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Ravens vs. Commanders: 6 Storylines

What to know before tonight’s kickoff

Tennessee Titans v Baltimore Ravens Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images

The third and final preseason game for the Baltimore Ravens is set to kick off at 7 p.m. ET against the Washington Commanders. Here are the latest storylines heading into the exhibition.

UDFA Josh Ross Could Make the 53-Man Roster

By far one of the biggest names this week has been undrafted free agent linebacker Josh Ross. He was asked about multiple times this week during media availability and was spoken off highly by Head Coach John Harbaugh, who said Ross has a shot, and Defensive Coordinator Josh Ross for his performances the past two games.

If Ross were to excel in Saturday’s matchup with the same success as the first two, it’s hard to see the coaches keeping him off the 53-man roster due on Tuesday.

Left Tackle Situation Still a Factor

Though franchise left tackle Ronnie Stanley passed his physical on Friday and was removed from the Player Unable to Perform (PUP) list, it is unknown if Stanley will play Week 1. With that in mind, it’s worth watching tackle Ja’Waun James and the rotation of tackles against the Commanders. James has been up-and-down at left tackle, as he’s learning the position after playing on the right side for his career.

Is Wide Receiver Still In Play?

Many assumed there was a No. 5 wide receiver spot available to compete for. However, with the addition of Demarcus Robinson, who received nearly $1 million in guaranteed money, it feels as though the Ravens can only keep one if they roster six receivers. If they keep six, it will be up to Shemar Bridges, Makai Polk or Binjimen Victor.

Depth Needed: Outside Linebacker

With outside linebacker Tyus Bowser being placed on the Reserve/PUP list, the hopes of Bowser being ready for Week 1 have been curbed. Now, the earliest Bowser could join the team is Week 5, leaving the starting snaps up to Odafe Oweh and veteran Justin Houston. Surely, the Ravens don’t want Houston taking 40-plus snaps per game and would prefer to utilize him in fewer but more critical passing down situations. This means it’s important for the depth to be on display tonight. One player, Steven Means, has done a fair job throughout the preseason, but will need to further improve to make the roster and secure regular season snaps.

Second-year linebacker Daelin Hayes has struggled in training camp after an impressing in OTAs. This could be the game he kicks it up, if he plays. Last we saw, Hayes exited practice on Wednesday and did not participate on Thursday.

Rookie Wealth Meets Health

Last week against the Arizona Cardinals, the Ravens’ rookies were the talk of the NFL. But in the practices following the game, numerous were absent. Seven of their 11 rookies did not practice on Thursday, with No. 14 overall pick Kyle Hamilton leaving the field during the individual portion. It will be interesting to see how many participate in today’s practice, especially after offensive tackle Daniel Faalele and cornerbacks Jalyn Armour-Davis and Damarion “Pepe” Williams missed all practices this week.

Which Starters Will Play?

If the Ravens don’t play any of the same starters they held out last week and none of the injured players return to participate tonight, the Ravens’ will be out 30 players, a shocking 38% of their 80-man roster... If that’s the case, the Ravens will be hanging on by their depth in the second half.