Dumervil’s status for Sunday will be up to him
Ravens coach John Harbaugh said Monday that Elvis Dumervil will have the final say in whether he can return as early as Sunday’s game at the Jacksonville Jaguars (0-2).
The outside linebacker has missed the first two games of the season — including Sunday’s 25-20 win at the Cleveland Browns — because of a setback related to offseason foot surgery. Albert McClellan, who has started in Dumervil’s spot in both games, has just two tackles and zero sacks, and Terrell Suggs has just five tackles and one sack without Dumervil’s drawing some of the opponents’ pass protection his way.
“It’s really in Elvis’ hands,” Harbaugh said. “It’s going to kind of be a feel thing for him. There’s soundness there, from what I’m told, and he feels it. It’s just a matter of whether he feels his strength is there and the explosion and everything he needs to go out there and compete.”
The Ravens (2-0) are eager for Dumervil and rookie running back Kenneth Dixon (strained MCL in left knee) to return, but at least they’re not dealing with the severity of injuries that the Browns are wading through.
Quarterback Josh McCown will not play in Sunday’s game at the Miami Dolphins after suffering what coach Hue Jackson called a “deep sprain” in his left, nonthrowing shoulder against the Ravens. Rookie Cody Kessler, a third-round pick in the 2016 draft, is expected to start.
In addition to McCown, starting center Cameron Erving was diagnosed with a pulmonary bruise while remaining overnight at an area hospital, and starting defensive end Carl Nassib, another thirdround pick in April, broke his left hand and will need to undergo surgery.
Harbaugh was grateful his team escaped Sunday’s win relatively unscathed.
“When I went back and watched the tape, it was a very physical football game,” he said. “Our guys are limping around here today pretty good, and I’m sure their guys are limping around there pretty good. So it was a classic AFC North game.” Special teams contributed to Sunday’s win: Sunday’s game turned on rookie cornerback Tavon Young’s return of an extra-point attempt blocked by defensive end Lawrence Guy — a play that spurred the comeback. Overall, the special teams unit fared well at FirstEnergy Stadium.
Kicker Justin Tucker connected on field goals of 52, 49 and 41 yards to improve to 5-for-5 this season and 21-for-33 from 50 Linebacker Albert McClellan, starting while Elvis Dumervil recovers from trouble related to offseason foot surgery, has just two tackles and zero sacks in two games. yards or more in his career. Punter Sam Koch averaged 47 yards on three punts and dropped two inside the Browns 20-yard line.
Return specialist Devin Hester returned two kicks for 80 yards and two punts for 22 yards. His 48-yard return in the first quarter was the 25th kick return of at least 40 yards in his career.
Guy’s block was the team’s ninth — an NFL high — since 2014 and marked the second time in as many visits to Cleveland the Ravens have returned a blocked kick to the end zone. On Nov. 30, Will Hill took a blocked field goal 64 yards for a touchdown that sealed a 33-27 victory over the Browns.
The contributions from special teams served as a pointed reminder to Harbaugh about the unit’s importance.
“If you’re a young guy and you don’t understand the value of special teams, you’re probably not on a team,” he said. “You’re certainly not on this team, and you’re probably not on a lot of teams. That’s just the way it is. There’s 46 guys active, and it’s not just young guys. [Linebackers] C.J. Mosley and Zach Orr and Albert McClellan and [wide receiver] Kamar Aiken, those guys are out there playing big roles on offense and defense and playing big roles on special teams. That’s the nature of the game, and it’s going to always be that way.” Pees’ calm anchored defense: Surrendering 20 points before the first quarter ended to the Browns, who struggled to score 10 points in a Week 1 loss at the Philadelphia Eagles, might have elicited a few choice words — and perhaps a physical outburst — from Ravens players on the defensive side of the ball.
But the players kept their emotions in check, thanks to the cool demeanor of defensive coordinator Dean Pees.
Pees, who has migrated from the coaches booth to the sideline this season, gathered the defense after a second McCown-toCorey Coleman touchdown connection gave Cleveland a 20-2 lead with 4:34 left in the opening quarter.
“He wasn’t very fired up,” Mosley said Sunday of Pees. “He told us to stay calm and let the game come to us. When we get down like that, you feel like you have to go and make the extra play. On one play, we were in a zone drop, and we bit on a checkdown, and he got behind us. That’s all he said. He said to just stay calm and play our game. Once we got the momentum going, the rest was history.” End zone: Harbaugh said he had no regrets about the offense going for it on fourthand-2 at the Browns’ 28-yard line to open the second quarter. But he is clearly displeased with the team’s 0-for-2 showing on fourth downs thus far. “We’ve gotten two now in the last two games that we haven’t gotten,” he said. “So to me, it’s a good decision to go for it if you get it. It’s not a good decision to go for it if you don’t get it, and that’s the point I try to make. We’ve got to start getting those. We give our offense and our guys a chance to make those plays. We should make those plays. We should convert those.” … Harbaugh ditched his usual polo shirt for a gray team-issued T-shirt Sunday and said he liked his fashion choice. “It had a good feel to it,” he said. “Just a changeup, trying to be cool. A lot of these guys, the NFL coaches, they’re on the sideline and wearing their cool stuff, and I felt like I wasn’t cool enough with my golf shirt out there. So I wanted to freshen it up a little bit.”