The Baltimore Ravens hoped that the drafting of cornerback Jimmy Smith with the team's first pick in the 2011 NFL Draft would improve their pass coverage, as their secondary was cause for concern in the 2010 season. Although Smith may end up being the shutdown corner that the Ravens are hoping he will develop into, the first pre-season game was not only meaningless, but inconclusive.
As worthless as the final score was, the trend of the secondary's struggles appear to still be resent, as evidenced by the Eagles seemingly easy ability to move the ball through the air. Michael Vick, Vince Young and Mike Kafka finished a combined 22 for 32 for 253 yards with one TD pass and one interception. Vick's QB Rating was a healthy 148 and Young's was 89, while Kafka, who had the most playing time, had a 66 rating.
On the Ravens side of the ball, Joe Flacco, rookie Tyrod Taylor and Hunter Cantwell combined for 22 completions in 35 attempts for 239 yards and two picks, both thrown by Taylor, whose QB rating was 55 while Flacco's was 85.
However, it was the Ravens secondary who helped the Eagles to those solid stats, playing off the Philly receivers most of the night and losing them in the secondary once the two elusive Eagles QB's moved around in the pocket looking for an open guy. Although Paul Kruger helped improve the pass rush with a sack on Young, they did not track down and tackle the opposition QB which resulted in completions all too often, reminding many Ravens fans of the frustrations they had most of last season.
If the Ravens can solve their pass coverage and QB pressure issues, they can be expected to go far in 2011. However, if these problems continue to be exposed, the more the Ravens change their personnel, the more it appears they may still be the same.