ATLANTA ——The Ravens decided to take the cautious route by sitting their starting offensive line for the preseason finale.
That means the first time all five starters will play together will be the season opener against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Starting center Matt Birk (who had been recovering from knee surgery) and left tackle Bryant McKinnie (signed a day before the third preseason game) won't play a snap this preseason.
While Ravens coach John Harbaugh's general rule has been sitting starters in the final preseason game, he indicated this week that he might want to get the first-team offensive line some work. But Harbaugh said the risk of injury was a factor, too.
In addition to the offensive line, the Ravens decided to rest 10 other starters: quarterback Joe Flacco, running back Ray Rice, wide receivers Anquan Boldin and Lee Evans, defensive tackle Haloti Ngata, defensive end Cory Redding, inside linebacker Ray Lewis, outside linebackers Terrell Suggs and Jarret Johnson and safety Ed Reed.
The Ravens' starting offensive line was left tackle Ramon Harewood, left guard Justin Boren, center Bryan Mattison, right guard Tim Barnes and right tackle Jah Reid.
LaQuan Williams makes his case
LaQuan Williams continues to show why the Ravens need to give him a roster spot.
Williams, who played at Poly and the University of Maryland, returned his first punt of the game for 33 yards. It was only last week when his 38-yard punt return set up the Ravens' last-minute game-winning touchdown.
The undrafted rookie is likely battling Marcus Smith for the sixth wide receiver spot.
Kruger putting on heat
Paul Kruger forced the Ravens' first fumble of the preseason when he crushed former Ravens quarterback Chris Redman. Kruger, who is back at linebacker this year, had a clean shot at Redman because of a safety blitz by Bernard Pollard, who recovered the fumble.
But Kruger's highlights this preseason won't include his attempt to stop a screen pass to Jacquizz Rodgers. The rookie from Oregon State faked out Kruger in the open field for a 10-yard gain.
Billy Cundiff was short on a 57-yard field goal in the first quarter. It was his second miss of the preseason. He missed on a 55-yarder in the preseason opener. … Wide receiver Torrey Smith rebounded after making two drops last week with two catches for 12 yards in the first half. … Pernell McPhee, a rookie fifth-round pick, had another fumble overturned by replay. It was the third time it's happened to him this preseason. … Redman, a 2000 third-round pick by the Ravens, was 4-for-8 for 58 yards. … The Ravens' game captains were quarterback Tyrod Taylor (offense), linebacker Jameel McClain (defense) and safety Haruki Nakamura (special teams).