There are many questions still to be answered in regard to the Baltimore Ravens this offseason. What follows are some points of concern as the team gets ready to play the New York Giants on Saturday night at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore.
Kickers: As the season looms closer neither Billy Cundiff nor Shayne Graham has committed the major gaffe that would force the team to cut them. The kickers are pretty evenly matched. It looks like this one may come down to who blinks first. This type of pressure is healthy, showing the team which player can focus on his game and push aside all outside distractions.
Pass Defense: In a concentrated effort on the pass game, the Redskins were able to put up 365 passing yards. Mike Shanahan looked like he wanted to test the pressure defense of the Ravens and took to the air, the ‘Skins only rushed 14 times. While the Redskins did put up big numbers in yards, they did not score with the passing game. Coach Harbaugh and the defensive squad will look to shore up some weaknesses in the pass defense this week in hopes of avoiding a repeat of preseason game two.
Offensive Line: The line was still a patchwork of mostly second and third-string players. Will that continue in the Giants’ game? If so, will the first string have enough time to get in sync for the season opener on September 13? Hopefully enough starters will be healthy.
Marc Bulger: The backup quarterback had a great showing against Washington. If Bulger has another game like that the Ravens and their fans will breath a huge sigh of relief knowing that they have a very reliable back up.
Starters: Coach Harbaugh has revealed that the Ravens’ starters will play at least the first half Saturday; some may play into the third quarter.
Linebackers: The pass defense of the linebackers was the most suspect piece of the defense against the Redskins.
Jalen Parmele and Willis McGahee: The rumor mill has McGahee being traded for a cornerback. The play of Parmele against Washington made that trade seem even more likely. If Parmele has another good game, McGahee’s time with the Ravens could come to an end.
Jason Phillips: Phillips is on the bubble to make the Ravens’ 53-man roster as an inside linebacker. He is currently second in tackles, fourth in sacks, and first in recovered fumbles for the team. The belief is that Phillips currently sits behind Jameel McClain, Dannell Ellerbe, and Tavares Gooden. If Phillips has another outstanding game he could provide the Ravens with a very difficult decision come cut time.
Oniel Cousins and Terrence Cody: Cousins is recovering from a concussion and has not practiced since August 18. He has reported that he has been feeling better with each passing day and hopes to play on Saturday. Cody is suffering from swelling in his left knee and has an issue with the cartilage on the outside of that knee. He too has missed some practice but hopes to play on Saturday.
Michael Oher: There is some concern about Oher’s pass blocking on the left side of the line. He is still feeling out the left tackle position and adjusting to the nuances of that side of the line.
Todd Heap: Heap disclosed that he had at least one X-ray taken during the Ravens game last Saturday against the Redskins. What he would not disclose was why the X-ray was taken. Heap said he would not miss the Giants game and the team did not report any injury to Heap.