Smith to be more disciplined against Pakistan’s Yasir

first_img(Reuters) – Australia batsman Steve Smith says he is determined not to be dismissed again by Pakistan spinner Yasir Shah when the teams meet in the second test at Adelaide starting on Friday. Smith was bowled by Yasir for four runs in the opening test in Brisbane and the leg-spinner celebrated by holding up seven fingers to signal the number of times he had claimed the wicket of the world’s top-ranked test batsman.“It gave me a bit more motivation next game to not get out to him. I’ll be a little bit more disciplined against him,” Smith told reporters yesterday.Smith’s dismissal at the Gabba marked a rare failure for the batsman but the 30-year-old said he was not concerned by Yasir’s success against him. “A few of the times he’s got me out, I’ve been on a few runs and been slogging, Smith added.“There’s been a couple of second innings ones where I was playing some funky shots. So I’m not too worried.“He bowled really well at the Gabba, got some good drift and a bit of a spin on a wicket that wasn’t spinning much … we’re going have to play him well this game (at Adelaide).” Australia won the first test by an innings and five runs to take a 1-0 lead in the two-match series. The second test will be a day-night affair.last_img read more

Crandon stresses importance of WI trio’s inclusion for titanic clash

first_imgHead Coach of Guyana Jaguars, Esaun Crandon believes the inclusion of West Indies trio Shimron Hetmyer, Keemo Paul and Romario Shepherd will be critical to the outcome of  the West Indies Championships match against leaders Barbados Pride starting today. “It is very, very important and very crucial to have Hetmyer, Shepherd and Keemo Paul with us,” said Crandon adding..”obviously they will bring a lot to the table. From a bowling perspective we know what Shepherd and Paul have to offer and we are expecting more consistency and, from Hetmyer’s perspective, we know what he is capable of and hope that he continues doing the good work he has done for us and West Indies,” Crandon told Stabroek Sport on the eve of the match yesterday.The trio replaces fast bowlers Keon Joseph and Nial Smith as well as opener Tevin Imlach.Romario Shepherd“Those guys are always welcome when they are off of West Indies duties and we always welcome them back and look forward to them giving back something to the Jaguars and fully we can have the best of them and impact the performance of the team and hopefully we can come out with the win in this game,” he stated. In terms of bowling, the defending champions have been heavily dependent on left-arm spinner, Veerasammy Permaul, who has taken 49 wickets while their pacers have accounted for 45. Last season, Paul and Shepherd tallied 58 wickets with Shepherd playing 10 matches and Paul only three.With the bat, Hetmyer is expected to boost the department in light of Leon Johnson (460) and Christopher Barnwell (424) being their most prolific run getters this season. Crandon posited that this matchKeemo Paulprovides an opportunity for Jaguars to build on the areas they would have done well in previous games as well as look to improve on a few aspects of their game. “It’s another game of cricket. Obviously we would have had the opportunity to look back at our performances in the previous rounds and discuss our plans and areas we need to improve and obviously the areas we did well. So it’s a matter of us going out there and executing our plans, to be clear as to those plans and make adjustments on the day,” he stated.The Level Three coach suggested that the match is important since it has the potential of deciding the tournament winners.“It is a very important match as is all the other games, this is a top-of-the-table clash and this is more crucial than the others in terms of Barbados, they had the upper hand against us in Barbados and we are looking to turn the tables around this time in Guyana,” Crandon noted. Crandon admitted that Pride, “has a very good team on paper and we had a very good meeting to discuss our plan and we are just looking to execute. This is our conditions and we need to own the conditions.”Looking at the conditions, Crandon opined that Jaguars have a good record when it comes to pink ball matches and with recent success in the format, they stand a good chance of having the upper hand.“Our first game in the tournament was day and night so guys understand how the pink ball operates in the day and during the night so it is nothing strange for us, we just got to understand the conditions and play to our best.” The match bowls off from 14.00 hours daily. Guyana Jaguars: Leon Johnson (captain), Vishual Singh, Tagenarine Chanderpaul, Christopher Barnwell, Raymon Reifer, Veerasammy Permaul, Anthony Bramble, Romario Shepherd, Keemo Paul, Shimron Hetmyer, Gudakesh Motie, Kevin Sinclair, Akshaya Persaudlast_img read more

