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GaTechRavens


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 11, 2012 12:16 am    Post subject: My thoughts on the greatness we just witnessed Reply with quote

- Where do we begin with Joe Flacco? I didn't necessarily post a whole lot on it last year, but I was skeptical of Cam's offense being the reason for our inconsistency. I...I think I was wrong. This was different from Flacco's great performances in the past. There was a rhythm to him that I've never quite seen before.

- If anyone tells you arm strength is overrated, they're wrong. When a QB like Flacco is not only in control of the offense, but can put the throw the ball anywhere deep or to the sidelines without any danger of the ball being picked off, you know you have something special.

- The two near interceptions are something you never want to see happening, but at least with Rice's you know it's the product of a rare miscommunication that shouldn't be as much fo a worry going forward. There's always going to be the occasional hiccup moment - I remember the Monday Night opener two years ago when Flacco and Boldin couldn't get going with each other. That resolved itself as the year went on, and I feel like this will too.

- Ray Rice is Ray Rice. He's exceedingly fundamental, exceedingly consistent and exceedingly durable. You can't ask for much more than that. He's a perfect fit for what we're trying to do in this offense. He'll have his big games going forward.

- Torrey Smith had one of those games where his impact won't show up in the numbers. He had hios one big play tonight - which was an insanely difficult play to make - but he's the kind of guy whose presence really does things up for everyone else.

- We really spread the ball around tonight. Everyone got in on the action, and if there's any mark of a truly elite offense it's that.

- Dennis Pitta is quickly going to become a fan favorite. The lob into the end zone was jaw dropping in regard to both Flacco and Pitta.

- Noticed how everyone suddenly got open tonight? Maybe it wasn't the receivers' fault after all. Thanks Cam.

- I wasn't as impressed by the o-line as others were. I think it's a classic case of the QB making his o-line better than it actually was through making everything faster. We've seen this with Brady and Manning and the subsequent regression of their o-lines following injury. There were a few sacks that just looked flat out ugly. There was no room to scramble, Flacco just had to settle for the sack. The tackles did fine, but Birk and Harewood really struggled there.

- I still was pleasantly surprised by the run blocking. Rice made up for it when they didn't get push, but there was a stunning lack of our backs getting stuffed at any point in the game. This is another part of the game where Flacco undoubtedly helped, but they really did a fine job on their own.

- I think Harewood did alright, at least in the running game. The outside was outstanding, though. Good discipline and good pass protection. Oher and Osemele are good fits for our offense right now and I'm glad they are where they are.

- Dean Pees did well tonight. He called some creative and effective blitzes and, we can all agree, made some phenomenal adjustments entering the second half. I did not expect Andy Dalton to be rattled that quickly.

- I am concerned about the pass rush and I think the second half surge downplayed what's still a pretty big issue. They had their moments and I think Kruger and Upshaw showed signs of life, so it'll get better. But there will be shootouts this year.

- The run defense is an issue for sure. That's where we're truly missing Suggs. Our linebackers just aren't built to handle a run heavy attack and it's going to kill us in the TOP battle this year with our offense the way it is.

- There's undoubtedly a Green Bay effect, where a great offense makes things harder on the defense. We saw this in flashes in 2009 and we saw it tonight, where the defense shut everything down only after the offense faced less pressure to score. So if there's a single most reassuring thing about our defense's struggle tonight, it's that the offense is both making up for it and indirectly causing some of those issues to begin with. When a team takes a big lead, the opponent either passes - which will lead to turnovers but also better numbers, or they'll throw things off and run efficiently because the defense wasn't expecting it. It's just not natural to assume a defense can always play just as well when they have a lead, because circumstances are just different.

- Haloti may not have seemed to have shown up all night, but there's only so much you can do when you have weaknesses elsewhere. I was personally impressed by him, even outside of his flashier plays toward the end.

- Ray Lewis' weight loss is serving him incredibly well. He looked, dare I say it, a bit like the Ray of old tonight. He was all over the place.

- The secondary was pretty darn close to being outstanding tonight. Look, there's only so much they can do against a pass heavy offense when the rush isn't there. Even the best defenses will have drives where they look incapable - that's the nature of today's NFL. But we did a great job of shutting them down deep for the most part and forced them to do their work on intermediate routes. Best of all, they're talented enough across the board to force mistakes - and if we're not going to be elite, we'll darn well be opportunistic. By limiting the deep ball as well as we always have, the offense is relying on avoiding mistakes for a lot of consectutive plays - make one mistake out of ten and a whole drive's work is wasted. That's our bread and butter and nothing we showed tonight says we can't play that way.

