Breshad Perriman Expected To Make Debut
The fourth preseason game typically lacks intrigue compared to the other exhibition contests of the summer.
But that's not the case for Thursday's matchup with the New Orleans Saints thanks to second-year wide receiver Breshad Perriman. The former first-round pick is expected to suit up for his first NFL game after missing his entire rookie season and then the first three preseason games of this year because of separate knee injuries.
"I've been waiting for a long time and it's finally coming," Perriman said Tuesday.
The last time Perriman played in a football game was on Dec. 26, 2014 when he was in college at Central Florida. He has gone through every practice since getting activated from the physically unable to perform list last week, and the Ravens are eager to see what the speedy receiver can bring to the offense.
"Just to think about going out there with my teammates and my friends, it's crazy," he said. "Just embrace it. I know I'm going to be nervous."
Starters Not Expected To Play
Perriman won't be catching passes from quarterback Joe Flacco in his debut because the Ravens don't plan to play most of the starters.
Head Coach John Harbaugh has typically rested his starters in the final preseason game, and he said the team plans to approach it "pretty much how we always do." In addition to the first-teamers having the night off, the Ravens will also likely have veteran backups watching from the sideline.
The Ravens prefer to make the preseason finale about the young players fighting for roster spots, as the final few jobs are up for grabs before the weekend's cutdown to the 53-man squad.
"There are a number of decisions that still have to be made," Harbaugh said. "We talk about those every day. Every second of every day we think about it and try to do the right thing for our team."
Saints Will Play Starters
The Saints are taking a different approach to the finale, as they plan to give their starters about a quarter of work. That list even includes veteran quarterback Drew Brees.
"Our plan in this game is to start the game playing our guys," Payton said.
Going up against the Saints starters will provide quality reps for Baltimore's backups, especially young players needing to get as much experience as possible.
"They'll do what they do; we'll do what we do," Harbaugh said. "We'll play the guys that are out there, play as well as we can, and try to win every play. That's what you always try to do no matter what the situation is. That's what we'll try to do."