Football Is Back In Baltimore: Ravens Host The Redskins In The Preseason Opener

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Football is finally BACK in Baltimore baby. We wait for months on end for a little taste, and we’re finally getting one tonight at M&T Bank. Kurt Cousins and the Washington R-words are making the short drive up 95 to play a little pigskin and I couldn’t be more jacked up for it. Does it matter that Cool Joe is still coolin on the sidelines with an achy back? Hell naw. Football is football and I’ll take it any way I can.

Usually these two duke it out in the 3rd preseason game of the year, which is by far the best of the preseason games to watch. That’s no matter. There’s still plenty of camp battles and other headlines to look out for if you’re a Baltimore football guy. 3 things I’m watching for tonight:

Ryan Mallett – Yeah he’s gonna get a lottttt of action tonight, and probably the rest of the preseason for that matter. There’s been a ton of chatter about his struggles in camp, including a story about him having an absolute meltdown after throwing a boatload of INT’s during one practice. What’s worse is that meltdown happened right in the middle of all the Kaepernick hubbub last week. Not a great look for the guy. I’m not wildly concerned about the INT’s though. Any blogger worth his salt will point out that the defense has just been especially ferocious in early camp, and we’re probably looking at another all-time defensive unit here in Baltimore. Plus you gotta commend the guy for getting out of bed in the morning on time. One would say he’s winning off the field, so at least he’s got that. Is Mallett’s backup job in Baltimore safe? Probably not. Will it be if he struggles tonight against a mediocre Washington defense? Definitely.

That Aforementioned All-Time Defensive Unit – I can’t really express how fired up I am for the Ravens to be a defense-first team again. It’s a big reason why I’m not pushing the panic button on Flacco taking his time with his back. We don’t need him to be great, just good enough to put a few points on the board and protect the football. Ozzie Newsome doubled and tripled down on defense by signing Tony Jefferson and drafting TWO future stud pass-rushers. I can’t wait to see Tyus Bowser and Tim Williams get after the QB and wreak some havoc out there. You know they’re going to get a full load of reps, some of them against some scrub OT’s just trying to get a roster spot. Plus if you add in everything positive we’re hearing about Kamalei Correa after basically being a no-show last season, it’s like we’ve got an extra 2nd round pick this year. Gotta love it. This defense is going to do great things this year, and it’s going to have a TON to do with these young fellas.

James Hurst – This preseason may be his best (and last) opportunity to show that he’s capable of being an NFL starter. He certainly has shown otherwise up to this point. Dude has been garbaaage up this point. You don’t really expect a lot from an undrafted rookie, but this staff has been so damn stubborn about continuing to put this guy in there. They just about backed themselves into a corner by waiting until last week to sign Austin Howard, who at least has some true starting experience in the league at RT. Howard is banged up and unlikely to play tonight, so tonight is probably Hurst’s last great opportunity to really seize the job. Otherwise, it’s probably Howard’s to lose moving forward in camp.

It’s time. Football is football any way I can get it. Hopefully we get out of tonight’s game in one piece. Let’s do the damn thing.