It might be temporarily forgotten because of the trade for wide receiver Lee Evans, but a Ravens offensive line that has struggled throughout much of training camp continued to look lost last night in Baltimore's preseason opener against the Eagles.
The O-line allowed six sacks, got flagged for four pre-snap penalties, and gave up a seemingly endless stream of "Look-out blocks",
You know those; the kind where an offensive lineman misses an assignment or gets beat, and has to turn around and yell, "Look out!" in order to make sure his quarterback doesn't get his head ripped off.
It was an especially rough night for offensive tackles Michael Oher, Oniel Cousins and Jah Reid, who were unable to give quarterbacks Joe Flacco and Tyrod Taylor a pocket to step up into on passing plays, and who seemed outmatched at times against the Eagles' first (and even second)-string defensive line.
Oher was, to use a football term, "out-physicaled"; Cousins' feet looked slow and he got burned on multiple spin moves; and while Reid didn't perform all that poorly in his rookie debut, he was whistled for two false start penalties and showed that he's still got a ways to go.
The Ravens' offensive starters played just one quarter last night, but in that 15 minute span, it was clear that the unit won't be able to accomplish much unless the offensive line shores up their issues. Quarterback Joe Flacco had little time to look downfield on passing plays because defenders were constantly in his face, and Ray Rice was only able to rush for seven yards on five carries.
Beyond that, without a proven backup quarterback, the Ravens can't afford to let Flacco take hits like he did last night and much of last season. Flacco was dancing around in the backfield with defensive linemen all over him throughout his two series in the game, and he took a huge hit square in the chest after left guard Ben Grubbs got beat by an Eagles defensive tackle.
Surprisingly, despite the fact that he's had just a week of practice time and has never seen an offensive snap in an NFL regular season game, center Bryan Mattison performed fairly well in Matt Birk's absence last night, as Birk rests following a procedure to clean out his knee. Right guard Marshal Yanda looked sharp, as well.
But with little cap space to work with, the Ravens will have to find a way to improve their overall offensive line play, or it could be a long season for Flacco and offensive coordinator Cam Cameron.