Five subplots to observe for Ravens-Redskins game

1. Quarterback watch: Will quarterback Kyle Boller receive the start in a move intended to allow the coaching staff to evaluate him fairly in comparison to incumbent Chris Redman's two starts? How would Boller respond to the stress of beginning a game and what will his performance, whenever it occurs, mean to the ongoing competition?

Regardless of whether Redman begins the game under center or relieves Boller, he's still looking for his first touchdown pass of the preseason and to create separation between himself and the first-round draft pick. 

2. Ravens coach Brian Billick said the Ravens are fairly certain about 45 to 46 players who are assured of making the final 53-man roster. Mathematically, that means there are close to 15 players battling for seven or eight spots. The clock is also ticking down to Aug. 26, the deadline for when the Ravens must reduce the roster to 65 players. That means the Ravens will cut roughly 20 players to get down to that limit. Many of these decisions may have already been determined, so this game is essentially the last chance for several bubble players. 

3. Will converted right defensive end Adalius Thomas find a permanent home at left outside linebacker after last week's strong performance? Thomas contained Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick, who broke his fibula when Thomas corralled him in the open field. Also, can first-round pick Terrell Suggs and veteran Cornell Brown make up the ground that Thomas has gained recently? 

4. Will receiver Marcus Robinson improve his routes and hands after looking rusty during the first two preseason games? 

5. Who will assert themselves between Wade Richey and J.R. Jenkins for kickoff specialist? 

Aaron Wilson writes for the Carroll County Times.


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