The spotlight has been on the Ravens' wide receivers since the start of training camp.
The group is young and unproven, and they have the task of replacing veteran Anquan Boldin. After the preseason opener last week in Tampa, General Manager Ozzie Newsome opted to add veteran Brandon Stokley to the mix because he felt there was a big enough need at the position.
The competition for playing time is still very much up in the air, as nobody clearly separated from the pack in Thursday* *night's preseason game against the Falcons.
How did the each wide receiver fare?
The third-year wideout was the star of the night for the Ravens offense. His 77-yard touchdown in the first quarter was the bright spot for the first-team offense, which struggled for much of the afternoon. Smith caught the touchdown pass on a short slant route from quarterback Joe Flacco, then stiff-armed a defender and turned on the jets to get into the end zone.
"I hit the seam and I just go," Smith said. "And that's it."
Smith beat Falcons top cornerback Asante Samuel on the play, giving further evidence that he's ready to become the Ravens' top wide receiver.
For the second week in a row, the rookie made an impressive second-half touchdown grab. Mellette hauled in a 40-yard ball in the end zone from quarterback Tyrod Taylor, which was a key part in helping the Ravens overcome a 16-point third-quarter deficit. After the touchdown, Mellette also drew a 28-yard pass interference penalty on the Falcons that set up a touchdown.
Mellette's strong night came after he was challenged by Head Coach John Harbaugh during practice this week. Harbaugh pulled Mellette off the field during Saturday's practice, and said that he was being "lazy and lackadaisical." Mellette responded with two strong days of practice and then a big touchdown catch in the win.
"If a coach gets on you, you can't harp on it," Mellette said. "You have to move on."
The third-year receiver had a mixed night until his first catch of the offseason came on a five-yard touchdown pass in the fourth quarter. The touchdown came on a short out route where Doss hauled in the catch and then powered his way into the end zone. Although Doss did register his first touchdown of the preseason, it was mostly a frustrating night for him. Prior to his only catch, he had a fumble that was later ruled to be a drop and wasn't able to gain separation in the position battle at receiver. While he's competing for a starting job, he ended up playing into the fourth quarter against mostly second-and third-team defenders.
Stokley had quiet return to Baltimore. The veteran receiver was used in limited action during his first preseason game back in a Ravens uniform. After two practices this week, the Ravens planned to put Stokley in for about 8-10 plays on offense. He didn't catch a pass or even have a ball thrown his way, but the Ravens took a look at him in third-down situations as a slot receiver. As a veteran, the preseason isn't as critical for Stokley to show what he can do, but this time is more important to develop chemistry with Flacco and master the playbook.
The veteran receiver had another didn't make any noise for the Ravens. He caught one pass for 4 yards, and didn't play in the second half. Jones is trying to solidify his spot as the No. 2 receiver on the roster, but he hasn't made any of the big plays in the preseason that he was known for last season.
Thursday was Reed's first game of the preseason, and while he showed off his speed in the return game, he had little impact on offense. Reed did not even have a pass thrown his direction. The fourth-year receiver played most of his reps in the second half*with *Taylor under center. The positive for Reed came on special teams, as he opened the game at kick returner and had three returns for an average of 31.3 yards. His performance on special teams could help him carve out a spot on the roster.
After scoring two touchdowns in the preseason opener, LaQuan Williams didn't match that performance in his encore. Williams finished the game without a catch. He had three passes thrown his direction, and a couple of them could be classified as drops. Williams spent most of his time on the field in the second half, with Taylor at quarterback.