Originally posted on Fox Sports South  |  By JOHN MANASSO  |  Last updated 8/15/13
Here are four things we learned from the Falcons 27-23 loss against Baltimore that dropped them to 0-2 in the preseason:1. The Falcons are crossing their fingers Roddy White is not seriously hurtAt virtually the midpoint of the first quarter, Matt Ryan threw to the end zone for wide receiver Roddy White. It was a back-shoulder throw and White, who owns almost all of the franchise's all-time receiving records, turned awkwardly to his left to try and catch the ball. As he did, Ravens cornerback Chykie Brown appeared to step on his right foot.White left the game and did not return. The Falcons announced that he had an ankle injury. It was not immediately known how serious White's injury was.With almost four weeks before the regular season starts, it's worth nothing this: In White's eight seasons, he's never missed a game. He's 128 for 128. If one were a betting man, it might be wise to wager that White will be ready for Week 1.Having said that, head coach Mike Smith says over and over that his No. 1 goal is to emerge from the preseason healthy. If White is not healthy -- or not 100 percent -- it's obviously a less-than-ideal situation for the Falcons.The good news was that Julio Jones caught three passes for 55 yards and a touchdown in the first half and that No. 4 wide receiver Drew Davis caught four balls for 45 yards (although he did lose a fumble on one that cost the Falcons at least three points). No. 5 wide receiver Kevin Cone looked sharp, too, with a 17-yard grab from Matt Ryan.Regardless, neither Cone nor Davis come anywhere near approximating White's value.2. Steven Jackson looked much better than he did last week against CincinnatiSome fans were a little panicky last week after Lamar Holmes was pressed into action with the first-team offense at right tackle when Mike Johnson suffered a season-ending injury and the offensive line didnt perform very well. (It's also possible that Cincinnatis defense is that good; the Bengals, coming off two straight playoff berths, could be one of the top three teams in the AFC.)The offensive line looked much better on Thursday against Baltimore and, as a result, so did Jackson. He ran for 42 yards on eight carries (5.2 yards per carry) and also had one reception for 13 yards -- all of it in the first quarter.Holmes still had his moments. Like when Elvis Dumervil just ran right past him on a speed rush, forcing an incomplete pass by Ryan. Nonetheless, the Falcons offense looked a lot more like we've grown accustomed to seeing it. Efficient. It moved the ball with ease. On a seven-play, 80-yard drive by Ryan, the first four plays all went for first downs.If Holmes plays well enough to allow that, we'll see the dynamic Jackson -- and offense -- that everyone expects.3. Much better quarterback playRyan continues to perform at his usual high level. He completed 8-of-15 passes for 97 yards with one touchdown and no interceptions for a 95.7 rating. At least two of those incomplete passes came when Ryan was forced to throw the ball away because of pressure.With Tony Gonzalez expected to return to practice this weekend after three weeks away, Ryan will have another of his favorite targets back when the Falcons visit the Titans next Thursday. To that extent, Ryan's production should only increase.Another encouraging sight was the play of back-up Dominique Davis. Davis was terrible against Cincinnati and said as much himself. Offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter went to bat for him later in the week, saying others around Davis were making mistakes while still conceding that Davis made a bad decision on his interception.So one week after misfiring on his first five throws, Davis connected on his first eight against Baltimore. He looked much more poised. He finished 8-for-10 for 98 yards with no touchdowns and no interceptions and a 107.5 rating -- a huge improvement over last week.Seventh-round draft-pick Sean Renfree completed 8-of-16 passes for 63 yards with no interceptions or touchdowns and could not rally the Falcons back to victory late. However, a drop by tight end Colin Cloherty in the final minutes on third down hurt their chances.4. Worrilow does it againComing off a week in which he posted a game-high 11 tackles, undrafted free agent linebacker Paul Worrilow impressed again. Worrilow again registered a team-high in tackles (six) while also posting a sack for a 13-yard loss and recovering a fumble.Making plays like those is going to make it hard for the coaching staff to keep the former Delaware Blue Hen off the active roster. Curiously, it was another undrafted free agent linebacker -- Joplo Bartu -- who received snaps with the first-team defense with regular starter Sean Weatherspoon out with a hand injury.The linebacker competition is one of the Falcons' most intriguing. Kroy Biermann appears as if he is making the move from defensive end to outside linebacker. Worrilow and Bartu have impressed. And last year the Falcons carried only five on their active roster. Starters Akeem Dent and Weatherspoon are locks.One has to wonder if veterans Stephen Nicholas and Robert James, who was injured on Thursday and did not play, are in jeopardy of getting cut.Extra point: Punt coverage team needs workFor the second time in two weeks, the Falcons allowed a punt to be returned for a touchdown. This one cost them the game, putting Baltimore up 27-23. It's possible that those returns came against players who will not earn a spot on the active roster and so it's much ado about nothing. But the sight of it is troubling.
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