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Mike Preston: Ravens smart to keep Flacco out of preseason games

I agree with Ravens coach John Harbaugh — I wouldn’t play starting quarterback Joe Flacco in a preseason game either.

Did you happen to catch that starting offensive line Thursday night against the Washington Redskins in the preseason opener? I think it went something like Ronnie Stanley at left offensive tackle, rookie Jermaine Eluemunor at left guard, Ryan Jensen at center, Matt Skura at right guard and James Hurst at right tackle.

Sorry, Flacco needs to sit out the remaining preseason games.

As a 10-year veteran he doesn’t need a lot of time to prepare for the season. I am fine with him starting after just practicing before the Ravens open the season on Sept. 10 at Cincinnati.

Am I concerned?

Of course, because back injuries are so unpredictable. If Flacco is being held out now because of an injury from reportedly lifting weights then how is he going to survive the constant week to week poundings?

Flacco hasn’t had much success in Cincinnati and the Bengals have a strong defensive front seven. They can get after a quarterback with end Carlos Dunlap and tackle Geno Atkins. And we all know that Vontaze Burfict, that crazy inside linebacker, will take a cheap shot at Flacco sometime during the game.

I’d feel better if the Ravens had a better backup quarterback than Ryan Mallett. Harbaugh has to say nice things about him and his supporters can say he just needs more repetitions but Mallett is inaccurate. You can’t coach accuracy. You either have it or you don’t. The best pass he threw against the Redskins was a 5-yard swing pass around the right end where he actually led the halfback.

In a pinch, I think the Ravens will go out and sign Colin Kaepernick. Despite the baggage, no team wants to write off a season especially after only a few games. There is just too much time invested by too many people to worry about a public relations backlash.

If the Ravens want to improve on public relations, they need to get Flacco to appear at some of these preseason games, at least the next one at home. From the emails I received, fans were irritated that he wasn’t at least sitting on the sidelines working with the quarterbacks and receivers during the Redskins game.

That’s understandable. One constant criticism of Flacco is that he doesn’t communicate well with his teammates on the sidelines, and then he doesn’t even show up for a preseason game. He should know better.

Even the icon, Ray Lewis, drew the same criticism when he stayed at home in Florida with a shoulder injury instead of being with his teammates on the sidelines.

Fans are getting nervous and rightfully so. They got more bad news Friday when it was announced that starting left guard Alex Lewis would miss the entire 2017 season with a torn labrum in his shoulder.

If Lewis was older, he would probably work through the injury because it is very common for offensive line to have this and continue to play. They aren’t as effective, but they can still play like Marshal Yanda did last season.

But Lewis is young and probably fears jeopardizing his career. It is basically the same logic for the Ravens holding Flacco out of preseason. There is nothing good that will come out of him playing in two or three games.

The Ravens made a preemptive strike. Instead of any more suspense, they ended it by making the announcement on Flacco Friday. Now, we just have to wait for his return to practice fields.

mike.preston@baltsun.com

twitter.com/MikePrestonSun

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