Ravens encouraged by Joe Flacco’s progress, expect him to start season opener

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Although Joe Flacco won’t play in the preseason, the Ravens expect their starting quarterback to return to practice sometime during the next few weeks and be ready for the season opener.

The Ravens said in a statement they now have a more definitive timeframe on Flacco’s return from a back injury and “the plan is for Flacco to be the starting quarterback against Cincinnati in the regular season opener on Sept. 10.”

The team said a re-examination of Flacco’s back showed “good” progress.

Initial reports on July 26 said Flacco would miss 3-6 weeks due to a disc issue in his back.

Backup Ryan Mallett started Thursday’s preseason game against Washington and completed 9 of 18 passes for 58 yards and a 57.2 passer rating. The Ravens also played Josh Woodrow, who they signed after Flacco’s injury, and Dustin Vaughan, who signed to Baltimore’s practice squad late last season.