The Chicago Bears and Baltimore Ravens kicked off a new NFL season Thursday in Canton, Ohio, celebrating the newest class of inductees to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. A football-starved nation got its fix satisfied with an injection of preseason action.
Joe Flacco is the Ravens Starting Quarterback
The press promoted the story line of Ravens first round draft pick Lamar Jackson challenging incumbent quarterback Joe Flacco for the starting role. Apparently the Ravens didn’t get the memo – Flacco didn’t even bother to suit up. (If your head is really on the chopping block, you take a few snaps and defend your role.) The Ravens know that Lamar Jackson has athleticism and upside but preseason games will be about getting NFL experience, not challenging Flacco for the starting spot.Embed from Getty Images
Robert Griffin III played well, as a six-year veteran would be expected. Griffin was 7/11 passing and the one pick recorded bounced off a wide open receiver’s hands. No, Robert Griffin wasn’t truly challenging for the starting role either, but Ravens fans saw how capable RG3 could be if Flacco is sidelined.
Coaching Victory, Player Failure
The opening drive for the Bears was classic preseason football. Chase Daniel marched the offense down the field and looked like a well-oiled machine when a deflected pass was intercepted and took away the possibility of the Chicago Bears striking first.Embed from Getty Images
As a play-caller, Nagy probably wasn’t disappointed. His play calls worked. In the first possession, Bellamy made a nifty move after the catch and scampered down the field for big yards. Nagy also called Benny Cunningham’s number, who ran hard and decisively for positive gains. The would-be touchdown was a beautiful lob pass from Daniel to a diving Fowler in the end zone. Fowler dropped a catchable ball and the next play produced a turnover.
As a coach, Nagy must have been frustrated with the drop and the pass protection that collapsed, causing the deflection. Baltimore’s Michael Pierce bull rushed Chicago’s guard Jordan Morgan so fiercely that Chase Daniel had no room to throw, which ricocheted the football off Morgan’s helmet. This produced a wobbly trajectory that was easy pickins for Ravens safety Chuck Clark.
Yellow Flags Will Have Fans Waving White FlagsEmbed from Getty Images
The NFL rolled out some new rules in regards to player safety, which will hopefully get ironed out in the preseason games. Last year the NFL suffered from hazy catch rules and the last thing it needs is a new cloud of smoke that makes every tackle a punishable offense.