Ravens fans at the team's first home game of the season can expect to see a decent amount of the starters.
Head Coach John Harbaugh wouldn't specify exactly how much time the first teams will get versus the Atlanta Falcons Thursday night at M&T Bank Stadium, but the starters generally get about a half in the second preseason game.
"It will be somewhere in that neighborhood," Harbaugh said. "Usually the second preseason game is a half, but again, like we say every time we play a preseason game, it will depend on different guys. Different guys will be on different plans, so it's hard to say exactly."
Wide receiver Brandon Stokley will have three practices, including a walk-through, under his belt by Thursday. Tight end Dallas Clark will have just two.
Thus, it's unclear whether the recent veteran free-agent signees will be comfortable enough with the Ravens playbook and terminology to play in a live game.
Clark said he didn't know what the Ravens' plan will be.
"I'll tell you what: I didn't even know what I was doing out in practice today," Clark said Tuesday. "So, I've got to put on my thinking cap. The game? I have no idea what their plans are, so I'll be kind of curious myself. So, we'll find that out."
A Switch At Center
Gino Gradkowski got the starting nod at center for the preseason opener in Tampa Bay, and A.Q. Shipley will get it against the Falcons.
The two players are still in a close battle for the starting job and the Ravens want to get a look at how each plays with the starters. Run Game Coordinator Juan Castillo said he's been telling them that one player needs to separate from the other.
"The problem is that they're both playing really well right now," Castillo said. "They're both doing a good job. In the pass protection, they're both using their hands really well and they're both good leaders. You guys have seen that on the field that they're both tough and ready to fight. They're really doing a good job. We're going to just … The games are very important."
Castillo said the Ravens will split the playing time between the two players in the third preseason game before making a final decision on who the starter will be moving forward.
The Ravens have a handful of players who are banged up, and they have different probabilities of playing against the Falcons.
Running back Bernard Pierce (bruised knee) returned to the practice field this week but did not play in 11-on-11 drills. On Sunday, Harbaugh said Pierce could play Thursday.
Guard Marshal Yanda (shoulder) returned to practice this week, but also did not play in full-team drills. When asked whether he thought he would play in Thursday's game, the Pro Bowler said, "We'll see what happens."
Wide receiver Deonte Thompson (sprained foot) will be held out against the Falcons, and will be re-evaluated on Friday. Harbaugh said he would expect him back for the following week against Carolina.
Defensive tackle Marcus Spears has a hamstring injury and is unlikely to play. He's missed the past four practices. Harbaugh was asked whether it's a serious injury. "It depends how it heals," he said. "I expect him to be back pretty soon, but it's hard to put a timetable on it."
Tight end Ed Dickson (hamstring) will not play, but did make an appearance at Tuesday's practice in a T-shirt and shorts, and jogged back into the building. Cornerback Chris Johnson (undisclosed), linebacker Jameel McClain (back), center Ryan Jensen (undisclosed) and tight end Dennis Pitta (hip) remained sidelined Tuesday.