Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco anticipates he will see about a half of action in Saturday's third preseason game.
Flacco said he's approaching it just like any other preseason game, but considering it's his first game action since ACL surgery, there's additional items on the checklist.
"I'm excited about it; it's been a while," Flacco said Thursday. "Obviously, I had to go through a little bit to get here to this point to where I can go back out there and play with my guys."
Flacco didn't play in the first two preseason games because he wouldn't have taken enough snaps to really make it worth the risk.
Now the Ravens and Flacco have decided that the positives outweigh the potential negatives.
"I don't need to [play], but I want to," Flacco said. "I think I'll be better for it."
Here's what Flacco wants to accomplish:
Feel The Pressure**
The last hit Flacco took was the one that crumpled his left knee on Nov. 22, 2015. That was more than nine months ago. Flacco said he won't be thinking about what it's going to be like to get hit again because he doesn't usually know hits are coming anyway and it happens so fast that all he remembers is picking himself up* *off the ground.
"Hopefully it's the same as it always has been," he said. "It would be great not to get hit. I don't need to get hit. But if I do, it is not a bad thing either."
Get Himself Ready For Week 1
Flacco has looked very sharp in training camp, and he wants to carry that over into the game.
"I think the big thing about preseason is getting back out there and getting oiled up. Part of that is playing well," he said.
Head Coach John Harbaugh was asked when he'll know that Flacco's "really ready" for Week 1, and he* *said there's no doubt that Flacco already is. But he's also looking to see how Flacco performs in his first game.
"I think it'll be obvious to everybody," Harbaugh said. "There's no magic to it, it's just how he plays. I'll know as much as you know or the fans know. It won't be hard to tell how he does."
Build Team Confidence
Flacco said he's most excited to get in a game huddle and "seeing everybody's eyes and how excited they are to get after it."
The Ravens' starting offense hasn't lit the world on fire this preseason. Stepping in for Flacco, Ryan Mallett has led three touchdown drives, but would have posted three three-and-outs last week in Indianapolis had it not been for a special teams penalty that extended one drive.
Considering it will be the first and only time the starting offense is completely together for a game before Week 1 (minus wide receiver Steve Smith Sr.), it's the only chance the unit has to pick up momentum.
The Ravens are 2-0 in the preseason and want to make it 3-0 in the contest that will most closely resemble a regular-season game.
"I think a big part of going into the first game of the season is confidence in what we have and how we have done in live games," Flacco said. "Obviously, it is not as important as a regular-season game, but I think for our confidence as a team – and especially some of the young guys we have out here – to just get them used to winning football, it is pretty important."