Rookie QB Taylor has room for improvement

Former Virginia Tech star is intercepted twice, faces constant pressure

August 11, 2011|By Edward Lee, The Baltimore Sun

PHILADELPHIA — — Tyrod Taylor's debut in the NFL did little to quell sentiment that the Ravens need a veteran presence behind starter Joe Flacco.

After leaving Virginia Tech as the school's all-time passer, Taylor got a rude welcome from the Philadelphia Eagles in their 13-6 victory over the Ravens in the preseason opener for both teams Thursday night.

On his third play of the game, Taylor prematurely launched a deep pass to rookie wide receiver Torrey Smith that was intercepted by safety Jaiquawn Jarrett.

A Taylor pass to Dennis Pitta in the right flat was behind the tight end. After an interception and 39-yard return by Ravens safety Bernard Pollard set up the offense near midfield, the unit stalled at the Eagles' 43-yard line, forcing the Ravens to punt.

And after the offense drove to Philadelphia's 8, Taylor tried to force a pass to rookie wide receiver Tandon Doss in the end zone that was intercepted by safety Jarrad Page.

After a potential third interception was overturned by video review, Taylor walked into the locker room with a trainer after absorbing a blow to the head.

Through the first three quarters, Taylor completed 8-of-12 passes for 57 yards and two interceptions. He was sacked three times and had a passer rating of 37.8.

"Tyrod did some good things," offensive coordinator Cam Cameron said in remarks collected by the team during halftime. "He's a young man who learns quickly, and you almost see improvement every day. I'll say one thing: it's not too big for him. He has poise."

On Tuesday, Taylor sounded optimistic about his development in training camp.

"I think I've taken steps forward," he said after practice. "My main goal was to come in and learn as much as possible from Coach Cam Cameron and Joe Flacco. And each day, you get better. Don't take any satisfaction, and I think I've been like that from Day 1 at camp."

Glimmer of hope for J.Smith

When the Ravens announced their list of inactives against the Eagles, what was notable was that rookie cornerback Jimmy Smith was not on that list.

Smith, the team's first-round pick in April who has been hobbled by a groin injury, did not start — as the Ravens initially announced — but he did enter on the defense's second series of the game. But that appeared to be the only series in which he played.

Smith had returned to practice on Tuesday after making brief appearances on Saturday and Monday. After Tuesday's session, coach John Harbaugh had indicated that Smith would likely not play against the Eagles.

Linebacker Tavares Gooden (unspecified), wide receiver Justin Harper (unspecified) and offensive tackle Andre Ramsey (right hand) also were not on the inactives list. Gooden was absent from Tuesday's practice, but played in the third quarter. Harper and Ramsey, both of whom left Tuesday's session early, were active, but did not make an appearance in the game.

Parmele gets opportunity

With newly-signed Ricky Williams unable to play, Jalen Parmele was inserted at running back behind starter Ray Rice.

Parmele carried the ball seven times for 35 yards, including six times for 33 yards on the offense's first drive of the third quarter.

Parmele had said earlier that he can't obsess over the team's decision to sign Williams.

"They're constantly trying to make the team better, and if they feel like they need to bring in a running back to come and compete, that's what they did," Parmele said. "I can't take that as them saying, 'Oh, they don't trust me.' I've just got to do what I do, and I've just got to prove that I can be that guy during the preseason."

Flacco the lobbyist

Flacco said he did let team officials know that he wanted tight end Todd Heap to return.

Heap was released just before training camp to create $4.6 million in salary-cap room. He has since signed a two-year deal with the Arizona Cardinals worth around $6 million, which the Ravens couldn't match because they didn't have the cap space to do so.

"I tried to influence it a little bit," Flacco said after Tuesday's practice. "You have an opinion and that's all you can do. I think they listened and they gave an effort. I'm happy for Todd. He's back home and he's in a good situation. I know Todd loves Baltimore and would have loved to finish his career here. Other than here, he's in the best situation for himself."

End zone

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