Cam's Offensive Plan Outfoxes Rex's Defense


August 25, 2009|By MIKE PRESTON

If you're keeping track, it's Cam Cameron 1, Rex Ryan 0.

The big showdown lasted for only about two quarters last night, but Cameron, the Ravens offensive coordinator, won his quick matchup against Ryan on Monday night in the Ravens' second preseason game against the New York Jets at M&T Bank Stadium.

Ryan is listed as the Jets' rookie head coach, but don't be fooled by the title. Mike Pettine is New York's defensive coordinator, but he's just a figurehead and computer geek.

We all know who calls the Jets' defenses, and Ryan was usually a step behind Cameron on Monday night. Ryan had success blitzing the Ravens on the first series and the Jets rattled Ravens second-year quarterback Joe Flacco, but then the Ravens started picking New York apart.

They countered Ryan's blitzes with passes over the middle in areas vacated by linebackers or safeties. There was the 22-yard pass to Kelley Washington, then an 11-yard slant into tight end Todd Heap followed by a 43-yard pass down the right sideline to Derrick Mason, who had drawn one-on-one coverage.

The best play of the night was the fake pass, draw play up the middle to running back Ray Rice that resulted in a 3-yard touchdown. It was a play usually reserved for the regular season, but the Ravens couldn't hold back. It was Rex Ryan night.

And if the regulars had played the entire night, this could have been ugly for the Jets.

"In the first game of the preseason, everybody is getting used to each other, being out there playing against another team," Mason said. "But in the second game, you clear up all the mistakes and you go out there and run your offense more fluidly. We put together a little game plan for this game. It wasn't extensive, but it was 15 or 20 plays that we really wanted to work on. Today, it seemed to work."

No. 3 offensive tackle

Hopefully the Ravens find a No. 3 offensive tackle before the regular season begins. Oniel Cousins is listed as the top backup for either side, but he's probably another year away. Ditto for Stefan Rodgers, even though he has already been in the league for three years.

Run somebody over

I understand the Ravens are trying to find some receivers, but where is the short-yardage package from a year ago?

We haven't seen much of the unbalanced line, or much of a power offense. With the first team, we saw it only once in the second quarter Monday night, and fullback Le'Ron McClain carried the ball, but he tiptoed through the line of scrimmage. I haven't seen a running back that hesitant since Jamal Lewis was rebounding from ankle surgery.

Hey, big man, you weigh 260 pounds. Run over somebody, please.

Scott's shots

Former Ravens linebacker Bart Scott, who started for the Jets on Monday night, got two good shots on Flacco early in the game, one that knocked off Flacco's helmet. Scott talked a little to Flacco and then looked toward the Ravens' sideline. But there were no Scott antics. Apparently, he left his hot sauce home in New York.

Red zone receiver?

Washington made a tough catch over the middle in the first quarter, but earlier in the same period he dropped a short pass on a fade route in the end zone for a possible touchdown.

There were times tight end Todd Heap struggled getting off the line of scrimmage inside the red zone, and you have to start wondering who is going to be the go-to receiver inside the opponents' 20. There doesn't appear to be an answer on the roster.

Ravens' regulars

The Ravens' regulars overwhelmed the Jets' offense, and New York had trouble pass-blocking the Ravens. In fact, if this were a regular-season game, we would still be out there watching it from all the holding penalties the Jets would have gotten.

But what was disturbing was how the Jets had success running straight ahead at the Ravens, including when both teams had their starters on the field.

Hold it

Ravens cornerback Frank Walker gave up a touchdown pass early in the third quarter in the left corner of the end zone. Imagine that. Now, we know why Walker holds receivers all the time because if he didn't, he'd give up six points every week.

Ryan was having his quarterback zero in on Walker in the third quarter.

Lingering questions

When the second half started, the Jets stopped blitzing so much because they didn't believe the Ravens had a strong enough offensive line to pass-block them and enough quality receivers to get open.

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