Brilliant Bayern humiliate hapless Barca with 8-2 crushing

first_imgLISBON, (Reuters) – German champions Bayern Munich utterly humiliated Barcelona with an extraordinary 8-2 demolition job yeesterday that sent them through into the semi-finals of the Champions League. Thomas Mueller scored twice for a rampant Bayern, who led 4-1 after 31 astonishing minutes, as Lionel Messi and his team mates were condemned to a thrashing that felt like the end of an era for the illustrious Catalan club.“We feel devastated, although shame is the real word I’m looking for,” said Barca defender Gerard Pique, adding that the historic defeat called for urgent changes across the club.Barca coach Quique Setien, who is unlikely to survive the looming inquest, called the drubbing “a tremendously painful defeat”. Bayern coach Hansi Flick hailed an “outstanding” display from his side but stressed that they were firmly focused on the semi-final, which will be against Manchester City or Olympique Lyonnais.Mueller added: “We had so much fun today. Of course, Barcelona are special, so we had to be even more aggressive and come back again and again.“You can imagine we feel good after this match but we have to be quiet and regenerate.” The scoreline recalled Germany’s 7-1 semi-final win over Brazil in the 2014 World Cup, a game where Flick was on the bench as the national team’s assistant coach. It began with Bayern grabbing a fourth minute lead when Mueller collected Ivan Perisic’s cross from the left and played a clever one-two with Robert Lewandowski before drilling home.But within three minutes Barca had struck back – Clement Lenglet’s super long ball found Jordi Alba in space and David Alaba’s attempt to deal with his searching cross ended up flying past his own keeper Manuel Neuer.RUNNING RIOT Neuer then had to be quick off his line to foil a goal-bound Luis Suarez but was almost caught out by Messi’s cross-shot from the right which drifted through the area and struck the post.But just as Barca seemed to have established themselves, the Germans regained their lead in the 21st minute — Serge Gnabry fed Perisic on the left and the Croatian glanced up to see his options before drilling past Marc-Andre ter Stegen. Bayern then added the third as Barca’s defence was opened up again with ease. Thiago Alcantara was given plenty of space in midfield to find Leon Goretzka whose superb ball picked out Gnabry, who had got behind Lenglet and then made no mistake with the finish.Flick’s side were running riot and it got worse for Barca when a low cross from Joshua Kimmich was turned in at the near post by Mueller — another goal of ruthless simplicity making it 4-1 at the break. The Spaniards desperately needed to find a way to shift the momentum after the break and Suarez, one of the few Barca players to emerge with any credit from the encounter, provided a route back into the game with a fine strike, in the 57th minute.Jordi Alba found Suarez on the edge of the box and the Uruguayan jinked passed Jerome Boateng before blasting home.But Bayern were in no mood to turn down the heat and six minutes later they restored their three-goal advantage thanks to some outstanding work from their Canadian teenager Alphonso Davies.The left back dribbled in from the flank, danced past Nelson Semedo to get to the byline and then pulled the ball back to fellow full back Kimmich to slot home and make it 5-2. Somehow Bayern had managed to score five goals without prolific striker Robert Lewandowski, who had scored in his previous seven Champions League matches, getting in on the act.Eight minutes from the end, the Pole put that right.Substitute Philippe Coutinho, who is on loan at the German club from Barca, floated over a cross from the left which Lewandowski firmly headed home at the back post. To add insult to the already painful injury, Coutinho then scored two more before the end, as Barcelona fell apart in unimaginable fashion to the brilliance of the Bavarians.last_img read more

