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Source: Troy Smith expected to start and play entire game

Third-string quarterback Troy Smith will have a chance to prove he deserves a spot on the Ravens' roster Thursday night.

Smith is scheduled to start and play the entire preseason finale, a league source said. This would follow the same script as last season, when the Ravens allowed reserve quarterback John Beck to play all four quarters in the final preseason game.

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This would be the most extended playing time since Smith started two games as a rookie in 2007.

Smith is the most high-profile player on the Ravens' roster bubble.

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Some observers believe he is safe because his athleticism and knowledge of the system are assets. Others think Smith has to convince the Ravens to give him a roster spot over the likes of linebacker Jason Phillips, wide receiver David Reed or nose tackle Brandon McKinney. And there's another group that wonders if the Ravens are trying to showcase Smith in order to entice a trade.

By playing Smith for the entire game, the Ravens will sit starter Joe Flacco and backup Marc Bulger. It marked Bulger's first game back to St. Louis, where he was a two-time Pro Bowl quarterback before the Rams released him this offseason.

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