Although the Baltimore Ravens have played one preseason game thus far, their fans have much to be excited about.
Last week, the Ravens dismantled the Buccaneers, 44-16. There were big plays on offense, defense and special teams. It wasn't perfect by any means, but each part of the team contributed to the victory. For the first preseason game, that's a good accomplishment.
Tonight the Ravens host the Falcons. Starters will probably play into second quarter, if not through the second quarter. While we won't get a complete look at both team's starters, we'll definitely get a more detailed look at who's starting and how new players are meshing with their teammates.
This is also a match-up of two all-time great coaches. Among coaches who have coached for at least 80 games, both Mike Smith (fifth) and John Harbaugh (10th) rank in the all-time top 10 in head coaching winning percentage.
Furthermore, Smith (70.0 percent) and Harbaugh (67.5 percent) are first and second respectively among active coaches.
Those are two intriguing stats, for sure. This game is likely to produce more excitement and intrigue, considering Smith used to coach in Baltimore from 1999-2002 and Joe Flacco and Matt Ryan were both selected in the first round of the 2008 NFL draft.
But this article is going to give you a quick look at five intriguing stats of the Ravens 2013 preseason/offseason.
Potential starters added
Maybe the best thing the Ravens have done since winning Super Bowl XLVII is add up to six new starters.
Defensive lineman Chris Canty, safety Michael Huff, linebacker Daryl Smith and tight end Dallas Clark were added to the team via free agency. Safety Matt Elam and defensive tackle Brandon Williams were picked up in the draft.
Each one of those players could start for Baltimore in Week 1.
Canty, Clark and Brandon Stokley have also all won Super Bowls in their career, which will help tremendously with replenishing leadership and maneuvering a post-Super Bowl championship season.
I don't care if it's preseason—that's unacceptable. Sure, you're going to make mistakes but that many at any time is not right.
Look for the Ravens to at least cut that number in half tonight.
I know not every teams played their starters very long (some key starters didn't play at all last week). But players that don't start still compete. This shows the kind of depth Baltimore has and is continuing to develop.
Third down conversions
A reason for that high scoring output is the Ravens' ability to convert on third down.
Baltimore is tied for sixth in the league (with Oakland) with a 50 percent third down conversion rate this preseason. Flacco was 2-of-4 for 22 yards and one interception when he passed on third downs last week, so he didn't get that many chances to figure out who his new go-to receiver might be.
But when a team converts 50 percent of its third downs, personnel is not a problem.
Have patience. Maybe Ray Rice will be the "third down guy." You never know.
Despite playing on the road in a torrential downpour with a completely new defense, Ravens defenders caused four turnovers last week, which is tied for first along with Chicago, Dallas, Denver and Miami.
Baltimore's three interceptions in the preseason ranks them first in the league, which is especially encouraging considering that they will definitely have two new starting safeties in 2013.