The Ravens can't complain anymore about not having a bye because they received one yesterday against the Oakland Raiders.
Didn't the Raiders look like a team out of NFL Europe? To the Ravens' credit, they did exactly what they're supposed to do against bad teams. They kicked the Raiders around physically, and sent them back home.
It's hard to evaluate the Ravens' performance because everything starts with this qualifier: it was against the Raiders. Oakland has no offensive line. The Raiders' coverage units on special teams were pathetic and their defense tried to play man-to-man in the secondary with no pass rush.
Just how bad were the Raiders?
They had minus-2 yards of offense after the first quarter. Johnnie Higgins took a kickoff, and ran straight out of bounds at the 2-yard line. On Demetrius Williams' 70-yard touchdown catch in the second quarter, Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco could have also thrown tight end Todd Heap, who was as wide open on the right sideline as Williams was on the left. Every time a West Coast team plays poorly on the East Coast, someone suggest that the NFL change the starting time from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. because of the time difference.
But there is no excuse for the Raiders. They'd stink up the field anywhere in the world at any time.
Suggs or Cam?
Here's a vote for Ravens outside linebacker Terrell Suggs to become the Ravens new offensive coordinator.
Earlier in the week, he said he thought backup quarterback Troy Smith belonged out on the field in certain packages, and the Ravens got him out there with Smith playing quarterback and receiver, and delivering big plays off an option play and a halfback pass.
"We call it the Suggs' package," said Ravens head coach John Harbaugh, laughing
Suggs became a distraction this week with comments about putting a bounty on Pittsburgh wide receiver Hines Ward. He drew the wrath of league commissioner Roger Goodell, who personally contacted the Ravens.
But Suggs delivered against the Raiders with five tackles including one sack and several quarterback hurries. .
Offensive coordinator Cam Cameron kept the Raiders off balance with several trick plays, different formations and a lot of motion. But his one bad mistake came with with Smith throwing to Flacco for a 43-yard reception late in the third quarter.
Great call, but why waste that play on the Raiders with the Ravens ahead, 19-3? Shouldn't Cameron have saved that play for later in the season against a Dallas or Philadelphia?
Overall, though, Cameron has gotten a lot out of offensive group that has little individual talent.
Sloppy at times
The Ravens were fortunate they were playing the Raiders, because they committed a lot of mistakes on offense.
They called two timeouts in the first quarter. They had several illegal procedure penalties, and several holding penalties which negated big plays.
There were times when they didn't even know where to line up. The main culprit seemed to be running back Le'Ron McClain, who at times looked lost.
"We got to clean some of that up," Harbaugh said.
Ravens offensive tackle Jonathan Ogden was inducted into the Ravens' Ring of Honor at halftime, and he'll eventually go into the Hall of Fame.
But on a day Ogden was honored, we saw some of the worst tackle play in the league. The Raiders may have the worst tandem in the league in Kwame Harris and Cornell Green, and Ravens left offensive tackle Jared Gaither was called for two false starts, one holding and had an illegal man downfield infraction.
He may have had more penalties in one game than Ogden had in his 12-year career.
You feel bad for Oakland quarterback JaMarcus Russell. He is a second-year player with a lot of talent, but has very little talent around him.
Mike Preston every Monday from 4 p.m. to 6 pm on Fox Sports (1370 AM).