Despite Win, Ravens Have Plenty Of Issues To Work On

Torrey Smith looked the part of the No. 1 receiver Baltimore hopes he'll be this season. - Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports

After beefing up its defensive line this offseason, Baltimore gave up 170 rushing yards to Atlanta Thursday night.

I'm tired of writing about Tyrod Taylor.

But it's hard to stop when he continues to impress the way he has this preseason.

After a slow start in the third quarter, Taylor finished 5-of-9 passing for 83 yards, two touchdowns and an interception in Baltimore's 27-23 comeback win.

His touchdown throw to Aaron Mellette was a thing of beauty, a 40-yard toss perfectly placed to the rookie, who caught his second touchdown in two weeks.

Taylor also added a 5-yard touchdown throw to Tandon Doss, bringing his preseason total to four. He's had a great preseason in games thus far. He won't play more than a quarter next week in Week 3, but that's not to take away from Thursday night's game.

But enough about Tyrod Taylor. We all saw what he's been able to do the last two weeks.

There are some issues Baltimore needs to work on.

1) The Ravens' first-team defense, revamped and all, could not stop the run. Steven Jackson ran for 42 yards on eight carries, good for a 5.2-yard average. The Falcons' offensive line has been a problem through training camp and had a poor outing a week ago. They were able to neutralize the Ravens up front when running the ball.

It's a preseason game, so it's a lot of base defense vs. base offense. But this group shouldn't have been beaten up front the way it was against the run. Not against that Falcons' offensive line.

2) Another week in and another week with no No. 2 receiver stepping up. Torrey Smith is looking every bit like the top receiver Baltimore hoped he'd be. But Jacoby Jones caught just one pass for four yards and Doss caught one pass for five yards (that went for a touchdown). Doss had what appeared to be a nice catch over the middle but couldn't hang on.

Brandon Stokley, spending just his fifth day with the Ravens, wasn't targeted once. LaQuan Williams didn't work in with the first time and caught zero passes on three targets. Two preseason games are in the books with no No. 2 receiver in sight.

3) Last week it was Chykie Brown. This week it's Jimmy Smith. Smith had a night to forget and one he didn't want to talk about. In the postgame locker room, Jimmy Smith declined an interview request, according to the Baltimore Sun, after having a rough time against Atlanta's receivers.

Smith gave up a touchdown to Falcons receiver Julio Jones and was beat by Kevin Cone down the left sideline for a 17-yard reception. This is the former first-round pick's third year with the Ravens, which has seen higher expectations placed upon him. He hasn't lived up to the billing.

4) The Ravens allowed Falcons backup quarterback Dominique Davis to complete his first eight passes for 98 yards. Last week Davis was erratic, missing his first five. Davis did some of his work against regular rotation guys near the end of the first half.

The Ravens' corners have impressed during practices but underwhelmed during the preseason games. Of course, Lardarius Webb hasn't been available yet and that makes a big difference. Then again, with the way the Ravens receivers not named Torrey Smith have been of late, maybe the cornerbacks were given too much praise too early in the preseason.

These exhibition games typically pit vanilla offense vs. vanilla defense, with neither team gameplanning against each other. A team can look bad one week, which Baltimore's first team on both sides of the ball did Thursday, with it not being indicative of how it actually will be when the regular season starts.

Follow me on twitter: @JasonHButt

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