Caleb Hanie knows his opportunities are winding down.
The sixth-year quarterback signed with the Ravens at the start of the offseason, and he has a few more days to show he's deserving of a roster spot beyond the cutdown to the 53-man roster. Thursday's matchup with the St. Louis Rams will likely be the most significant minutes Hanie sees all preseason, as the finale is typically dominated by backups fighting for jobs.
"What other opportunities am I going to get this year?" Hanie said after Monday's practice. "You have Joe [Flacco] holding down the fort here, so this is really my last opportunity barring any injuries to get on the field with this team." **
Hanie's opportunities have been limited during his time with the Ravens. Flacco is the franchise quarterback coming off a Super Bowl MVP performance, and Tyrod Taylor has backed him up for the last two years.
The Ravens have kept just two quarterbacks on the active roster for the last two seasons.
While some teams use more of a three-quarterback rotation during the preseason, the Ravens have primarily just used Flacco and Taylor. The Ravens want to use the preseason to get the best look at Taylor because Flacco is a durable quarterback who has not missed a start during his five years in the NFL.
As a result, Hanie has played just 13 snaps, attempting only two passes. Those reps are expected to increase against the Rams, especially if Taylor has any lingering symptoms from a blow to the head he took last week against Carolina.
Head Coach John Harbaugh did not rule out Taylor, saying that Taylor, Hanie and recently-signed rookie Dayne Crist could all get playing time.
"You never want to put anything bad on tape," Hanie said. "As a pride thing, and it's your livelihood. You just have to do the best you can with what you have and try to put the best thing on tape. It's always a good opportunity when you get on the field to show your talents."
Very few of the starters are expected to see action against the Rams as the Ravens open the regular season just seven days later in Denver.
Regardless of who ends up on the field, Hanie said that his focus is to treat this week of preparation like an actual game, knowing that it's his most important contest of the preseason.
"I'm going to prepare as hard as I can and get everybody as into it as I am," Hanie said. "You want to set the tone with how you come out and prepare and then with how you are out on the field. Hopefully that will carry over to the rest of my teammates and just lead the team to a win."