Dumervil, Zuttah could be gameday decisions
Brown in new position for Jaguars; Ravens to honor late coach Brooks
The Ravens have had the same seven inactive players for their first two games, but Ravens coach John Harbaugh’s staff has some decisions to make before Sunday’s game against the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Strong-side linebacker Elvis Dumervil, who said Thursday that he hopes to make his season debut against the Jaguars after recovering from offseason foot surgery, missed practice Friday after working on a limited basis the previous two days. He was listed as questionable, and it appears the veteran’s status will be a game-time decision.
“He’s worked really hard. He’s put a lot of time in,” Harbaugh said. “We know what kind of player he is and what he’s capable of. That’s a decision that will have to be made.”
There’s also some ambiguity about the status of starting center Jeremy Zuttah, whodidn’t practice Friday for “non-injury” reasons. He has played through myriad physical problems over the past couple of seasons, and he’s recently been bothered with a sore shoulder, according to a source.
Zuttah, 30, has gotten periodic days off from practice since training camp, but his absence from a walk-through two days before a game, along with his struggles over the previous two weeks, spurred some questions. Asked why Zuttah wasn’t practicing, Harbaugh said: “That would be a good question for Jeremy. There’s no injury there as you saw on the injury report. Jeremy’s fine.”
If Zuttah doesn’t play or the Ravens decide to make a change at the position, either John Urschel or Ryan Jensen would be his replacement.
Urschel, once the projected starter at left guard, has been inactive for the first two weeks, joining running backs Buck Allen and Kenneth Dixon, Dumervil, defensive tackle Willie Henry, and cornerbacks Jerraud Powers and Will Davis as gameday scratches. Urschel (shoulder) and rookie left tackle Ronnie Stanley (foot) joined Dumervilasquestionable. Stanley is expected to play.
“They’ve been difficult,” Harbaugh said of the pregame decisions. “It’s not so much about who deserves it all the time, as much as what’s the best number fit for us and what do we need from different guys and different situations.” Dixon on mend: Dixon, who is recovering from a torn MCL in his left knee, was declared out for Sunday’s game, but indications are he’s getting closer to practicing. While his teammates were participating in the walk-through practice Friday, Dixon was on the far field doing sprints in front of head athletic trainer Mark Smith.
The fourth-round pick suffered a knee injury Aug. 27 and was initially expected to be sidelined four to six weeks. Today will be the four-week mark since his injury. Same number, different role: Arthur Brown is wearing the same No. 59 with the Jaguars that he did with the Ravens. He’s just playing a different position.
The Ravens’ second-round pick in the 2013 NFL draft, Brown was scooped up by the Jaguars after the Ravens waived him as part of final roster cuts Sept. 3. Drafted by the Ravens as a middle linebacker, Brown is being used by the Jaguars on the outside, where he is backing up Dan Skuta.
“We’re trying to speed up his learning as far as transition for the defense,” Jaguars coach Gus Bradley said Wednesday on a conference call. “He’s playing more of an outside linebacker spot for us on the line of scrimmage. So that’s been a change for him. We felt like he could learn that the quickest and then also get him active on special teams. He’s done a really, really good job.” Ravens wary of Jags’ duo: If the Ravens were anxious about Buffalo Bills wide receiver Sammy Watkins in the season opener, their worries should be amplified Sunday. Last season, the Jaguars’ duo of Allen Robinson and Allen Hurns joined the New York Jets’ Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker, the Denver Broncos’ Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders, and the Arizona Cardinals’ Larry Fitzgerald and John Brown as the only receivers to each have 1,000 yards on the same team.
Robinson set franchise single-season records in touchdown catches (14) and receptions of at least 20 yards (31) en route to being named to his first Pro Bowl. At age 24, Hurns became the youngest undrafted player in league history to have 1,000 yards and 10 touchdowns in the same season.
“They’re good, talented receivers that are aggressive getting the ball,” Ravens cornerback Jimmy Smith said. “They’re just as good as any top receiver in the league.”
Blake Bortles’ top two targets are off to a relatively slow start as Hurns has nine catches for 139 yards and Robinson has nine for 126. End zone: The Ravens announced that they’ll wear a “CB” decal on their helmets for the rest of the season in honor of longtime defensive line coach Clarence Brooks, who died last Saturday after battling stomach and esophageal cancer. … Harbaugh turned 54 on Friday. “I took a lot of heat in the meeting this morning from the fellas,” he said. “We have a lot of fun around here, and we always celebrate everybody’s birthday. I couldn’t escape that today, as much as I wanted to.”