The preseason is almost over and it’s quite clear that the Baltimore Ravens, coming away with the 23-17, have a very different sense of confidence going into the “real” season, especially when it comes to their quarterback, compared to the Washington Redskins, who aren’t too pleased with what they’re seeing from Robert Griffin III.
This was actually the first time the Redskins have lost in this preseason, but those wins had nothing to do with the second overall pick in the 2012 NFL draft, entering his third NFL season. Griffin is trying to adjust to a new offense and head coach, which so far seems to be quite the struggle for him. The only good thing to pick up from yet another game for the Redskins is that Griffin isn’t injured.
Joe Flacco, coming off what might have been the worst season of his career, certainly from a team perspective, is in a different mode. He is entering his seventh NFL season under another offensive coordinator, this time in an offense that’s a lot more up tempo than he has been used to, but gives him the opportunity to show his arm strength. He hasn’t thrown an interception all preseason long, and he might skip the final preseason game against the Bengals.
Flacco finished with 16-of-23 for 180 yards and completed a touchdown pass to Steve Smith Sr. to give the Ravens their first lead of the game (10-3 in the second quarter), one they didn’t let go of. The Ravens did struggle when it came to converting short yardage situations. Ray Rice wasn’t on the field and Bernard Pierce left the game with a suspected concussion after big hit by Brandon Meriweather. Tyrod Taylor, who threw a touchdown pass in the second half, was also the team’s best rusher with 35 yards on five carries.
The Redskins got 5-of-8 from Griffin, who also threw an interception into the hands of C.J. Mosley. He was sacked three times and after throwing the interception on his first series of the third quarter he was pulled for the game, making way for Kirk Cousins. Cousins, a backup who has been touted as a potential starter for quite some time, threw two touchdown passes to Santana Moss and Nick Williams, but at this stage no one is considering flipping the hierarchy between the two.
This isn’t going to be an easy comeback season for the Ravens – The Steelers have gotten better, the Cincinnati Bengals might still be the best team in the division and the Browns should be better. Still, their situation is favorable to that of the Redskins, who haven’t shown any indication of being good enough on both ends of the football to climb out of the cellar they finished in last season in the AFC East.