Bad weather wipes out third day in second test

first_imgSOUTHAMPTON, England,  (Reuters) – Bad weather continued to dog the second test between England and Pakistan yesterday as a combination of bad light and drizzle wiped out the whole of the third day at the Rose Bowl. Although the weather appeared to improve in the afternoon, two inspections found that the outfield was still too wet and play was finally abandoned for the day after the umpires had a third look in deteriorating light.Only 86 of a possible 180 overs were bowled on the first two days as Pakistan, batting first, reached 223-9 with Mohammad Rizwan unbeaten on 60. With more bad weather forecast, a draw seems to be the most likely result.Pakistan, who trail 1-0 after England’s dramatic victory in the first test, need to win to give themselves any chance of taking the three-match series. Former England captain Michael Vaughan said the situation had not been handled well, especially given the effort to stage the series amid the COVID-19 outbreak.“It is frustrating for everyone,” he told the BBC.“I don’t think there has been any urgency. You think of the amount of time and cost that everyone has put in for this series to happen. “Over the three days there have been times when it has been raining, and you can’t play in the rain, but there have been 60 or 70 overs when we could have been playing.”last_img read more

Women’s World Cup Pushed Back Until 2022

first_imgFive teams – hosts New Zealand and the top four in the ICC Women’s Championship of Australia, England, South Africa and India – have already qualified for the event. The latest decision by the ICC follows a similar one to also scrap this year’s men’s Twenty20 World Cup in Australia, and stage an event in 2021 and 2022. “We now have absolute clarity on the future of ICC events enabling all of our members to focus on the rescheduling of lost international and domestic cricket,” he said. “Moving the event by 12 months gives all competing teams the chance to play a sufficient level of cricket ahead of both the qualification event and leading into a Cricket World Cup so the integrity of the tournament is maintained.” India will play host to next year’s tournament with Australia staging the 2022 showpiece. “The decisions the Board have taken today are in the best interests of the sport, our partners and importantly our fans.” “We have taken the decision to move the ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup to give players from every competing nation, the best opportunity to be ready for the world’s biggest stage and there is still a global qualifier to complete to decide the final three teams,” Sawhney said. However, chief executive Manu Sawhney said pushing back the tournament would help ensure the quality of the tournament, since there had been no women’s cricket played since the global lockdown of sport began six months ago. Sawhney pointed out due to the governing body’s early rejigging of the fixtures, participating teams could now plan strategically.center_img “Over the last few months as we have considered how we return to staging global events, our number one priority has been to protect the health and safety of everyone involved in ICC events,” he stressed. Acting ICC chairman Imran Khwaja said the revising of the global itinerary had been necessary in light of the fallout from the pandemic, and done in the best interest of the sport. LONDON, Aug 7, CMC – Cricket’s world governing body, the ICC, announced Friday it was postponing the 50-over Women’s World Cup until 2022, amid the ongoing global health risks posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. West Indies, who finished seventh in the Championship standings, will enter a qualifier next year to determine the remaining three spots for the World Cup. “There has been no women’s international cricket played since the conclusion of the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup earlier this year and due to the varying impact of COVID-19 globally that is likely to remain the situation for a number of the teams. CMC Three weeks ago, the ICC said it could continue “to evaluate the situation” regarding the staging of the tournament in New Zealand next February, noting that planning would continue as scheduled.last_img read more

Prime Minister Rowley Calls for “Immediate” Withdrawal of Racially-based Advertisement

