By Mike Preston
The Baltimore Sun
10:55 AM EDT, October 18, 2011
The Ravens have an extra day this week because they play on Monday night against the Jaguars in Jacksonville. I assume by now that Jaguars coach Jack Del Rio has watched the Ravens game against the Texans, and suspect he will run a lot of delayed blitzes against the Ravens on Monday night. The Texans had success with Sunday, especially in the first half, and I was surprised that they didn't run as many in the second.
The pass blocking needs to improve if the Ravens want to get to the Super Bowl. The Ravens can run the ball, and quarterback Joe Flacco is more than capable if given the time, but the Ravens struggle in protecting him. The Texans sacked Flacco twice Sunday, but hurried him seven other times. In the first half, Flacco took a beating. The Ravens have struggled a lot this season with stunts and loops from other teams, not just in the regular season but as far back as the preseason.
Left offensive tackle Bryant McKinnie appears slow at time, and right tackle Michael Oher gets confused a lot by stunts. Center Matt Birk and right guard Marshal Yanda have been solid, but left guard Andre Gurode has struggled. The Ravens can improve in pass protection because you can simulate the stunts and loops in practice, but there isn't a lot one can do when you're getting whipped physically -- except work on technique. At this point of the season, if the Ravens offense can play reasonably well, few teams can beat them. The key, though, is not to get behind. Flacco has the arm and the Ravens have the weapons, but I'm not sure the Ravens can pass-block well enough to rally far from behind.
Hopefully, though, that changes by the end of the season.
Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun