Saturday, September 06, 2008

Keys to game: Ravens v. Bengals

1. Hit Carson Palmer: Palmer took a brutal beating during the preseason behind a struggling Bengals’ offensive line. It will be important to knock Palmer off his spot and disrupt his rhythm. Look for Palmer to throw early in the down and distance sequence and rely upon timing routes with 3 and 5 step drops. This may inspire Rex Ryan to come hard up the middle and peel his backers into zone coverage.

2. Turnovers: The Ravens were minus 8 against the Bengals in ’07 in the turnover category. A little less hospitality will go a long way for the home town team.

3. Special teams: Without question Jerry Rosburg’s unit was the best in the preseason. They will need to continue to cover and return well to win the battle of field position. A longer field for the defense will give Rex Ryan some comfort. He can then invite Carson Palmer to dink and dunk while protecting his vulnerable and nicked up secondary.

4. Swing for the fences early: Marvin Lewis will bring the heat to rookie signal caller Joe Flacco. He’ll shorten the field with blitzes and by jamming the box with 8 and 9 defenders. The Ravens can’t give into this rather obvious strategy. They will need to attack it with play action and going deep early during the game to loosen things up in the box. The Ravens need to make the Bengals respect Flacco’s big right arm.

5. Throw on running downs: During the very first preseason game, Cam Cameron took pressure off his offensive line by throwing early in the down sequence. As a result, Kyle Boller was able to step into throws and connect consistently with his receivers, particularly Derrick Mason. The Ravens would be wise to do the same against the Bengals to enable Flacco to get into a groove and develop confidence while slowing down Lewis’ blitz and exotic formations.

Key Players to Watch: On offense, a surprise player could be Daniel Wilcox. He has a knack for finding holes in a defense and clearly the Bengals will be focusing their attention upon Todd Heap. Wilcox might be the beneficiary of such attention; on defense my key player is Trevor Pryce. If he can collapse the pocket and command double teams while Palmer is taking 3 and 5 step drops, players on the outside like Terrell Suggs and Jarret Johnson could tip a few passes and that could result in a key turnover or two; on special teams, Yamon Figurs is the guy who could help the Ravens win the battle for field position. Another player to keep and eye out for if he is active for the game is newly acquired kicker Steve Haushcka. Recently cut by the Vikings, Haushcka impressed Brad Childress’ staff with his big kicks off the tee.


Harryos29 said...

Harry O 29 Sept 6th
Now that the Sun is shinning in Sykesville,4:45 pm I think that this is a good OMEN for JOE and the Rest of the Ravens for Sunday.
...I agree with the plans you laid out Tony.
...You and I both know that Palmer will go deep and Test our Safties, now that ED REED is out.
...The Key to the game on offense is find a way to score some TOUCHDOWNS early, DO NOT TURN THE BALL OVER, AS THE RAVENS DID 12 TIMES LAST YEAR
...Let hope for a close game with a Stover FG to win it late!
...RAVE ON !