Notebook: Ravens give starters the night off

ATLANTA -- The Baltimore Ravens didn't just closely follow their NFL brethren's understandably cautious trend of liberally resting starters in the preseason finale. The defending AFC North champions' revamped lineup almost exactly mirrored the better-safe-than-sorry approach adopted by other Super Bowl contenders like the Indianapolis Colts, San Diego Chargers and New England Patriots.

Thirteen of the Ravens' 22 starters were held out of Friday night's 13-10 loss to the Atlanta Falcons at the Georgia Dome with the majority of them sidelined as healthy scratches.

That included quarterback Steve McNair, wide receiver Derrick Mason, tight end Todd Heap, offensive tackle Jonathan Ogden (turf toe), center Mike Flynn and wide receiver Mark Clayton (sprained ankle).

Defensively, Baltimore rested safety Ed Reed (thigh contusion), linebackers Bart Scott, Ray Lewis and Terrell Suggs, defensive end Trevor Pryce and cornerbacks Samari Rolle (sprained ankle) and Chris McAlister.

Plus, the Ravens opted to sit tight end Daniel Wilcox, whose sprained left ankle seems to have regressed as he's in a protective walking boot, along with linebacker Antwan Barnes (sprained right ankle).

"The boot keeps me from doing anything stupid, it stabilizes it more than anything," Wilcox said. "I just hope it's right for Cincinnati on Sept. 10. You never know when these things are going to feel better.

"Right now, I feel fine. I just want to make sure nobody steps on me and that I don't trip over anybody."

Barnes said his ankle is much better and expressed confidence that he'll be ready for the opener.

Reed and Clayton ran sprints during warm-ups without incident.

Lewis didn't attend the game. He was excused for family reasons, according to team officials.

LINEUP SHUFFLE: Kyle Boller started at quarterback with Demetrius Williams and Devard Darling opening the game at wide receiver.

Meanwhile, the Ravens shifted right tackle Adam Terry back to his natural position of right tackle with rookie lineman Marshal Yanda starting his first game on the right side.

Starting right guard Chris Chester started at center in place of Flynn, and first-round draft pick Ben Grubbs started at right guard.

Quinn Sypniewski started at tight end and rookie Le'Ron McClain started at fullback in place of Justin Green, who did play special teams.

New franchise running back Willis McGahee was one of the few veterans who remained on the field with the unusual grouping.

Defensively, Baltimore went with Dwan Edwards at defensive end as Kelly Gregg and Haloti Ngata remained in the lineup as the interior linemen.

Edgar Jones started at rush end, with Dennis Haley starting at middle linebacker and rookie Prescott Burgess and veteran Jarrett Johnson manning the other two linebacker spots.

David Pittman and Derrick Martin started at cornerback, and safety Dawan Landry was the lone member of the regular secondary to stay on the field. Gerome Sapp started with Reed out.

ROSTER MOVE: The Ravens terminated the contract of offensive tackle Steve Edwards, negotiating an undisclosed injury settlement. Edwards had recently undergone surgery to repair a torn meniscus and was on injured reserve until this transaction.

QUICK HITS: Punter Sam Koch was guilty of a rare shank, popping up a kick 13 yards. He redeemed himself on his next try, pinning the Falcons at the 2-yard line with a 52-yard effort. … Grubbs committed the lone false start of the first half, jumping offsides in the second quarter for the second time this month. … Among the notable changes for the Falcons besides the absence of indefinitely suspended quarterback Michael Vick, Atlanta coach Bobby Petrino started former Ravens starter Chris Redman in place of Joey Harrington. Also sitting: running back Warrick Dunn, tight end Alge Crumpler, former Baltimore fullback Ovie Mughelli, middle linebacker Keith Brooking and cornerback DeAngelo Hall. ... Rookie wideout Matt Willis led Baltimore with five catches for 40 yards. ... Baltimore rushed for only 45 yards on 19 carries. ... Free agent linebacker Ryan Riddle registered the Ravens' only two sacks.

Aaron Wilson covers the Baltimore Ravens for the Carroll County Times and the Annapolis Capital.

Ravens Insider Top Stories