Friday’s injury report presents sobering reality
Several key players might be out against Giants; Correa on special teams
It appears the Ravens will be without at least two starting offensive linemen, their top wide receiver, two of their best linebackers and their kick returner when they travel to face the New York Giants on Sunday.
Friday’s final injury report presented the sobering reality for the beat-up Ravens as pass rusher Elvis Dumervil (foot) was ruled out for Sunday’s game, and wide receiver Steve Smith Sr. (ankle), left tackle Ronnie Stanley (foot), right guard Marshal Yanda (shoulder), inside linebacker C.J. Mosley (hamstring) and kick returner Devin Hester Sr. (thigh) are doubtful to play.
“We’ll just see who can play on Sunday and we’ll play with the guys who are ready to go,” coach John Harbaugh said. “The guys who are healthy enough to play will play. That’s how it always is really. We haven’t decided anything. I haven’t talked to [head athletic trainer Mark Smith] yet as far as that. I don’t have any announcements ever to make on that.”
Dumervil, Smith, Yanda and Mosley didn’t practice all week, and thus aren’t expected to play. However, the Ravens have ruled out only Dumervil. The veteran strong-side linebacker missed the first three games after a slow recovery from offseason foot surgery before returning against the Oakland Raiders in Week 4. He made little impact in the past two games and did not look close to 100 percent healthy.
“It’s a concern. I thought he’d be back at the beginning of the season, so it’s a concern in that sense,” Harbaugh said. “I’ve not been told that he’s out for the year or anything like that. We’re definitely hoping to get him back sooner rather than later. When that will be, I’m hoping it will be sooner. We’ll see. It’s a strength issue in his foot and his ankle. It’s got to be right. He went out there last week and that explosiveness really wasn’t there. He wasn’t really able to get into a tackle and push like he needs to. We re-examined it and found that the strength is probably not quite where it needs to be.”
Stanley returned to practice Thursday and Friday, but his progress has been slow, and it appears he’ll miss his third consecutive game. Hester left Wednesday’s practice early and hasn’t been on the field since.
The Ravens also listed wide receiver Mike Wallace (chest), right tackle Rick Wagner (thigh), linebacker Albert McClellan (calf ) and defensive backs Shareece Wright (back) and Kendrick Lewis (thigh) as questionable. Wagner and Lewis returned to practice Friday on a limited basis.
With Smith likely out, Breshad Perriman, Kamar Aiken and rookie Chris Moore will play more snaps opposite Wallace. Assuming Wagner plays and Yanda and Stanley don’t play, the offensive line will likely include Alex Lewis and Wagner at the tackle spots, John Urschel and Ryan Jensen at guard, and Jeremy Zuttah at center.
Rookie Matthew Judon will likely have an increased role with Dumervil out, and the Ravens can replace Mosley by using McClellan inside more and relying on hybrid safety Anthony Levine Sr.. Moore, safety Lardarius Webb and rookie running back Kenneth Dixon seem to be the best bet to handle return duties.
The Ravens could also promote a player or two today from their practice squad to give them extra healthy bodies. Inside linebacker Patrick Onwuasor, a rookie out of Portland State, is a prime candidate. Correa in line for duty: A week after linebacker Kamalei Correa was inactive for the first time in his career, Harbaugh said the rookie secondround pick will play Sunday and occupy a key role on special teams.
“His main focus right now is special teams,” Harbaugh said. “That’s the thing he’s really worked on. He struggled early. The second game, I think it was, he came back and played well. The third game he didn’t play well. Up and down. He sat after that. Now, he’s going to get back and have a chance to play on special teams this week.”
Correa has had a difficult go of it in his transition to the NFL. However, defensive coordinator Dean Pees and Harbaugh have praised him for his effort in practice this week.
“He’s very determined,” Harbaugh said. “That’s really what it boils down to. You have an opportunity, you have to go out there and do something with it to create for yourself the next opportunity. That’s what he has to do. If I was to specify on special teams, I think the coverage part of it is important.” Gillmore warming up: Sunday’s game at the Giants carries a little more weight for Ravens tight end Crockett Gillmore because childhood friend and Colorado State teammate Weston Richburg is the starting center there. Richburg was a member of Gillmore’s wedding party in July, and the two talk regularly.
“Wealways have something to say to each other,” said Gillmore who is coming off his best game of the season against the Washington Redskins. “He’s like a brother to me. He was in my wedding, and I’ve known him since I was 10 years old. We’ve been around each other a long time. We obviously lived together in college. Just a very dear friend.” Dixon eager to do more: Dixon offered a mixed review of his debut in Sunday’s loss. The fourth-round pick, who missed the first four games because of a strained MCL in his left knee, was happy to absorb several tackles and come away unscathed while rushing the ball three times for minus-1 yard and catching one pass for 6 yards. But he acknowledged that he was looking for more than just four offensive snaps.
“I don’t feel too good about it,” Dixon said. “I got in there and did what I was asked to do. Hopefully, my workload can increase this weekend, and I can get out there and do some special things.” End zone: Harbaugh said offensive lineman Billy Turner, whom the Ravens claimed off waivers from the Miami Dolphins on Wednesday, will not be ready to play in time for Sunday’s game. Turner is still learning the team’s offense. “It is what it is,” Turner said. “I think it’s going to go game plan to game plan, and I’ll catch up as we go.” … The Ravens hosted Jack Kirkbride, a 5-year-old who has leukemia, at Friday’s practice. After practice, Jack took a handoff from his favorite player, Joe Flacco, and ran into the end zone as the Ravens offensive players followed behind him to celebrate. … The Giants ruled out safeties Nat Berhe (concussion) and Darian Thompson (foot), and offensive tackle Marshall Newhouse (calf ).