- Justin Tucker is legit. That is all. Those were some straight kicks.

Overall, I'm cautiously ecstatic. The Ravens look completely different this year, and I'll try not to be premature. We're not sure how good the Bengals D is, but Flacco made fools out of them tonight. As long as he keeps that up, we're an elite football team even if our defense has question marks. If he doesn't keep that up, we still have a lot going for us. But when a team wins by 31 points and does it with such pose, you can't help but get the occasional goosebump.

I'll be totally honest, too: as crazy as this may sound, I wasn't as excited for the NFL this year. I still vowed to watch as much as I could, but the fire wasn't there. I blame the Patriots game first and foremost - that was the first legitimately soul crushing loss to the point where I sort of lost interest in what was going on. Then the Suggs injury dampened my hopes to the point where I thought we had already peaked - and in terms of optimism for the future, the best times being behind you is the single most hope crushing thing you can have. Then the Orioles came in and stole away much of the enthusiasm I normally would have had for the NFL in September. But you know what? It's all back, baby. The Broncos game last night revived me, and tonight's game sent me back over the edge. With Joe Flacco, we're not going away for a long time. Nothing will ever top last year's season opener, but this one is easily in second. I couldn't be more excited.
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rmthawk64


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 11, 2012 2:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great post. Agree with everything. I think the thing that stood out most to me was just how well our offense executed, how great our secondary looked, and wow Ray Lewis. We might just have us a top 5 offense AND defense this year... Scary thought.

Want to also say that last paragraph may have summed up my feelings better than I could have myself.
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Johnni G


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 11, 2012 7:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Im very, very impressed by this first game. WoW!
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Flaccomania


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 11, 2012 7:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

100% agree with it all. I too am still concerned about our pass rush, and hope that we can improve upon that.

The OL, while it looked ok, really didn't impress me. Like you said, the pocket collapsed too many times to be happy about, and I too think that a bit of the struggles of the OL was made to look better by Flacco and the quick offense that lets us get the ball out quicker. But, I do love this no-huddle type offense. Like you said, GTR, Flacco looked to be in a nice rhythm all game, which is what we've seen many times before late in games and in crunch time. This is what type of offense really fits Flacco -- lots of quick drops, spread the ball around, use the arm strength to throw some outs, and then use PA to set up a deep ball or two. I'm very much glad we're recognizing this (thank you, Cam) finally and adjusting our system to our QB's strengths, instead of the opposite.

Very exciting win.
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HokieRaven5


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 11, 2012 8:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Flaccomania wrote:
100% agree with it all. I too am still concerned about our pass rush, and hope that we can improve upon that.

The OL, while it looked ok, really didn't impress me. Like you said, the pocket collapsed too many times to be happy about, and I too think that a bit of the struggles of the OL was made to look better by Flacco and the quick offense that lets us get the ball out quicker. But, I do love this no-huddle type offense. Like you said, GTR, Flacco looked to be in a nice rhythm all game, which is what we've seen many times before late in games and in crunch time. This is what type of offense really fits Flacco -- lots of quick drops, spread the ball around, use the arm strength to throwing some outs, and then use PA to set up a deep ball or two. I'm very much glad we're recognizing this (thank you, Cam AND JIM CALDWELL ) finally and adjusting our system to our QB's strengths, instead of the opposite.

Very exciting win.


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HokieRaven5


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 11, 2012 8:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Flaccomania wrote:
100% agree with it all. I too am still concerned about our pass rush, and hope that we can improve upon that.

The OL, while it looked ok, really didn't impress me. Like you said, the pocket collapsed too many times to be happy about, and I too think that a bit of the struggles of the OL was made to look better by Flacco and the quick offense that lets us get the ball out quicker. But, I do love this no-huddle type offense. Like you said, GTR, Flacco looked to be in a nice rhythm all game, which is what we've seen many times before late in games and in crunch time. This is what type of offense really fits Flacco -- lots of quick drops, spread the ball around, use the arm strength to throwing some outs, and then use PA to set up a deep ball or two. I'm very much glad we're recognizing this (thank you, Cam AND JIM CALDWELL ) finally and adjusting our system to our QB's strengths, instead of the opposite.

Very exciting win.


