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Ravens Top Pats 16-15 in Preseason Opener

Smith throws vs NE

Preseason is a time for evaluation and while most will not read much of anything into the Ravens victory last night. One thing is for certain; the competition for who will lead Baltimore under center is still in need of further review.

Kyle Boller really showed nothing new for the judges. He led a fine drive in the opening possession in which he showed efficiency and arm strength. But, those efforts ended in Stover booting home three as opposed to a touchdown. During his five series, he completed 11 of 15 (with two drops) however he turned the ball over twice as well and also showed the inconsistency that has marked his tenure.

Troy Smith showed poise in the huddle but was somewhat less effective going 5 for 12 and did throw some nice balls that again led to a field goal. The early word this morning is that Smith will get his chance to run the first team against the Vikings next Saturday.

Joe Flacco, who worked the last nine minutes of the Fourth looked like a rookie. He was stripped on the second play of his series, which led to a Lamont Jordan touchdown run. Admittedly, the line, which is already patchwork at this point, was filled with a few guys that will most likely end up on the practice squad. But, he looked out of sync in the brief time he was on the field and didn’t complete a pass.

Coach Harbaugh was brief in his comments after the game calling Boller “impressive”, Smith “very poised” and Flacco “he will learn fast”. Meaning that nothing has really been settled.

Other points of interest:

Yamon Figurs showed why the coaching staff is trying to get his top-flight speed in the offense. He had a 52 yard punt return that set up the only TD of the game.

Justin Bannan was a force and was in the backfield most of the game. Bannan has been a solid addition and is a regular in the D-line rotation.

Ray Rice was a bit nervous in his NFL debut. By my count he lost his helmet (twice) more times the number of yards he racked up.

Fabian Washington did an excellent job in coverage and hauled in two interceptions. Hopefully this is a sign that he will bolster the injury-depleted unit from a season ago.

Matt Stover. “Mr. Reliable”, “Father Time”, “The Offense”. He has so many nicknames and he was solid perfect on all his tries. I can only hope that we can see more touchdowns instead of field goals.

The Ravens offense did have a different feel to it. Use of motion and the no-huddle were a welcome sight. I also noticed use of the fullback and a Quarterback draw out of the shotgun. No fans should accuse the offense of being vanilla or using little imagination this year.

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