Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh did not like what he saw out of the starters in the Ravens’ 27-23 win over the Atlanta Falcons. I didn’t like it either. The offensive line allowed too much penetration, especially center A.Q. Shipley, who is in a battle for the starting center position with Gino Gradkowski.
“That’s about as bad as we can play,” Harbaugh noted as he was going to the locker room at half time via baltimoreravens.com. “That’s the worst half of football, I don’t think I can say ever, but I can’t think of one.”
The Ravens offense did not seem to get in gear at all, as the starting offensive line played into the third quarter, wide receiver Brandon Stokley was still learning the formations, and tight end Visanthe Shiancoe continues to drop passes.
“We were just sloppy. We never got into a rhythm,” Ravens Quarterback Joe Flacco noted via baltimoreravens.com. “We’ve just got to go back to practice, continue to improve, and when we come out here we’ve got to play better.”
The defense didn’t play well either, getting gashed in the running game by Falcons running back Steven Jackson, who had eight carries for 42 yards. It actually felt like Jackson had 70 rushing yards in the first half. Cornerback Jimmy Smith also had a rough day, as he got abused by Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones. Smith allowed three catches for 55 yards, including a touchdown on one drive to the emerging star receiver.
It’s too early to panic with certain things, but the Ravens defense seems to be having the same issues they had last season in terms of allowing too many plays between the 20-yard lines. The “bend but don’t break” defense something that needs to be addressed. Yes, the Ravens defense plays well when they are backed up in their own red zone, but if the Ravens truly want to get back to being the dominant defense they have been for many years, they have to stop teams between the 20-yard lines as well.
The Ravens are 2-0 in the preseason, but they are not close to being ready for Week 1 just yet.