Ravens hope Thursday night vs. Eagles answers questions

August 10, 2011 | Ryan Chell

Tight End-Ed Dickson(hamstring) has already been ruled out for the game with his injury, so it’ll be the Dennis Pitta show against Philadelphia. Davon Drew-a 2009 5th-round pick out of ECU-will also get some looks.

Offensive Line-Two positions here will be intriguing to watch. One being the center position. With Matt Birk scheduled to miss the rest of the preseason after having microfracture surgery on his knee, the Ravens will have to get a look at Bryan Mattison, Tim Barnes, Ryan Bartholomew, and Justin Boren to see who has the edge in potential starting at the position when the regular season comes around should Birk require more time to rehab. Also, it will be interesting to see who gains an edge at the right tackle position between 3rd round pick Jah Reid or Oniel Cousins.

Defensive Line-We all know what guys like Haloti Ngata and Cory Redding can do. But, with the recent departure of Kelly Gregg to the Kansas City Chiefs, are second-year guys like Arthur Jones and Terrence Cody going to step up? Cody dropped a considerable amount of weight in the off-season, and Jones has maybe been one of the biggest surprises in camp. Add to that fifth-round pick Pernell McPhee out of Mississippi State. I’m curious to see if he can continue to apply pressure on the opposing quarterback the same way he did in JuCo and in camp so far.

Linebackers-This one will be easy. He may have been the team’s top draft pick last year, but linebacker Sergio Kindle is going to be the guy the coaching staff and Ravens fans are expecting to perform. There have been concerns about the team’s pass rush going into training camp, but if Kindle performs like he did at Texas, that concern should go the wayside. And as has been in the case in recent years, who pushes themselves ahead of the pack to claim the spot next to Ray Lewis? Jameel McClain appears to be the leader, but Tavares Gooden and Dannell Ellerbe might have something to say about that.

Secondary-The Ravens’ two projected starters at CB-Domonique Foxworth and first-round pick Jimmy Smith-will likely not play Thursday, which means Chris Carr and Lardarius Webb will get the first cracks at starting with the first team. Behind those guys, look for Cary Williams-who has been very impressive in camp and has been a preseason game star-and fifth-round pick Chykie Brown to make contributions late. At the safety position, it will be an evaluation process between recently-signed Bernard Pollard and Tom Zbikowski to see who will start opposite Ed Reed. Mana Silva, Nate Williams, and Haruki Nakamura all have a shot at getting considerable playing time as well.

Special Teams-Long-snapper Morgan Cox was just recently activated off the camp PUP list, and it will be interesting to see if he feels healthy enough to play considerably Thursday after coming off a season-ending knee injury in 2010. If not, Patrick Scales will get the snaps. KR David Reed is still on the PUP list though, so a myriad of guys will be getting looks at the position in fill-in duty, and the same appears to be the case with the PR job as well.

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