The Baltimore Ravens close out the preseason tonight when they take on the Atlanta Falcons. The starters will not play in the preseason finale so expect to see a lot of the second and third-teams.
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Baltimore will be hopeful that the reserves step up as their play in the games against the Washington Redskins and Philadelphia Eagles has been shoddy. They gave up 31 unanswered points against the Redskins after allowing the Eagles to put up 23 points. The offense hasn’t mustered up much either once Joe Flacco and the first-string has been off the field.
The Ravens got down to 75 players earlier in the week and this is the final opportunity to shine for some guys on the roster. Some of these guys know that they will make the roster. A few players are on the bubble and others know that they have little to no chance to make the Ravens. Other teams will be watching and those in doubt could end up with other teams.
Yesterday, we highlighted five players who are on the roster bubble. Baltimore will have some tough decisions to make before Saturday’s deadline to get down to 53 players.
As always, the key tonight will be avoiding injury. The Ravens have yet to suffer a catastrophic injury that could alter the season, but the depth will be tested with the injuries to Matt Elam and Brent Urban. The team has yet to make a move to replace either player, but that could be a possibility once teams begin to make final roster decisions to get down to 53 players.
If the play on the field is not up to your standards, make sure to tune into the halftime interview between Head Coach John Harbaugh and Comcast Sportsnet reporter Brent Harris. Last week, Harbaugh was a little nasty with Harris at the half and it garnered national attention.
One key battle to watch for tonight will be on special teams as no one has run away with the return jobs yet. Asa Jackson returned a kickoff for 103-yards the last time out against the Redskins and looked to have the job locked up. Later in the game, he failed to call for a fair catch, was absolutely drilled by a Redskins defender and lost the ball.
Some say the final preseason game is irrelevant. That might be the case because the usual guys you will see almost every Sunday will be on the sidelines. Tell that to someone like Jeremy Butler or Kapron Lewis-Moore who are hopeful to make this team, or the coaches who still don’t know who will return kicks.
Preseason or not, we will be watching because there is still plenty to play for.
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