Injuries could change left side of offensive line this week
Left tackle Ronnie Stanley (foot) and left guard Alex Lewis (concussion) sat out their second straight day of practice, raising further doubt about the rookies’ chances of starting in the Ravens’ game against the Oakland Raiders on Sunday. If that’s the case, the team likely would turn to James Hurst and Ryan Jensen.
Hurst, 6 feet 5, 312 pounds, started eight games at left tackle last season and is listed on the depth chart as the primary backup for the 6-6, 320-pound Stanley, the sixth overall pick in the 2016 NFL draft, and right tackle Rick Wagner. Hurst practiced with the starters Wednesday and Thursday.
“Being the backup, you’ve got to be ready to go anywhere,” he said after Thursday’s practice. “So this week, I’ve been lucky enough to get reps in with the [starters] in practice, which is good. Obviously, they play the guys that are in, but also just getting into the game plan and being involved and everything like that, I’m excited about it. I’m going to go out there, and I’m preparing like I’m the starter.”
Similarly, the 6-4, 310-pound Jensen has been filling in for the 6-6, 315-pound Lewis, a fourth-round draft pick. Jensen played the final 10 snaps on offense in the 19-17 win against the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday after Lewis suffered a concussion in the fourth quarter.
“It’s tough coming in that late in a game in that kind of situation, but I always prepare like I’m going to be the starting guy,” Jensen said. “Always ready on the sideline, always staying loose and being ready to go in at a moment’s notice because that’s how it happened in the week.”
Hurst struggled at times at left tackle last season, and many fans blamed him when he was pushed into quarterback Joe Flacco, who seriously injured his left knee on the play in the final minute of a16-13 win against the St. Louis Rams on Nov. 22. Jensen started six games at left guard in 2015, but Lewis passed him and expected starter John Urschel on the depth chart in the preseason. Urschel (shoulder) practiced for the second consecutive day but has yet to be active for a game.
Offensive coordinator Marc Trestman expressed faith in Hurst and Jensen if Stanley and Lewis cannot go against the Raiders.
“We’ve played with the guys that are in there now,” he said. “We’ve played and moved the ball successfully in the times they’ve been in there. So we’re really confident in that area. Obviously, we felt very good about Alex and Ronnie, and we’ll see what the trainers and doctors say and [coach] John [ Harbaugh] determines at the end of the week, how that goes. But we feel good about the guys that we have.” Dumervil backs up Suggs’ announcement: Elvis Dumervil confirmed Thursday what Terrell Suggs announced for him Wednesday. The Ravens outside linebacker intends to make his 2016 debut in Sunday’s game against the Oakland Raiders.
A day after Suggs had said “We get another guy back this week,” without naming Dumervil, Dumervil chuckled when asked whether he will play against the Raiders.
“Since my guy already said it, that’s what we’re shooting for,” said Dumveril, who has been slow to return after undergoing foot surgery in the offseason but practiced fully for the second consecutive day. “I can’t use that no more. I’m excited to go in front of our crowd. The team has being doing great. Three-and-0 start. Against a tough opponent. Well-coached team. Good offense. So Price misses practice: In addition to Stanley and Lewis, cornerback Sheldon Price (thigh) did not practice. Price had been listed as limited in Wednesday’s injury report.
Suggs also did not participate in Thursday’s session, as he took his customary day off
Return specialist Devin Hester Sr. (thigh) and rookie running back Kenneth Dixon (strained MCL in left knee) were limited for the second consecutive day.
Defensive tackle Timmy Jernigan (knee) and wide receiver Kamar Aiken (knee) returned after sitting out Wednesday’s practice and participated fully.
Oakland practiced for the second consecutive day without starting right tackle Menelik Watson (calf ). Another starter, center Rodney Hudson (knee), returned after missing Wednesday’s session and participated on a limited basis. End zone: Kicker Justin Tucker earned his third AFC Special Teams Player of the Month award after converting all nine of his field-goal attempts (including going 3-for-3 from 50 yards or more) and all four of his extra-point tries. ... A day after Suggs bemoaned the lack of immobile quarterbacks such as Drew Bledsoe, the former New England Patriot thanked Suggs via Twitter. “Obviously I wasn’t very smart! Appreciate the nod from Mr. Suggs. One of the fiercest pass rushers ever to play,” wrote Bledsoe, who ranks sixth in league history in sacks taken with 467. ... Delaware will honor Flacco as part of its 20th Athletics Hall of Fame class. Flacco and others will be recognized at halftime of the school’s Oct. 29 home football game against Towson, which is during the Ravens’ bye week. Flacco played for Delaware in 2006 and 2007.
Left guard Alex Lewis, left, and left tackle Ronnie Stanley sat out their second straight day of practice Thursday. Lewis is recovering from a concussion, Stanley from a foot injury.