Evans already looking like quite a catch

August 19, 2011|By Mike Preston

In only one game, Ravens receiver Lee Evans showed the impact he can have on an offense.

Evans, an eight-year veteran who only began practicing with the team Saturday, had three catches for 68 yards in the first half Friday night against the Kansas City Chiefs, including one reception of 43 that set up the first offensive unit's only touchdown in the first two quarters.

The Ravens have had speedsters before, but never worked them into the game plan. Even though Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco has had little time to work with Evans, the two appeared comfortable on timing routes and the long completion showed great touch by Flacco as Evans ran under the ball.

It's good to have a home run hitter. The Ravens certainly needed one Friday night. The offensive line's performance was better than a week ago, but still disappointing overall. Flacco's performance was just as subpar and inconsistent, with him constantly throwing behind receivers and losing his place in the pocket.

On nights like that, the Ravens are going to need Evans to make big plays.

Joe Boller?

Flacco had a couple of Kyle Boller moments, and the first came near the midway point of the first quarter, when his arm went forward and he seemed to fumble the ball.

After a review, the officials ruled it an incomplete pass. Note to Flacco: Next time, son, fall on the ball. Don't hesitate. It's those type of moments when you wonder if he can carry a team.

Welcome to theNFL

Ravens rookie cornerback Jimmy Smith, the team's top draft pick in April, learned some tough lessons in the first quarter trying to defend Kansas City'sDwayne Bowe.

Even though Smith had tight coverage on one of the game's best receivers, Bowe had two catches for 40 yards in the Chiefs' first two series.

Smith has excellent potential and is a physically gifted athlete, but he needs to spend a good season in the weight room to handle a big receivers like Bowe (6 feet 2, 221 pounds).

Definite starter

Since training camp started, third-year cornerback Cary Williams has been the best player in the secondary. He played well against the Philadelphia Eagles last week and knocked down three passes in the first half Friday night.

Because he has no fear, Williams comes up strong in run support. While the Ravens have shuffled players at the cornerback position in the preseason, Williams has earned the right to remain a starter even though he gave up two plays late in the second quarter.

Predictable?

The Ravens should go back and look over game film from a year ago because it seems like every time receiver Anquan Boldin goes in motion toward the formation, they run the ball.

Also, the Ravens appear to have changed their blocking philosophy a little. At times, they looked like the Denver Broncos' offensive linemen with those chop blocks at the line of scrimmage.

That's the sign of an offensive line which relies more on finesse than power.

A good move

You really can't tell if linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo will be involved in the Ravens' third down package because Ray Lewis didn't play Friday night, but I like him better as a pass rusher than in coverage.

If you can hide him before the snap of the ball and get him coming hard off the edge, it's hard to stop a hard-charging, elusive player such as Ayanbadejo.

One, two, three ...

Enough already.

After only two preseason games, the Ravens offense has been hit with several false start penalties. If these guys can't count to four, the Ravens should bring in a tutor.

Best quote

The line of the week came from Ravens outside linebacker Jarret Johnson. When asked by a Sporting News correspondent who the top trash-talking player in the AFC North was, Johnson responded: "Every player who plays in a Baltimore/Pittsburgh game."

Earthquake

That tremor you felt outside your home Friday night with 3 minutes and 15 seconds left in the first half was Kansas City linebacker Brandon Siler getting pummeled into the ground while trying to take on fullbackVonta Leach.

Bad move. If you get caught one on one with Leach in the flat, dive for the ankles. You'll live longer.

Big boys

We didn't get a chance to see it very long because the officials changed the ruling on the field, but the Ravens' jumbo package on the right side appeared to feature Bryan Mattison at center, Tim Barnes at right guard, Oniel Cousins at right tackle and Jah Reid at tight end.

By the way, Cousins had a great wash-down block on Rice's 26 yard-touchdown run in the second quarter that sprung Rice.

'Heap!'

It was cool when Ravens quarterback Tyrod Taylor overthrew tight end Jonathan Stupar in the third quarter and Ravens fans started yelling "Heap." Stupar was wearing No. 86, Todd Heap's old number.

mike.preston@baltsun.com

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