Observation deck: Ravens-Falcons

The Ravens' reserves finished strong to help Baltimore to a 31-17 win at Atlanta. Here are my thoughts on a sluggish start to the preseason for the Ravens' starters:

  • Tight end Ed Dickson left the game with a shoulder sprain after making a 9-yard touchdown catch. He will undergo tests Friday. If Dickson's injury is serious, the Ravens have a major problem at tight end. Dennis Pitta, Dickson's backup, is out for the preseason after breaking his hand in training camp.

  • Backup defensive end Ryan McBean (leg) and rookie cornerback Asa Jackson (hamstring) left with injuries. Linebacker Ray Lewis was a healthy scratch, and rookie linebacker Courtney Upshaw didn't play after recently coming back from a shoulder injury.

  • The Ravens played a lot of soft coverage and paid the price in allowing 155 yards to Matt Ryan on two drives, both of which resulted in touchdowns and a 14-0 lead. Cary Williams gave up four receptions, and Lardarius Webb allowed a 36-yard pass to Julio Jones.

  • Torrey Smith is showing better hands than what he had as a rookie and he is getting out of breaks quicker. There's a strong chemistry between Joe Flacco and Smith, who had three catches for 43 yards.

  • The Ravens were unhappy with the sluggish start on offense, which went three-and-out on the first three drives. That's why Flacco was in there in the second quarter. After nine plays on the first three drives, Flacco put together an 11-play series that ended with a touchdown pass to Dickson. It was a perfect, strong-armed pass that was placed away from the defender in the end zone. Flacco finished 9-of-12 for 88 yards.

  • Baltimore's punt coverage team, which ranked 24th last season and gave up two touchdowns, is still a concern. The Ravens gave up a 45-yard return in the first quarter after Albert McClellan and Emanuel Cook missed tackles.

  • Bryant McKinnie, who reported late to training camp, didn't make the start. The Ravens went with Michael Oher at left tackle and rookie Kelechi Osemele at right tackle. McKinnie later replaced Oher at left tackle.

  • In the battle for the backup running back job, Anthony Allen didn't take advantage of Bernard Pierce's being out with a hamstring injury. Allen was limited to 9 yards on five carries, dropped a potential first-down pass and gave up a sack.

  • Omar Brown, an undrafted rookie out of Marshall, made a good first impression. He had an interception and recovered two fumbles.