first_imgRowley heads the Afro-based PNM, while Persad Bissessar, heads the Indo-based UNC and Rowley told supporters that this is not the first time that the Opposition leader has reverted to race during the campaign for the August 10 general election. CMC “Tonight I want to say to Mrs Kamla Persad Bissessar and the UNC, I am a proud black man in this country and you have offended me and you have insulted all black people in this country by that caricature in your advertisement.” “You could go to hell with that. We are better than that in Trinidad and Tobago. If the PNM has one legacy that we are going to defend to the death is that we have encouraged inter-racial solidarity in this country and we will not allow Kamla Persad Bissessar and her minnows to threaten it. I demand that those ads be removed,” Rowley said. “I feel sorry, I feel hurt, I feel pain when I see people affected by crime, when I see jobs being lost…it may be unbelievable to some but I do care and love all of you. “I know what the yellow bananas mean. It is monkeys they give bananas. All over the world footballers walk off the field when they start to make monkey chants, but in the UNC advertisement, black people hungry in Trinidad and Tobago and you feed the monkeys bananas,” Rowley told supporters of his ruling People’s National Movement (PNM) on Thursday night. “So she intended all along to use race, dog whistle and racial epithets as part of her political armoury. So today, she reached now to be humiliating black people in this country by picking up destitute black looking people and portraying them in the worst most possible way in a political advertisement.center_img Last month, she vehemently denied referring to Rowley as “this black man’ insisting that she had used the word “blank’. “We are humans and we all make mistakes that we regret and wish we could change. PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad – Prime Minister Dr. Keith Rowley has called on the main opposition United National Congress (UNC) to immediately withdraw a political advertisement showing that a black person being handed a bunch of bananas after complaining about the performance of the government. ‘To those who have been hurt by any decision I have made, I apologise,” she told supporters. But speaking at her party’s final campaign ahead of the poll, a sombre sounding Persad Bissessar said that she has always been about promoting unity and issued something of an apology to the country.last_img read more

Fraud Charges Against Guyana’s President Ifraan Ali Dismissed

first_imgThe matter was previously called before the Chief Magistrate at the Georgetown Magistrates’ Court on August 6, where Ali’s attorney Devindra Kissoon made an application for the charges to be dismissed on the basis that the president is immune from suit as per Article 182 of the Constitution. Kissoon has also argued in his letter that it was not in the public interest to prosecute a sitting President and to do so would violate the prosecutors code of conduct adopted in 2018. The Chief Magistrate ultimately ruled in Ali’s favour wholly discontinuing all charges against him. GEORGETOWN, Guyana – Chief Magistrate Ann McLennan on Friday dismissed 19 fraud-related charges against President Irfaan Ali over the sale of state lands in the ‘Pradoville 2’ Housing Scheme. The Chief Magistrate had previously adjourned the matter to October 26, , but Kissoon wrote again to various parties including the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), renewing his application that the charges be dismissed since Article 182(2) of the Constitution mandates that no criminal proceedings shall be continued against a sitting President in respect of any done by him in his private capacity. CMC Kissoon had successfully obtained successive stays of the Magistrate’s Court proceedings pending the hearing of those civil matters, giving Ali room to campaign and contest the national elections, eventually resulting in him being elected President. Ali, through his attorney, has always maintained that not only do the 19 charges levelled against him not amount to an offence known to law, but even if proven, could not lead to a conviction.center_img The charges against Ali detail offences alleged to have occurred between the period of September 2010 and March 2015, when he was housing minister in a previous People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) government, and involved house lot allocations to six former Cabinet members, including the now Vice-President, Bharrat Jagdeo, former cabinet secretary Dr Roger Luncheon and four former government ministers, Priya Manickchand, Dr Jennifer Westford, Robert Persaud and Clement Rohee. Speaking after the ruling, President Ali said that he was very grateful to his attorney Kissoon who stood by his side from the time investigations commenced to the proceedings in the Magistrate’s Court. On Friday, when the matter was called, the prosecutor Patrice Henry, in response to Kissoon’s communication, advised the Court that the Special Organised Crime Unit (SOCU) had taken a decision that it was not in the public interest to prosecute a sitting President and to so do would violate Article 182(2) of the constitution. Ali, 40, was slapped with several charges related to conspiracy to defraud the Guyana government of more than GUY$170 million (One Guyana dollar=US$0.004 cents) in the sale of the several parcels of land. Ali insisted that the charges against him were “politically motivated and baseless”. The Court of Appeal was scheduled to rule on an appeal filed by him Friday, but it unclear whether those proceedings will proceed in light of the dismissal.last_img read more

