I estimate close to a thousand, potentially, scenarios NFL players deal with every game. Tonight, Ravens and Saints players will gather in Baltimore's backyard to run through them and figure out what, who, how players will need to be arranged to win in these types of situations in the future.
So what plays am I looking for?
Ball on: BAL 24-yard line
Down and distance: 2nd-and-six
Time remaining: 14:29
Who is in the huddle? Are we in shotgun formation? How deep is the pass attempt: long, mid-range, short. Who is Joe Flacco's target, is he a primary target or a checkdown receiver/running back?
First Quarter, third drive
Ball on: BAL 36-yard line
Down and distance: 1st-and-10
Time remaining: 3:15
The Ravens defense forced a Saints punt deep from their own territory. Marc Trestman could surprise the Saints defense by taking a shot here. Will he? Do we call Marlon Brown's number? Or are we sticking to the ground game?
Second quarter, red zone
Ball on: NO 16-yard line
Down and distance: 3rd-and-4
Time remaining: 1:35
This is a really intriguing situation. Think about the possibilities. Maxx Williams, Javoris Allen, even DARREN WALLER are viable options. It's feasible Trestman could even attempt to convert the fourth down depending on where we're stopped.
Third quarter, red zone
Ball on: BAL 9-yard line
Down and distance: 2nd-and-goal
Time remaining: 9:11
The Saints have milked the clock on their opening possession, strategically driving down the field to the Ravens' nine. Our red zone defense ranked second in the league in 2014. See if we can keep them in front of the goal line.
Fourth quarter, final drive
Ball on: BAL 20-yard line
Down and distance: 1st-and-goal
Time remaining: 3:21
This is an extended version of the two-minute drill. See how Bryn Renner, or Matt Schaub, or I (might suit up tonight I'm still waiting for Coach Harbaugh's call), respond to sealing the deal.
Regardless of the outcome, the Ravens will gain a lot of invaluable insight on their teams' needs and gauge their strengths and weaknesses moving forward.
For more previews, Matt Stevens wrote this piece on the five players we should watch for in tonight's game. Check Zac Oakes' writeup on tonight's game as well!
SEE YOU ALL SOON.