Preseason games are unique in that coaches and players are tasked with certain goals and objectives that aren’t necessarily conducive to a team win. Maybe there are positional battles to be won and reps are distributed evenly even though one player may be obviously superior to the other.
Perhaps there are holes on the roster and before a club invests draft picks, players and or money to obtain players now with other teams, they first need to see and learn more about the players currently on the roster under game conditions.
Then of course there’s always the protective nature of any head coach who looks to emerge from preseason games unscathed from serious injuries. Mix in the lack of organized team activities, relaxed camp physicality due to the new CBA rules and a condensed training camp period and the result is a perfect storm of false starts, turnovers, poorly executed plays and blown assignments leaving us to observe 60 minutes of ugliness.
Fortunately for Ravens fans they are led by a man who possesses an unusually balanced and composed demeanor in Ozzie Newsome. He has a keen eye for the big picture and he is seldom pressed into a decision born out of desperation. That said there does come a time when that virtue known as patience begins to creep up on a fine line, the other side of which resembles a deep slumber.
Oversleep and the pragmatic ways can invite paralysis by analysis resulting in missed opportunities.
And not to mention a wasted season!
Even though the Ravens are just one game into the 2011 preseason the team’s weaknesses are glaring. The poor tackling aside which can be fixed as camp and the regularity of contact intensifies, last night only served to put on a stage for all to see that Ozzie has some gaping holes to fill at wide receiver, offensive line and backup quarterback.
While observing on TV (particularly if you watched WBAL’s wretched production) it’s difficult to see what exactly the receivers are doing to create separation. But judging from the statuesque body language of Joe Flacco and Tyrod Taylor, the Ravens ball catchers can’t get open.
Is it that the scheme is broken? Are the players running their routes too deep or shallow? Is the timing off between the quarterbacks’ drops and the receivers’ breaks?
Or maybe the lack of experience and rapport between the pitch and catch combinations is so new and raw that the pre-snap reads just aren’t there and plays are doomed from the start.
And these potential issues are only exacerbated by the other obvious roster deficiencies.
The offensive line is a sieve and when you combine the matador-style blocking by the team’s starting offensive tackles – Michael Oher and Oniel Cousins, with inexperience at the offensive line signal calling position of center and match them up with a quarterback who could call a cab before his receivers create separation and the result is a cluster you-know-what!
If it continues, forget the cab – Flacco might need an ambulance.
And then that would leave Tyrod Taylor, clearly a superb athlete but still nothing more than a college quarterback with mechanical flaws who probably needed a booster seat when the team went out for dinner after the game.
One preseason game doesn’t make your season.
But it can sound the alarm.
The warning signs surround us and the time is now for Ozzie to address his roster’s flaws before the price to do so becomes too exorbitant.
Or before No. 5 can’t pick himself up off the ground.
Yes patience is a virtue but oversleeping can make you late for work.
This is no time to press the snooze button.