The Ravens enter their final warm-up for “real” football tonight, taking on the Atlanta Falcons down at the Georgia Dome. We should all remember the last time the Ravens played a preseason game there, when Adalius Thomas snapped Mike Vick’s ankle long before anybody knew he was a dogfighting King Pin. That injury pretty much doomed the Falcons’ season before it even got started – both teams enter this contest with their main objective being to avoid a similar fate.
John Harbaugh has been tight-lipped about just how much burn the Ravens starters will see tonight, but we can safely assume that it won’t be much. Perhaps a series or 2 each from the starting offense and defense, as long as they get at least 6-10 plays under their belts. Once that goal is accomplished, and Joe, Ray, other Ray, Todd, Ed, Haloti, et. al take off their helmets in favor of the stylish new Reebok(R) sidelip cap du jour (du an?), we can all breathe a collective sigh of injury-free preseason relief, followed by either a) flipping the channel to the University of South Carolina – North Carolina State University college football game or b) watching guys battle for those final few precious spots on the 53-man roster.
If you chose the latter, you may want to go take a look at Glenn Clark’s final roster prediction.
The most interesting battles to watch are likely in the secondary, at linebacker, and at running back. Glenn’s first 3 “out” are RB Matt Lawrence, LB Jason Phillips, and FB Jason Cook.
Then, of course, there is the ever-intriguing (and source of much contention among Ravens fans) battle to replace Matt Stover. As he did last week against Carolina, Steve Hauschka will basically have the job handed to him on a silver platter, needing only to not screw it up. Missing any more 27-yard chip shots though, could send this thing to another level entirely.
Just make the damn kicks, kid.
One welcome sight tonight will be the (reported) return of T-Sizzle to the field. Suggs has been out since the beginning of August with a heel injury, but is scheduled to at least break a sweat with the rest of the projected opening day lineup tonight in Hotlanta. He probably won’t be pushing it too hard, but we’ll be keeping an eye on how our favorite t-shirt model is moving out there.
This game could have been a lot more interesting had it actually meant something. Our Boy Wonder QB, Joe Flacco, against their Boy Wonder QB, Matt Ryan. Our 3-headied, #4 ranked rushing attack, versus their horse, Michael Turner, and their 2nd-ranked ground game. Our 2nd-year head coach, who revitalized a formerly down-trodden franchise and took them to the playoffs in his freshman year, against theirs, who did likewise. Our crabcakes versus their….uh….hot(lanta) cakes?
Alas, its just another fake football game, so the intrigue is minimal. Let’s just hope the medical staff is even more bored watching this one than we will be.
Also, WNST.net is testing out their new live chat-thing, “Purple Haze,” during the game tonight, so be sure to check it out. Here’s the link – http://www.coveritlive.com/index.php?option=com_altcaster&task=siteviewaltcast&altcast_code=155bd8192b&height=550&width=470