The Ravens' standard procedure for the first preseason game is to get the starters roughly a quarter of work before substituting liberally.

Last year, the starters made only a brief appearance against the Atlanta Falcons. Some first-string players were on a specific snap count and others lined up for the entire first quarter and some shortly beyond that. And some veterans were held out completely.

Coach John Harbaugh was noncommittal Tuesday on how he'll divide playing time Thursday night against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

"Yeah, we're not going to play the starters for the whole game," Harbaugh said. "How much we play them remains to be seen. We've got a plan. It's a little different because we play on Thursday, so we play a little bit sooner than we play most years."

Harbaugh declined to say if any starters will be rested entirely.

"Right now, we're planning on playing guys," Harbaugh said.

Harbaugh reiterated that tight end Ed Dickson isn't expected to be sidelined on an extended basis after a magnetic resonance imaging exam revealed a slight tear of his hamstring.

At this point, Dickson's recovery time isn't expected to stretch into the regular season.

"Ed Dickson, it's an issue," Harbaugh said. "He's got a hamstring. In a week or so, we'll re-evaluate and see where we're at. He's got some healing to do. It's not going to be a long-term problem."

awilson@baltsun.com
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