Sometimes you have to be alert and expect the unexpected. Through the NFL preseason, though, that's definitely not the case, and Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh made very clear on Thursday that no "established veterans," as expected, will start on the team's opener next Saturday.
The Ravens, as is widely known by now, have established a ridiculous NFL record with a silly streak of 23 preseason victories in a row with their last defeat coming nearly a decade ago, on Sep. 2015.
This winning streak might be about to be over, though, with the Ravens scheduled to kick their preseason matchups off against the Super Bowl runner-ups Eagles on Saturday and no "established starters" on Harbaugh's plans.
John Harbaugh offered some insights into the strategy he's plotting for Baltimore's upcoming game at M&T Bank Stadium, and some fans might not be pleased with the news.
For starters, quarterback Lamar Jackson is confirmed to be sidelined. Harbaugh stated there will be "No Lamar [Jackson] for Saturday," but he nonetheless indicated that "young starters" might receive limited reps, emphasizing the importance of preserving their core players.
A notable player fitting that mold would be first-round rookie Zay Flowers. Asked directly if the former Boston College standout will feature for the Ravens against the Eagles, the coach said that "It's a possibility. We would like to see him out there in terms of just having a sense of the game before the first regular season game."
Harbaugh added that "We'll have to how healthy he is and where we're at," with regards to Flowers' participation in the preseason opener.
The backup quarterback competition for the 2023 season features Tyler Huntley and Josh Johnson, both vying for the crucial role behind Lamar Jackson. Huntley got the QB2 role in the first official depth chart released by the Ravens, but Johnson put on his best practice through training camp on Thursday.
The Philadelphia Eagles and their head coach Nick Sirianni has kept his cards close, refraining from revealing whether his starters would take the field in the preseason opener. However, you can pretty much expect QB2 Marcus Mariota to start for the visitors come Saturday barring a mammoth surprise.
The Eagles finished last regular season with a 14-3 record, progressing through the postseason before falling 38-35 to the Kansas City Chiefs in the Super Bowl. The Ravens enter Saturday's matchup having posted a 10-7 record in 2022, securing a playoff spot but eventually succumbing 24-17 to the Cincinnati Bengals in the absence of Lamar.