BALTIMORE -- Joe Flacco and Steve Smith showed once again on Saturday night that they are definitely on the same page as they get ready for their second season together in Baltimore. But the rest of the receiver corps? It still resembles a blank page with just one preseason game left, and that has to be one of the more troubling concerns for the Ravens offense.
Smith appeared to be in midseason form in the Ravens’ 31-13 loss to the Redskins at M&T Bank Stadium, with four catches for 95 yards, including a nifty 63-yard catch-and-run touchdown, all in the first quarter. Smith’s night came to an abrupt end when he was ejected during a fight late in the first quarter, showing that the 36-year-old still has plenty of fire in the belly. But Smith’s early absence only illustrated that the Ravens still have major question marks at wide receiver.
First-round draft pick Breshad Perriman remains sidelined with a knee injury. The oft-injured Michael Campanaro was out again, this time with what coach John Harbaugh described as a “soft-tissue issue.”
Kamar Aiken started alongside Smith, and he finished with two catches for 29 yards. Marlon Brown was invisible for most of the game before making one late catch for 15 yards. Rookie Darren Waller (one catch, 5 yards) and Brown both had balls bounce off their hands. Jeremy Butler, who is fighting for a roster spot, finished with four catches for 32 yards.
“There is some stuff I can get better at,” Aiken said after the game. “I’m not fully polished, but there’s some stuff I did well and there’s some I could learn from.”
The Ravens could not find the end zone on two pass plays from the 2-yard line, with incompletions from Matt Schaub to Brown and Butler. In fairness to Brown, the fade pattern to him was badly overthrown.
Also, without Perriman, the Ravens don’t appear to have the speed for a legitimate deep threat, no one that can stretch the defense.
Who’s the No. 2 receiver behind Smith? At this point, it’s still anyone’s guess. But the season opener is just two weeks away, and that can’t be a very comfortable thought for the Ravens.
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