Despite the fact that it is the preseason, and the Baltimore Ravens starting offense was absolutely brutal, there were some bright spots for this Ravens team during their 27-23 victory over the Atlanta Falcons on Thursday Night.
There were several bright spots in the Ravens home preseason opener believe it or not, and we feel it necessary to point those players out and give them a little recognition.
For the second preseason game in a row, Taylor was very impressive with what he brings to the table. Taylor completed five of his nine pass attempts for 83 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. He also ran the ball for 15 yards, which was good for the second most rushing yards by a Ravens player in the game. There is no quarterback controversy in Baltimore by any stretch of the imagination, but it is good to know that if something were to happen to Joe Flacco, that Taylor appears to be more than able to step in and play a few games.
Smith may have only caught two passes on the night, but no other receiver caught more than two balls and Smith just happen to gain 85 yards with his two grabs. Of course the highlight was the short seven yard quick slant that Flacco his him in full stride on that allowed Smith to showcase his breakaway speed for the next seventy yards and a touchdown. The under the radar good performance for Smith though was his route running in the game. Smith has shown over the course of the first two preseason games and training camp that he has greatly improved his route running abilities and the crispness of the routes is much better.
The undrafted rookie tight end has been very impressive thus far this preseason and is battling with Visanthe Shiancoe and Billy Bajema for the third tight end spot behind Ed Dickson and Dallas Clark. Furstenburg caught two passes for 23 yards on Thursday night and really showed his ability to block, both in passing and running situations. The rookie is slowly proving that he deserves consideration for a roster spot on this football team.
Despite the looming four game suspension at the start of the season, Jackson is still trying to earn a roster spot for when his suspension is up and he did a great job of attempting to achieve that goal on Thursday Night. Jackson gave the Ravens the lead in the fourth quarter with a 78 yard punt return for a touchdown. Jackson also led the team in tackles on the night as he tallied seven against the Falcons.
The veteran middle linebacker continues to impress, as he was once again phenomenal on Thursday. Everytime you looked at the defense during the first quarter and a half, you saw Smith around the football. He tallied six tackles in the game, good for second most, along with Matt Elam. Smith is doing a great job as the "mike backer" and is likely going to go down as one of the best under the radar moves in the entire NFL this season.
Yes, the starting offense looked terrible and the defense got the ball ran right down their throat, but there are still two preseason games left and it is easy to see how much better and faster this defense is compared to last season. Ravens Nation should feel pretty good from what they have seen from this 2013 Ravens defense thus far and have faith in Flacco and the offense to figure it out.
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