Ronnie Stanley is pegged to be a starter. How much playing time should he get in the preseason?
Ronnie Stanley presents an interesting problem for the Baltimore Ravens. Starters are typically saved for the regular season. They typically play just enough in the preseason to get the kinks worked out.
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In the first preseason game the Ravens tend to play one series with their starters. In the second game the Ravens allow their starters to do a bit more. The third exhibition game serves as a dress rehearsal; the starting unit plays into the third quarter. The fourth game is exclusively for the backups and the guys trying to become backups.
Stanley needs more work in the preseason because he is a rookie. Not only is a rookie, but he is the all important left tackle. Every snap that he plays is valuable. Every situation he sees will prepare him for the regular season. Come week one, he must be ready to stop Jerry Hughes of the Buffalo Bills.
Every snap is crucially important. Every snap is risky. If Stanley is injured in the preseason the Ravens are in trouble. The answer is simple. Leave Stanley out an extra series in the first three games. This gives him more playing time, without overdoing it.
It’s not just about getting Stanley’s confidence, it’s about the Ravens confidence in him. The Ravens need to see that he is ready. They need to constantly be vetting their plan to make Stanley the left tackle. If Stanley struggles in all three games, the Ravens would be foolish to expect a stellar performance against the Bills. Hopefully that doesn’t happen; but the Ravens have be prepared for that scenario.
The preseason is a chance for Stanley to make the Ravens excited that he was the sixth overall pick. In a perfect world Stanley silences the doubters quickly. The management of Stanley’s playing time will be a fascinating story line for the preseason.