Ever since it was revealed that starting quarterback Joe Flacco would miss time due to a back injury, all eyes were on Ryan Mallett to perform and show he was ready if they needed him come Week 1. While the Baltimore Ravens expect Flacco to return Week 1 against the Cincinnati Bengals, Mallett was still asked to lead the team in the preseason, and to display why they re-signed him in the offseason as Flacco's backup. Unfortunately, through two games, Mallett has struggled.
Against the Washington Redskins and Miami Dolphins, Mallett has completed 55% of his passes with one touchdown and two interceptions, posting a 53.2 passer rating. Comparing this to his backup, Josh Woodrum, and it is a whole different story as he has looked solid overall. Woodrum has shown his abilities in and outside the pocket by scoring three touchdowns total. For Mallett, this isn't the first time a third-string quarterback has done better than him in the preseason. All you have to do is look at last year.
Mallett was entering year two as the backup to Flacco and had the upset win over the Pittsburgh Steelers the year before as his caveat. Mallet though, would not and still hasn't shown his abilities from that Sunday afternoon in 2015. He struggled during the preseason, and watched as Josh Johnson produced. Head coach John Harbaugh even admitted two weeks into the 2016 preseason that there was a quarterback competition for the backup spot. In the end, the team cut Johnson and went with Mallett.
One year later, after two weeks into the 2017 preseason, Ryan Mallett is in the same boat once again as Woodrum is strongly making a case thanks to his arm, pocket presence and running ability, to make the roster and beat out the incumbent backup. It seems the Ravens will give Mallett the benefit, but these next two weeks will be critical for his status as a Raven, because being outplayed by the third-string quarterback in back-to-back preseasons is extremely telling and not a good sign for someone the Ravens do indeed trust.