The Philadelphia Eagles preseason football schedule continues tomorrow, Saturday, Aug. 21 as the Eagles take on the Baltimore Ravens. In preparation for the game, I reached out to our friends over at Baltimore Beatdown. Nathan Beaucage (@poespost) kindly took the time to answer my questions about the upcoming match-up.
Let's take a look at the answers.
1) Chip Kelly called Joe Flacco ELITE. What makes Joe Flacco ELITE?
Well, nothing actually. The only thing elite about him is his excellent hair.
I'm in the school of thought that Flacco isn't really elite. I think that word should be reserved for only the best of the best, like Peyton Manning and Aaron Rodgers. However, while Flacco isn't elite, he sure is a winner. If I recall correctly, he had the most wins of any QB in NFL history over his first five seasons. GMs and coaches draft quarterbacks to win their team games, not just to play good or be 'elite'. Flacco has certainly been a winner. And at the end of the day, that's what matters the most.
2) Let’s say you can steal one Eagles player and have him join the Ravens. Who would you pick?
Oh boy, tough question. I think the Ravens are stacked on defense, so I'll take someone from the explosive Eagles offense.
I'm going to take Jordan Matthews. While this seems like a bad pick after the Ravens first-round selection of Breshad Perriman, the truth is that the Ravens have an uncertain future at wide receiver. With Steve Smith's retirement at the end of this season, the Ravens are left with a raw prospect in Perriman and a boatload of questionable and unproven young talent behind him. If Matthews arrived in Baltimore, we could potentially have a young dynamic wide receiver duo for years to come. That's something that the Ravens have never had.
3) What is the Ravens’ biggest strength? Biggest weakness?
Our offensive line is arguably the best in the league, with the best guard tandem in Kelechi Osemele and Marshal Yanda. The whole unit returns again in one piece this year, with the Ravens retaining the services of all of them. This line propelled the basically unheard of Justin Forsett to one of the best seasons of any running back, as he led all running backs in YPC last season. Chances seem to be that he can repeat that and have another great season.
This squad lacks a lot of weaknesses, but one sticks out like a sore thumb, wide receiver.
Behind Steve Smith, there simply isn't much. We've got the rookie Breshad Perriman, who is assumed to be dangerous on the field, but hasn't been on said field since Day 1 of training camp. Perriman has been held out with a knee injury of sorts, but might be ready to play at some point this preseason.
After Perriman, the assumed WR2, it's a medley of various youngsters that most haven't heard of. Kamar Aiken, Marlon Brown, Michael Campanaro, Jeremy Butler, and Darren Waller seem to be the front runners to make the roster. All have various question marks surrounding them and would likely be suspect at best should Perriman or Smith go down. But they're unproven and young, and any one of them could easily prove me wrong this year.
Thankfully for the Ravens, Joe Flacco has done just fine with some not-so-good wide receiver corps. It's basically the norm in Baltimore to have mediocre receivers.
4) Who are some lesser known Ravens backups that could stand out?
There's just too many guys to list. I think the Ravens are one of the few teams that has legitimately great depth at most positions.
However, there have been a few 'training camp darlings' that could continue the momentum.
* DE/LB Steven Means: He's got a pretty awesome name, and has been living up to it so far in camp. From all reports, he's been an absolute beast.
* Bryn Renner, QB: The MVP of last week's 'Bryn Renner Bowl' versus the Saints, Renner did exceptionally well, scoring the game winning touchdown on a scramble. It will be interesting to see if he can give presumed backup QB Matt Schaub a run for his money.
* DT Carl Davis: Is looking to be a big steal for the Ravens in the draft. He's been dominating, and I believe played the most snaps of anyone in last week's game. He's been the definition of impressing, and is currently gunning for a potential starting roster spot.
* Darren Waller and the other Ravens receivers: all of the aforementioned receivers could easily put on a show in Philadelphia. It's been a training camp battle that seemingly no one has won or lost yet. I chose Waller in particular because the coaching staff has been praising him of late, I've also heard reports of Flacco developing a rapport with him. Plus the dude is six foot six inches, he's just fun to watch on the field.
5) Score prediction? Just for fun.
33-24, Eagles. It's the preseason, so the results don't matter that much, plus I'm predicting that Chip throws some weird voodoo at us.