1.) Kyle Boller: Although consistency and accuracy is still a major sticking point for Boller, his mechanics and decision making appears to be sharper. His drop steps are smoother; he's keeping his feet moving at all times while in the pocket, he's stepping up before releasing the ball and he's getting rid of the ball quickly. Boller was also consistent when making his reads. He did a nice job of scanning the field with patience on longer developing plays, and wasn't gun shy despite being kicked around in the first three plays of the game.
2.) New look offense: There are some positive differences in the offensive play selection and overall management. For one, quicker developing pass plays were utilized. The coaches have cut down their usage of seven step drop plays, and are going with more three and five step rhythm pass attempts. By doing so, the offensive line, which doesn't excel in pass blocking situations, will have to block for a lesser amount of time. Another noticeable change is the use of more intermediate plays that cover the middle of the field. Instead of relying so much on vertical routes, the coaches have shortened the routes of the receivers to complement the quick drop steps that the quarterbacks are taking while going through their progressions. While the offensive alignment remains balanced, it will be spread out more often this season. In a two-tight end set, Terry Jones or Todd Heap will line up on the outside in certain instances or a third wideout like Darling or Hymes will be brought into the game.
3.) Defensive line dominance: Whether it was the first-string unit or the second-string unit, the defensive line whipped Atlanta's offensive front all night long. If the lineman didn't clog the middle in order to allow the linebackers to crash through the gaps and get into the backfield; they blew the plays up themselves.
4.) Roderick Green: Green's debut was much anticipated, and the rookie from Central Missouri State didn't disappoint. Although Green clearly has a long way to go in establishing more versatility as a pass rusher, he used tremendous speed and relentlessness to get up the field on almost every snap. Perhaps more importantly, Green was equally disruptive in punt/kick coverage situations.
1.) Lamont Brightful: The third-year player didn't do anything to distance himself from the competition for the punt return duties. Brightful continued to display indecisiveness and poor judgment when fielding punts. He fumbled his first punt return, and there was two times when Brightful elected not to fair catch the ball when he should have.
2.) Clock Mangement: Can you remember any time in Ravens' history when there wasn't some sort of foul up in the two-minute drill? Well, it happened again last night. With Kordell Stewart in at quarterback to direct the offense, the team botched an opportunity to score a sure three points at the end of the first half. Instead of throwing the ball away to keep the play clock from ticking down, Stewart scrambled out of the pocket and let the clock run out with just seven seconds left in the half.
3.) Musa Smith: Although the second-year back from Georgia showed some flashes, he also showed why he may not be ready to log a significant amount of playing time right away. Smith didn't hit the hole as hard as he should have on a number of snaps. He also shuffled his feet too often, moving laterally instead of up the field. Smith also had trouble staying on his feet and holding onto the ball.