By Matt Vensel
The Baltimore Sun
10:11 AM EDT, August 28, 2013
Each Wednesday, blogger Matt Vensel will highlight five statistics that really mean something for the Ravens.
76.2 -- Joe Flacco’s completion percentage in the Ravens’ first three preseason games.
The Ravens quarterback has a 60.5 career completion percentage and hasn't completed more than 60 percent of his passes since 2010. But this preseason, few Flacco passes have hit the turf. He has completed 32 of his 42 attempts for 344 yards and two touchdowns. He has also completed four passes to the other team, which is a little concerning. The Ravens haven’t thrown deep very often in the preseason, which partially explains why Flacco has a 76.2 preseason completion percentage. Still, his improved accuracy is encouraging.
8 -- Tackles for loss for the Carolina Panthers on Thursday.
Once Pro Bowl right guard Marshal Yanda exited last Thursday’s loss to the Panthers, the Ravens offensive line struggled against a Panthers front led by defensive tackles Star Lotulelei and Kawann Short and inside linebacker Luke Kuechly. The Panthers punctured the interior of the offensive line en route to three sacks, eight tackles for losses and six quarterback hits. Second-year left guard Kelechi Osemele, in particular, had a rough go of it, struggling at run blocking and allowing a sack to Lotulelei, according to Pro Football Focus.
2.7 -- Preseason yards per carry for the Ravens’ top two backs.
Speaking of the offensive line, the Ravens haven’t established their running game in the preseason. Pro Bowl running back Ray Rice has rushed for just 79 yards on 27 carries and backup Bernard Pierce has carried the ball 13 times for 28 yards, 20 of which came on a touchdown run in the preseason opener. Combined, they have averaged 2.7 yards per carry. Sure, the Ravens are likely keeping things vanilla and Yanda missed the first two preseason games. Still, it’s discouraging that they have struggled to open running lanes for their backs.
33 -- Instances when the Ravens have blitzed a defensive back.
Just like the offense, the defense hasn’t been tipping its hand too much in the preseason. But defensive coordinator Dean Pees hasn’t been afraid to rush the passer with his defensive backs. The Baltimore defense has been on the field for 195 plays and the Ravens have blitzed a defensive back 33 times, according to Pro Football Focus, but some of those were on the same play. Strong safeties James Ihedigbo and Matt Elam have rushed the passer eight times and Corey Graham, likely the team’s nickel corner, has done it five times.
15-8 -- Baltimore’s preseason record under John Harbaugh.
No one keeps track of preseason records. Well, except for the Ravens media relations team, which reports that the Ravens have won 14 of their last 19 preseason games and have a 15-8 preseason record under Harbaugh. While preseason records aren’t always an indicator of future success -- for example, the Super Bowl champs went 2-2 in the preseason last year -- they can be a pretty good indicator of organizational depth. The Ravens usually have one of the NFL’s deepest rosters, which explains their success in these exhibitions.
Bloggers note: Have a nifty stat you want to share? E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org or tweet at me at @mattvensel. If I use it, I’ll be sure to give you a nice plug on the blog.
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