Preview: Ravens to face Bills in dress rehearsal third preseason game

BALTIMORE — The 2017 NFL season kicks off in just over two weeks. With that said, the Baltimore Ravens face two more preseason games before they turn their heads to their week 1 contest in Cincinnati. On Saturday, the Buffalo Bills travel to Baltimore for the third preseason showdown of 2017.

The third preseason game supplies a “dress-rehearsal” throughout the NFL. Oftentimes, it provides a preview for what fans will see come week 1. Starters usually play at least a half, sometimes more. Veterans will try to put a solid showing on film, because they will likely sit out in the fourth preseason game.

Because the Ravens dealt with so many injuries already in training camp, everyone finds themselves wondering how much of a “dress-rehearsal” will Saturday represent for Baltimore?

Here’s a quick recap of what injuries to key players the Ravens currently deal with:

  • Quarterback Joe Flacco (back) has yet to practice in training camp. He will not play in the final two preseason games. The Ravens expected Flacco to practice by this week, but that did not happen. The timetable for his return stays a question, but it needs to happen soon. After this game, only two weeks separate the Ravens from the Bengals. They need Flacco back ASAP to gain chemistry with his receivers, most notably wide receiver Jeremy Maclin.
  • Running back Danny Woodhead (hamstring) only played a few snaps in Thursday’s 31-7 win over the Dolphins. He missed practice over the weekend with an unknown injury. On Wednesday, Head Coach John Harbaugh revealed that Woodhead suffered a hamstring injury in the game. He will likely miss the rest of the preseason.
  • Wide receiver Breshad Perriman (hamstring) got injured while running a route in practice on Aug. 1. In a press conference on Aug. 15, Harbaugh called Perriman’s injury “long-term,” but did not rule him out for the preseason. It’s hard to imagine Perriman playing until week 1 or after.
  • Tackle Ronnie Stanley (unknown) has not practiced since Aug. 12, and missed Thursday’s game against Miami. No timetable exists for his return, and Harbaugh won’t tell us what the injury is.
  • Guard Marshal Yanda (shoulder) will likely not play until week 1. So far, Yanda did not miss any practice (except a veteran’s day off here and there), but at this point, Yanda does not need to prove himself in preseason games.
  • Cornerback Marlon Humphrey (hamstring), like Woodhead, only lasted a few snaps before leaving the game against the Dolphins. His injury was unknown before the game, but reports indicate that a hamstring is the problem. He missed the first practice after the game.

Needless to say, avoiding injury remains the top priority for Baltimore in their final eight quarters of the preseason.

Details:

Where: M&T Bank Stadium – Baltimore, Maryland

When: Saturday, Aug. 26, 7:00 pm

Tune in: Ravens fans can catch the game on WBAL-TV, 1090 WBAL (AM), and 98 Rock (FM). Gameday audio will also stream live on the Baltimore Ravens website.

Will Zuttah suit up? Last Friday, the Ravens added some much-needed insurance on the offensive line by signing Jeremy Zuttah. By gametime, Zuttah will only own a few practices under his belt, but he knows the Ravens offense. Zuttah will need to learn the blocking schemes that offensive assistant Greg Roman installed this offseason. However, three years with the Ravens will make the transition easier for Zuttah after he got cut from the 49ers on Aug. 9.

Notes on the Bills:

  • Former Ravens wide receiver Anquan Boldin, who signed with the Bills on Aug. 7, announced his retirement on Sunday. Boldin, a three-time Pro-Bowler, played three seasons for the Ravens, winning a Super Bowl in the 2012-13 season. He scored four touchdowns in the 2012 playoffs, including an 18-yard touchdown reception in Super Bowl 47. He holds the Ravens franchise record for most receiving yards in a postseason game with 145.
  • Boldin’s retirement marks the latest blow to a thin receiving core. On Aug. 11, the Bills traded 2014 first-round receiver Sammy Watkins, and a sixth-round pick, to the Los Angeles Rams for cornerback E.J. Gaines. This trade became a three-way deal with the Philadelphia Eagles. The Bills received wide receiver Jordan Matthews in exchange for cornerback Ronald Darby. Aside from Matthews, who caught at least 67 balls in each of his three seasons, Andre Holmes lands second on the depth chart with a 47 receptions being his career-high (five seasons).
  • Two former Ravens – quarterback Tyrod Taylor and cornerback Shareece Wright – will return to M&T Bank Stadium on Saturday. Taylor spent four seasons with Baltimore backing up Flacco. Wright started at cornerback for the Ravens in 2015 & ’16, but struggled mightily.
  • After Matthews got traded to Buffalo, he suffered a chip fracture in his sternum during his first practice with the team. The impairment will likely keep Matthews out until the regular season, but he started doing individual work over the weekend.

Up Next: The Ravens wrap up the preseason on Thursday night in New Orleans against the Saints. Many starters will sit out, leaving opportunities for bubble players fighting for jobs.

Image Credit: WTOP

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