Eisenberg: 50 Words or Less

082821-Eisenberg

Various thoughts on various things, all in 50 words or less:

I know, the games don't count and it'll all be forgotten soon enough, but in my view, the fact that the Ravens have matched a record held by Vince Lombardi's Green Bay Packers adds some genuine shine to their 19-game preseason winning streak. Those guys were truly the real deal.

In 1959, when the Packers began their streak, they didn't care that preseason games didn't count. They were coming off a 1-10-1 season, which included a 56-0 loss to the Colts in Baltimore. Lombardi, in his first year as a head coach, desperately wanted them to win anything.

Full disclosure: I wrote a book about the 1959 Packers called That First Season. There's 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 get 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 preseason finale Saturday night in Washington. Not a huge deal but it probably wouldn't hurt for him to experience game-speed football before the regular season begins.

Trading rookie Shaun Wade was probably a fairly easy call for the Ravens given that they have other, viable options for the No. 6 spot on the cornerback depth chart. Chris Westry has exceeded expectations and Nigel Warrior seemingly has found a positional home after beginning his career at safety.

To be clear, the Ravens traded Wade because they'd watched him on the practice field for months and figured they could get by without him. But his departure does leave them somewhat thin at slot cornerback. If Tavon Young were to get injured again, Marlon Humphrey probably would step in.

No player on the Ravens' roster has flown farther under the radar than Michael Schofield, the veteran offensive lineman. But he has started 35 games since 2019 (for the Chargers and Panthers) and can play guard or right tackle. I get the feeling his chances of sticking are going up.

Inside linebacker L.J. Fort's season-ending injury is likely to impact the roster at other positions. Fort was a special-teams stalwart, which means the Ravens have to think hard about what to do with other kick-coverage specialists such as Justice Hill and Miles Boykin. You just can't leave that cupboard bare.

What wonderful news that former Ravens defensive lineman Lional "Jelly Roll" Dalton found a kidney donor and underwent a life-saving transplant operation at Johns Hopkins. A gregarious backup on 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 streak ended with a loss to a team of college all-stars in 1963, they won their next five preseason games in a row and 13 out of their next 16. Basically, they never stopped caring about winning.

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