THE AFC NORTH: Week 1 Preseason 2009

Street Talk THE AFC NORTH: Week 1 Preseason 2009

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Baltimore Ravens

Defensive coordinator Greg Mattison got a game ball for directing a shutout in his debut, and the offense amassed 500 yards, all but 101 through the air. The Baltimore Ravens’ only lament Thursday night was that their 23-0 rout of the Washington Redskins occurred in a meaningless preseason game. Joe Flacco led the Ravens to field goals on his only two series, Troy Smith tossed a touchdown pass and third-stringer John Beck threw for 105 yards despite attempting only nine passes. During the off-season, Baltimore feared its lack of depth at wide receiver might be an issue, but 15 players — eight of them wideouts — caught passes against Washington. Justin Harper led the charge with four receptions for 57 yards, and he had a 19-yard touchdown catch with five seconds left in the first half. Flacco was 9-of-15 passing for 103 yards, and Smith completed 14 of 30 passes for 200 yards. "It’s been drilled into both our heads to spread the ball around, to not have tunnel vision," Smith said. "The sky’s the limit for both of us."

Schedule

8/13   Washington         W   23 – 0

8/24   New York Jets

8/29   @ Carolina

9/3     @ Atlanta 

Cincinnati Bengals

Carson Palmer’s left ankle was encased in a protective boot by the time his first appearance of the preseason was done. His throwing arm, however, felt fine, and the numbers he put up in a short time bode well for the Cincinnati Bengals’ passing game.

Playing for the first time since an elbow injury sidelined him early last season; Palmer completed 7 of 11 passes for 133 yards in the Bengals’ 17-7 loss. "I feel good," Palmer said. "A little rusty … We’ve got to keep working and get the rust off." Palmer left the game late in the first quarter, moments after his quick sideline throw to wide receiver Chad Ochocinco produced a 55-yard gain. Palmer was playing with a mild left ankle sprain by that point, but he said the injury was minor and he hoped it wouldn’t prevent him from practicing next week.

Palmer was more concerned with his one mistake in the game, an interception by Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma. "I’ve got a lot of work to do, and I don’t want to miss any time, so we’ll see what happens," Palmer said. Two turnovers and Shayne Graham’s missed 30-yard field-goal attempt prevented the Bengals from scoring on the drives that Palmer led. Cincinnati tied the score at 7 before halftime on J.T. O’Sullivan’s 14-yard pass to Chris Henry, who caught the ball despite New Orleans cornerback Jason David’s illegal-contact penalty. O’Sullivan completed 9 of 11 passes for 100 yards. Jordan Palmer finished at quarterback for the Bengals, playing most of the second half. He was 7-of-11 passing for 59 yards. Henry, playing into the fourth quarter, led all receivers with seven catches for 100 yards.

Schedule

8/14   @ New Orleans     L 17 – 7

8/20   @ New England

8/27   St. Louis

9/3     Indianapolis

Cleveland Browns

New Cleveland Browns coach Eric Mangini says his quarterback competition is far from over. Both Brady Quinn and Derek Anderson are eager to put their first chance behind them. "What I wanted to see was smart football, I want to see toughness and I want to see us be able to out-hustle our opponent," Mangini said. "I don’t really think we achieved any of those objectives."

Quinn was better than Anderson, though both threw interceptions as Cleveland looked far removed from a team looking to improve upon last season’s 4-12 record, committing four turnovers and seven penalties. "We just killed ourselves defensively and offensively," Browns linebacker D’Qwell Jackson said. "We know where we are at this point, and we can only get better."

Mangini didn’t tip his hand that Quinn would start until about an hour before kickoff, though the quarterback knew Friday night. But that mattered little to the Green Bay Packers, who are coming off a 6-10 season. They blitzed often, holding Quinn to 7-of-11 passing for 68 yards. Anderson didn’t complete either pass that he attempted over his two short series. "Obviously, (there’s) a little bit of frustration," Anderson said. "We didn’t play well as a team; the things we were trying to do, the way we’ve been playing in practice didn’t carry over to the game. We’ve got a lot of work to do." Quinn completed four straight passes in the two-minute offense just before the half to move the Browns to the Packers’ 6 before Braylon Edwards dropped a would-be touchdown pass. On the next play, Quinn threw behind Edwards, and Green Bay safety Anthony Smith picked off the pass.

Schedule

8/15   @ Green Bay     L 17 – 0

8/22   Detroit

8/29   Tennessee

9/3     @ Chicago

Pittsburgh Steelers

Issac Redman accomplished nearly everything a seventh-string running back can hope to do while trying to win a job with the Super Bowl champions. He made an impression, and he did it twice. Redman, an un-drafted rookie from Bowie State playing long after the starters for both Super Bowl teams left the field, scored twice in the fourth quarter. Neither team scored a touchdown until Pittsburgh rookie Joe Burnett intercepted a pass by Cardinals third-team quarterback Brian St. Pierre, a former Steelers backup, and returned it to the Arizona 3-yard line to end the third quarter. Redman scored on the next play, and he added a 5-yard touchdown run about seven minutes later to end an 80-yard Steelers drive led by No. 3 quarterback Dennis Dixon.

Redman, a power back who hasn’t hesitated to take on some of the Super Bowl champions’ best linebackers in blocking drills, is listed as Pittsburgh’s No. 7 running back, but he also scored twice in goal-line situations during the team’s only game-like night practice of camp last Friday. "This team prides itself on being able to find those free agents that are capable of playing," Redman said, referring to finds such as un-drafted running back Willie Parker and linebacker James Harrison. "Hopefully I can be that next free agent. I knew I had to make an impression, or I might not even make it to the first (preseason) game. Ben Roethlisberger was 4-of-6 for 33 yards, and didn’t look all that rusty. "Overall, without looking at film, I think it was OK," Roethlisberger said. "I think we had a couple of plays with a few breakdowns, but it just felt good to go against somebody other than your own guys."

Schedule

8/13   Arizona                   W 20 – 10

8/22   @ Washington

8/29   Buffalo

9/3     @ Carolina

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Eric Buckner

About Eric Buckner

Eric Buckner is a native of Baltimore and has lived in the area his entire life. A graduate of Towson University , Eric has been a student of professional football since the day he wept in his grandfather's bedroom after the Baltimore Colts were upset by the New York Jets in Super Bowl III. A loyal fan of the Colts and subsequently the Ravens, Eric's passion for the NFL is unwavering as evidenced by his near flawless attendance record at Ravens' games. He's missed only one preseason game -- back in 2005. We'll cut him some slack since he was on his honeymoon. You won't find Eric slacking when it comes to covering the AFC North for ProFootball24x7.com.   More from Eric Buckner

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