Mallett to Play 'Extensively' in Opener
The Ravens will get the preseason started Thursday at 7:30 p.m. against the Washington Redskins at M&T Bank Stadium.
The first preseason game is typically a chance to get a glimpse of the starters during the first couple series, but this year's game has a different tone to it. Baltimore's offense will be without quarterback Joe Flacco, who has yet to take the field this season because of a back injury.
That means Ryan Mallett will get the start, and he'll get plenty of time to work with both the first-team and second-team units. It's an opportunity for the veteran quarterback to show he's ready to lead the offense in case Flacco's injury lingers longer than expected.
"I think Ryan will probably play pretty extensively," Head Coach John Harbaugh said. "How much that ends up being will be determined. We will have a plan, but during the game, I will probably have to get a sense of that and how I feel about it during the game. But yes, it's an opportunity for Ryan to get ready."
Depending on how the offense looks, it wouldn't be a surprise for Mallett to play the entire first half or even into the third quarter. Baltimore's second-string and third-string quarterbacks are Dustin Vaughan and Josh Woodrum.
Don't Expect to See Some Key Veterans
Harbaugh didn't want to get into the minutiae of specifying who would play Thursday night, but it's reasonable to expect that some of the key veterans coming off injuries will not see the field.
Right guard Marshal Yanda won't play as he has yet to participate in a full-contact practice while he recovers from offseason shoulder surgery.
It's unknown whether tight ends Benjamin Watson (Achilles) and Maxx Williams (knee), or linebacker C.J. Mosley (shoulder) will player after their offseason surgeries. All three have participated in full-contact practices, but the Ravens will decide whether they are ready to play in a game.
Safety Tony Jefferson also had a hernia procedure this offseason which limited him during the first few days of camp. But he's been full-go for more than a week and may be eager to make his debut in a Ravens uniform.
Beyond players coming off injuries, the Ravens will decide on a case-by-case basis whether to play key veteran starters like cornerback Jimmy Smith, safety Eric Weddle or wide receivers Mike Wallace and Jeremy Maclin.
Injured Players Likely to Be Sidelined
The Ravens have been hit hard with injuries in training camp, and history suggests that players who have missed several days of practice are unlikely to suit up for the game.
Cornerback Marlon Humphrey (undisclosed), wide receiver Breshad Perriman (hamstring) and left guard Alex Lewis (undisclosed) have all missed several practices, which puts their statuses in doubt. The Ravens won't put them on the field for a preseason game if they aren't fully healthy.
It would also be surprising to see right tackle addition Austin Howard suit up, as he has yet to practice since signing with the Ravens on Friday. Harbaugh hasn't disclosed what's keeping Howard off the field, but said the issue is in the hands of the team's training staff. Howard is coming off offseason shoulder surgery.
Some other players who won't play this week are cornerbacks Sheldon Price (undisclosed), Maurice Canady (knee) and Tavon Young (knee), and running back Kenneth Dixon (knee).