Another Ravens preseason game is in the books meaning we're one step closer to the real thing.
The Ravens secured a 20-19 win over the Colts by stopping a late two-point conversion run. In doing so, we learned a lot about the 2018 squad.
Here is what we learned from Baltimore's preseason victory over Indianapolis.
Jackson putting into question who should be QB2
Lamar Jackson took the field during the second quarter of Monday's matchup and gave us several reasons to say "yikes."
He went three-and-out in his first three drives, finishing 0-4 with one sack. The rookie QB has been putting his speed on display, but he's quickly learning that NFL style of play is much different than college.
Jackson took a scary hit, flipping himself over a defender in the second quarter. It's clear the rookie is eager to make plays with his feet, but may need a few more pointers from Robert Griffin III on the dangers of getting too far out of pocket in the NFL.
He finished the night 7-of-15 passing for 49 yards with one TD pass and 26 yards rushing. A tightly squeezed seven-yard touchdown pass to Chris Moore highlighted his night, but there is a lot of room for improvement and Jackson knows it.
"I don't feel like I've performed at a high level yet," Jackson said via ESPN. "I came out cold. I got to learn that when the vet is up, I have to stay warm through the process. I didn't do a good job tonight. I started off slow, incompleting a lot of balls that I didn't like, but I ended up throwing a touchdown."
The room for improvement, however, is paving an interesting path for RGIII.
The Ravens have not kept three QBs on their 53-man roster since 2009 with Joe Flacco, Troy Smith and John Beck. I can't imagine the Ravens' coaching staff would feel comfortable letting Jackson take over the reigns if something were to happen to Flacco. In three games, RGIII has put up a 97.7 passer rating.
Even after being unemployed for the entire 2017 season, he's getting re-acclimated to the game just fine.
Punt returner remains a battle
With the departure of Michael Campanaro, the Ravens are in search of a new punt returner.
Two potential candidates, Tim White and Janarion Grant, did not help their case Monday night. White, a second-year veteran, was stripped on a punt return in the first quarter, while Grant fumbled during a 32-yard kickoff return.
“We’re not giving up on those guys by any stretch,” Harbaugh said after the game. “I just want them to calm down and be solid returners first.”
When you're fighting to make a roster, contributing on special teams will put you ahead of others. With two preseason games left, White and Grant will have to make up for those mistakes.
Ravens defense preparing to be without Jimmy Smith...again
Just before kickoff, The Athletic reported that the Ravens were preparing for a multi-week suspension of Jimmy Smith for violating the leagues' personal conduct policy. Postgame, Harbaugh said Smith was excused from the game for "personal reasons." Smith hasn't played a full season since 2015.
While the team's stats are noticeably better with Smith on the field, there are plenty of options on the depth chart. 2017 first-round pick Marlon Humphrey stepped up in Smith's place last season, along with veterans Brandon Carr and Tavon Young, who started 11 games in 2016 before tearing his ACL last season.
Their capabilities showed against the Colts, picking off Andrew Luck once and only allowing six completions on 13 attempts. Smith is expected to appeal the potential suspension.
Flacco continues to prove he's the starter
Joe Flacco and his new set of receivers continue to impress in the preseason. Flacco went 7-9 for 72 yards and one touchdown to John Brown, who caught the ball with his fingertips in the back of the end zone.
A 29-yard grab on the sideline from Michael Crabtree also highlighted the first-team offenses' time. Often critiqued for being predictable, Flacco and offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg's first play of the game was a deep ball to John Brown that was incomplete.
While that play didn't pan out, it's still nice to see the offense trying just about everything after finishing 29th in the league in passing yards during the 2017 season.
Ravens vs. Colts notes:
– Left tackle Ronnie Stanley exited the game early during the second quarter with a knee strain.
– Running back Kenneth Dixon looked explosive averaging 5.3 yards per carry with six rushing attempts for 32 yards. He currently sits third on the depth chart.
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