NEW ORLEANS – Five things we learned watching the Ravens defeat the Saints, 22-13, Thursday night:
1. The wide receiver battle between Deonte Thompson and Kamar Aiken remains close.
I think Thompson (three catches, 25 yards) will get the last wide receiver roster spot on the 53-man roster over Aiken (four catches, 57 yards). However, it’s a close call, and both played well. Meanwhile, the Ravens could get trade interest in either Thompson or Aiken from a team that needs a wide receiver.
2. Wide receiver Michael Campanaro appears to have a roster spot locked up.
Campanaro may have already been safe. But I don’t see him getting released after tonight (three catches, 55 yards). Not only did Campanaro make a nice adjustment on a 39-yard reception, but he also did well as a return man. Campanaro has a knack for getting open and seems too valuable to let go.
3. The cornerback situation remains unclear.
Derek Cox, who signed on Wednesday, saw some second half action and held his own. However, Dominique Franks also played well, and none of the corners stood out in a bad way. Anthony Levine also saw action at cornerback in the second half. With Jimmy Smith, Asa Jackson, and Lardarius Webb all nursing injuries, what the Ravens decide about on roles for Chykie Brown, Franks, Cox , and Levine could all land on the 53-man roster.
4. Rookie running back Lorenzo Taliaferro looks ready if Bernard Pierce (concussion) needs help Week 1.
Even if Pierce returns to practice soon and is ready for Week 1, Taliaferro (25 carries, 88 yards) should also see carries, with Ray Rice suspended for the first two weeks. And if Pierce is not cleared to play Week 1, Taliaferro could be the starter. He was the Ravens’ leading rusher during the preseason, and his power running has been impressive.
5. Backup running back Fitz Toussaint made the most of his opportunity.
There does not appear to be room on the Ravens’ roster for Toussaint (17 carries, 103 yards). But tonight made you want to see more, even though Toussaint did it against the Saints’ backups. Toussiant may catch on with another team.