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StRawz11


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 11, 2012 10:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Best game from Flacco I've ever seen. There was still some bad passes there and they're getting overlooked, but I'm really really confident in Joe this year. Defense needs to step up, because the O has made the necessary leaps to take this team to the Super Bowl, and perhaps the favorites in the AFC (although too early to tell)
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BaltimoreTerp


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 11, 2012 11:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Flacco had some serious WTF moments but they seemed more like miscommunications than bad decisions, so there's reason to believe that it's something that can be more easily fixed. The back shoulder throw to Jacoby and the bombs with guys in his face to Torrey, Pitta for six, and Boldin for six all made my jaw drop. Simply majestic. Joe's ready to show people what kind of arm he's got. Was really shocked to see Jacoby Jones making plays too. Having 3 threats at wideout would be a huge new wrinkle for this offense. And nothing really more needs to be said about Dennis Pitta, AmEx is someone who this entire team trusts. Torrey Smith looked like a superstar out there. Game wouldn't have been complete without the patented 'Torrey Smith go-route, PI in the end zone' special.

Cam started the game out trolling with 17 end-arounds but otherwise called a fantastic game, right down to letting Joe do his own thing out there with audibles and such. And I don't think I've ever seen us utilize WR screens as affectively as we did last night. Even on the big screen to Ray he was lined up out wide. Flacco off of play-action and Ray Rice off of HB draws are both going to be good weapons for us if we can keep defenses guessing. Worked wonders last night.

Defense got dominated up front by the Bengals during the 1st half and then through Cincy's first drive in the 2nd half, but Pees made great adjustments and we were able to get to Dalton when they had to abandon the run. With Shady McCoy up next, I'm sure run defense will be a huge focus during practice because we need to see improvement, but at the very least we may have the sort of opportunistic defense that meshes well with a better offense. Kruger disappointed me, I thought Upshaw got much better as the game went on, Ngata had a huge 2nd half, Ray was all over the place, Webb was fantastic, and both Cary and Jimmy Smith need some work though they did alright all things considered.

Offensive line was spotty but got the job done. Most important question for me going forward is how they hold up over the season running the no huddle. It's going to cause some heavy legs, so conditionining will be paramount. If they can do that, we're in good shape.

Also, Harbaugh using a timeout just to scream at the refs was pretty hilarious.

Fantastic start.
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 11, 2012 11:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm not gonna bother posting my thoughts because I agree completely with everyone here!
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RavensTillIDie


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 11, 2012 11:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

SnA ExclusiVe wrote:
I'm not gonna bother posting my thoughts because I agree completely with everyone here!


What...what is this? I don't even know....

jking

Laughing
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SnA ExclusiVe


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 11, 2012 12:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

RavensTillIDie wrote:
SnA ExclusiVe wrote:
I'm not gonna bother posting my thoughts because I agree completely with everyone here!


What...what is this? I don't even know....

jking

Laughing


Haha! Yeah, yeah, I know!
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FlaccoForever


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 11, 2012 12:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's official Skip Bayless has completely gone off the deep end. He actually said Matt Flynn was better than Joe Flacco based on Flynn's 480 yard performance against Detroit Week 17 last season but accused Stephen A Smith of overreacting to Joe's performance last night. I try to give the guy a chance to show that he's a competent human being but he keeps failing every time.
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 11, 2012 1:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

GaTechRavens wrote:
Bunch of stuff.


I agree with pretty much all of this. Here are some players/points I'd like to expand on.

Play-calling - Cameron called a good game offensively. What? I know right. This style of game-plan needs to be an every week kind of thing. I was surprised they didn't run it more late in the game but this was a decent opportunity to practice for other games that are closer. Taking the foot off the pedal was something a lot of us didn't like in the past and this might be the start of a new trend. I liked what Pees did too for the most part. He's definitely not as vanilla as advertised and it looks like he made some good adjustments in the second half to get the pass-rush going.

Flacco - He had some moments last night to remind you that he's still Joe Flacco but I think he looked better last night than he did most of last season and you can definitely see the improvements he's made that everybody was talking about. It's not like every other QB in the league makes a few bad decisions or has bad plays every game either. Although it's not quite the same in the secondary the Bengals defense has been one of the toughest challenges for Flacco in the past but he played well against them last night. I don't doubt that the expanded offensive scheme and the addition of another guy that has some speed at WR (more on him later) helps but Flacco was still able to take advantage of it.

Running game - I was worried that Rice might have a harder time running out of more single-back sets but he was good-great as usual. There isn't another RB in the league that I'd rather have (maybe a homer statement maybe not) and he fits everything the Ravens are doing on offense. Pierce and Allen were able to pick up a few yards when they carried the ball too, I really liked what I saw from the run-blocking.

