"The second half of the season begins in Cincinnati, and we have to be ready to go and be our best, the best team we can be," said John Harbaugh.
The Ravens will play the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday for the second time in four weeks, and while Cincinnati mainly remains the same team it was Oct. 6, there is one big unknown.
The winless Bengals, coming off their bye, will start rookie quarterback Ryan Finley over longtime starter Andy Dalton.
Finley, selected in the fourth round of the 2019 draft, has yet to throw a pass in a regular-season game. His obscurity has players and coaches watching college tape of him at North Carolina State to gauge his playing style.
“I personally YouTubed him yesterday,” cornerback Jimmy Smith said Wednesday. “Just to see what he’s like, see how he throws. See what our coaches tell us and then watch a little bit of the preseason. But [we’ll] kind of just figure it out when we get out there.”
In three preseason games, Finley completed 47 of 63 passes for 414 yards, three touchdowns and one interception.
Coach John Harbaugh said he has watched a mixture of college and preseason film as the team scouts Finley.
“[It is a] big challenge. Seeing a quarterback for the first time is tough, because you haven’t seen him,” Harbaugh said Monday. “You don’t know what you’re going to get. They had to deal with that last year with [quarterback] Lamar [Jackson] when they came in here. So, the tables are turned a little bit on us that way, and we’re going to have to be very cognizant of that.”
Finley will likely have the fortune of throwing to star wide receiver A.J. Green, who Bengals coach Zac Taylor said thinks will play Sunday. Green has missed the first eight games of the season recovering from an ankle injury he suffered during training camp. Green, however, did not practice Wednesday. Taylor said Green did not feel good after a walk-through and is now “day-to-day.”
Over the course of his eight-year career, Green has caused matchup problems for the Ravens defense. In 11 games, Green has caught 53 passes for 886 yards and nine touchdowns.
“AJ Green’s one of the best [receivers] in football,” Harbaugh said Wednesday. “I think we made an argument before that he’s the best in football. He’s been injured for a while, so it’d be his first game back in a while and of course, it would have to be our game.”
When asked if Thomas will contribute as a punt returner, Harbaugh said, “We’ll see how it shakes out.”
Thomas worked out for the Ravens last week, but the team opted not to sign him at the time. He said he was heading to Tampa Bay to work out for the Buccaneers when he found out the Ravens wanted to sign him.
On Sept. 22, as a member of the Chiefs, Thomas got a first-hand look at Jackson in a 33-28 win for Kansas City.
“[Jackson] reminds me of myself,” Thomas said Wednesday. “Just making people miss, just being that spark for the team. ... That gets everyone else on the team excited, and it makes guys want to go out there, work harder and have fun.”
Stanley, Yanda miss practice
Offensive linemen Ronnie Stanley (knee) and Marshal Yanda (illness) did not practice Wednesday.
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