The Ravens took a beatdown Saturday night in Philadelphia. Yet, it was August during the preseason, not December during a playoff push. Certainly, the Ravens can expect a tough week of practice. But here are three reasons why they will not overreact to a 40-17 loss to the Eagles:
1. The Ravens know quarterback Joe Flacco is better than he played Saturday.
Flacco was off his game, after throwing the ball well throughout training camp and during the preseason opener. His worst throw was when he airmailed Marlon Brown, who was wide open across the middle. Had Flacco been more accurate, the Ravens’ offense would have spent more time on the field, giving the defense a chance to rest against the Eagles’ up-tempo offense. Instead, Flacco threw two early interceptions and things snowballed against the Ravens quickly.
“We had a guy wide open over the middle with Marlon,” Flacco said. “He’s a 6-5 wide receiver and I overthrew him by five feet.”
As Flacco goes, so goes the Ravens’ offense. Expect him to play better against the Redskins next weekend.
2. If this had been the regular season, the Ravens would have made more defensive adjustments.
Instead of game planning and making adjustments for the read option and other nuances of the Eagles’ offense under Chip Kelly, the Ravens played base defense and took their medicine.
“There’s no way we’re going to game plan for the second preseason game when we’re still installing, trying to develop guys,” said Ravens coach John Harbaugh.
Give the Eagles credit for badly outplaying the Ravens. But defensive coordinator Dean Pees is not going to start really playing chess until the regular season begins.
3. The Ravens believe their starting offensive line will be healthy by Week 1.
Right now, the line is banged up. Left tackle Eugene Monroe spent part of Saturday’s game sitting on the bench, wearing a wrap around his arm. Backup tackle James Hurst may have suffered a concussion, and undrafted rookie De’Ondre Wesley suffered a leg injury. During training camp, starting left guard Kelechi Osemele has been dealing with a sore Achilles, and both starting center Jeremy Zuttah and right tackle Rick Wagner had surgery during the offseason. However, Harbaugh anticipates Monroe, Osemele, Zuttuh, Marshal Yanda, and Wagner will be ready to go as a unit by Week 1, even if backups like Jah Reid (back) and Hurst are nursing injuries at the moment. Wesley may be the only one with a more serious injury.
“It’s not going to be a concern if we get those guys back,” Harbaugh said. “Those guys are all slated to come back to my knowledge. We’ll see about Wesley.”
Meanwhile, the Ravens will see if they can put a bad night behind them quickly.