Five Things We Learned from the Ravens' 27-23 win over the Atlanta Falcons
The Baltimore Sun's Childs Walker looks back at the Ravens' victory in the second preseason game.
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1.( Karl Merton Ferron, Baltimore Sun / August 15, 2013 )
The Ravens offense is still searching for a rhythm.
That's putting it kindly. The starting offense couldn't manage a single sustained drive while playing the entire first half. John Harbaugh looked exasperated on the sideline. Jim Caldwell had a death stare going in the booth. It was bad.
Fans have spent most of the preseason fretting about the receiving situation, which we'll get to in a minute. But equally concerning Thursday was the offensive line's inability to establish command at the line of scrimmage. Playing without its best performer, guard Marshal Yanda, the line did a decent job protecting Joe Flacco. But Ray Rice had little room to run and appeared frustrated with right tackle Michael Oher after he was stuffed in the backfield late in the second quarter.
The line play should get instantly better when Yanda, the best right guard in the league, returns. But the tackles remain a concern, with Bryant McKinnie working his way into shape and Oher still prone to mistakes in his fifth season. As for the receivers, they remain a mystery. Brandon Stokley donned his Ravens uniform for the first time Thursday, but we got no sense of whether he's the safety blanket Flacco needs in the absence of Dennis Pitta and Anquan Boldin. In fact, Flacco didn't target the veteran slot receiver once.
The Falcons game was potentially important for tight end Visanthe Shiancoe (above), with new signee Dallas Clark likely to snatch much of the first-unit playing time next week against the Carolina Panthers.
Shiancoe didn't seize the moment, dropping the one pass Flacco tossed his way (to be fair, it was an awkward throw).
Perhaps Flacco was driven by frustration when he tried to force a pass to Jacoby Jones late in the second quarter. The resulting interception set up the Falcons' second touchdown.
Halfway through the preseason, we simply have no idea whom Flacco will rely on beyond Torrey Smith and Rice. Not a great feeling.
"That's about as bad as we can play," Harbaugh said during his halftime interview on WBAL.