We are about 36 hours away from the first taste of game action for the defending Super Bowl Champion Baltimore Ravens as they will open their preseason schedule tomorrow night against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Today we will preview tomorrow night's matchup against the Bucs and what Ravens fans can expect to see.
If history is any indication, Head Coach John Harbaugh likes to get his starters about a quarter of work in the first preseason game of the year, but was very noncommittal yesterday during his press conference after practice.
Of course, certain starters may see more time than others, especially quarterback Joe Flacco. Baltimore's $120 million man will likely see a series or two, depending on the length of the drives, as well as Torrey Smith. At this point, and along with Ray Rice, Smith and Flacco are likely the two biggest guys the team could not afford to lose. On the defensive side, odds are guys like Terrell Suggs, Haloti Ngata and Lardarius Webb will not be on the field too long as well.
Baltimore will get their first live look at some of the key newcomers in Purple in Visanthe Shiancoe, Elvis Dumervil, Daryl Smith, Michael Huff, Chris Canty, and Marcus Spears. Shiancoe will be the team's starting tight end for the Ravens tomorrow night, and Harbaugh may not let him play very long in order to look at the other tight ends on the roster to see who can earn that third tight end spot, which include Billy Bajema and Matt Furstenburg among others.
Excitement should be the feeling when you think about taking a look at the youngest Ravens, meaning of course their 2013 draft picks. On the defensive side of the ball, fans will get their first glimpse at the Ravens first three draft picks in this year's draft in first round safety Matt Elam, second round linebacker Arthur Brown and third round defensive lineman Brandon Williams. It will be interesting to see how these rookies fare as two, if not three of them are fighting for starting spots and high amounts of playing time.
On the flip side, the offense will showcase fourth round FB/TE Kyle Juszczyk and seventh round WR Aaron Mellette. Juszczyk is slowly becoming one of the more important offensive weapons for Baltimore with the injuries to Dennis PItta and Ed Dickson, while Mellette is in the competition for the third and fourth wide receiver spots.
Unfortunately folks, the first preseason game is a bit of a let down due to the lack of excitement and amount of time the starters play, but we finally get to see the rookies and newly acquired free agents take the field for the Ravens for the first time.
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