***Join us in the Purple Haze live chat beginning at 8:00 p.m. as WNST.net brings you live coverage from M&T Bank Stadium. For the quickest updates and analysis, follow WNST on Twitter and be sure to subscribe to the WNST Text Service.***
BALTIMORE — After a very difficult 24 hours for Baltimore as it mourns the loss of Mike Flanagan, tonight’s preseason game between the Ravens and Washington Redskins will hopefully offer a temporary distraction as the regular season looms ever closer.
The Ravens reportedly plan to honor Flanagan’s memory with a video tribute and moment of silence before tonight’s game in just the latest example of how the organization understands the fabric of the community.
With the third preseason game — the so-called “dress rehearsal” — traditionally holding the most significance, coach John Harbaugh intends to play most starters deep into the third quarter, with key veterans such as Ray Lewis and Ed Reed not playing as extensively. Of course, winning a preseason game means very little when the games actually begin to count, but Harbaugh fully expects to see a strong performance in the first three quarters against Washington, who has knocked off Pittsburgh and Peyton Manning-less Indianapolis in two impressive performances this month.
“We always want to win,” Harbaugh said. “The guys who are going to have to win the game in the fourth quarter are going to be the young guys – just like they were able to do last week. And that was good to see. But yes, we want to see us developing into a winning and a championship football team. The things that you will be able to recognize, whether it’s on offense or defense or special teams, we want to play well.
“They’re going to go against a team that’s playing really well in the preseason. If you watch the tape on the Redskins, they are dominating in the preseason. That’s a huge test for us. They’ve done a great job with their team, and it’s just a great opportunity for us to get better.”
Of course, with the close proximity of the teams always drumming up discussion of a Baltimore-Washington rivalry, the Ravens are more intent on playing a crisp game in the last real tuneup for most starters before the games actually begin to count. That won’t stop fans from having fun with it or getting fired up over comments like the one made by former Raven and current Redskin Josh Wilson, who said Washington has more tradition in its fan base.
Stay right here as we move closer to kickoff and learn who exactly is playing and who’s sitting for tonight’s contest. Among those not playing are guard Marshal Yanda, center Matt Birk, newly-signed offensive tackle Bryant McKinnie, and receiver James Hardy. Linebacker Jarret Johnson intends to play but was slowed earlier this week with a back issue, and cornerback Chris Carr’s status is questionable after dealing with a hamstring injury since early last week.
(Updated 7:20 p.m.)
The Ravens have announced that Mark LeVoir will start at right guard and Jah Reid will make his second straight start at right tackle. LeVoir worked at guard during Tuesday’s practice, making the decision a little less surprising.
Defensively, Cary Williams and Domonique Foxworth will start at cornerback.