The third week of preseason is underway as the Washington Redskins face off against the Baltimore Ravens at home. Tonight will be a telling game for both teams as their starters are set to play into the third quarter of the game.
Fans will get a good look at how their teams look coming out of a long, locked out offseason. In particular, Ravens fans will get their first look at the Ravens' revamped passing game.
Unfortunately, that performance probably wasn’t what Ravens' fans were hoping to see from their new receivers.
There were a few highlights. Joe Flacco threw a couple nice passes to Anquan Boldin and a perfect deep-strike to Lee Evans for a touchdown.
However, the overall performance was disjointed. Joe Flacco seemed to lack timing with his receivers, and his receivers didn’t seem to be getting consistent separation from defenders.
Many people are going to say that it’s just preseason and that we should read too much into the performance. There’s truth to that, but there are also some very troubling signs in this evening’s performance that could translate to the regular season.
The most troubling aspect of the game was the lack of timing between Flacco and his receivers. Early in the game, Flacco hit Evans for a 14 yard completion and showed great timing with Evans on that play, but on the very next pass play, Flacco threw a pick-six to DeAngelo Hall. Their timing was clearly off on that play.
The Redskins pass rush kept Flacco off balance for most of the game, but even when he had time, Flacco would often sit in the pocket, wait for receivers to come open and ultimately, check it down to the running back. That’s a familiar and unsettling sight for Ravens’ fans.
Torrey Smith continues to disappoint and show why the Ravens felt the need to trade for Lee Evans. He dropped a couple accurately-thrown passes and was tackled for a big loss on a reverse. Smith’s drops are disconcerting because it’s something that he struggled with in college.
Luckily, the Ravens offense did seem to improve as the evening went on. Flacco was able to hit Boldin on a third and long, and Evans caught a perfectly thrown deep throw for a touchdown. Ed Dickson was even able to contribute with a few nice catches and did a nice job threatening the center of the field.
The silver lining from this game may be the veteran receivers, Boldin and Evans. The offense as a whole looks disjointed, but the veteran receivers were able to step up and make plays when it counted.
It’s clear that the Ravens have talented receivers, and that’s why it’s so frustrating to watch them misfire. Fortunately, they’re no longer missing the players but are simply off in their timing. Hopefully, these timing issues can be cleaned up for the regular season since their first game isn’t going to be easy.