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Big, bad Ravens looking as big and bad

Posted by hobsonschoice1 on September 14, 2010 – 11:25 am

The Ravens come into Paul Brown Stadium Sunday for the 1 p.m. home opener flexing their muscles from Monday night’s street fight in which they put a black-and-blue sock in Jets coach Rex Ryan’s mouth with a 10-9 TKO over the Jets that was an AFC North game in an ugly disguise.

They look as big and bad as ever. Ray Lewis looks like he’s 25. So does Touraj Houshmandzadeh.  After watching the Bengals unable to cover Pats rookie tight ends Aaron Hernandez and Rob Gronkowski, a healthy Todd Heap gives you the cold sweats. You still have to sell me on Joe Flacco, though. But hand it to him. He didn’t make the big screwup and that’s how Carson Palmer is going to have to win Sunday.

That’s why they should lay off Mark Sanchez in New York. He gave his team a chance to win in the last two minutes, and that is saying something if you’re handling the ball every snap against that voracious defense that eats quarterbacks alive and spits out points for their offense.

Yeah, Sanchez’s numbers were awful. But he didn’t pull a sack-fumble and he didn’t throw a pick-six and that’s saying something against those guys. If Jets tight end Dustin Keller doesn’t think he’s in Teaneck on that last fourth down, who knows what happens?

Of course, the Jets never tested the questionable Baltimore secondary like the Bengals should. But then, the Bengals can’t go hog wild and try to find out and get Palmer rolled.

Cedric Benson. Cedric Benson. Cedric Benson. After watching the Ravens absolutely stone last year’s top NFL running attack Monday night you have to admire even more Benson’s two 100-yard games against the Ravens last year. So even though Chris Carr is the third corner, the Bengals can’t go flinging it. If there is one game that tests their commitment to the run, this is it.

Everyone is under the heat in Bengaldom. Outcoached. Outprepared. Outfocused. And that is just what ESPN radio is saying. The Bengals are hearing it all and reading it all this week and they no doubt expect it after being down, 31-3, 12 seconds into the second half. No other team in the NFL Sunday shocked their fans more on Opening Weekend.

But if there is a coaching staff that knows how to deal with the Baltimore defense, it is this one. Palmer is 8-3 against the Ravens and they have always seemed to find a way to protect him against what so many other teams find so unprotectable. And Marvin Lewis is 5-2 against his old team at PBS.

Wouldn’t the no-huddle be interesting against a defense that literally comes to town Sunday?

There are 345 reasons to see a little more no-huddle from the Bengals. They all belong to the frame of highly-regarded Ravens nose tackle Haloti Ngata, the man that chewed up the Jets offensive line for a key sack of Sanchez late in the game. Either get him off the field or make him do about four 10-yard sprints in a space of two minutes.

What kind of reception will Houshmandzadeh get Sunday? Who knows? Just make sure he doesn’t get about eight receptions and let him take over the middle. If the Bengals secondary plays like it did last year, that’s a hell of a matchup. Who knows Housh better? If they play like they did Sunday against Wes Welker, it is game, set, match. But we know this. He won’t be going against any rookie corners.

A lot of times, openers can be mirages. The Bengals aren’t that bad and the Ravens aren’t that good.

It is somewhere in between.  The question is, how far? In the AFC North, it is about the length of a bruise.


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Posted in Hobson's Choice | 13 Comments »


13 Responses to “Big, bad Ravens looking as big and bad”

  1. By phlockar on Sep 14, 2010 | Reply

    Again I think it comes down to our pass rush. I would think the Ravens have a better O-line than the Pats and if that is the case, Flacco can bring his W-2′s because he’ll have enough time to do his taxes while sitting back in the pocket reading our defense.

    My opinion is go back to what we do best and what proved to be a winning formula last season, pound the ball with Benson. Let our running game open up the pass rather than vice versa.

    Sunday, besides the slow start with miscues on offense, my biggest concern is our pass rush. If we can fix that I think we’d be in pretty good shape. Still early, 15 to go.

  2. By phlockar on Sep 14, 2010 | Reply

    Also, about the crowd’s reaction to Housh when he comes back to the jungle in purple and black instead of orange, I say give him a fair reaction. From a fan’s, at least my perspective, he put his heart into our organization for his time here. It’s a business.

  3. By looking4sb1 on Sep 14, 2010 | Reply

    The Bengals should be able to move the ball on the Ravens more effectively than the Jets did. The Jets are one dimensional. I think the Bengals passing threat will help open up things a bit.

