By Mike Preston
1:34 PM EDT, August 16, 2012
There was some panic around town after the Ravens' first-team offense and defense were soundly beaten by the Atlanta Falcons in the preseason opener a week ago, but I don't take much stock in preseason openers on the road.
In fact, they remind me of the old roller derby games where the home teams usually won and the road teams lost. In these games, the home team is hyped and will play hard because they are playing in front of the home fans. Meanwhile, the visiting team is usually still in training camp mode, and that's where the Ravens were stuck.
In addition, there was no Ray Lewis and Matt Birk, and Ed Reed played only a few plays. Also, starting left guard Bobbie Williams was on the field and he should have been on the sideline because of an ankle injury. We should see a different Ravens team Friday night.
They are in front of the home crowd, and most of the veteran starters will get ample playing time. It's game No. 2 of the preseason, and this one and exhibition No. 3 are important as far as timing and getting ready for the start of the regular season. We all know about game No. 4. It's a dud.
But Friday night, I want to see if the Ravens' offensive line is starting to come together and see rookie Bernard Pierce play running back. He is the top candidate to back up starter Ray Rice. I also want to see Jacoby Jones and LaQuan Williams battle for the No. 3 receiver position and how rookie guard-tackle Kelechi Osemele holds up against Detroit's defensive front.
On defense, I'm wondering how much the Ravens will show as far as manufacturing pressure on the quarterback. Outside linebacker Paul Kruger played well against the Falcons, but can he do it again? And how about rookie outside linebacker Courtney Upshaw and all of this pass rushing talent?
Of course, Detroit has receiver Calvin Johnson and he alone is worth the price of admission. I'm interested in seeing how the Ravens attack him. Regardless, we'll see a much better Ravens squad than we saw last week against the Falcons. There is the preseason and then there is the preseason opener for road teams.
It never seems pretty for the visiting team.
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