BALTIMORE (AP) — During a summer in which much of the focus has been on players who aren’t on the field, the Baltimore Ravens hope to make an impression with their performance in a game situation.
Problem is, many of the stars the Ravens will be counting on won’t be dressed for the preseason opener against the Washington Redskins on Thursday night.
Quarterback Joe Flacco has yet to take a snap during training camp, which is why Baltimore is still pondering whether to sign free agent Colin Kaepernick.
In addition, the offense has been operating with a makeshift line. Pro Bowl guard Marshal Yanda is coming off offseason shoulder surgery, Alex Lewis missed practice this week and newcomer Austin Howard hasn’t suited up.
Those curious to see how wide receiver Breshad Perriman and cornerback Marlon Humphrey will fare in a game will probably have to wait. Perriman has a hamstring injury and Humphrey, the team’s top draft pick, has been sidelined by an unspecified ailment.
Throw on top of that the season-ending injuries to cornerback Tavon Young, tight ends Dennis Pitta and Crockett Gillmore, running back Kenneth Dixon and guard Nico Siragusa, and it’s safe to assume that Baltimore’s biggest goal in this game to just get out it without adding more names to the inactive list.
With Flacco out, backup Ryan Mallett will see extensive action against the Redskins. How he fares, and the condition of Flacco’s ailing back, could go a long way toward determining if Kaepernick is indeed an option.
“It’s an opportunity for Ryan to get ready,” Harbaugh said. “He will want to make the most out of all those reps with the (starters), and we will see where it goes from there.”
The game will mark the unofficial Baltimore debut of running back Danny Woodhead, whose prowess for getting open is expected to add another dimension to the passing game.
“He has been there, he has done that,” running back coach Thomas Hammock said. “Nothing surprises him. He is a consummate pro, and I think young guys — whether you are drafted or undrafted — can learn from him.”
For Mallett, Woodhead and the rest of the Ravens, facing the Redskins will provide a welcome change.
“They have been playing against each other now for almost two weeks, and these are pretty tough practices and tough drills,” Harbaugh said. “They’re ready to play in a game and cut it loose a little bit and see where they’re at.”
Baltimore went unbeaten in the preseason last year. Duplicating that feat would be nice, but isn’t a priority.
“We never do anything specifically to try to win the game, in terms of who we play,” Harbaugh said. “We don’t play starters too much. We don’t put guys back in the game. In fact, we usually play our guys less than other teams. But we want our guys to play to win, all 90 of them, or however many play.”