John Harbaugh will get to put Ray Rice on the field for limited action in the preseason before he is forced to endure the first two games of the season without him.
The 49ers and Ravens will take part in the preseason Harbaugh Bowl between 49ers HC Jim Harbaugh and his older brother, Ravens HC John Harbaugh. The two head coaches faced each other in Superbowl XLVII, but in 2013 went in opposite directions: The Ravens were 3rd place in their division while the 49ers returned to their 3rd straight NFC Championship game, losing to the Seahawks.
This preseason game will be a test of depth at the critical positions. The 49ers are missing players along the defensive line after injuries to Glenn Dorsey and Ian Williams, while the Ravens are trying to adapt to a receiving corps that added TE Owen Daniels and WR Steve Smith from Carolina.
Steve Johnson – the former Bills star WR was traded to the 49ers for a low draft pick and now gets to augment a receiving corps that had only one wideout with over 250 yards in 2013.
CJ Mosley – the first round draft pick out of Alabama will take over the spot Ray Lewis left behind, but the team failed to properly address in 2013. He has been very impressive in camp so far.
Frank Gore – at the age of 31, Gore’s production should be in for a heavy decline starting this year. And with injuries to key depth players like Marcus Lattimore, Lamichael James and Kendall Hunter, the 49ers will need him as healthy as possible to have an effective run game the season – especially for one that was 3rd in the league.
Bernard Pierce – if only because he is expected to carry the load on offense while Ray Rice sits out for two games due to suspension. Pierce played very well back in 2012, but regressed in 2013. The Ravens need to be sure he can play efficiently on the ground while they await Rice’s return.
N/A – Preseason is not decided by starters