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Preseason Game #1 – Baltimore Ravens @ New England Patriots 8/7/08

Flacco hands off

Over the weekend I was talking football as I usually do with my family and the eldest of the clan wanted me to answer this question.

Why should I watch preseason football?

It is hard to get anything meaningful watching the first team play about a quarter or two and then spending the rest of the game sifting through athletes who will end up either on special teams or the practice squad. Most of the vets, if they are even playing, are simply hoping not to get hurt. It’s not as if the teams are really playing to win anyway. I guess that’s why it’s also called an Exhibition game. Valid points.

But, I guess for me it signals a few things. An end to summer, which means that baseball no longer matters, a return to the classroom, and it means that football will be on television again. It has uniforms and everything. There is nothing more exciting than going to a football game and I can only remember when I took my brother to his first game in 1996. You see he had been deprived since the Colts snuck out of town. We sat at PJ’s pub about 9:30 in the morning and got warmed up before the walk over to Memorial Stadium to see the new team take on the Bengals. He just looked at me and couldn’t stop saying, “This is awesome!” Football is special. The men, who play it, make it so.

So here are a few things to look for to help you enjoy your experience as our Blackbirds matchup against the Videotapers.

1. QB Competition: The battle between the three will be at the top of every fan’s list. Kyle Boller gets the nod to lead the first squad, which makes perfect sense since he does have the most NFL experience of the three. Troy Smith should follow with Joe Flacco finishing it out. I have my own feeling about how things will finish in this but, I will be looking to see who leads the team in the huddle and on the field.

2. Offensive Line: Most fans will play close attention to the line with the retirements and injuries that have affected it. Chris Chester needs a good game as he has been slow to grasp things in camp. The interior of the line with Jason Brown, Ben Grubbs, and Marshall Yanda will need to establish themselves as the situation with the tackles still needs to be straightened out.

3. Offensive threats: Ray Rice, a second round pick that many people questioned has really opened eyes in camp. He’s been drawing also sorts of praise and with Willis McGahee shelved for this one he will get a chance to run with the first group. The receiving corps will also need to show what they can do, Mark Clayton needs to get going in Coach Cameron’s offense, while Marcus Smith and Yamon Figurs will be getting some looks as well. Demetrius Williams is still on the injured list.

4. Young and Hungry Defense: Nothing gets the vets in gear like a hungry rookie that wants playing time. Some names to get acquainted with are Tavares Gooden, who some are already saying will replace Bart Scott if he leaves next season. Haruki Nakamura who coaches have said exhibits Reed-like instincts has sparkled, as well as Antwan Barnes who has shown speed to spare and an ability to cover.

5. The Harbaugh Era:
There will be a few firsts as the new coaching staff makes it’s way through the season; this is the first pre-season game. It will seem odd not seeing Billick pace the sidelines. Will Harbaugh’s team show a bit more attention to detail and shy away from costly penalties that have been the club’s forte for years? A new offense is sure to have kinks that will need to be worked out. The club has needed a new message how will they respond on the field when they are hitting players not in purple.

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2 Responses to “Preseason Game #1 – Baltimore Ravens @ New England Patriots 8/7/08”

  1. Steve says:

    Based on what we’ve seen in the pre-season, it looks like your ravens are going to have a repeat of last year with a column full of “L”‘s. I think it’s fair to say that the “videotapers” would not waste their film on your team and I expect a slaughter tonight in Foxborough as the Pats take it the win 38-10

  2. Steve says:

    ok maybe not… but we’ll see what happens in the regular season

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