As the Falcons enter their final preseason game against the Ravens on Thursday at 7:30 p.m. at the Georgia Dome, they will do so with that not-so-small factor in mind.
HC Mike Smith said after Tuesday’s practice it would be a game-time decision as to whether some players would completely sit out the game. Defensive end John Abraham and center Todd McClure, two key veterans, did not practice on Tuesday and did not wear pads on Monday -- a possible hint as to the amount they might play.
Safety William Moore (hamstring) will not play, nor will running back Jerious Norwood (head, leg), which seems more of a cautionary move. With the exception of wide receiver Harry Douglas, who tore an ACL the first week of camp, the Falcons are relatively healthy.
“We want to make sure that we get our 53 guys as healthy as possible into the opening game there in September,” Smith said. “If everyone feels good and is ready to go, they’ll get an opportunity to play.”
Some starters remained in the game with less than 10 minutes left in regulation last Saturday, but Thursday is sure to be different. Smith said the game will be the final chance to evaluate many of the team’s players -- young and old -- before mandatory cuts on Saturday.