    The Ravens are a good team but Cincinnati matches up well with them. None of their top three receivers is a burner. So, Joseph, Hall and Jones should all be able to blanket Bolden, Mason and Housh. Brandon Johnson should be able to easily cover Heap. Rice will be the most difficult to contain. But as long as we can generate more of a pass rush on D and give Carson time on O, we should come out with the W.

  4. By bengaldom on Sep 14, 2010 | Reply

    ummm to tell u the truth, I think everybody should stop talking about stats…talking bout the bengals are 8-3 against the Ravens, you know what I think?…I say screw stats, and let’s just go out their and own the Ravens….I’ll only start believing in stats after we sweep our division this year again and pls pls pls nomore stat talk

  5. By bengalanthony13 on Sep 14, 2010 | Reply

    Bengals are bringing in former Steelers Center Justin Hartwig for a visit today. Sign him and plug him in at Left Guard and it’s an upgrade over Livings and/or Mathis.

    The key for the Bengals this week is to run the football, while using more of Bernard Scott than they did last week. Keep the penalties low and avoid turnovers. The defense won’t play that poorly again. I sense that week 1 was a wake-up call for everybody (coaches and players) and they’ll be fired up this week. Plus, Baltimore is coming off of a short week in a brawl of a game.

  6. By bengalanthony13 on Sep 14, 2010 | Reply

    Geoff–

    Can you give some insight on something for me, please? Why do the Bengals continuously move players around to positions that aren’t their natural one. Zimmer said that the defense struggled on Sunday because “we gave them too much information and they were thinking too much”. Could that be attributed to guys not playing their natural positions and/or playing multiple positions. Rey Maualuga is a MLB, not a SAM. Michael Johnson is a DE, not a SAM. It seems to me that the Bengals drafted both MJ and Carlos Dunlap high in the draft based on their pass rush ability. It’s also obvious that Zimmer wants to generate pressure on the QB with his front 4 without blitzing. Based on Odom’s and Geathers’ performances Sunday (and Geathers’ over the last 3 seasons), it seems to me that the Bengals could only benefit with plugging in Dunlap and MJ at the Ends instead of those two. I love Dhani and he makes a lot of tackles, but it might be time to start looking at Rey in the middle, flanked by Brandon Johnson and Rivers. I also think that Reggie Nelson needs to get some playing time in passing situations at safety. He was a ballhawk in Jacksonville and I think that the safety position on this team is in need of a player like that. Is there any indication that they’ll be making any of these moves? I realize that it’s only been one week and I know that you’re a big Odom and Geathers supporter, but I really think that the defense would benefit from these moves.

  7. By 2ndboot on Sep 14, 2010 | Reply

    Well..I hope this one isn’t another “wake up call”. Correct me if I’m wrong, but wake up calls are Marvin, Brat and Mike Zimmers jobs and NOT opposing offenses or defenses jobs. Like I believe I heard Singltery say in a commercial last night, Football is NOT a charity and our job isn’t to give games away. For the past 5 of 6 games the Bengas have played you would certainly find me hard pressed to argue that the Bengals haven’t opened a charity ward for wayward football teams.
    They came out lean, mean and hungry last year, tasted a little success then rolled over and said, “Well, we had our success so let’s go home and tell everyoe what a great team we were.”
    Hello.. That does’t really cut it guys. If you want champion status you have to earn it and not expect other teams to simply play sloppy for your benefit.
    If I sound harsh it’s because I’ve seen this year after year after year. 45 years of the same old, same old and I want to see a chamionship in Cincinnati before I’m dead and gone. I don’t want to be the Queen City version of a Cubs fan anymore.
    My advice to Bengals..GET HUNGRY AND STAY THAT WAY! WE’VE SEEN ENOUGH ROLLING OVER AND PLAYING DEAD!

  8. By 2ndboot on Sep 14, 2010 | Reply

    As far as Housh in my heart.. He’s gone. He burned his bridges on the way out and I seriously doubt he’ll be looking for love from Benals fans Sunday. He’s in the enemy camp now. It would be like Palmer going to the Steelers then wanting love from Bengals. ARE YOU FOLKS NUTS OR WHAT?
    Housh can rot in H E double hockey sticks as long as he’s with the enemy! You DON’T feel good for the enemy and wish them well!

  9. By hobsonschoice1 on Sep 14, 2010 | Reply

    ANTHONY: Moving guys around certainly didn’t seem to bother them last year. Rey played better last year at SAM than he did on Sunday. On third down, Michael Johnson is still rushing _ most of the time _ from D-end. Odom moved from end to get most of his sacks inside last season on third down.

