Third and Long: Hold that Line

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After opening the season with a resounding victory at home hopes were high that the purple and black could vanquish a divisional rival on the road in Cincinnati last Thursday.

It didn’t happen.

In the blink of an eye and three sips of my Marzen the Stripes jumped out to a 21-0 lead in the opening quarter and never looked back. The Blackbirds were dominated on both sides of the ball and out-schemed by the opposing coaches. It was an all too familiar sight and one that left many fans wondering if the current edition of the Ravens would simply be yet another mediocre rerun from past campaigns.

It’s only week three though. And as John Denver said, “Hey it’s good to be back home again.”

So let’s do it.

  1. “Offensive” Line- Most people including myself viewed the offensive line as a potential trouble spot coming into this season. With an undersized Matt Skura at Center and James Hurst starting at Right Tackle (No idea why) this unit has its vulnerabilities. Last week the Bengals used mainly a four man rush and generated plenty of pressure on Joe Flacco and forced him into bad decisions and sloppy footwork. The group allowed four sacks and eight quarterback hits which isn’t exactly ideal. At least the coaching staff saw the need to act as the team worked out ten lineman this week to help bolster the position. Everyone from former first rounder Jonathan Cooper to Mike Flynn seemingly got a shot to impress the bosses. There were no signings made as of yet but its clear that the coaches share the concern of the fanbase. The line needs to solidify if the team is to have any chance to get to the post-season. In the meantime I’ll continue to repeat my calls for Orlando Brown jr. to start at Right Tackle and for James Hurst to play a Guard position. Then Alex Lewis could move to Center. It’s the best option they have without signing a new player. It certainly doesn’t help that Ronnie Stanley struggled against the Bengals and couldn’t finish the game due to injuries. The Ravens will need a strong effort from whoever plays Left Tackle to slow Von Miller and rookie Bradly Chubb this weekend.
  2. Under No Pressure- I feel as if I jinxed the defense last week (I know I didn’t, I don’t play) when I wrote about how I thought that this group reminded me of the glory days of “Organized Chaos”.  So of course they went on the road and couldn’t lay a pinkie on Andy Dalton, once again proving I have no idea what I’m talking about. None of this was helped at all by the loss of C.J. Mosley who suffered a bone bruise and was knocked out early. If he’s out for a prolonged period you’d have to wonder who steps us in his absence, not just at his position but as the captain of the defense. (Just read it’s Weddle) Still I’m most irritated about the lack of pass rush and I feel that it could be solved with a bit more balance among the linebackers. Suggs, while a potential Hall of Famer shouldn’t be playing as many snaps as he did ten years ago. Especially when you have Tim Williams and Tyus Bowser on the roster. Each showed well in Week One and they only played a combined nineteen snaps between them. It’s time for the youngsters to get more of a role on the defense.
  3. Players to Watch- Last week (Yanda- B rating from Film Study, Za. Smith – 1 tackle) Alex Collins was expected to be a big part of the Ravens offense and so far that hasn’t happened. Regardless of the situation he needs to be a part of the offensive attack. I hope to see a bit more commitment in getting the ball in his hands this Sunday. Brandon Williams must step up on defense and force the Broncos to become one dimensional. Dominant defenses start by taking the run away from the opposition and Baltimore needs to win the battle at the line of scrimmage.

 

Legend of the Game

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Deion Sanders

Nickelback / Safety

Played for Ravens (2004-2005)

The seven-time Pro Bowl cornerback was lured out of a three season retirement by friends Corey Fuller and Ray Lewis to play for Baltimore. It was an exciting signing at the time as the flamboyant Sanders who already had enjoyed a storied NFL career was coming to Charm City. In his two seasons he had five interceptions but his most memorable was against Buffalo in 04′ as he scored his Ninth career touchdown off of an interception moving him into a tie for second place all-time.

Game Day Playlist – Song of the Week

“‘Cause I’ve done it before,
And I can do it some more,
I’ve got my eye on the score,
I’m gonna cut through the floor,
It’s too late,
It’s too soon,
Or is it
Tick tick tick tick tick tick tick…boom!”

This Swedish rock band got its first large exposure to U.S. audiences with this 2007 hit. It’s appeared in a variety of tv shows, commercials, and video games and now it appears here.

COUSIN JUSTIN’S BETTING PARLOR

Two weeks, two wins. I’ll admit I was given a late scare by the 49ers defense in the fourth quarter as a seventeen point lead evaporated against the Lions. Luckily Matt Stafford found his gag reflex and San Francisco came out a three point victor.

So who am I picking this week?

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The Chefs are an offensive juggernaut right now and after two weeks on the road return to Arrowhead for their home opener. Patrick Mahomes isn’t the only reason I’m picking them here as I also don’t want to pull the trigger on the Vikings yet (too early) or Jacksonville (Patriots letdown plus division opponent). That leaves a ton of close games that I can’t get a good read on. So let’s go KC.

GAME-TIME SNACK OF THE WEEK

Loaded Pickle Chips

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RECIPE

You had me at bacon.

Admittedly I won’t make these this week as I have tickets to the game. There’s always a game next week though.

Happy Football Everyone! Go Ravens!

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