by Mike Mullenix
With the negative articles going around this morning you would have thought we just lost the Super Bowl. If you ready to jump off the bridge, take a step back, take a deep breath, it's still the preseason.
In a previous post I emphasized that this is just the preseason, and that the reemergence of Yanda would make a huge difference in the run game and pass protection. That could not have been proven more prophetic by the first couple series of the game. The run game was blown wide open with Rice waltzing into the end zone untouched. Flacco had more time to throw and was 5 for 5 in the first series down the field. As soon as Jah Reid took over at right guard, Keuchly broke through the line, punishes Pierce and caused a fumble recovered for a touchdown. It was not Reid's assignment, but it was like the wheels came off the wagon. Fortunately, Yanda will play the whole game in Denver.
I am not worried about KO (Kelechi Osemele). No one is more embarrassed by his performance than he was. I think he underestimated the rookie Latulelei and that is part of the learning process. This is only his second year. He is the ultimate competitor, a big, tough mauler and I am certain he is doing what he needs to do to make sure that doesn't continue.
When Flacco asked to see the young receivers running with the ones against real competition, he was asking for rookie mistakes. He didn't expect it from his four year vet, Tandon Doss. Combined with his ongoing, lack of production over his multiple years here, Doss may be looking at a David Reid-like departure from the Ravens. When Harbaugh stated after the game that we had a lot of players who may not play here but will play somewhere else, he may have been talking about Doss. Given every opportunity to step up he just can't transfer his practice skills to the field. Although one of my personal favorites and seeming like a lock on my final roster, now, unfortunately, has been removed.
Preseason is for doing and practicing those things you don't necessarily do well in games to get the experience against opposing teams. Doss was in instead of Stokely to get a look at what he could do in the slot and he missed his play. Would that interception have happened if the starting slot receiver was in there? Flacco threw to Shiancoe to the inside and Kuechly was on the outside. In the Super Bowl we saw Joe do exactly the same thing and Dickson put his body between him and the defender. I have confidence Dickson would at least break up that interception. Kelechi Osemele is working on technique and perhaps did not have his best game. After seeing KO perform against the best tackles in the league in the playoffs I am certain this is not going to continue.
Practice is over and the season begins after a game where the bubble players get a full game to play. Our defense is phenomenal and finally meshing well. Our offense is still developing and deciding who should be on the team, who goes on the practice squad, and who ends up either playing for someone else or who begins a new career. The offense will continue to grow and develop. The new CBA really doesn't give a team a lot of time to work, as a team, on chemistry so the first couple games could be telling. We have shown that if we get into the playoffs, we can be a tough team to beat. As long as the offense continues to develop, with the players we have, we will be there.