    The problems Sunday were they got no push inside from Peko and Tank, and Odom and Geathers clearly showed rust from not playing very much in the preseason.

    Lining up guys like Johnson, Odom and Rey in different spots should make them more effective and not less at rushing the passer because Rey plays the middle on some third-down packages. I take Zimmer at his word and he had too much in the game plan as the reason, as well as getting nothing out of Odom and Geathers, and the fact that Brady never takes sacks and unloads quickly. But, yeah, Sunday was ridiculous. He patted the ball more than Mr. Spalding.

    You make a good point about Dhani. When ever he struggles this season, like he did Sunday, the age thing is going to surface. But, like everything else on offense and defense, you can’t rip it up after a game.

    This is the same defense, the same guys that finished fourth in the NFL last season. The bigger issue, it seems, is preparation and not scheme. How can they play like that after playing so solid last year?

    I’m not too sure you want Nelson back in coverage. That was not his M.O. in Jacksonville. Five of his seven picks came in his rookie year and he had none last season, when he actually played a little corner.

    With no announcement on Hartwig by now, it looks like nothing went down. In fact, it would appear no moves will be made before Wednesday’s practice.

  10. By theredbengal on Sep 14, 2010 | Reply

    The Pats capitalized early, the Bengals didn’t. You blinked, and it was 24-3. You can’t fumble inside your own 30, you can’t throw a pick-6, you can’t blow coverages, you can’t allow kick return TDs, and you can’t NOT score on your first couple possessions.

    The lack of pass rush didn’t help, but that wasn’t the main reason why they lost. All the above was.

    The Ravens have weapons on offense. They’ve always had weapons though. Mason and Heap have been there forever, and Ray Rice was there last year. They added Boldin, who’s good, but can he stay healthy? And Housh, but it was blatantly obvious that he doesn’t know their system and they in turn don’t know how to use him yet.

    Luckily for us, the Bengals don’t play Tom Brady and Belichick every week. Harbaugh is no Belichick, and I’d barely put Flacco in the ‘Kyle Orton’ category.

    Cheer up, guys. Even though you could argue that the season hangs in the balance of this Ravens game, they can’t possibly play worse. 8-3 against the Ravens the last 11. That’s a trend you can at least fall back on.

  11. By thefatmann on Sep 14, 2010 | Reply

    As Bengal fan for decades, I am sad to say that the Ravens are going to destroy the o-line and Carson better watch his back as he has no pass blockers.

    I think that ol Willie Anderson would be better than all but one person currently protecting Carson.

    I have a hard time understanding why there have been no o-line personel pickups this week.

    The current crew was weak last year, weak in the preseason and were weak last week.

    I know, the truth hurts. Carson needs the four count.

    I pray I am wrong and I pray that Carson doesn’t have another Von Oelhoffen moment.

  12. By whodey2010 on Sep 14, 2010 | Reply

    I agree with at least a little bit of what everyone’s already said, and ALL of what 2ndboot said. With that said,Sunday was embarrassing, and the only way I see avoiding the same fate is to run the no huddle out of the gate. I’m not as concerned with the D, I think they will be there, inspired by the physicality the Ravens D will bring. And Zimmer tearing into them this week is sure to help. My concern is Brat. As long as Carson’s running the no huddle and keeping the play calling out of Brat’s hands, we stand a chance. Not to say he doesn’t come up with good plays and formations. He just doesn’t seem to have any method to his madness. I’ve been watching this offense sputter since ’06, and there was always an excuse as to why. There are no excuses now. FOR ANYONE. This is the most talent I’ve seen on any team, except the ’08 Pats. Now it’s time to go out and get it done because paper gets recycled. We need to take Baltimore out of their comfort zone. We need to have a high paced, spread out offense. The Jets struggled because they catered to formations that allowed the Ravens to utilize their 3-4. We need to run 3 or 4 receiver sets and pick on their emaciated secondary. I’d love to see them try to run a 3-4 against Shipley and Caldwell/Gresham in slots on either side. And once we spread them out, that will spread room for Benson or B Scott on screens or draws. Or just plain smashing up the middle with 1 or 2 linebackers at the second level. I just hope the coaching staff has thought of this.

  13. By getsacked1983 on Sep 16, 2010 | Reply

    I think that there is no problem with the bengals offense as of week one. The defense and special teams need to bring their A game this weekend. Are defense played like last years detroit lions and we are hundred times better than that. So I think are key to winning is defense show up!!!

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