Mike Preston's Report Card

November 30, 2009|By MIKE PRESTON



It's apparent that Joe Flacco's ankle is hurting and hindering his performance. Flacco can't step into the ball and isn't very mobile. It's to the point now where it has become clearly noticeable.

Offensive line


The group did well in the first half, and the guards did a nice job of pulling. But the Ravens still have trouble picking up the blitzes, and the Steelers' outside linebackers wore down tackles Michael Oher and Jared Gaither in the second half.

Running backs


The three-headed monster isn't all the way back, but at least backups Willis McGahee and Le'Ron McClain got some touches. All three ran hard; starter Ray Rice turned in his usual tough, hard-nosed game.



The Ravens at least tried to spread the ball around. Mark Clayton had a presence and caught a 54-yard pass. Derrick Mason was successful running short and intermediate routes. The Ravens, though, still need to get tight end Todd Heap involved.

Defensive line


Pittsburgh didn't try to do anything cute. The Steelers were conservative on offense and muscled up on the Ravens. The Ravens got some pressure on Pittsburgh quarterback Dennis Dixon, but not with their front four.



Pittsburgh's offensive line did a good job of getting into the bodies of the Ravens' linebackers, who had a tough time shedding blocks. Ray Lewis did a good job of blitzing, but there was a lot of sloppy tackling.



If Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger had played, he would have lit the Ravens up. There were a lot of open receivers in the secondary, but Dixon wasn't ready to make throws. Opposing teams are zeroing in on cornerback Domonique Foxworth.

Special teams


The Ravens commit dumb penalties with this group every week. The return games were strong, with Chris Carr returning punts and Lardarius Webb returning kicks.

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