Smith on starting offense: 'We were a little off'
Ravens rookie wide receiver Aaron Mellette figured he had something to prove.
Mellette, who was essentially thrown off the practice field by coach John Harbaugh last weekend, helped spark the Ravens past the Falcons, 27-23, Thursday night at M&T Bank Stadium as the reserves produced a 20-point fourth quarter to overcome a lackluster effort from the Ravens starters.
Mellette, a seventh-round draft pick out of Elon, caught a 40-yard touchdown pass from Tyrod Taylor with 13:29 left in the game to cut the Falcons’ lead to 23-13.
On the Ravens’ next series, Mellette got behind the defense and drew a 28-yard pass interference call on Falcons cornerback Robert Alford, setting up the Ravens at the Falcons’ 7-yard line. That eventually led to a 5-yard touchdown catch by Tandon Doss.
Mellette is considered a candidate for one of the final wide receiver roster spots and has two receptions in the preseason -- both for touchdowns. Although appearing only late in games, he has been one of the few bright spots in a receiver group that has been underwhelming through the first two preseason games.
It was just a few days ago at practice that Mellette drew the wrath of Harbaugh, who hollered to “get 13 (Mellette’s number) off the field. He’s lackadaisical. He’s lazy.”
If that was meant to challenge or motivate Mellette, it worked.
“Extra motivation is a key factor,” Mellette said. “Since that incident, I’ll be talking to him more often throughout the week of practices. After the touchdown, I told him, ‘Man, I told you I’m a gamer,’ and he’s like, ‘Yeah, you’re a gamer in practice, too.’”
Harbaugh noted after the Atlanta game that Mellette had a “great week of practice,” adding with a chuckle, “and I’d like to take credit for that. But, it probably wouldn’t be fair. I think he has done a great job of battling through some adversity and responding well to some hard coaching.”
Mellette said he was able to quickly put the incident at practice behind him.
“I went right back out on the practice field the next series and made some more plays," he said. "If the coach gets on you, you can’t harp on it.”
“All he wants is the best in me,” Mellette later added. “I know he’s getting on me because he sees the potential in me and he’s trying to get it all out.”