RAVENS V. FALCONS: 5 Situations to watch

Street Talk RAVENS V. FALCONS: 5 Situations to watch

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1. Quarterback

Will rookie first-round draft pick Joe Flacco have to play the entire game tonight as the Baltimore Ravens conclude the preseason against the Atlanta Falcons? Kyle Boller has been ruled out due to a serious shoulder injury, and former Heisman Trophy winner Troy Smith didn’t practice this week after missing a scheduled start last week due to a nasty illness. If Smith does somehow recover in time to play, it’s likely to just be for a limited amount of snaps. Will Flacco unexpectedly claim this job or will Smith salvage his bid at the last minute?

2. Roster battle

Several players are fighting to earn one of the final roster spots, including some familiar names returning from last year’s 5-11 squad, along with multiple rookies. Among the players on the bubble: defensive tackle J’Vonne Parker, cornerbacks David Pittman, Ronnie Prude and Anwar Phillips, wide receivers Justin Harper, Ernie Wheelwright and Patrick Carter, running backs Cory Ross, Allen Patrick and Alex Haynes, linebackers Gary Stills, Robert McCune and Jameel McClain, offensive linemen David Hale, Adrien Clarke, Adam Kraus and Joe Reitz and tight ends Adam Bergen and Keith Heinrich. The Ravens have until Saturday to trim the roster to a league limit of 53 players.

3. Returning players

How will defensive tackle Haloti Ngata (right knee), offensive tackle Jared Gaither (sprained right ankle) and wide receiver Demetrius Williams (left Achilles’ tendon) fare in their first preseason action as they attempt to tune up for the regular season?

4. Cornerbacks

Veteran backups Frank Walker and Corey Ivy have been picked on repeatedly for the past few games. Will that troubling trend continue against Falcons rookie quarterback Matt Ryan?

5. Newcomer

Will Marques Douglas immediately reprise his old block-busting form in his second stint with the Ravens after being acquired for two draft picks Wednesday in a trade with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers?
Douglas is a hard-nosed favorite of defensive coordinator Rex Ryan.

 
Aaron Wilson covers the Baltimore Ravens for the Carroll County Times and the Annapolis Capital.
 
Photo by Sabina Moran.

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Aaron Wilson

About Aaron Wilson

Aaron Wilson covers the NFL for National Football Post as well as the Baltimore Ravens for The Carroll County Times and Ravens24x7.com. He has previously covered the Jacksonville Jaguars and Tennessee Titans and has covered the NFL since 1997.  He has won several regional writing awards, including, most recently, Best Sports News Story for the state of Maryland in voting conducted by the Associated Press managing editors.  More from Aaron Wilson

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