There could be a lot of reasons to be upset about the Baltimore Ravens 13-6 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles in the pre-season opener for both teams. However, remembering that the starters only played a few series and this is just the first exhibition game of the 2011 season should temper those feelings of panic.
Only scoring six points on two field goals might make one think that the Ravens offensive woes from last season have not changed. Allowing big pass plays due to a lack of a pass rush could be another cause for concern. Giving up five sacks on backup QB Tyrod Taylor could mean the offensive line has not improved from 2010.
Before you push that panic button and call into sports-talk shows, much less post here on Baltimore Beatdown that the skies are falling, do not read too much into the loss. The Ravens just wanted the main starters to get their "feet wet," and begin the bonding experience with some of the newer players. The Eagles might be one of the more dangerous teams in the league this season, and to hold them to just one TD is a pretty good indication of where the Ravens defense will be once again this season.
A lot of good things were seen in small doses last night, and the coaches definitely know what they need to work on and what they really don't care about that might upset many fans. TE Dennis Pitta played excellent in place of Ed Dickson, who was inactive, making a great catch while covered. QB Joe Flacco's three completions for 60 yards and a field goal on his opening drive is nothing to sneeze at.
Trying to run around and catch the elusive Eagles QB Michael Vick is not an easy task, much less after a little more than a week of Training Camp. Take away that one long 42 yard pass play on a Vick scramble and the Ravens played the Eagles even the rest of the game. In fact, had Tyrod Taylor not thrown an interception inside of the Eagles Red Zone and misfired on a fourth down pass late in the game, the Ravens could have definitely came away with the unimportant victory.
No big deal, this loss, as it gives the coaching staff a bit of an analysis on some of the players on the bubble and important reps for those newer players who are expected to play big roles in 2011 for the team. So before anyone wants to count the Ravens out after one meaningless exhibition game, relax and wait until the season is well underway before you write the Ravens obituary just yet. Remember, early in the Ravens history, they routinely went 4-0 in pre-season only to tank in the regular season, while championship teams often went winless in these exhibition games and then turned it around when it counted.