Ravens to sit nearly entire starting offense vs. Falcons

Head coach John Harbaugh said this week that he hoped to get the Ravens’ new-look offensive line some playing time in tonight’s preseason finale, but that the risk of injury to that group might cause him to rest those starters, instead.

Apparently, it was the injury risk that proved to be the deciding factor.

According to the team, Harbaugh and the Ravens’ coaches have decided to sit nearly every offensive starter tonight against the Falcons. That includes left tackle Bryant McKinnie and center Matt Birk, who have not played a single snap during the preseason.

As a result, the first time that the Ravens’ revamped offensive line will take the field together for game action will be when Baltimore opens the regular season against the Steelers on Sept. 11.

For the third straight year, quarterback Joe Flacco will not play in the Ravens’ fourth preseason game, leaving the bulk of tonight’s action under center to rookie Tyrod Taylor.

If Taylor wants to be the Ravens’ backup quarterback - and I’m under the impression that’s something he’s interested in - tonight will be his chance to prove he can handle the job. The rookie out of Virginia Tech should get plenty of reps tonight.

As expected, none of the Ravens’ key defensive veterans will play tonight. Ray Lewis, Ed Reed, Terrell Suggs and Haloti Ngata will all get the night off.

Here are the Ravens’ offensive starters, according to the team: QB Tyrod Taylor, RB Jalen Parmele, WRs David Reed and Torrey Smith, LT Ramon Harewood, LG Justin Boren, C Bryan Mattison, RG Tim Barnes, RT Jah Reid, TEs Ed Dickson and Dennis Pitta.

Here are the defensive starters: NT Terrence Cody, DE Art Jones, DE Pernell McPhee, OLB Paul Kruger, ILB Jameel McClain, ILB Dannell Ellerbe, OLB Prescott Burgess, CBs Domonique Foxworth and Cary Williams, S Tom Zbikowski, S Bernard Pollard.

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