The Baltimore Ravens had a nice showing in general with a 44-16 win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. They displayed quality depth at running back, the offensive line made running lanes, the defense showed aggressiveness and improvements were shown by second-string quarterback Tyrod Taylor.
Everything was smooth on offense Thursday night except at wide receiver and tight end.
My colleague Jermaine Lockett discussed Laquan Williams and his standout performance, which I agree with. Williams to me seems like a front-runner for the second or third receiver spots. But key players like Jacoby Jones, Deonte Thompson, Tandon Doss and even tight end Visanthe Shiancoe either had drop after drop or didn’t get enough separation over the course of the game.
It is more troubling for Thompson and Doss because Joe Flacco believes both players will play be a big part of what the Ravens will do in the 2013 season.
“We’ve got a couple of those guys at wide receiver — Tandon [Doss] and Deonte [Thompson],” Flacco noted on Tuesday via BaltimoreRavens.com.
People always like to say, “well, it’s just preseason,” and while that may be true to some degree, there are players on an NFL roster who don’t have the luxury of getting the benefit of the doubt in that regard. Some players actually have to play well in preseason games. The Ravens have to know entering the regular season that they have the right pieces in place.
Jones hasn’t shown he can be a reliable No. 2 receiver. He is an excellent returner, and a talent as the third wide receiver in an offense, but that is as far as I think he will go with the Ravens.
Doss was groomed under Anquan Boldin in previous years, and has shown the inconsistency to catch the ball over the middle. He has talent, but he hasn’t put it together yet.
Did the Ravens make a mistake letting Boldin go? In my opinion, no, because as good as Boldin was in the postseason for Ravens last season, he didn’t solve the Ravens problems in terms of having multiple receivers who can get separation. Regardless of if the Ravens kept Boldin, the situation with the depth at receiver was something that had to be addressed, and the fact that tight end Dennis Pitta is out for the season just makes things more complicated.
It’s just one preseason game, but the Ravens seem to have more questions than answers at this point.