5 things we learned (and one thing we didn't) from the Ravens' second preseason game

During the off season, there was a lot of talk surrounding the additions of free agent tight end Benjamin Watson and receiver Mike Wallace.

After two preseason games, we're still left with just a lot of talk.


If they were supposed to add something to the Ravens' passing game, it hasn't been on display. They were held out of the preseason opener against Carolina last week, and neither got a pass thrown his way Saturday night against Indianapolis.

The biggest action for Watson was holding up his hands in celebration of Kamar Aiken's touchdown catch in the second quarter.

Hopefully, both Watson and Wallace will be more involved Saturday when the Ravens host Detroit. It would be a good time for the Ravens to unleash both because it is the last true opportunity for starters to play (the Ravens, like most teams, sit their starters in the final week of the preseason).

Plus, there is a good chance quarterback Joe Flacco will play a series or two along with veteran wide receiver Steve Smith. Some have suggested the Ravens are keeping their passing game conservative until the regular season, but these guys need to get some work as a group.

I can't imagine the Ravens playing in a game where Flacco doesn't throw deep to Wallace once or twice a game. Even if it doesn't work, opposing teams have to respect Wallace's speed and that should open up the intermediate passing game.

While the Ravens' first two games haven't shown what their regular season passing attack will look like, here are five things we learned Saturday.

1.) Josh Johnson should back up Flacco: Ryan Mallett has a lot of similarities with Flacco, but I'd make Josh Johnson my No. 2 behind Flacco.

Both are erratic in throwing the ball and the Ravens are in trouble if they have to start either. But I've always preferred a scrambling quarterback as my backup.


Backups don't get as many repetitions as the starter so I want a quarterback who can run around, improvise and make plays. It puts more pressure on a defense and forces the opposition to make some changes. With Mallett, he is limited because of mobility and accuracy. Johnson can't throw any better, but he can run and get outside the pocket.

He was 11-for-16 for 72 yards against the Colts on Saturday, and rushed five times for 40 yards. Mallett went 6-of-8 for 47 yards passing. He didn't have a rushing attempt.

2.) Ravens are missing a HR hitter in the backfield: The Ravens have good, solid players at running back with Justin Forsett, Buck Allen, Terrance West and Kenneth Dixon, but none of them can hit a home run or deliver explosive plays.

They aren't the type of backs that you want to give the ball to 30 times a game. I've said this before and will say it again: The Ravens need some speed in the backfield, a change of pace back opposite of the four currently vying for playing time.

While on the subject of West, I knew that once he changed direction and scored against Carolina he was going to try it again against the Colts. Iit didn't work this week.


He needs to remember that the Ravens run a West Coast offense that features a downhill running game. Its one move and boom, square up the shoulders and hit the direct button.

West doesn't have the type of speed to reverse field and go back against the grain, not often anyway. He is no Barry Sanders.

3.) Will Davis deserves playing time: Keep an eye on cornerback Will Davis, in his fourth season out of Utah State. He might bump some players out of playing time as a nickel or dime corner in passing situations.

He started slow in training camp with an injury, but is steadily making a name for himself. He had five tackles, including one sack Saturday.

Davis tore his right anterior cruciate ligament with the Dolphins in 2014 and then tore his left ACL last October with the Ravens.

4.) Ravens special teams have lagged: The Ravens are still in search of a returner even though the job appears to be Michael Campanaro's to win as long as he can stay healthy.

But the Ravens need to find some players who can tackle on special teams. The Colts averaged 28 yards on four kickoffs including a long of 32 yards by Quan Bray.

As a former special teams coach, this has to drive Harbaugh crazy.

5.) Penalties are becoming a problem: Another issue Harbaugh has to address: The Ravens had 11 penalties for 91 yards. The Colts were just as bad with nine for 101 yards.

The Ravens had problems with penalties last season. Against Indianapolis Saturday night, the Ravens allowed them three first downs by jumping offsides on three separate plays.