Another preseason game and another loss has Ravens fans in an uproar about what the season will eventually be. Complaints about depth, about sloppy play and losing to a team that is expected to be drafting in the top-10 is abound right now. Yet these fans are losing track of what preseason is really about.
Preseason is basic
While the Ravens were using zone blitzes and mixing it up, it is far from the full offensive and defensive scheme that we'll see in the first week of the regular season. The Ravens are doing what they do in order to evaluate their players, not play against an opponent.
In specific, the use of zone blitzes late in the game is less to get after the quarterback and more to figure out how well your linebackers and corners do with dropping back and getting into the right assignment, something the Ravens do a lot of in the regular season and need from their backups. When you see guys missing assignments or not being able to backpedal fast enough, you know weaknesses from your depth players and can better determine who to cut and what to practice more throughout training camp.
Starters did well
Despite missing quite a few of the starters at various spots on the team, the Ravens dominated the game until the reserves came in. If you are looking for what starting squad won the game and for how the Ravens would fare in a real game, the Ravens had it wrapped up with a lopsided skill level and score.
Depth is important in football, but guys like Asa Jackson won't be asked to cover the outside receiver during the regular season and if he is, there are a lot of problems with the secondary yet again. Same goes for players like Zach Orr and Tray Walker... if those guys are starting and being asked to play against top offenses, then there are a set of problems that few teams could get through.
Seriously, this is the team that will be starting week 1:
Kirk Cousins throws terrible interception to Terrell Suggs LOLOLOL REDSKINS https://t.co/yM1LnmknYE— gifdsports (@gifdsports) August 29, 2015
Pressure on the quarterback and Suggs reading the screen so well that he picked off the pass. The defense had the entire play sniffed out and locked down, which is what you want to see when you face off against a quarterback like Peyton Manning.
Seriously, the starters did very well
Quarterback Joe Flacco was 8-13 for 137-yards and a single touchdown. His quarterback rating was 122.9, which is pretty solid regardless of how long he played. The starting defense held the ground to the point where the Ravens led the game 13-0 and if Tucker doesn't miss a kick (a rare thing), and the ball doesn't bounce a weird way for a Redskins touchdown, the Ravens are up 16-0 before the half. I don't think it would have been too much to expect a 30-7 final score if the starters were playing the entire game. What else could you expect as a fan?
So all the talk about the Ravens being doomed or that the preseason win-loss record means very much is overrated at this point. I expect a potent and lethal Ravens offense and defense come week 1 against the Denver Broncos and you should too.