RAVENS 37 COWBOYS 30: 5 Good, 5 Bad Takeways

Deonte Thompson
Deonte Thompson returns kick 108 yards for a touchdown during Ravens at Cowboys preseason game, August 16, 2014 (Photo Credit: Brandon Wade, AP)

The Ravens offense did not take the field until the 3:25 mark of the first quarter and then proceeded to stay on the field for all of 53 seconds, their total time of possession for the quarter.

Yet the first quarter ended with the Ravens on the lead end of a 14-7 game thanks to a fumble recovery for score by Courtney Upshaw and a 108-yard kick return by Deonte Thompson.

It was a strange and uneven game/performance, even for a fake game.

 

PLUS

1. BIG MAC: Pernell McPhee continues to be a menacing force for the Ravens defense and his versatility is broadening. It will be interesting to see how Dean Pees uses his unique skill set to create mismatches when the regular season begins.

2. KICKIN’ IT: The kick coverage team and the kick return team were both plus on Saturday. After 8 kickoffs the Cowboys’ average start was their own 19-yard line. The return team averaged 46 yards on 5 returns including the 108-yard return for score from Deonte Thompson (62.7 yards on his 3 returns).

3. IN THE MIDDLE: CJ Mosley and Daryl Smith are developing into a formidable nucleus in the Ravens defense. Mosley does a nice job sifting through traffic to make plays. Smith had the stop of the day when he violently dropped Cowboys running back Lance Dunbar for a 2-yard loss.

4. ON THE EDGE: Terrell Suggs was much better against the Cowboys setting the edge on running plays. He was active rushing the passer but never really disrupted the quarterback. His opponent Tryon Smith isn’t exactly chopped liver although he did prevent a Suggs sack with a bear hug that would have made Yogi proud.

5. RUN IT: The Ravens running game continues to show promise. The offensive front is a coordinated effort and the backs once again attacked the line of scrimmage to the tune of 5.0 yards per carry on 29 attempts. Let’s give a thumbs up where it’s due. If you are going to blame offensive line coach Juan Castillo for last year’s rushing debacle, you have to give him at least partial credit for this year’s resurgence.

 

MINUS

1. CLEAN UP TIME: Perhaps part of the problem lies in the lack of live tackling during training camp but the team tackling is shoddy and needs some major cleaning up.

2. MONROE “FLAT” TIRES: Eugene Monroe looked slow and off balance far too often. His footwork was sloppy and he seldom worked from a position of leverage when protecting the passer.

3. LATE TO THE PARTY: Throughout camp and during the first two preseason games Matt Elam has been a step or two late and has not been the playmaker the Ravens need and expect on the back end. Originally thought to be the safety who would spend more time up in the box, in Dallas safety sidekick Darian Stewart was actually more active and effective around the line of scrimmage.

4. MEDIVAC: The Ravens secondary has been depleted by injuries to Asa Jackson and Lardarius Webb. Although the chest injury Jimmy Smith sustained on Saturday night in Dallas isn’t believed to be serious, it was an unpleasant reminder of just how thin DB coach Steve Spagnuolo’s unit is. Smith has arguably been the team’s best player throughout camp.

5. OFFENSIVE DEFENSE: The Ravens starting defense could not generate a pass rush and that left the Cowboys quarterbacks standing in a comfort zone, capably picking apart the Ravens secondary. It seemed like the Ravens defensive front was forced to count to Mississippi-5 before they could take off. Dallas averaged 6.4 yards per offensive play and their four QB’s combined for a 100.4 passer rating. Dean Pees’ unit is a complete mess when defending screens.

 

OTHER OBSERVATIONS

  • The broadcast was wretched. There were more screen blackouts than Ravens third down conversions (3 of 12).
  • Ball security was an issue during the preseason opener (Pierce, Forsett fumbles) and it was again on Saturday in Dallas (Taliaferro, Forsett).
  • Joe Flacco was inconsistent and struggled whenever his primary read was covered. Not exactly what you want to see when going up against last season’s worst defense, one that is even weaker this season.
  • The extended length PAT’s are a joke. The league thought that the strategy might invite more two-point conversion attempts during the preseason. Even if coaches actually embraced the proposed change why would they reveal their hands during fake games?
What best describes your thoughts on the Ravens preseason win in Dallas on Saturday night?
A win is a win (3%)
I'm concerned about the defense (58%)
At least there were no major injuries (14%)
Weird, just like the last time the Ravens visited Dallas (5%)
The regular season can't get here soon enough (20%)
This poll has completed. Thank you for voting.
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About Tony Lombardi

