Tennessee Titans at Baltimore Ravens Game Preview: Q&A with Ebony Bird


Titan Sized: Justin Forsett is one the top 5 rushers in the NFL. Is he the future of the Ravens run game?

Ebony Bird: Forsett has certainly been a great find for the Ravens this season after he spent the first six years of his career basically as a journeyman back.  He has a lot less tread on his tires than most 29 year old backs, but his age still caps his upside a bit.  The Ravens will continue to feed him for the foreseeable future, but it won’t keep them from trying to bring along Lorenzo Taliaferro or drafting another back in the coming years.  Forsett is still one of the best stories in the NFL this season.

TS: I think the biggest disadvantage for the Titans is a weak offensive line battling a strong Baltimore defensive front. What have teams had to do to overcome this Raven defense this season?

EB: That is definitely a concern for the Titans, though the Ravens pass rush has been very inconsistent this year.  They have taken advantage of bad offensive lines while facing teams like the Falcons and Bucs, but they have also struggled with good o-lines like the Bengals.  The Raven’s secondary is obviously a huge concern and they have been giving up way too many big plays this season.  Run defense has been dominant, on the other hand, as the defensive front has only allowed 86.4 yards per game on average.

TS: Are there any concerns for you that might give the Titans a chance to compete in this game? If so, what are they?

EB: Obviously the secondary is my biggest concern.  It’s never a good sign when you can improve your team by cutting two guys who have actually started at different points this late in the season (Chykie Brown and Dominique Franks).  The sad thing is, by calling up practice squad rookie Tramain Jacobs and claiming Danny Gorrer off waivers from the Lions, the Ravens likely improved their talent at corner.  If the Ravens can’t get pressure on Zach Mettenberger, I wouldn’t be surprised if he posts some big numbers.

TS: Which under the radar players for the Ravens should the Titans be concerned about in this game? Any injuries we should know about?

EB: While Owen Daniels has been getting most of the looks at tight end following Dennis Pitta’s season ending injury, the Ravens have been steadily increasing rookie Crockett Gillmore’s snaps the last few games.  He scored his first NFL touchdown against the Steelers, but it didn’t get much press since Big Ben was busy lighting up the Ravens for six scores. Gillmore is a mountain of a man at 6′ 6″ and 256 pounds who should be a formidable red zone threat going forward. Other than losing Jimmy Smith for the season, offensive linemen Marshal Yanda and Jeremy Zuttah have been nursing injuries lately.  Yanda’s play hasn’t really been effective as he has graded out as the best guard in the NFL this season, but Zuttah had a rough game last week in both pass pro and run blocking while he nurses an ankle injury. 

TS: How I dare I ask this, but who wins this game? What’s the final score?

EB: The line for the game is the second highest of the week at 9 1/2 points, but I’m not so sure.  The Ravens have been uncharacteristically sloppy and undisciplined the last two weeks on the road and their secondary might be one of the worst in the NFL right now.  I do think they will get it together and pull out the win at home, and I have predicted a final score of 27-17.  I would not be surprised at all if the Titans pull of the upset, however.  Mettenberger looked pretty good last week, and if the Raven’s pass rush fails to show up he will likely have some wide open receivers to throw to.  He is getting a vulnerable team, albeit in a tough road environment.