Ravens-Falcons Preseason Primer: What to watch

August 31, 2011 | Luke Jones

2. LB Prescott Burgess – Baltimore’s leading special teams tackler (15) in 2010, Burgess finds himself in a familiar position — right on the bubble. Entering his fifth season, Burgess has had a solid preseason with five tackles and a sack, but the return of Sergio Kindle and improvement of Sergio Kindle has added depth to the linebacker unit. A factor working in Burgess’ favor is his ability to back up 3o-year-old Jarret Johnson at the strong-side linebacker spot, the one linebacker position where the Ravens do not have great depth.

3. RB Jalen Parmele – With David Reed’s return and inside track at kick returner, a larger part of Parmele’s contributions must come at running back where he’s had limited experiences. Parmele has had a solid preseason, rushing 15 times for 55 yards and a touchdown, but he’s being pushed by talented rookie Anthony Allen.

4. RB Anthony Allen – Needing to make the adjustment from Paul Johnson’s triple-option offense at Georgia Tech to Cam Cameron’s pro style, Allen has shown impressive field vision and hits running lanes with confidence. The 6-foot-1, 230-pound back has rushed 10 times for 64 yards and a touchdown but dropped a sure touchdown pass in the fourth quarter against the Redskins. The Ravens could opt to keep both Parmele and Allen, but only one is a sure bet behind Ray Rice and Ricky Williams.

5. WR Marcus Smith – A special teams standout last season, Smith now finds himself too low on the depth chart to guarantee him a spot. Despite being taken in the fourth round of the 2008 draft, the former New Mexico wideout has never developed as a receiver and has yet to record a reception in the preseason. Judging by comments made by John Harbaugh and Cam Cameron, the Ravens seem inclined to stash surprising rookie LaQuan Williams on the practice squad, but there is no guarantee they’ll keep a sixth receiver behind Anquan Boldin, Lee Evans, Torrey Smith, Tandon Doss, and David Reed.

6. TE Davon Drew – After a strong start to training camp, Drew has largely disappeared and has seemingly fallen behind veteran Kris Wilson on the depth chart. The Ravens have kept Drew around for two seasons, signing him to the active roster late last season, but the former fifth-round pick in 2009 has not recorded a reception in the preseason.

7. TE Kris Wilson – Entering his eighth season, Wilson has spent time with the Kansas City Chiefs and San Diego Chargers and has 52 career receptions and five touchdowns in his career. Making seven catches for 83 yards in the preseason, Wilson has taken full advantage of his opportunities, even working with the starting offense earlier in camp when Ed Dickson was battling a hamstring injury. It’s unlikely that the Ravens keep both Drew and Wilson, and the latter has shown far more in the preseason — both in practice and in games.

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