INDIANAPOLIS – Five things we learned watching the Ravens defeat the Colts, 19-18, Saturday night at Lucas Oil Stadium, that lifted the Ravens to 2-0 in the preseason:
1. Wide receiver Jeremy Butler (four catches, 35 yards, one touchdown) keeps showing he deserves a roster spot.
He ran a nice corner route for a 12-yard touchdown catch just before halftime, and he consistently got open. With wide receiver Breshad Perriman (knee) still not off PUP, Chris Matthews missing both preseason games, and Michael Campanaro’s history with injuries, can the Ravens afford to cut Butler? If they do, they could quickly regret it.
2. Wide receiver Chris Moore also looked good in his first NFL action.
Moore ran underneath routes well, and showed sure hands. It’s only a matter of time until the Ravens start sending Moore deep to utilize his speed. He continues to show he could be a playmaker as a rookie.
3. The Ravens’ first team defense needs to get sharper.
Terrell Suggs didn’t play, and veteran linebacker Elvis Dumervil is still on PUP. But the Ravens played most of their defensive starters the first three series, and the Colts offense moved consistently with quarterback Andrew Luck at the helm. The Ravens held in the red zone to force a field goal on the first series, then linebacker Albert McClellan made a nice hit to force a fumble by Colts tight end Dwayne Allen. But in the preseason opener, the Panthers also moved the ball well against the Ravens’ first-team defense. That’s a trend the Ravens need to change before Week 1.
4. Michael Campanaro looks like the punt returner if he stays healthy.
He fielded punts cleanly in the second half, and had a nice 21-yard return. Rookie Keenan Reynolds simply has not been sure-handed enough during practices. Reynolds may get another look in the next game, but Campanaro is a safer option if he can remain available.
5. Josh Johnson isn’t conceding the Ravens backup quarterback job to Ryan Mallett.
Johnson threw the ball well (11 for 16, 72 yards, one touchdown), and his scrambling ability hurt the Colts (four carries, 37 yards). But Johnson is in a tough spot, with Mallett (six for eight, 47 yards, one touchdown) under contract for this season, and the Ravens unlikely to keep three quarterbacks. If Johnson doesn’t stick with the Ravens, other teams are certainly paying attention.