Oh Mylanta, that was a weird game last night. In case you missed it, the Ravens dominated (for the most part) for the first 15 or so minutes of the game. And then, out of nowhere, the Saints did their best Randy Orton impression. By halftime, the game was close. By the closing minutes of the fourth quarter, it looked like Baltimore was ready to just flush this game down the toilet.
A solid performance by Joe Flacco and the first team was marred by wonky second/third-team play, defensive struggles, and flags aplenty, but we'll get into those in a few. Ultimately, the Ravens pulled off a last-second comeback (which shouldn't have been a comeback in the first place) when Bryn Renner, former undrafted QB and Arena Football Leaguer, ran the ball in for a 30-27 victory. A win is a win is a win. So, on that side of things? I'm happy. However, there are some questions that came from last night's show.
- Matt Schaub will not be cut -- Now, let's be for real. The interception that Schaub threw wasn't completely his fault. But, there was just something off for the former Texans star. His touchdown pass to Michael Campanero was a thing of beauty. But, some of his other play was ugly. I don't think he gets the ax, though. He and Flacco can serve as mentors to Renner, should Renner survive the preseason himself.
- Will the Real Ravens Defense Please Stand Up? -- The Ravens are known for shutdown defense. Last night, preseason or otherwise, showed not too much of the sort. Yes, there were some great moments. Raw talent Carl Davis halted a few Saints drives and reminded me of Ngata a bit during those moments. But, the Saints second-and-third-teams, at points, had their way with Baltimore. Thankfully, Drew Brees wasn't in the game. But, Carl Davis though! Wow.
- Breshad Perriman didn't suit up. Should we be worried? -- I'm aware of his injury. However, as a rookie--and a highly-touted one--he needs to have those first-team, in-game reps. I hope he gets healthy for next week. Because, as it stands, Michael Campanero is pretty much our number two. If Perriman doesn't get healthy soon, I can already hear the "E-LAM" chants. Speaking of Matt Elam...
- Matt Elam is probably a bust (or at least he'll never be Ed Reed good) -- I think Matt Elam is a great guy. He seems to have his head on straight. And his college game was on-point to another level. However, he hasn't translated well to the NFL. And his latest setback (another injury) is just digging a deeper hole for the twenty-three-year-old SS. The Ravens need an Ed Reed type in that safety position. Will Hill is getting there. Kyle Arrington, while more of a CB, is still pretty hard hitting. So, we're not exactly pressed for those types (we're pressed for a more cohesive secondary, though). However, if you look at the 2013 NFL Draft and see some of the talent the Ravens passed up to draft Elam (Giovanni Bernard, Johnthan Banks, Zach Ertz, etc.). You've got to look at this one, with 20/20 hindsight, as a rare Ozzie miss.
- The Ravens Miss Jacoby Jones (and it shows) -- Uh...yeah. The kick/punt return game last night was just flat-out abysmal. There's nothing good I can say.
But, as I said, a win is a win is a win. Let's hope the Ravens get their failures together from this game and improve in the coming weeks and months.