Lost in the shuffle after Baltimore’s exciting week one victory was a ton of information that I would have usually noted post game. A little late, but I’ll give some notes about some surprising things I saw in week one, as well as some things good to know before we go into Philly tomorrow.
So, Bryant McKinnie is officially a backup, and he is alright with it, so he says. He claims he was aware of the demotion after taking a paycut, which is puzzling to me a bit. McKinnie isn’t an elite LT, but easily could start on a number of teams in the NFL. On the other hand, he becomes a very highly paid backup tackle, and his dedication for the game has been questioned, well, just about all the time. So, it really doesn’t shock me that he would be content sitting on the bench earning a fat pay check each week. This puts Michael Oher back at the blind side which concerns me when we face better pass rushing teams. Cincy lacks a true elite pass rusher, but we will face plenty as the season progresses. That could become a problem later in the year. Oher does offer more for the no-huddle offense because he can actually move down the field quickly. McKinnie would probably be gassed by the third snap.
A more surprising move was Terrence Cody not starting the game. Ma’ake Kemoeatu, who the Ravens signed after a stint with the Redskins was the starter in last contest. Kemoeatu is an interesting story. He originally started his career out for the Ravens as an undrafted free agent. He went to Carolina, then Washington before tearing his Achilles. Now, Ma’ake was always a big boy, but he ballooned to well over 400 pounds after the injury. That is some serious weight. However, he was able to lose nearly 80 pounds to get back into football shape and make the Ravens roster. Apparently, he even outplayed Terrence Cody, who is dealing with a hip injury also, and earned the starting spot. It’s a good story, but this team is better off with an effective Terrence Cody.
The return game situation is also an interesting one. I figured Jacoby Jones would be the primary returner, but he hasn’t even taken full control of the punt game. I was surprised to see rookie Deonte Thompson take the opening kickoff, and also surprised that Lardarius Webb split punt returns with the explosive Jones. It really shouldn’t be that shocking though, as Ravens fan only have to remember the last game Jones played before Monday nights opener. In that game against the Ravens, in the playoffs, Jones simply could not hold onto punts coming his way. Still, the Ravens probably fare best with Jacoby taking punts, as long as he doesn’t cough it up. Having a rookie take kicks back I think is a bigger risk anyways…
Baltimore will travel north with a pretty healthy squad. Ed Reed looks to be just fine, and he really is the only injury from last game. The Eagles, on the other hand, do not have the same fortune. As I noted previously, both of Philly’s top receivers are Questionable for tomorrows matchup. Both insist they will play, but neither will be completely healthy. I still have my doubts about Maclin who is dealing with a hip injury. He missed most of the week and only practiced late on a limited basis. Jackson seems a better bet to play, but is dealing with a hamstring injury. Anything to alter his top line speed will be highly beneficial for the Ravens.
This should be a very exciting game tomorrow that I am thrilled to be able to watch. A full recap will be up shortly after the contest.