COMMENTARY | When the Baltimore Ravens host the Atlanta Falcons in Week 2 of the 2013 NFL preseason Thursday night in Baltimore, there will be several key Ravens players who won't be suiting up due to injuries.
The injury bug has run rampant at Ravens training camp, but if there's a bright side to it, it's that it gives players an unexpected opportunity to shine in the absence of players above them on the depth chart.
According to The Baltimore Sun, there is a long list of players not expected to suit up Thursday night.
Here are players who will step up in wake of the injured players:
With starting tight end Ed Dickson sidelined for the rest of the preseason with a hamstring injury, the Ravens brought in veteran Dallas Clark on Monday to help fill the void at a thin tight end position on the roster.
However, Clark is not expected to suit up, which makes Visanthe Shiancoe, Matt Furstenburg and Billy Bajema the three main tight ends again Thursday night. With Shiancoe's inconsistencies in Week 1 of the preseason and in practice, Furstenburg and Bajema have an opportunity to step up.
Bajema is far from a threat in the passing game, which gives Furstenburg a prime opportunity to take advantage of the extensive playing time he should see against Atlanta. Furstenburg is in the mix for a roster spot, and he could be more valuable than Shiancoe in the passing game.
In Week 1, Furstenburg made an impressive catch in traffic, and he must build on that Thursday night in order to strengthen his case for a spot on the final roster.
Deonte Thompson and Marlon Brown are both not expected to play, which opens the door for every receiver on the team, as Thompson is a possible starter and Brown played the most snaps of any Ravens receiver in Week 1 of the preseason against Tampa Bay.
One receiver on the team who has shown that he is primed to break out sooner or later is rookie Aaron Mellette. The seventh-round pick is still battling for a roster spot, however, his playing time figures to increase dramatically against Atlanta. He is getting more reps than second-year receiver Tommy Streeter in practice, and with two key receivers out, Mellette should get plenty of snaps with the second-team offense.
He only played sparingly last week, but did catch a touchdown pass with a defender draped over him, offering some promise moving forward.
Newly signed veteran defensive end Marcus Spears has been sidelined with a hamstring injury and isn't expected to be ready for Thursday's game against Atlanta. That opens the door for second-year defensive end DeAngelo Tyson, who still hasn't solidified a roster spot just yet but figures to make the team.
The opportunity that Tyson has is to prove he can be just as good as Spears, who has played sparingly recently in training camp and could come in danger of being a surprise camp cut or experience sparse playing time this season, at the very least.
Tyson recorded just one tackle in the preseason opener in Tampa Bay, but he showed when he was on the field last season that he may be better than his seventh-round label. The longer that Spears is sidelined, the more of an opportunity Tyson has to surpass him on the depth chart.
Kyle Casey is a sportswriter living in Baltimore, Md. He contributes to various football sites and is the editor of Cat Crave.
- Sports & Recreation
- American Football
- Baltimore Ravens
- Atlanta Falcons