Ravens quarterback Ryan Mallett.
Ravens quarterback Ryan Mallett. (Nick Wass / Associated Press)

Less than two weeks after he signed with the Ravens, quarterback Ryan Mallett is poised to make his debut for his new team.

Mallett is expected to start this afternoon against the Pittsburgh Steelers. He'll become the fourth different Ravens' quarterback to start in the past six weeks. The NFL Network first reported Mallett would start.

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Before this year, the Ravens have never had four quarterbacks start a game in a single season. However, following Joe Flacco's season-ending knee left knee injury against the St. Louis Rams on Nov. 22, the Ravens started Matt Schaub against the Cleveland Browns and Miami Dolphins, and Jimmy Clausen against the Seattle Seahawks and Kansas City Chiefs.

Now, it appears that it's Mallett's turn. Ravens coach John Harbaugh, who has declined to reveal his starting quarterback in recent weeks, acknowledged on Monday that the team was running out of time to evaluate Mallett, who was signed on Dec. 15 after he had been out of the NFL for nearly two months.

"Obviously, the clock is ticking," Harbaugh said. "If we want to see him this year, we're going to have to put him out [there] pretty quick, but that's a matter of whether he's ready to play. We also want to do justice to our chances to win the game."

Harbaugh has praised Mallett for how hard he has worked to pick up the offense. Ravens offensive coordinator Marc Trestman said Thursday that Mallett would be ready if Harbaugh called on him.

"He's had enough reps that if John decides to play him, and we decide to go that way, we feel he could manage the game," Trestman said.

Mallett was cut by the Houston Texans on Oct. 27 after he was late for a team charter flight, the latest in a pattern of unprofessional behavior. Mallett, 27, started four games for the Texans this season and threw three touchdown passes and four interceptions.

A solid performance over the final two games – the Ravens close their disappointing season next Sunday against the Cincinnati Bengals - would increase the likelihood that Mallett returns next season as Flacco's primary backup.

Schaub and Clausen will be free agents after the season, while Mallett signed what is essentially a two-year, $1.6 million pact that includes no guaranteed money.

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