Hetmyer Second Fifty Inspires Amazon Warriors

first_imgHowever, left-arm pacer Dominic Drakes provided an anticlimactic finish, sending down a wide followed by a no-ball, before Romario Shepherd drilled a half-volley down the ground for four to end the contest. He lifted left-arm speedster Sheldon Cottrell for his second six over square leg in the 15th over and seemed poised to take Amazon Warriors home when he was taken just inches inside the ropes at long on by Dunk off Drakes. When Hemraj was run out in the eighth over by Drakes’ direct hit from the deep, Hetmyer and New Zealander Ross Taylor (9) put on 37 for the third wicket before the rot set in. Cruising on 96 for two at the end of the 13th over in pursuit of a meagre 128, Amazon Warriors suddenly lost a clatter of wickets – five for 28 runs in the space of 21 deliveries – before stumbling over the line still with three full overs to spare at the Brian Lara Stadium. No such drama was anticipated when Patriots meekly crawled to an inadequate 127 for eight off their 20 overs with opener Evin Lewis top-scoring with 30 off 18 balls and Australian Ben Dunk getting 29 from 24 deliveries. TAROUBA, Trinidad – Shimron Hetmyer stroked his second successive half-century but Guyana Amazon Warriors were less than clinical as they knocked over St Kitts and Nevis Patriots by three wickets in the Caribbean Premier League on Wednesday night. With his side stumbling on 96 for four, Hetmyer continued to carry the innings, having earlier reached his fifty with a massive six over long on off leg-spinner Ish Sodhi. And when Hetmyer holed out on the ropes two balls later in the next over for a top score of 71, Amazon Warriors had lost three wickets for four runs off just four deliveries. Hopes of a decent total rested on Dunk but he struggled with a single boundary and eventually perished when Paul’s accurate throw from the deep beat his dive at the keeper’s end, as the batman attempted a second run. CMCcenter_img Left-hander Lewis had already belted four fours and a couple of sixes – including two fours in the previous two deliveries – when he advanced to off-spinner Chris Green, missed his stroke and was smartly stumped by Pooran. Man-of-the-Match Paul hurt the innings with a superb spell of four for 19 from four overs of fast bowling while South African leg-spinner Imran Tahir claimed two for 18 from his allotment of four overs. Captain Rayad Emrit (3-31) created the drama, removing Sherfane Rutherford (10) and Keemo Paul with the very next ball without scoring at the end of the 16th over. Sent in, Patriots recovered from the cheap loss of Chris Lynn for 16 to reach 53 without further loss before things fell apart spectacularly. Hetmyer turned his back on a sharp single at the end of the 13th over and left Taylor stranded mid-pitch and off the first ball of the next over, Pooran wafted at a wide ball from Emrit and nicked a catch behind to depart for a first-ball ‘duck’. Hetmyer again looked in fine touch, hitting the ball cleanly to count eight fours and three sixes in a gallant 44-ball innings while Hemraj notched a four and a six off 19 balls. Unknown Aussie Nick Kelly fell for five in the next over with three runs added and Denesh Ramdin (9) put on 23 with Dunk for the fourth wicket before glancing a leg-side catch off Paul in the 11th over. In reply, Amazon Warriors lost Brandon King (12) cheaply for the second game on the trot but Hetmyer and Chandrapaul Hemraj (19) added 47 for the second wicket to stabilise the innings.last_img read more

Next England manager – Who will take over from Big Sam?

