Ravens receiver Steve Smith Sr. is always entertaining. Even on his bad days, he is fun to watch. But after three preseason games, he still needs a sidekick going into the 2015 regular season.
He had one last season in speedster Torrey Smith, but the former Maryland standout signed with the San Francisco 49ers in the offseason. The Ravens were in search of a No. 2 and No. 3 receiver headed into training camp several weeks ago, and they are still searching.
Third-year player Kamar Aiken is listed second on the depth chart and he has earned that position in practice, but he hasn't been overly impressive in preseason games. As for the No. 3 slot, it's still open. Wide open.
Saturday night was the perfect opportunity for some of the receivers to gain some separation in the race for playing time because Smith was ejected from the game with 43 seconds left in the first quarter, but no one stepped up.
It wasn't entirely their fault. Quarterback Joe Flacco threw behind receiver Darren Waller twice. He completed a 16-yard pass to Aiken and another of 8 yards to Jeremy Butler, but nothing special. Flacco was replaced by backup Matt Schaub with 3:39 remaining in the second quarter, virtually ending the receiver derby for the night.
With one game left — and most starters won't play against the Falcons next week in Atlanta — there is still a concern about the Ravens receiving corps. They haven't had a young receiver show anything the entire preseason.
The only sure thing is that Smith is No. 1. At age 36, he can still make big plays anywhere on the field. He turned a 23-yard pass from Flacco into a 63-yard touchdown on the Ravens' first possession of the game, and whenever Flacco needed a play against the Redskins Saturday night, Smith was his go-to guy.
But after Smith, what happens?
A team with a good cornerback like the New York Jets' Darrelle Revis or Seattle's Richard Sherman can neutralize Smith, and the Ravens don't have anyone else. Aiken has been solid, but he doesn't scare anybody. Ditto for the Ravens tight ends.
Rookie Breshad Perriman, out of Central Florida, was supposed to complement Smith with his speed on the outside, and open up the middle of the field for the Ravens' band of possessions receivers, but Perriman has been out of practice since the first day of training camp with a sprained knee.
It's hard to imagine him being much help to the Ravens in the season opener against the Denver Broncos on Sept. 13. Marlon Brown? Another young receiver who has spent more time in the hot tub with back and hamstring injuries than on the practice fields.
The Ravens had high hopes for second-year receiver Michael Campanaro, but he isn't dependable. He runs good routes and has strong hands but every time he seems on the verge of being an impact player, he gets hurt.
He spent Saturday night in street clothes on the sidelines. That's the knock on him. He caught a touchdown in the first preseason game, but has since disappeared.
Every team has a position or two where they are weak, and general manager Ozzie Newsome and coach John Harbaugh were counting on these young players to develop. But at this point, there is still nothing to rely on but hope and potential.
Until then, the Ravens will have to count on a strong offensive line and running back Justin Forsett to dominate and control the tempo. Unfortunately, the Ravens paid Flacco as one of the of the league's top quarterback several years ago.
They've never given him a legitimate No. 1 receiver in the mold of Dez Bryant or Calvin Johnson, but this year might be worse. Right now there is no No. 2 or No. 3, either.