The Ravens will travel the third-fewest miles in the NFL in the 2022 regular season, but that won’t stop them from taking the longest preseason road trip in franchise history to see an old friend this summer.
While Baltimore will begin and conclude the three-game preseason with home contests against Tennessee and Washington at M&T Bank Stadium, John Harbaugh’s team will fly to the desert to face former Ravens wide receiver Marquise Brown and the Arizona Cardinals on Aug. 21. The Sunday night game will be televised nationally on FOX, but it remains to be seen how many of the Ravens’ most significant players will see the field, especially with the events of the 2021 preseason fresh in their minds.
The Ravens lost standout running back J.K. Dobbins to a season-ending knee injury in the final exhibition game against Washington last Aug. 28 and veteran inside linebacker L.J. Fort to a torn ACL in the preseason win at Carolina the previous week. Though Dobbins had played in the previous two games leading up to his ACL injury, that opening series against Washington marked the only 2022 preseason action for quarterback Lamar Jackson and several other veteran starters. And with the Los Angeles Rams having not played their starters in the preseason for years leading up to their victory in Super Bowl LVI this past February, you wonder if we’ve seen the last of Baltimore’s most notable starters playing in preseason games.
“There are other teams that don’t play their guys at all; they don’t play their starters even one snap,” said Harbaugh a couple days after Dobbins’ injury last August. “I know we’re farther down that road than we’ve ever been — we played our guys so little this preseason. It’s just been how we’ve done it. But any time a guy gets hurt, you ask yourself those questions.”
With that possibility in mind and the long distance of the trip, the better question might be whether the Ravens will travel to Arizona early to practice with the Cardinals for a couple days before the game. Though Harbaugh said earlier this offseason that there weren’t any joint practices in the works, such a long trip prompting a change of heart wouldn’t be surprising after Baltimore traveled to South Carolina to practice against the Panthers last August. The Ravens have frequently practiced against other teams in recent years to give players competitive reps in a more controlled setting than a preseason game.
Below is Baltimore’s 2022 preseason schedule:
Week 1: Thursday, Aug. 11 vs. Tennessee Titans — 7:30 p.m.
Week 2: Sunday, Aug. 21 at Arizona Cardinals — 8:00 p.m. (FOX)
Week 3: Saturday, Aug. 27 vs. Washington Commanders — 4:00 p.m.