first_imgShare StumbleUpon Oddschecker: ‘Unusual circumstances’ fail to hinder Royal Ascot traffic July 23, 2020 Playtech goes live in the US with bet365 August 7, 2020 Restructured GVC sidelines Oddschecker affiliate services  July 8, 2020 Share Submit Related Articles After Sam Allardyce somehow contrived to lose his dream job with England after being ‘stung’ by undercover reporters from the Daily Telegraph, SBC News takes a look at the candidates to replace the national side’s shortest-serving full time manager. The stated odds have been taken from Oddschecker at the time of writing.Gareth Southgate – 13/8 with BetVictorShortly after ‘Big Sam’ took over, Southgate came out and said he did not consider himself ready to take the top job.Less than a month on, the former Middlesbrough boss has been drafted in for the next four games against Malta, Slovenia, Scotland and Spain. With considerable experience in the national set-up, Southgate is a safe pair of hands, but surely he hasn’t readied himself that quickly?Steve Bruce – 15/4 on 10betThe former Hull, Sunderland, Wigan, Birmingham, Crystal Palace, Huddersfield and Sheffield United manager was among the front-runners for the job two months ago, and was interviewed by the Football Association.On the same day as Allardyce was appointed, he resigned from his post with Hull amid claims of frustration over the lack of transfer activity at the club. He may be well-travelled and experienced, but his only major managerial successes have been in the Championship play-offs.Alan Pardew – 12/1 on BetVictorPardew is a similarly no-nonsense character to Allardyce, and has overseen something of a revival at Crystal Palace in recent weeks, after a poor end to last season and a slow start to this one.However, if the FA are looking to avoid controversy, they will probably be steering clear of the Wimbledon born manager. Pardew has been sacked multiple times, initiated high profile fall outs with the likes of Arsene Wenger and Manuel Pellegrini, and been handed a stadium ban for head-butting Hull’s David Meyler.Eddie Howe – 12/1 on bet365Let’s just end this one right here – Eddie Howe has a bright future in the game, and has something very special going at AFC Bournemouth. He is far too young to take on a role which has become a ‘poisoned chalice’, and should retain faith that this job will come up again in the future.After all, whoever does take it will probably do something stupid, or fail spectacularly at the next World Cup, at which point Howe could have another two years’ Premier League experience behind him.The Outsider: Arsene Wenger – 19/1 on 10betWith his contract at the Emirates coming to an end this summer, there is a growing belief that Arsene Wenger will finally be walking away from Arsenal after more than 20 years in charge. The Frenchman has become renowned for his playing style, and has a much higher pedigree than the other candidates, with a CV that includes three Premier League titles and six FA Cup wins.With Southgate confirmed for the next four matches, there is only one further match (Lithuania at home) that falls between now and the end of Wenger’s contract. Do we really need a full time manager in place for that one?last_img read more

