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Not your usual dress rehearsal as Ravens host Bills in PS3

Normally Game 3 of the preseason would be the one where you showcase your first team offense for at least the first quarter of the game— but that won’t be happening for the Ravens this weekend. Several key players including QB Joe Flacco and seemingly half of his 1st-string offensive line will not be participating as they continue to rehab from various ailments.

So you look for the backups and the long-shots to put a decent effort on the field in their place. At least you’ll get a pretty good look at the Ravens’ first-team defense, and from all reports so far the defense is faster and stronger than in recent years.

There used to be a mandatory cut-down after PS Game 3 from 90 to 75 roster spots. That is no longer the case as the NFL owners voted last May to postpone all cuts until after PS Game 4. That means this is not exactly a do-or-die game for the guys on the bubble trying to make this team—they will get one more shot to impress in PS Game 4.

Sarah Ellison of BaltimoreRavens.com highlighted a pretty nice spread sheet of sorts which helps you to follow the roster battles going into these final two preseason games. It’s put out by WNST’s Luke Jones, with which he has provided you a little cheat sheet, publishing his current predictions, including what he says are 41 locks and 23 players on the bubble.

In summary:

QUARTERBACKS
Lock: Joe Flacco, Ryan Mallett
Bubble: None
Long shot: Josh Woodrum, Thaddeus Lewis
“As well as Woodrum has played, and as likable as he is … sorry, Luke Jones doesn’t see him supplanting Mallett as the primary backup.”

RUNNING BACKS & FULLBACKS
Lock: Terrance West, Danny Woodhead, Buck Allen
BubbleRicky Ortiz, Lorenzo Taliaferro, Taquan Mizzell
Long shot: Bobby Rainey
Injured reserve: Kenneth Dixon
“Right now, Jones projects Ortiz as the winner of the fullback spot over Taliaferro. That said, the Ravens are experimenting with undrafted rookie defensive lineman Patrick Ricard at the spot. So, the coaches clearly haven’t settled on either Ortiz or Taliaferro at this point.”

WIDE RECEIVERS
Lock
: Jeremy Maclin, Mike Wallace, Breshad Perriman, Chris Moore
BubbleMichael CampanaroQuincy Adeboyejo, Keenan Reynolds, Chris Matthews
Long shot: Griff Whalen, C.J. Board
Injured reserve: Tim White
“It’s a shame that White, the Olympic-caliber track star, was lost for the year with a thumb injury. The Ravens were taking a long look at the undrafted rookie as the punt and kick returner, and he added playmaking ability on both special teams and offense. Now, Jones projects Campanaro and Adeboyejo as the two bubble players to join the four locks. Jones wants to see more out of Moore, but expects him to make the roster.”

TIGHT ENDS
Lock: Nick Boyle, Benjamin Watson, Maxx Williams
Bubble: Vince Mayle, Larry Donnell
Long shot: Ryan Malleck
Injured Reserve: Crockett Gillmore
“Jones believes the Ravens would like to keep four tight ends this year. If that’s the case, free-agent pickup Donnell has stood out, notching a touchdown and two-point conversion in Thursday’s preseason game and making other nice plays throughout training camp. If this group remains healthy, they have a good chance to help the team recover from the losses of Dennis Pitta, Gillmore and Darren Waller.”

OFFENSIVE LINEMEN
Lock: Marshal Yanda, Ronnie Stanley, Ryan Jensen, James Hurst, Austin Howard, Jermaine Eluemunor
BubbleJeremy ZuttahMatt Skura, De’Ondre Wesley
Long shot: Stephane Nembot, Jarell Broxton, Jarrod Pughsley, Roubbens Joseph, Maurquice Shakir, Derrick Nelson
Injured reserve: Alex Lewis, Nico Siragusa
“Jones has all three bubble players making the team. And if you’re wondering why he designated Zuttah as a bubble player after the Ravens just signed him to a multi-year deal and said he will compete for the starting center role, here’s his explanation: ‘The re-signed Zuttah might be a lock, but he’s not a great fit for Greg Roman’s scheme and has essentially been cut by two teams in the last five months, meaning he still needs to prove himself.'”

DEFENSIVE LINEMEN
Lock: Brandon Williams, Michael Pierce, Brent Urban, Chris Wormley, Bronson Kaufusi
BubbleCarl Davis, Patrick Ricard, Willie Henry
Long shot: None
“Henry is the odd man out in Jones’ predictions for this very deep and talented defensive line group. But that doesn’t mean Henry will be cut outright. Head Coach John Harbaugh has mentioned the possibility of trading one of these linemen.”

INSIDE LINEBACKERS
Lock: C.J. Mosley, Kamalei Correa, Albert McClellan, Patrick Onwuasor
Bubble: Bam Bradley
Long shot: Brennen Beyer, Donald Payne
“There doesn’t seem to be much drama here, although Jones gave Bradley a hat tip by putting him in the 53-man roster conversation after a strong preseason. And while he’s a lock, ‘the Ravens need to see more consistency out of Correa in a starting role,’ Jones wrote.”

OUTSIDE LINEBACKERS
Lock: Terrell Suggs, Matt Judon, Tyus Bowser, Tim Williams
Bubble: Za’Darius Smith
Long shot: Boseko Lokombo, Randy Allen
“A year ago, Smith’s place on this roster seemed much more certain. But an infusion at the position with a pair of rookies from the second and third rounds, plus the emergence of Judon, has put Smith on the bubble. ‘A strong start to the preseason has improved Smith’s stock, but he still feels like a candidate to be traded for help at another position of need,’ wrote Jones.”

CORNERBACKS
Lock: Jimmy Smith, Brandon Carr, Marlon Humphrey
BubbleJaylen HillSheldon Price, Trevin Wade, Brandon Boykin, Robertson Daniel
Long shot: Reggie Porter
Injured reserve: Tavon Young, Maurice Canady (designated to return candidate)
“The injuries to Young and Canady changed the makeup of this group. Jones projects only five corners making make the team, selecting Hill and Price as the two to join the three locks on the roster. Jones was tempted to name Hill a lock. That’s how good the rookie free agent has been. Based on how often injuries have taken a toll on this group in the past, you’d think the Ravens would want to carry more than five corners, but Lardarius Webb and Anthony Levine are slated to play the nickel and dime spots to minimize the need for an extra corner,’ Jones wrote.”

SAFETIES
Lock
: Eric Weddle, Tony Jefferson, Lardarius Webb, Anthony Levine
BubbleChuck Clark
Long shot: Otha Foster
“Because of his special-teams prowess, Jones has Clark making the team.”

SPECIALISTS
Lock: Sam Koch, Morgan Cox, Justin Tucker
Bubble: None
Long shot: Kenny Allen
“Really not much to see here in terms of roster decisions, but Tucker is a massive weapon for the Ravens and will be a major factor in winning games.”

 

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