Harbaugh: QB Mallett expected to play ‘pretty extensively’ in preseason opener
OWINGS MILLS — When asked what he’s focused on the most entering Thursday’s preseason opener against the visiting Washington Redskins, Baltimore Ravens quarterback Ryan Mallett skipped his personal agenda and went straight to the bottom line.
“We want to win the game. That’s the No. 1 goal,” he said with a smile. “There’s not much more to say than that.”
Ravens head coach John Harbaugh announced Monday that Mallett will play “pretty extensively” in the team’s first preseason game. It represents a continued presence in the starting lineup for the backup quarterback, who has handled the majority of the snaps in practice in place of starter Joe Flacco, who has yet to participate in training camp due to a lingering back injury.
For Mallett, whose first 10 days of camp have been marred by both inconsistent play and mounting pressure to bolster the position from outside the organization, Thursday offers an opportunity to solidify his place on the Ravens depth chart.
“It’s an opportunity for Ryan to get ready,” Harbaugh said. “He had that chance last year in the offseason before Joe got back for training camp. Those reps are really huge for quarterbacks. He will want to make the most out of all those reps with the ‘ones,’ and we will see where it goes from there.
“How much [he plays] will be determined. We will have a plan, but during the game, I will probably have to get a sense of that and how I feel about it during the game.”
Flacco, who had never missed a training camp practice in nine seasons prior to this year, remains out indefinitely. He was only expected to miss a week, but his status for the Sept. 10 regularseason opener remains in question.
Meanwhile, his 29-year-old backup once again finds himself battling to control both the huddle and his place on the Ravens. Training camp’s open- ing week featured Harbaugh informing the media that the team would consider signing controversial quarterback Colin Kaepernick, while Mallett had a practice in which he threw five interceptions.
The preseason opener is the perfect stage for Mallett to put aside his ugly start to training camp.
“It’s training camp … so every day we’re just trying to get better, trying to get more cohesive and get our timing down. So, I think we’re coming along,” Mallett said. “I’m just trying to get better – better in sync with my teammates, better timing, so I have tunnel vision. I’m not really worried about what’s going on outside this building.
“Every game is a big opportunity, every practice is a big opportunity. Right now, we’re worried about practice tomorrow – we’re taking it day to day. Wednesday night we’ll start gearing up for Thursday.”
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Baltimore Ravens quarterback Ryan Mallett looks to make a play during an open practice held at M&T Bank Stadium on July 30. Mallett is expected to play extensively during Thursday’s preseason opener against the Washington Redskins.