Ravens need offensive stability to survive early-season peril

first_imgOWINGS MILLS, Md. — The Ravens and their fans have annually fed off a perceived lack of respect from prognosticators and pundits.That’s what makes the start of the 2015 season — the Ravens’ 20th in Baltimore — so unique as more than one national media outlet has picked John Harbaugh’s team to win the Super Bowl. It’s not a position in which many players are used to being despite six trips to the playoffs over the last seven years.“That’s the kiss of death to us,” veteran linebacker Terrell Suggs said. “You don’t want to start at the beginning of the season at the top. You want to finish the end of the season at the top. That really doesn’t mean anything to us.”Many love how Baltimore looks on paper, but are things quite that rosy when you take a closer look at the roster? After twice holding a 14-point lead to New England in the divisional round last January, the Ravens are a chic Super Bowl pick to many, but they also lost a five-time Pro Bowl defensive tackle, a starting wide receiver, a starting tight end, an impact pass rusher, and another offensive coordinator.Yes, the puzzle pieces fell into place during the 2015 draft as the Ravens addressed virtually all of their positional needs on paper — there’s that phrase again — but how quickly will those young players be ready to make significant contributions, particularly on the offensive side of the ball? Relying on inexperienced players can be a dangerous proposition, especially when first-round rookie receiver Breshad Perriman missed all of training camp with a knee injury and is not expected to play in Sunday’s opener.The preseason discussion centered around the upside of a passing game in transition, but Torrey Smith will be nowhere to be found and Owen Daniels will be lining up for the opposing side when eighth-year quarterback Joe Flacco and the Ravens take the field in Denver. Beyond the ageless Steve Smith, the Ravens don’t have a single receiver who made more than 24 catches a year ago and none of those options stand out as a vertical threat in Perriman’s absence. Their trio of young tight ends have a combined total of 10 catches in the NFL, which equals Dennis Pitta’s output in last year’s season opener.No one can really know what to expect at the beginning of the season.As if those realities weren’t unsettling enough, playing five of their first seven games on the road could mean a hell of a second-half climb to the postseason if the Ravens start slowly in 2015. Only six times in franchise history have the Ravens won more than four road games, but it will be critical for Harbaugh’s team to come out of those first seven with at least two victories away from M&T Bank Stadium to hold no worse than a 4-3 record.The first two months won’t be easy, no matter how much you like the Ravens going into 2015.“Who cares? Nobody cares. Nobody cares what our issues are,” said Harbaugh, citing how every team faces challenges with the schedule every year. “As a matter of fact, our opponents are looking and our enemies are looking very favorably upon our challenges, and they’re hoping that our challenges will bring us down. We have to make sure that doesn’t happen.”Even with a franchise quarterback they have every reason to trust, the Ravens will lean heavily on the play of their offensive line, the best unit they have on either side of the football. In addition to create running lanes for 2014 Pro Bowl running back Justin Forsett, the line will need to give Flacco — and his receivers and tight ends trying to create separation — plenty of time in the passing game.More than any excitement about Perriman or second-year tight end Crockett Gillmore or any of the other young offensive players should be the continuity that the Ravens enjoy on their offensive line with all five starters and their top two reserves returning from last season. We saw in 2013 what happens to an offense with questionable playmakers when the offensive line doesn’t perform.It wasn’t pretty.Harbaugh can only hope the stability up front allows the Ravens to navigate the early-season peril while their young pass-catchers gain their bearings.“I would always argue that football starts in the trenches,” Harbaugh said. “It probably ends with playmakers making plays to make the difference in the game, but if you’re not good upfront on both sides, it’s hard to overcome that. Your playmakers and your quarterback and your cover guys have to be so good, that it’s just hard to play that way. We’d always want to start and build our team inside-out.”A strong offensive line will go a long way, but the questions will remain about the cast of young receivers and tight ends until they prove otherwise.Drafted to replace Torrey Smith and to stretch the field, Perriman hasn’t shown the Ravens what he can do since spring workouts when the threat of contact wasn’t there. Kamar Aiken and Marlon Brown were nice complementary pieces in 2014, but are either ready to fill bigger shoes? Will Michael Campanaro stay healthy enough to contribute in the slot and can the 6-foot-6 Darren Waller become a much-needed threat inside the red zone?The organization loves the potential of tight end Maxx Williams, but even the best tight ends in the NFL such as Rob Gronkowski and Jimmy Graham didn’t break out in their rookie seasons.The Ravens can only pray that Steve Smith fights off Father Time for a final season while Flacco develops the necessary rapport to win with the other options behind the 36-year-old wideout. If anything is certain, the Ravens should feel confident that their quarterback will help the young receivers and tight ends be as good as they can be.It’s just unclear whether that will be good enough.“We have guys that can do it, and it’s all about going out there and playing,” Flacco said. “That’s part of being in the NFL. Some guys are going to pop up, and you’re going to make players out of guys, and guys are going to prove that they are players. That’s just what it’s all about. It’s not about going out there and having a bunch of proven guys on your team who are all 38 years old.”Harbaugh has reminded us on more than one occasion that Sunday is just the beginning of a long season.The Ravens certainly look like a team that could be very dangerous in December and January, but that may not be enough in Week 1 against the Broncos, who have Super Bowl aspirations of their own. It won’t be easy on Sunday, just like it won’t be easy over the first several weeks of the season.But Baltimore hopes it has enough offensive stability in the right places to come out of the stretch in position to make a strong second-half run.“You put so much work into building up to the first game, the first regular season game,” Harbaugh said. “It seems like a pinnacle — it seems like an end — and you’re wondering what kind of a team you have, and you’re looking forward to seeing it. I know the fans are, and we are, too. Then, you sit back and you realize it’s just the first game. There’s going to be a whole journey after that, too, so this begins it.”The Ravens hope that journey will end where many are predicting.But there are plenty of questions that still need to be answered.“You really don’t know. We can talk about how good we are all we want,” Flacco said. “That’s why I’m not really big on doing that. We have to go out there and play well.”last_img read more