Jones - This guy made more meaningful plays in the first half than any other WR outside of Boldin or Smith did all of last season. I cannot express how happy I am they actually involved him in the offense. This was something else I was worried about but it looks like the offense really has changed. Jones wasn't targeted after the first half and only had 3 targets all game (catches on all 3 too) but when he made big plays when he was. The game was still close in the first half and his contributions let the offense keep chugging along. I was a bit surprised to see Thompson get the nod at KR over Jones but if he has a substantial role in the offense that's probably a good thing.

Smith - Like Jones he had only 3 targets all game but that first play set the tone of the game in my opinion. That was a beautiful throw from Flacco off his back foot and just before the defender slammed into him and I think it gave the defense something to think about. not that they weren't worried about it before but since they were already burned it makes the threat more real. If the game had gone in a different direction I think Smith would have surely been more involved in the offense (probably Jones too) but his presence on the field alone isn't something to take lightly.

Boldin - I really don't think he held onto that touchdown. Other than that there's not much to comment on about his game, it was business as usual for Boldin in a Ravens uniform.

Pitta - It doesn't look like there will be any ill-effects from his preseason injury. BTerp called him Dennis heap and I don't think that's too far off. To me Heap was easily better but that doesn't mean Pitta isn't good. I still expect the targets for Pitta and Dickson to fluctuate from week-to-week but I wouldn't be upset if Pitta took over the primary role at the position.

Offensive line - I don't think anybody could have expected Harewood to start. It makes sense though when looking at what he brings to the table. He's fairly athletic for his size and he has more than enough intelligence to play in a quicker offense which is more than just physically demanding. There were some hiccups but I think he played well. That goes for the rest of the line too. It wasn't great but it was good although the Bengals were missing their best edge-rusher. I hope they keep this group together so they can grow, I didn't see any reason to reinsert McKinnie or Williams into the starting lineup.

Pass-rush - It picked up in the second half but before that it wasn't good when they didn't call a blitz. Of course that's not a big surprise when you have McClellan at RUSH with some combination of Ngata/Kemoeatu/Cody/Jones/McPhee as the other guys going after the QB. Need more Kruger rushing the passer.

Run-defense - Like everybody else I'm a bit worried about how the Bengals were able to consistently pick up first downs in short-yardage situations. I didn't see the Green-Ellis TD but on a lot of the other situations I noticed that both Lewis and McClain were quite a ways back from the LOS and that might have had something to do with it. Green-Ellis is the type of runner that has success against the Ravens defense but it's still something to keep an eye on. Setting the edge on either side didn't appear to be much of a problem but we'll get a better feel on that when Baltimore plays a team that utilizes more outside runs.

Pass-defense - It was adequate. I agree with GaTech that it's hard to expect a ton from the secondary when the pass-rush is lacking and I'm satisfied with how they performed. Reed's interception might be getting a bit too much credit because it was an easy catch without a receiver battling him for the ball (putting himself in the position to make it is a different story, his instincts are unrivaled) but you can't disregard the all-time interception return yard leader. It was nice to see that Webb will still be used as a blitzer out of the nickel too.

Lewis - It was good to see him flying all over the field again. Losing some weight looks to have been the best off-season football decision he's made in years.

Tucker - His kicking was solid both on field goals and kickoffs. You can't ask for anything more than that.

I don't think there was anybody else that stood out to me individually. The offense as a whole was very satisfying and I think the defense was solid overall as well.

On a side note, Mays should get a hefty fine for that hit he put on Dickson. It reminded me a whole lot of the one Meriweather had on Heap in the playoffs a couple of seasons ago. The one last night was brutal and to the head. I'm not one to complain too much about hits but that's something I think we can all agree that we wouldn't want to see from either teams perspective. I thought Webb's hit on Dalton was wrongly penalized at first but then I saw the replay and he did lead with the helmet. I've always thought that was a bit worse for the defender's neck than anything else but that's easily avoidable too, especially when you a have a free run at the QB/offensive player like Webb did.
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BareYourTeeth


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 11, 2012 2:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Does anyone else feel Kruger would be better suited at the RUSH position while both Upshaw and McClellan would be better at SAM?
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 11, 2012 3:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

RavensTillIDie wrote:
SnA ExclusiVe wrote:
I'm not gonna bother posting my thoughts because I agree completely with everyone here!


What...what is this? I don't even know....

jking

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Yup now I'm convinced

2012 is real! It's all over
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