Different thoughts on different things, all in 50 words or less:
I know the games don’t count and it will all be forgotten soon enough, but in my opinion the fact that the Ravens have matched a record set by Vince Lombardi’s Green Bay Packers adds some real shine to their 19-game preseason winning streak. . Those guys were really the real deal.
In 1959, when the Packers started their streak, they didn’t care that the preseason games didn’t count. They came off a 1-10-1 season, including a 56-0 loss to the Colts in Baltimore. Lombardi, in his first year as head coach, desperately wanted them to win something.
Full disclosure: I wrote a book about the Packers from 1959 called That first season. There is a passage about the first win of their preseason streak. When Lombardi benched Bart Starr for playing poorly against Washington, the future Hall of Fame quarterback wept on the bench, thinking he would be cut.
Since they only have two healthy quarterbacks on their roster, I’m guessing the Ravens will give Lamar Jackson a series or two in their pre-season finale Saturday night in Washington. Not a big deal, but it probably wouldn’t hurt him to experience football at match speed before the regular season starts.
Swapping rookie Shaun Wade was probably a pretty easy decision for the Ravens, as they have other viable options for the No. 6 spot on the cornerback depth chart. Chris Westry has exceeded expectations and Nigel Warrior has seemingly found a positional home after starting his career in safety.
To be clear, the Ravens traded Wade because they’d been following him on the practice field for months and thought they could make it without him. But his departure leaves them a bit thin behind lock cornerback. If Tavon Young were injured again, Marlon Humphrey would likely step in.
No player on the Ravens roster has flown further under the radar than Michael Schofield, the veteran offensive lineman. But he has started 35 games (for the Chargers and Panthers) since 2019 and can tackle guard or right. I feel like his chances of sticking are increasing.
Linebacker LJ Fort’s season-ending injury is likely to affect roster in other positions. Fort has been a loyal special teams, meaning the Ravens have to think carefully about what to do with other kick-coverage specialists like Justice Hill and Miles Boykin. You just can’t leave that closet bare.
What great news that former Ravens defense lineman Lional “Jelly Roll” Dalton found a kidney donor and underwent a life-saving transplant at Johns Hopkins. A cozy backup to the Ravens’ first Super Bowl team, Dalton is battling late-stage renal failure at age 46.
A final note on how Lombardi’s Packers approached the preseason: After their 19-game run ended with a loss to a team of college stars in 1963, they won the next five preseason games in a row and 13 of the next 16. In short, they never stopped winning.