Tony Lombardi
Tony is 24x7 Networks, LLC's founder (the parent of EutawStreetReport.com and RussellStreetReport.com) His work has been featured on various sports websites and he is a regular guest on 105.7 The Fan. A diehard Fab Four fan, Tony is a frustrated musician who thinks beating on the steering wheel is akin...more

14 Raves on “RAVENS 37 COWBOYS 30: 5 Good, 5 Bad Takeways

  1. joe d on said:

    I haven’t been impressed with Matt Elam since day 1. In fact the entire defense except for 1 or 2 players has been very unimpressive. I hope the offense gets cranked up because we are going to have to win games 31-28, not 13-10.

    • JJ on said:

      IT’S PRESEASON! Let’ all calm down. They ran a generic base defense without any real game plan. I am however concerned about our injuries at corner but we have three weeks before it matters. I feel like a trade or signing is coming. We’ll be fine!

  2. Really? on said:

    Mosely looked good? What on earth game did you watch? Mosely looked putrid, missed tackles, missed assignments and awful in coverage. It was the polar opposite of what he did in first game. Good lord Suggs? The Cowboys ran right at him and it worked. Suggs bent the edge once on a pass rush outside of that he was basically invisible. The only things I took away from last night were running game looks far better and Joe after he settled down looked good.

  3. eric on said:

    I take nothing from preseason games. My concern is the talent on paper: 2 really good corners, potentially 3 really good LB’s and the rest of the D is a meh. Which Suggs and Dumerville will we get? Are our safeties good at all? Is B Williams enough to stop the run? Is Canty washed up? I think our running game will be top 5 and Flacco will have his best year but anything from 6-10 to 11-5 wouldn’t surprise me.

  4. JerryB on said:

    While it’s tempting to be drawn into debate about the game last night, it’s just difficult to get excited about these “scrimmages” one way or the other. I’m more concerned about the rash of injuries than the caliber of play and the regular season can’t come soon enough. That being said, it’s hard not to be impressed with Taliaferro’s and Thompson’s performances and equally hard not to be concerned about a defense decimated by injuries!

  5. Mark on said:

    I thought Dallas RBs got outside on us several times both when Suggs was on the field and with our 2s and 3s. Although Suggs can be a dominant run defender/edge setter, he regularly bails on his outside contain responsibility. Much like Ed Reed, he free lances when the mood strikes him. Harbaugh and Pees presumably approve because it happens regularly.

  6. The Guru on said:

    Dean Pees isn’t doing it for me… The Cowboys completely got leverage against us whenever they wanted.. I remember one play where the right guard completely rocked Chris Canty backwards on a wide run play. They PUNISHED us on the ground in that game we won in Baltimore. We need to get those gaps straightened out. Guys aren’t holding up two gaps. Brandon Williams looks like he’ll be fine, but Ngata was just getting washed down… He was looking kinda ordinary for real… McPhee will be playing more and more, watch…

  7. BmoreB on said:

    The Defense is a huge concern. They picked up where they left off from game one vs SF. The Cowboys are a bad team and we couldn’t stop them, pathetic.

    I agree with Guru above, Pees isn’t doing it for me either. He simply is not aggressive enough.

  8. Eric on said:

    For the most part, the superstars (Ngata, Suggs, Dumerville, etc. etc.) aren’t going hard. No reason to risk injury for a scrimmage. There’s no game planning. Take nothing away from pre season. Just survive these “practices” and get to week one healthy.

  9. Anonymous on said:

    Any team that does not score at least 28 pts/gm will likely lose. The enhanced enforcement of PI calls is bad news for defenses.

  10. matt on said:

    has any one else notice that when ever we have a game that starts like this one did. Joe’s rhythm is always off. in stark contrast to when he has the ball first he comes out guns blazing.

  11. Curtis on said:

    Ok what plays did you see from CJ i didnt see anything maybe he improved later or he made plays not called from pro football focus?

  12. D on said:

    Tony what game where you watching – TFizzle looked awful, Darryl Smith looked slow and could not keep up. I will give Dean Pees the benefit of the doubt, maybe they are holding something back because its preseason. But my suggestion is sit Canty down and start a younger player.

  13. matt on said:

    this was like a different team all together. is this a case of our boys just partying to hard the night or two before a game? esp being preseason.

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