2 games, 2 catches, 2 TDs for Mellette
After a dose of "hard coaching" from a Super Bowl-champion head coach, Baltimore Raven rookie Aaron Mellette caught his second touchdown pass in as many games as the Ravens beat the Atlanta Falcons 27-23 on Thursday night at M&T Bank Stadium.
Mellette's touchdown catch, a 40-yard bomb from second-string quarterback Tyrod Taylor, brought the Ravens within a 23-13 Atlanta lead early in the fourth quarter.
Mellette, in his pro debut, caught a 21-yard touchdown pass from Taylor in Baltimore's preseason opener at Tampa Bay last Thursday. In both games, the touchdowns were Mellette's only receptions.
During a practice Saturday, head coach John Harbaugh laid into the former Southern Lee star and seventh-round draft pick out of Elon. Harbaugh called Mellette "lazy" and "lackadaisical."
Mellette responded with a couple of plays which caught the media's eyes during a public practice at M&T Bank Stadium on Sunday. He stepped up again against the Falcons. Following the game Thursday night, Mellette credited his Cavalier days.
According to an article by Ryan Mink on baltimoreravens.com, "Mellette said his high school basketball coach used to be hard on him, so he's accustomed to taking criticism and having to bounce back."
Mellette was talking about former Southern Lee coach Chris Cherry.
“It kind of toughened me up,” Mellette said. “You can’t let the good plays or the bad plays affect you.”
“I think (Mellette) has done a great job of battling through some adversity and responding well to some hard coaching,” Harbaugh said.
“And that’s the mark of a guy that I think has a lot of character, a lot of confidence – so he’s done really well. I’m proud of him, very proud of him," he said.
“You be on my butt, I’m going to go out there and be like, ‘Alright, let’s get after it,’” Mellette said about Saturday . “Whatever he said, I don’t want [Harbaugh] to have a perceived notion about me.”
About the touchdown play, Mellette took advantage of the chance to show what he can do.
“(Taylor) let it go, and I tracked it down and just grabbed it,” Mellette said. "I ain’t slow. Maybe guys don’t think I’m that fast, but you give me three strides and I’m going to be right on you and maybe right by you.”
The Ravens (2-0) started the fourth quarter trailing 23-7. After Mellette's touchdown, which made for a 1-play, 0:08 drive, Baltimore's next possession finished with Taylor passing to Tandon Doss for a 5-yard touchdown. Asa Jackson scored a touchdown on a 78-yard punt return putting the Ravens ahead with 6:18 to play.
Mellette, a 6-foot-2, 217-pound receiver, is in a battle for Raven roster spots at that position. Torrey Smith, considered the No. 1 receiver, caught two passes for 85 yards and a touchdown Thursday night. No other Raven caught more than two passes and the Ravens completed only 12 passes on the night. Baltimore signed 37-year-old veteran wide receiver Brandon Stokley earlier this week.
“I’ve just got to keep doing what I’m doing; go out there and catch touchdowns,” said Mellette.
“Guys are battling," he said, "trying to show the coaches that we deserve the third spot or second spot. I love to compete. It’s part of football – competing no matter what – and I’m trying to get a spot on this 53-man roster."