can remember and has all the tools… BUT!!! It’s time to take the TRAINING BRA OFF!!! For goodness sakes, let this kid change plays at the line. I was glad to see him getting mad at Cam Cameron in that playoff game vs. the Colt. (BTW...one of the WORST called offensive games in the HISTORY of football) He may not lead the league in yardage or TD’s but simply put he has to play better. He’s got to get them into better plays; he has to STOP missing WR’s. Now he’s got a good enough group to make plays all over the field, he’s got to prove people right. I also would like to see him run more, because he is a pretty good athlete, would like to see that pocket get moved around some. Also, Joe… Hit the squat rack ok. No reason some extra-regular tackle from the raiders should make your hip swell up. If Joe can ward off silly injuries, see the whole field, and start using that arm to put the ball any and everywhere… we can go to the Super Bowl
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