Be it for the Baltimore Ravens or the Baltimore Orioles, I don’t think there is any writing that I enjoy more than taking a pile of statistics and working with them to make sense of what is happening on the field. But that just doesn’t work well for either baseball’s spring training or the NFL preseason. There are too many variables, particularly as the regular players are so often limited in their total exposure and the quality of opposition is inconsistent.
So, with scant statistics from the Ravens’ preseason that are relevant for significant analysis, it comes down to the eye to evaluate the progress and prognosis for the team. I’ll call this going “outside the stats” rather than our weekly “inside the stats” examination of the numbers.
But having said that, a number that is really nice is the 3-0 record. Yes, I know it is said to be the most meaningless number of them all in the preseason NFL, but it speaks of an overall solid effort being made by this Ravens team to address and correct certain needs, while getting established for the new season with a lot of new people and new methods.
Yet again, it is true that the Ravens have played some teams with more than a few struggles of their own. The Redskins appear to be a total mess when it comes to what to do about quarterback. The Dallas Cowboys defense has a legitimate shot at being epic – as in the worst defense in the history of professional football. And even the elite San Francisco 49ers have Colin Kaepernick playing in the fourth preseason game in order to get into some sort of offensive grove that has been illusive so far.
But after three games, here are five items (in no particular order) about the Ravens that have at least caught my eye as we get closer to the end of the summer and the beginning of the regular season.
1. Lorenzo Taliaferro – Going Downhill Fast
Even though fourth-round pick Lorenzo Taliaferro was from a less than stellar football power, I was really excited with this draft choice. Some of this is my own skepticism about the “scat back” type of runner that is now so common. I’d rather see a quick, big back who – to borrow a baseball phrase – has a high damage-to-contact ratio. It is good to see a Ravens running back hit through the line with authority while moving packs of tacklers another couple of yards with the power of his momentum.
Though Taliaferro and Bernard Pierce are both about the same size at 6-0 / 225-230, it does not seem to me that Pierce hits the line with the same velocity. Yes, Pierce was never healthy in 2013, and perhaps we’ll see more of the 2012 version. I say “perhaps,” since he suffered a mild concussion in the Washington game. And along with Ray Rice being out of the first two contests, Taliaferro had better be ready to make some immediate contributions.
The Coastal Carolina grad and Yorktown, Virginia native did not seen at all intimidated in his first preseason game, logging 71 yards on 13 carries.
With the new offence and revived offensive line, this could be an exciting storyline for 2014.