It will be hard to gauge the Baltimore Ravens as a team during Thursday night’s game against the St. Louis Rams since none of the starters are projected to play. So why does it matter? Why even bother watching?
Because this game could be the last chance to see some players in a Ravens’ uniform.
After just over a month of training camp, practices, and three preseason games, Thursday night’s game may be the last opportunity for a few players to prove themselves. Here’s a list of players to watch that are on the bubble for roster spots.
1. QB Caleb Hanie
There was never a question as to who would be the starting quarterback for the Baltimore Ravens this season. Joe Flacco has practically become the face of the Ravens organization since Ray Lewis’ retirement. But he is not the only quarterback on the roster. Tyrod Taylor has secured the second-team QB position for the third consecutive year. Caleb Hanie is battling to take the third quarterback spot on the Ravens’ roster.
When Flacco entered the league in 2008, he was the third quarterback behind Kyle Boller and Troy Smith. But after Boller suffered a season-ending injury and Smith was sidelined with a sickness, Flacco was the team’s only option as starting quarterback for the season opener. Since his debut as starter, Flacco has led the team to the playoffs every season and one Super Bowl victory.
While Flacco’s story is unlikely to repeat itself, it could be smart for the Ravens to keep three quarterbacks. Tyrod Taylor suffered a head injury in Week 3 of the preseason against the Carolina Panthers, an injury doubtful to be long-term, but still concerning. Hanie will see the field the most out of the Ravens’ QBs in the last preseason game. His one goal during the game will be to persuade the Ravens to keep him as a third quarterback.
2. RB Delone Carter
On August 21, 2013, the Baltimore Ravens traded wide receiver and kick returner David Reed to the Indianapolis Colts for running back Delone Carter.
The three-year veteran has a lot to prove in his first and only preseason game with the Ravens on Thursday night. While bringing a player in this close to the season typically means bad news for the players already on the team, this situation seems to be the opposite.
Carter is fighting for a spot on the Ravens roster in an uphill battle. There is a good chance that the team could keep four running backs with Ray Rice as the go-to running back, fullback Vonta Leach as the other starter, and Bernard Pierce and Kyle Juszczyk as the backups.
3. TE Matt Furstenburg
When starting tight end Dennis Pitta underwent hip surgery last month and Ed Dickson was sidelined with a hamstring injury, the Ravens began to scramble for replacements.
The team landed tight end Dallas Clark from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but then proceeded to cut Visanthe Shiancoe, and are now trying to decide what to do with the remaining tight ends.
Matt Furstenburg went undrafted in 2013 from the University of Maryland. But he has battled to prove himself enough to get him this far. Furstenburg is at his best when running routes through the middle, which could be used to the Ravens’ advantage. But Furstenburg is fighting for a roster spot along with veterans Billy Bajema and Alex Silvestro. Thursday night’s game will be the biggest factor in deciding Furstenburg’s fate as a Raven.