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5 questions with Ravens blogger Matt Sadler

Discussion in 'Latest Chargers News & Headlines' started by robdog, Sep 17, 2009.

  1. robdog

    robdog Code Monkey Staff Member Administrator

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    By Loren Casuto
    <em>BoltTalk Staff Writer</em>

    Did an interview with Matt Sadler of <a href="http://rightoffrussell.com/" target="_blank">"Right off Russell"</a> which is a Baltimore sports blog about the Ravens game. Here's his insight into our next opponent

    <strong>1. What has Joe Flacco meant to the Ravens and do you see him avoiding the traditional sophmore slump?</strong>

    Flacco has the look of being the franchise QB that the Raven have been searching for since their inception. He has the calm demeanor to handle being an NFL QB, the competitive fire and drive needed to perfect his craft and put teams away, and the golden arm to make all the throws look easy. Flacco's improvement over last year has been impressive. His decision making is much quicker, he is able to progress beyond his 1st and 2nd reads, and his increased knowledge of Cam Cameron's offense has opened up a lot in the passing game. In many ways, the Raven simplified things for Flacco last year running the ball a lot and allowing Flacco to only worry about reading half the field. Through one game this year the kid gloves have come off. The staff is looking for Flacco to make more plays in the passing game, but there is still an emphasis on the running game. Granted the opponent was the Chiefs and their relatively weak defense, but the results were impressive. The Ravens set franchise records in total offense and Flacco had career highs in passing yardage and td's. As it stands now, the Ravens have the look of a team that can be as effective through the air as on the ground, and that begins and ends with the improvement Flacco has made. If you can't tell already I think Flacco will avoid a sophomore slump. His numbers should be greatly improved. I am curious to see what Flacco can do against a good defense. This weekend will be a good test.

    <strong>2. Who exactly is the starting running back and if its not McGahee what happened to him?</strong>

    Ray Rice, 2nd year RB from Rutgers, is the starting tailback for the Ravens. Willis McGahee has fallen to #2 on the depth chart, but he does figure prominently in the Ravens plans. Right now Rice has more quickness and and flexibility as a receiver in the passing game. I would guess that Rice will get about 2/3 of the carries and McGahee the rest. The Ravens will also use FB LeRon McClain in short yardage situations. I don't think it is a matter of what has happened to McGahee as much as Rice emerging as a better fit for the offense. McGahee showed up in great shape for camp and has performed well, evidenced by his 2 td's last week. The Ravens will do their best to keep all their backs fresh throughout the year and Rice did not stay healthy last year, so McGahee will see plenty of time when the staff calls on him.

    <strong>3. What has the loss of Rex Ryan meant to the Ravens?</strong>

    Hard to say at this point. Rex is definitely a great defensive mind and he had a way of not only getting his players to buy into his system, but also of finding the right way to use guys to best take advangtage of their strengths. But the Ravens have been in this situation before having lost Marvin Lewis, Jack Del Rio, Mike Nolan and Mike Singletary off their defensive staffs in recent years and have maintained a high level of defensive play. Just goes to show that "Jimmies and Joes are more important that X's and O's." Not saying that the Ravens will not miss Rex and his exotic blitz packages, but the Ravens still have the talent to be an elite defense and should be with or without Ryan.

    <strong>4. Who are some of the big players (say one-two per side) that most fans would not know of, that are major components of the team?</strong>

    On defense it is easy to fly under the radar when you play with Ray Lewis and Ed Reed, but Haloti Ngata is perhaps the most disruptive force on the Ravens defense. He creates havoc for opposing running games with his size and agility. Ngata has also consistently improved his ability to collapse the pocket in the passing game. OLB Jarrett Johnson is another less heralded player on the Ravens D. Simply put Johnson does everything well. Johnson is tough against the run, excels as a pass rusher and has good range to go along with intelligence in pass coverage.

    Offensively, keep an eye out for the Ravens young bookend tackles Jared Gaither and Michael Oher. Gaither is a 3rd year player who starts at left tackle who possess freakish size and athleticism. You may have heard of Oher who was the subject of Michale Lewis' book "The Blindside." Oher is also very agile and strong, but he also has a nasty streak. Despite being a rookie Oher has had little trouble adjusting to the NFL and gives the Ravens a pair of tackles that should anchor the line for years to come.

    <strong>5. Where do you think you have advantages over the Chargers?</strong>

    The strength of the Ravens team is their line play on both sides of the ball. If Monday night is any indication, the Ravens should be able to give the Chargers lines trouble much like the Raiders did. If both lines set the tempo on offense and defense then it will open up a lot on offense for the Ravens and create problems for the Chargers and their passing attack as Rivers will have problems without protection.
     

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