The play of the wide receivers and Scott Bentley's effort to unseat nine-year veteran place kicker Matt Stover will get special attention when the Baltimore Ravens play their second preseason game at 7:30 Saturday night against Atlanta.
Throughout training camp and in last week's 10-7 preseason victory over Philadelphia, Coach Brian Billick has been frustrated with dropped passes and poor routes from all 10 wide receivers.
"I haven't seen anybody, anybody, that has distinguished himself as a go-to guy," Billick said.
That includes Jermaine Lewis, who scored six touchdowns on just 41 catches last season, but has not grasped Billick's new offense as quickly as anticipated.
Billick moved veteran Qadry Ismail ahead of the less experienced Patrick Johnson at the position opposite Lewis for the Eagles' game; two of Ismail's three receptions resulted in first downs.
The defending NFC champion Falcons are expected to play their starters a bit less than the Ravens, perhaps no more than two possessions. Running back Jamal Anderson, who missed the early portion of training camp as a holdout, will be in uniform but may not play.
The Falcons will open with Chris Chandler at quarterback and use left-handed Tony Graziani for most of the remainder of the game, Coach Dan Reeves said. Graziani is competing with Danny Kanell for the backup role.
Billick seems more concerned with the Falcons' defense, saying: "Some of the things that we got away with in the Eagles game we won't get away with in Atlanta."
Against the Eagles, speedster Johnson missed a catch in the end zone but soon made a more difficult one that set up a 10-yard touchdown pass by backup quarterback Tony Banks to rookie Brandon Stokley. Shoulder injuries will keep Stokley sidelined Saturday.
"I'll just have to use this as a learning experience," said Johnson, the team's second-round draft choice in 1998 whose season was marked by injuries and erratic play.
Billick said quarterback Scott Mitchell and the other starters on offense and defense probably will play at least into the second quarter. Banks will follow Mitchell and play about two quarters; Wally Richardson will finish.
Bentley will get the first two extra point and field goal tries. Stover made the game-winning 30-yard kick against the Eagles, but missed earlier from 37 yards after a bad snap.
Billick was candid when asked whether the difference in salary could be a factor in the competition. Stover's estimated $850,000 salary is about $600,000 more than Bentley's.
"If [Stover] is the best player, you've got to keep him," Billick said. "But if it's relatively close, then certainly you owe it to the team to be economically sound."