The third preseason contest is often the game where the starters see significant action before the real games start.
But when the Ravens take on the Carolina Panthers Thursday at M&T Bank Stadium, the starters may play a little less than normal.
With the Ravens opening the regular season on a Thursday, the players will have less time to recover compared to most years, which could impact the number of snaps the starters get.
"We may not take as many reps as we normally do in a third preseason game," Head Coach John Harbaugh said.
Last week, quarterback Joe Flacco and most of the first team played the entire first half. Some of the starters even played deep into the third quarter. The standard practice for the third preseason game is usually for the starters to play the first half and sometimes into the third quarter.
Yanda, Webb May Make Debut
Two of the Ravens' best players may make their preseason debuts this week.
Right guard Marshal Yanda and cornerback Lardarius Webb have both participated in full-team drills during this week of practice, and the Ravens may be ready to give them some live game reps.
"There's a good chance that both of those guys could play, but I don't want to say anything until we feel better about it and we get through a couple more days of practice," Harbaugh said Sunday. "But it would be nice to get those guys out there."
The Ravens have eased Webb along over the last few weeks after he suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament last October. He has participated in practice since the start of training camp, but has been gradually worked into full contact 11-on-11 drills.
Yanda returned to practice last week after having offseason shoulder surgery, and he started participating in full contract drills Saturday. The veteran Pro Bowler acknowledged that he could use the work in the preseason.
"I just need the timing of the game, my footwork, my timing of my punch, just stuff like that," Yanda said. "My shoulder feels good. It's coming along. I'm a little rusty, but [I'm] going to be [fine]."
Clark, Stokley To Get Increased Time
Expect to see more from the veteran pass catchers this week against the Panthers.
Stokley was used sparingly in the second preseason game, and Clark went through warmups but the Ravens decided to hold him out of action. As the Ravens look for someone to emerge as a target for Flacco, this week will be a big opportunity for both of them.
"Both guys, I think, you'll see their reps go up this week," Offensive Coordinator Jim Caldwell said.
Clark and Stokley have both worked with the first team during this week of practice, and they are expected to see snaps with the starting unit.
Dickson Will Not Play
The Ravens had a welcomed sight on the practice field Monday, as tight end Ed Dickson returned to action for the first time since suffering a slight hamstring tear on Aug. 3.
Dickson was limited in practice, only participating in individual drills. He's expected to be the team's top tight end, so the Ravens don't want to rush him back into action.
Dickson told reporters that there's "zero chance" he'll see the field this week.
"I'm just going by the rules and making sure I don't re-aggravate it," Dickson said.
Don't Expect To See Thompson
Second-year receiver Deonte Thompson is expected to miss his second straight game after suffering a sprained foot in the opener against Tamp Bay. He has not practiced all week, and Harbaugh said that the plan was to take another look at his foot after this game.
"Deonte will be further evaluated after this week, but his was a couple of weeks injury," Harbaugh said.
With Thompson out, some of the young receivers could get more work with the starters. Rookies Aaron Mellette and Marlon Brown have been given playing time with the starters during practice this week, and the Ravens want to see if they can have success against first-team defenders.
"We're going to give those young guys an opportunity," Harbaugh said. "Some of the young receivers have done an excellent job, and I think we owe it to our team, and owe it to them to see what they can do in there with the first group. We'll practice those guys and probably play them a little more with the ones this week."