Rob Long: Ravens Take A Step Forward
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The Baltimore Ravens went into preseason game number three with a lot of questions. While they still have some, like most teams in the National Football League, they answered many with an impressive showing in their 48-17 beat down of a Jacksonville Jaguars team that looks to be in trouble.
Joe Flacco, 27-36 with 266 yards and two touchdowns, looked to have taken “that” step into becoming one of the upper echelon quarterbacks in the league. The stats alone were good, but he poise and his command of the offense is noticeable. Flacco completed passes to nine different receivers en route to an offensive onslaught against the Jags first team.
Rookie Bobby Rainey, in all likelihood, made the 53-man roster with his 48- yard touchdown scamper that was about a 3-yard throw. His explosiveness has been the key to his success this preseason.
Torrey Smith led all receiver with eight receptions for 103 yards. He’s beginning to look like a number one receiver as Flacco shows more and more confidence in him.
Defensively, Lardarius Webb led the team with six tackles while Paul Kruger and Courtney Upshaw struggled to set the edge for the running game. That could be a huge problem for this football team moving forward this season.
Overall, this game gave some relief to Ravens fans with the 48-points, as well it should. However, it also revealed that the Jaguars aren’t a very good team. The Ravens are going to be a much better offensive team in 2012, but it looks like defensive coordinator Dean Pees will have to be creative with his schemes to hide some of the deficiencies.
Have things really changed with football in the Charm City? For over a decade, this team has been all about defense, but now, it looks like Joe Flacco and Ray Rice will have to lead this team if they still want to contend for a title.