If you find yourself obsessing over the results of the Ravens' preseason games or getting frustrated with the quality of the play during these contests, take a deep breath.
First of all, it's the preseason. There's no point in getting riled up this early. We've got a long season ahead of us, folks.
But I've got another reason why you can't take too much out of how preseason games turn out: Sometimes, the Ravens' coaches purposely put their players in difficult situations just to see how they'll react.
Offensive coordinator Cam Cameron admitted yesterday that he uses the preseason as somewhat of a test for quarterback Joe Flacco and the rest of his offense. Cameron will, at times, force his quarterback to play against complicated defensive looks just so he has that experience as the Ravens head into the regular season.
"I've made the mistake in the past of scheming routes to where the ball came out against, really, the right coverage the whole time, and I know Joe's going to do that," Cameron said. "I want to see the quarterback get completions when we get bad looks, when the defense really has the advantage.
"I'm really trying to put on some ankle weights a little bit at times in the preseason to find out some things that we might not find in the normal part of the season."
That could be one reason for the Ravens' offensive struggles last week against the Redskins.
The first-team offense was unable to hit its stride, as Flacco completed just 9 of 16 passes for 72 yards, and the Ravens only picked up five first downs on their first four possessions.
Those numbers don't worry Cameron. Part of that might be because he knows things could have turned out differently if he hadn't had the "ankle weights" on, but the Ravens' offensive guru lists two other reasons why preseason results don't mean much to him.
1. He's seen the offense progress in practice ("We practice like a game out here, and going against this defense is like a game," Cameron said. "So, right now I'm not concerned just because I get a chance to watch how we execute in practice.)
2. The Ravens don't scheme for their specific opponent in the preseason ("To me, it doesn't make a lot of sense to do that," he says. "You're still working on fundamentals, your foundation, the nuts and bolts of what you're trying to do, and sometimes that doesn't always show up in the passing game, per se.")
Yes, the Ravens didn't have their finest offensive performance last Saturday in D.C. And there's a chance that they won't be at their best over the course of the next two preseason contests as well.
But when the Ravens take the field at The Meadowlands to start the regular season, Cameron is confident his offense will be where it needs to be, and his players will be at the top of their game.
"You always want to, I guess click, if that's the term," Cameron said. "But at the same time, that's what the preseason is for, is to work those kinks out. I haven't seen anything in practice that indicates that we aren't going to be clicking on offense when we need to. I think that's the important thing."