Ravens vs Rams: Baltimore Players on the Bubble to Keep an Eye on
With the regular season opener less than two weeks away, the Baltimore Ravens will use Thursday night's fourth and final preseason game as an opportunity to rest starters and give backups an extended amount of playing time.
While St. Louis' starters are expected to last into the third quarter, many of Baltimore's starters will either not play or only play a very short amount of time. That gives the backups the opportunity to shine, as dozens of players are fighting to make the final 53-man roster.
With final cuts on Friday, a stellar performance by a player on Thursday could earn him a roster spot. Likewise, a poor performance just a day before cuts could mark the end to some Ravens' careers in Baltimore.
Here are a few players who are on the bubble that should be watched closely on Thursday:
Veteran quarterback Curtis Painter is currently sitting on the roster bubble solely because football is a numbers game. The decision of whether he makes the final roster for the Ravens will be contingent on if the team wants three quarterbacks or only two.
Right now, Joe Flacco and Tyrod Taylor are locks for the roster, leaving Painter as the odd man out if the team decides to just keep two quarterbacks.
However, an impressive performance against the Rams by Painter could force the Ravens to consider keeping a third quarterback as an added insurance policy if Flacco were to ever get injured.
Despite being selected in the second round of the 2010 draft, outside linebacker Sergio Kindle's roster spot on the Ravens is not secure.
He has failed to make an impact so far in his NFL career, as he has only suited up for two regular season games. Coming into this season, Kindle was expected to fill the void left by Terrell Suggs at linebacker. However, he's done just the opposite.
Rookie Courtney Upshaw and veteran Albert McClellan have outplayed Kindle in training camp and the preseason, and with one more poor performance by Kindle on Thursday, his time in Baltimore could come to an end.
After the first two preseason games, undrafted rookie safety Omar Brown seemed like a lock to make the final roster. In those two games, Brown recovered three fumbles, intercepted a pass and recovered an onside kick.
But since then, Brown's success has cooled off a bit. With Emmanuel Cook out for the season with a broken leg, Brown is in the driver's seat to make the team as the last safety.
With safeties Ed Reed and Bernard Pollard sitting out Thursday's game, Brown will have plenty of chances to show why he should make the final cut for the Ravens.
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