The short and easy answer is no. We’re the Ravens and they’re the Redskins. I can’t sit here and say I was pleased with the final result on Saturday (or last Saturday in Philly). I’d rather not have to deal with Nate chirping me about meaningless football games and writing scathing blogs about my far superior football coach, but ultimately we can’t lose sight of the bigger goal. This football team is fine. They have virtually no question marks at the starting ranks, they haven’t suffered any debilitating injuries, they have a solid elite QB, a tough defense, and an offensive line that I could run 1,000 yards behind. Those are the makings of a Super Bowl contender. Hey Nate, great tackling by the way:
That doesn’t mean there aren’t things to keep an eye on between now and next Sunday in Denver. This morning the Ravens made a set of cuts, and are due to make another set of cuts by tomorrow at 4 PM. Among these cuts was WR/KR DeAndre Carter, who had his fair shake at winning the return duties but bobbled a couple of balls in the preseason. Just goes to show how small the margin of error is for these guys competing for the job. Asa Jackson failed to call a fair catch and coughed away the football late on Saturday, and Harbs didn’t seem to be too impressed with him running out of gas on a long kick return either, giving more credit to the blocking than the return itself. Michael Campanaro might’ve earned a leg up in the return competition (or at least on punts) by not even taking the field.
Which brings me to one of the few injury concerns this roster has. Both Campanaro and Breshad Perriman have been MIA during the preseason due to nagging injuries. I’m not even sure if Perriman actually exists. I’m starting to think he’s just some sort of mythical creature dreamed up by Ozzie Newsome to ease the pain of losing Torrey Smith. Week in and week out, we keep hearing “no timetable for his return” as if he’s a prodigious young pitcher in the Orioles’ minor league system. I don’t care if he has a knee injury, somehow this ends with him getting Tommy John surgery. All jokes aside, he probably needs reps more than anyone on the roster, and he’s survived exactly 0 preseason practices without getting hurt. I hope I’m wrong and it’s not an indictment on his talent, but this has all the very early signs of being another WR bust in the 1st round for the Ravens.
Another minor concern is the RB depth chart. Losing Taliaferro for a month isn’t ideal considering what he brings to the table in goal line situations. We watched Buck Allen try his hand on Saturday and that resulted in him fumbling at the goal line. Coach has made it clear that fumbling isn’t something he has tolerance for, and nobody knows that better than Taliaferro last year. Allen lost 6 fumbles in 2 seasons at USC, so this is a problem he’s going to have to fix quick. Otherwise, Justin Forsett is going to have to carry a huge load in the early going this season.
The backup QB job might actually be more of a competition than we thought going into the preseason, more so because Matt Schaub has laid on the heavy stink so far. When you start drawing Kyle Boller comparisons, that’s when you know your job might not be safe. Bryn Renner lead the exciting scoring drive in the first preseason game, and has been decent enough to warrant consideration for a final roster spot. I know Schaub is the veteran that was signed to a modest NFL contract, but their performances on Thursday in Atlanta (especially given that Flacco is unlikely to dress) could be the difference between Schaub having a job in Baltimore or sitting on his couch this season.
Ultimately though, we’re still in great shape. Most NFL teams have much more glaring issues than we do at this point. I’d really like to get a look at Perriman, but rushing him back isn’t prudent. It was good to see Steve Smith make a play and then find himself in a suite by halftime. Hard to land on the IR when you’ve got your feet up. And Kamar Aiken took that bushleague tackle like a man and got out healthy. So as long as we’ve got those two healthy in the WR corps, I think Perriman can ease his way back into things. Plus Timmy Jernigan’s knee injury turned out to be minor after an initial scare. So all things considered, the Ravens will be fine.
13 days until we enjoy Denver.