After kick-off of the first pre-season home game for the Baltimore Ravens, the panic from game one will disappear and the fans will begin to look forward to seeing some improvement as the team moves closer to the regular season.

The starters will probably play into the second quarter this game, which will be very helpful for timing and coaches’ evaluations. No, Ray Lewis and Ray Rice may not need to be evaluated, but the tight end position needs to be evaluated. Bryan Mattison and the rookie wide receivers need to be evaluated as well. More playing time will allow this.

The offensive line gave up six sacks in game one. Oneil Cousins was horrible in that lack of effort, but he’ll play the right guard position on Friday night. It appears either the coaching staff still believes in this kid, or maybe they have no other choice but to play him right now. Either way, he gets a chance to redeem himself after that performance last week.

The fans who’ve been calling me on the “Football Fix” have been asking for Cary Williams at the starting cornerback position. He’s been practicing with Jimmy Smith on the first team since the Philadelphia Eagles game and both will get extended play on Friday. Could this be the cornerback tandem for the Ravens moving forward? He’ll have a chance to prove himself in front of the home crowd. Smith has missed a lot of snaps, but he’s by far the most skillful corner on the roster. Domonique Foxworth has been out a lot with the knee injury, but could play tonight. There are some who believe Foxworth is playing for a roster spot.

He’s not playing for a roster spot, but Ed Dickson could be fighting for his job after the work the Dennis Pitta has been putting in. Pitta has shown tremendous hands and athletism. Dickson’s been hampered by a hamstring injury and could see a lot of time tonight. If he could show what the Ravens saw in him when they drafted him, the team could have a very interesting duo at the tight end position.

Overall, the team has to perform better than they did last Thursday. No, it’s not about wins and losses, but sustaining drives and finishing tackles. It would be great to see guys like Paul Kruger and Pernell McPhee continue to grow and develop. At the same time, guys like Torrey Smith have to make an impression as well. It’s only the pre-season, but for the Baltimore Ravens, it’s a very important one.

Follow Rob on Twitter: @RobLongSports


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