Don't be misled by the Baltimore Ravens seemingly huge margin of victory in their 31-13 win over the Kansas City Chiefs last night. The game was tied 10-10 at the end of the first half, which was when the starters on both teams played pretty much the entire 30 minutes. Once the second and third stringers got in the game, the difference between the teams began to show.
What was apparent by games end was that the Ravens reserves are better than the Chiefs reserves. Baltimore outscored Kansas City 21-0 in the fourth quarter, rushing for three short touchdowns by the team's backups. Reserve QB rookie Tyrod Taylor, RB Jaen Parmele and rookie RB Anthony Allen all ran the ball into the end zone to turn a close game into a laugher by the time the clock ticked down to zero.
At the end of the month, teams will have to cut their rosters down to 75 players before setting their final 53 man rosters in early September. They will have the luxury of an eight man Practice Squad, but around 30 players will have to be cut from the team along the way. How these guys play in pre-season will determine who ends up a member of the Ravens and who goes home to ponder what could have been and start searching the help wanted ads.
The higher draft picks of the Ravens, CB Jimmy Smith, WR Torrey Smith and RT Jah Reid will be expected to cntribute and perhaps even start for the team this season. They have and will continue to get extensive playing time to determine their best role as their immediate future with the team is secure for the most part.
Rookies such as QB Tyrod Taylor, DE Pernell McPhee, RB Anthony Allen and WR LaQuan Williams played solid and should have impressed their coaches with their efforts last night. While none of these guys will be starters for the Ravens, they could easily draw 17 paychecks and contribute in reserve roles in 2011.