Rookie Courtney Upshaw has yet to impress, but there is time for him to improve

Ravens outside linebackers didn't impress

The Ravens played their second and third string players against the St. Louis Rams first units Thursday night, but they had a couple of first string caliber players out there including outside linebackers Paul Kruger, Albert McClellan, inside linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo and defensive tackle Terrence Cody.

Of those players, only McClellan played well. Kruger played poorly in his second straight game and Ayanbadejo played his worst game (pass coverage) in a Ravens uniform.

Even more disturbing was the communication between the linebackers and the secondary. The Ravens didn't just get beat physically, but at times played as if they had not practiced .

The tackling was atrocious.

Veterans will keep pace with no-huddle

There is a concern that some of the Ravens veterans on the offensive line won't be able to keep pace with the team's no-huddle approach, but that won't be an issue.

Just because a team doesn't huddle doesn't mean it has to snap the ball way under the 40-second clock. Offenses stay at the line of scrimmage to also force the defensive coordinator to make quick decisions, and cut down on the influx of the defensive personnel.

In theory, if the no-huddle is run well without a lot of incompletions and penalties, it's less running back and forth for the offensive line. Plus, the pace is more draining on defensive linemen.

"I've never run into any offensive linemen that didn't like it," said former Ravens and Colts coach Ted Marchibroda, who was one of the first coaches in the NFL to employ the no-huddle full-time.

mike.preston@baltsun.com
 

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