Flacco, most offensive starters likely to play vs. Falcons

While head coach John Harbaugh remains tight-lipped about the plan for Thursday’s preseason finale against the Falcons, it appears that the Ravens will play most of their offensive starters for at least a short period.

Quarterback Joe Flacco, who did not see a single snap in the Ravens’ final preseason game each of the last two years, said that he expects to suit up and play against Atlanta on Thursday.

“Yeah, as of now, I think I will,” Flacco said. “I don’t know how much.”

Asked about his thoughts on playing the starters against the Falcons, Harbaugh simply replied: “We’ll see. That’s my thoughts on it.”

Under Harbaugh, the Ravens don’t traditionally play their offensive starters in the preseason finale. Due to a new-look offensive line, that strategy might change this week.

Left tackle Bryant McKinnie was just signed last week, Michael Oher has not played his new right tackle position since the 2009 season, and center Matt Birk and right guard Marshal Yanda have battled injuries most of training camp. In an effort to improve the chemistry along the offensive line, some game reps might be in order.

“It would help, it’d be better than them not playing, but there’s risks involved with that,” Harbaugh said. “So, like we said before, that’s the dilemma.”

Defensively, a number of the key veterans - Ray Lewis, Ed Reed, Haloti Ngata and Terrell Suggs - are unlikely to play, but rookie cornerback Jimmy Smith said he is preparing himself for some game reps in Atlanta.

“I know I’m going to go out and play,” Smith said.

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