If you want to see the Ravens best-known players in action Thursday night in the teams preseason opener, youre advised to be in your seat for the opening kickoff.
Head coach John Harbaugh said Tuesday he doesnt expect many of his starters to play more than a quarter, if that much, in the teams preseason opener against the Falcons in Atlanta.
It will be a standard first preseason game concept, so well be looking at anywhere from a certain set number of plays to about a quarter, maybe a quarter-plus for some of the starters, Harbaugh said. Some guys wont play at all. Some of the more senior veteran guys wont play at all by design.
Once the known quantities are on the sidelines, the rest of the game will belong to the backups and fringe players fighting for roster spots.
I think you will get an opportunity to see most of the guys we have here on the roster at the (quarterback) position, Ravens quarterbacks coach Jim Caldwell said.
Joe Flacco will start under center and probably take several series. Asked what he expected, he seemed caught off guard.
I dont know, I havent even figured out how long Im playing yet, Flacco said. So, well see, but hopefully my expectations will be we get the ball, whether its to open the game or once they turn the ball over on downs or whatever happens, and we go down and score a touchdown, and then thatll be a good day.
Backup Tyrod Taylor presumably will replace him in the second quarter, and if Caldwell is right, Curtis Painter and undrafted rookie Chester Stewart will also see some playing time.
Its all about timing and execution, Harbaugh said when asked what he is looking to see. How crisp do we play? How do we execute under pressure? How do the guys take that execution from a practice environment and take it to a game environment against another team in a live-type situation? Its all about executing our offense.
Defensively, it isnt clear whether Ray Lewis or Ed Reed will even suit up. The majority of the night will belong to unknowns and rookies getting their first taste of NFL football.
While the game will provide fans with the first live look at the Ravens since their AFC title-game loss, Harbaugh was careful not to overplay its importance. The coaches have zero time game-planning for the Falcons.
Its part of the training camp process. Its not a regular season game, so we dont treat it like that, Harbaugh said. But its a big part of the training camp process. Its going to be really fun to get down there and see where were at.