ATLANTA – The Ravens’ preseason ended with their third straight defeat, a 20-19 loss to the Falcons on Thursday night. Ravens wide receiver Daniel Brown almost sparked a dramatic win, blocking a punt with under two minutes to play, then catching a 10-yard TD pass to pull the Ravens within a point. However, the Ravens’ two-point attempt failed, and they finished the preseason 1-3.
Now the Ravens must reduce their roster from 75 to 53 by Saturday’s 4 p.m. deadline.
Here are five takeaways from Thursday’s game, in which the starters did not play, and players on the bubble tried to prove they belonged:
1. Asa Jackson should be worried.
If Jackson is cut, he’ll know why. He fumbled a punt return for the second time in two weeks. That makes it hard to trust Jackson in that role, even though he had a 53-yard return. Jackson can make explosive plays, but he’s making too many mistakes. Meanwhile, the Ravens look at least five deep at cornerback with Jimmy Smith, Lardarius Webb, Kyle Arrington, Rashaan Melvin, and fourth-round pick Tray Walker. That may not leave room for Jackson.
2. No Ravens’ backup running back took charge.
Fitz Toussaint had the best night among Ravens’ backs, but there was not a ton of running room behind the Ravens’ backup offensive line. There hasn’t been much to separate Buck Allen, Terrence Magee, and Toussaint throughout the preseason. So do the Ravens keep a fourth back behind Justin Forsett, Lorenzo Taliaferro, and Allen? That will be tough call. If they keep a fourth back, I still think it will be Magee.
3. Linebacker Arthur Brown continued to help himself.
He was originally credited with one fumble-causing tackle, but it was overturned by replay and ruled an incomplete pass. Brown also had a tackle for a two-yard loss in the fourth quarter. He was active and seems to be playing with more confidence. The Ravens’ don’t want to cut a linebacker they drafted in the second round in 2013. This performance helped Brown’s chances of staying.
4. Wide receiver Marlon Brown (three catches, 42 yards) looked good.
The Ravens need other wide receivers to make plays opposite Steve Smith. Brown had a 42-yard catch on a fly pattern, and looked like he did in 2013, when he had seven touchdown catches as a rookie. Brown appears ready to be part of the game plan Week 1 in Denver, particularly with rookie Breshad Perriman (knee) still not back from his knee injury.
5. The Ravens’ punt coverage needs tightening before Week 1.
Justin Hardy of the Falcons had a 70-yard punt return in the second quarter. Kenjon Barner of the Eagles had a 68-yard punt return for a touchdown against the Ravens earlier in the preseason. Once the Ravens make their roster cuts, they need to identify which players can improve their coverage unit.