With every sporting event, there are things you should watch for. Yes, even in preseason football. Here are a few things that all Ravens fans should watch for in tonight's preseason game versus the Atlanta Falcons.
- Brandon Stokley and Dallas Clark Playing- This will be the first game that Brandon Stokley and Dallas Clark will have a chance to be a part of, since they got to Baltimore. The veteran tight end and wide receiver have been eager to learn the playbook, get to work, and play some football. They have both been practicing with the Ravens all week, and they will finally get their chance to show everyone if they can still produce at their age, and if it was a good idea to sign them or not.
- Can LaQuan Williams Repeat?- If you watched the game against the Buccaneers last week, or you have been reading articles here on Baltimore Beatdown, you know how terrific Williams played in Preseason Week 1. Williams made great plays on special teams, one which resulted in a touchdown. He also had two receptions for 32 yards and a touchdown. The touchdown was Boldin-like, which showed people that Williams might have talent that not too many receivers have. Will LaQuan Williams be able to keep it up?
- How will new center A.Q. Shipley play? - Last week, Gino Gradkowski got the start at center for the Ravens, but now it is newcomer A.Q. Shipley. The Ravens acquired Shipley from the Indianapolis Colts this offseason, and it may be something that was worth doing. With Shipley getting the start this week, it shows that the center battle is in full focus, and the future of this position is still questionable.
- Will Bernard Pierce be able to play well?- RB Bernard Pierce suffered a sprained right knee against the Buccaneers last week, after he ran 20-yards for a touchdown. It has been said that Pierce will play tonight, but how much will his knee limit him? Look for Bernard Pierce to get a few carries, just to see if he has the ability to run fluently after suffering the injury.
- Defense vs. Atlanta Offense- The Atlanta Falcons have one of the most powerful and dominant offenses in the NFL. Their quarterback, Matt Ryan, has many weapons to throw to that include: Julio Jones, Roddy White, and Tony Gonzalez. It will be interesting to see if the Ravens' cornerbacks can defend two of the best receivers in the NFL, along with one of the best tight ends of all-time. The Falcons also have a new running back, Steven Jackson, who has said to be doing very well in practice. Last year, the Ravens struggled when it came to the running game, so can they defend a guy like Jackson well?
- Matt Ryan vs. Joe Flacco- This is the long-time battle of the two quarterbacks that people say are borderline "elite." These two have both had outstanding performances in recent years, and they come together in the preseason once again, to show what each can do. Will Joe Flacco be able to perform more efficiently than Matt Ryan and show the critics that he can play better than the Atlanta quarterback?
- Can the turnovers keep rolling?- Against the Buccaneers last week, the defense was forcing turnovers left-and-right. They had three interceptions, one punt-block for a touchdown, and one fumble recovery on a muffed punt. The defense looked dominant against the Buccaneers' quarterbacks. Now with the dominant Atlanta offense, can they continue to force turnovers, or will that ability stop here?
- Tyrod Taylor: Can he run the game again?- Tyrod Taylor had the best game of his career last Thursday night, will he be able to keep it up? Taylor was 13/23 with 154 yards and two touchdowns. He also ran for 27 yards on five attempts. Will Tyrod Taylor be able to pass like he did last game, along with run like he did last game?