Playing Time For The Starters
Head Coach John Harbaugh said the first preseason game was for the young guys, but he didn't repeat that message leading into this game. Many of the Ravens' starters sat in last week against Carolina, including quarterback Joe Flacco, wide receivers Kamar Aiken and Mike Wallace, running back Justin Forsett, tight end Benjamin Watson and defensive tackles Brandon Williams and Timmy Jernigan. Once again, there's no definitive word on Flacco, but the quarterback made it clear that he's fine sitting this one out. If he does, do Aiken, Wallace and Watson suit up? Outside linebacker Terrell Suggs and wide receiver Steve Smith Sr. returned to practice this week, but don't expect them to take the field.
Secondary To Be Tested By Andrew Luck
Saturday night's game will likely be Andrew Luck's 2016 debut, and his first football game in 10 months. He was supposed to start a week earlier in Buffalo but was scratched just before kickoff. The Ravens' starting secondary, which yielded a long drive and field goal to Panthers starter Cam Newton, will be once again be put to the test against a top-flight quarterback. The secondary had a good week of practice and would like to show improvement.
Which Running Back(s) Emerge?
With starter Justin Forsett taking the night off, the rest of the Ravens running back corps had a good outing in the preseason opener. Terrance West scored two touchdowns, Buck Allen weaved his way to the end zone after a catch and rookie Kenneth Dixon led all rushers in yardage. So who will emerge from the pack in the second game? If Forsett returns to the field, it will also be a chance to see how he stacks up against the other tailbacks. The Ravens' running back competition is still perhaps the best on the team.
The Left Guard Spot Up For Grabs
With John Urschel dealing with a contusion, the left guard spot is open for competition. The Ravens see fourth-round rookie Alex Lewis as an NFL starter someday, and this will be a chance to prove that day will come sooner than later. Third-year tackle James Hurst will also see time in that spot as the team tries to determine whether he can play inside. He did well in the first preseason game. Seventh-year lineman Vlad Ducasse has also been making a push lately, and he'll likely get many reps. The offensive line is still in flux.
As stated earlier, Suggs won't play. Veteran outside linebacker Elvis Dumervil (foot) hasn't returned to the practice field yet. That means Za'Darius Smith, who notched a sack/strip in the first preseason game, will get another crack at showcasing his improvement. Baltimore's second-round pick, Kamalei Correa, will be looking to make more of an impact after being held off the stat sheet in his first game. Also, watch veteran outside linebacker Chris Carter, who made a splash in the first preseason game with three quarterback hits, two tackles and a half-sack.