Har­baugh: QB Mal­lett ex­pected to play ‘pretty ex­ten­sively’ in pre­sea­son opener

Cecil Whig - - SPORTS - By JOR­DAN SCHATZ jschatz@ce­cil­whig.com

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.”

Fol­low Jor­dan Schatz on Twit­ter: @Jor­dan_Whig

CE­CIL WHIG PHOTO BY SEAN GRO­GAN

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.

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