What You Should Be Watching

Here’s 5 points in tonight’s preseason opener that you should keep an eye on.

Posted by Ryan Mink on Thursday, August 11th, 2011 at 2:42 pm | Categories: 2011 Season Gameday, Preseason 1 at Eagles, Ryan Mink

With the Ravens’ roster ballooned to 90 players, there’s going to be a lot of bodies cycling into Thursday night’s game in Philadelphia.

Thus, we present you with a guide of what you should be watching for starting at 7:30 p.m.:

The Rookie Wideout

Expect rookie wide receivers Torrey Smith and Tandon Doss to see a lot of playing time. The Ravens are trying to get them caught up in hopes that they may be able to step into the No. 2 and 3 slots in the offense, and there’s no substitute for game action.

Both receivers have stood out in training camp. Smith has shown his trademark speed, stretched the field, and has displayed good elevation to go up and make plays. Doss, meanwhile, has impressed with outstanding hands and route-running. Look for him to open up the middle.

Tyrod Taylor’s Debut

Can rookie quarterback Tyrod Taylor be the Ravens’ No. 2? We’ll get our first taste of whether he can handle the game pressure. Taylor is expected to play for at least the second and third quarters.

Playing on the same field as his idol, Michael Vick, Taylor will look to show his elusiveness and playmaking style. Still, Head Coach John Harbaugh said he’s looking for execution of the fundamentals. We’ll see if Taylor can make the quick and correct reads required in the NFL.

Sergio Kindle’s First Game

It’s been a relief to see Ravens outside linebacker Sergio Kindle take some hits in practice and bounce right back up. The second-year player missed his entire rookie season due to a fractured skull. That means this will be his first actual NFL game, and first time against another team since the BCS National Championship game on Jan. 7, 2010. How will he stack up?

The Safety Mix

The Ravens already had a good competition between Tom Zbikowski and Haruki Nakamura at strong safety. Then they added another thumper in Bernard Pollard. How will Pollard work into the mix and who will run with the first team? This may be the best preseason battle.

Reaction To Philly Atmosphere

Philadelphia isn’t the friendliest atmosphere – even in a preseason game. It will be interesting to see how the Ravens’ many youngsters react to the increased pressure. Harbaugh said the team took a step back offensively Saturday at M&T Bank Stadium when fans entered the picture and there were more distractions. Baltimore’s been known as a good road team, and part of that could be attributed to having veterans. How will this younger team fare?

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