Baltimore Ravens vs. Jacksonville Jaguars: What We Need to See from Ravens

Kyle CaseyCorrespondent IIIAugust 23, 2012

JACKSONVILLE, FL - OCTOBER 24:   Pernell McPhee #90 of the Baltimore Ravens tackles  Blaine Gabbert #11 of the Jacksonville Jaguars during the game at EverBank Field on October 24, 2011 in Jacksonville, Florida.  (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)
Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

When the Baltimore Ravens face the Jacksonville Jaguars on Thursday night, it will be the final dress rehearsal for Baltimore's starters.

Some starters may play a series or two in the final preseason game, but Thursday's matchup against the Jaguars is the last true game before the Ravens face the Cincinnati Bengals in the regular season on September 10th.

After two preseason games, the Ravens still have plenty of unfinished business to take care of. 

Here are a few things that need to happen in Thursday night's game:


Settle the Backup Running Back Competition

One of the interesting preseason storylines for Baltimore has been the battle to back up Ray Rice at running back.

Third-round pick Bernard Pierce entered camp as the favorite to win the job, but undrafted rookie Bobby Rainey has made it a two-man competition. Rainey entered the competition when he ran for 36 yards and caught a pass for a touchdown in a preseason game, while Pierce was sidelined with a hamstring injury.

It seems that Pierce is the favorite to win the competition, but that could still change depending on his and Rainey's performances against Jacksonville. 


Move Closer to Deciding the Team's Kicker

While the Ravens will likely wait until after the fourth preseason game to decide on the team's kicker this season, the decision could become easier after Thursday night. Billy Cundiff and rookie Justin Tucker have been neck and neck throughout the preseason, with Tucker having the slight edge. 

Since Tucker currently has the lead in the kicking battle, one missed field goal by Cundiff in Thursday's game could make the decision much easier for the Ravens.


Let Rookies Play with Starters

So far this preseason, it appears the Ravens have struck gold with a few rookies, both drafted and undrafted.

Cornerback Asa Jackson has made an impact in the secondary and on special teams, and it would help his development to let him see some playing time with the starters.

Three undrafted rookies also deserve a few reps with the starters. Safety Omar Brown, wide receiver Deonte Thompson and running back Bobby Rainey have all exceeded expectations in the preseason, and like Jackson, it would help their development to have some reps with the first-stringers.