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Ravens-Eagles: Young Stars Look to Emulate Wily Veterans

Sean O'BrienCorrespondent INovember 21, 2008

Raven rookies Joe Flacco and Ray Rice could learn something from the veterans they'll be facing on the field come Sunday.

Flacco grew up watching the Eagles as a kid and followed them even through his college career.  Donovan McNabb is a proven superstar at his position and his metamorphosis from scrambler to pocket passer is one of the great NFL stories.

If ever there was a player Ray Rice should want to be like, it's Brian Westbrook.  Westbrook is a complete back.  He can run up the middle, cut up the sideline, catch the ball, and even sit back to block. 

Rice, thus far, has proven to be a great acquisition and as the years go by, I see him becoming more and more versatile. 

Rice stands at 5'8", 205 pounds, while Westbrook is 5'10" and 203 pounds. 

They have similar size, strength, and speed.  This tells me Ray certainly has all the necessary tools to one day become an elite running back.

In his final collegiate year, Rice went from four grabs for 30 yards to 25 receptions for 249 yards in 2006-07.  That shows he made a great effort at becoming more of a receiving threat.

Quarterbacks Flacco and McNabb may have different stories, but the results look on track to be the same.

Flacco has shown exceptional scrambling ability when called for, but seems to be more focused on becoming a pocket passer.

McNabb started his career more uncomfortable making the throws and therefore more inclined to try and scramble for first downs.

I think that with a couple of years of experience, Flacco could become as well-rounded as McNabb.  He shows great poise as a passer, but could give teams fits with the occasional run.

I hope come this Sunday that the Raven rookies look at their offensive counterparts and learn from them, because Westbrook and McNabb both have a lot they could teach.

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