Bal­ti­more Ravens

USA TODAY Sports Weekly - - AFC NORTH -

In­juries have hit the Ravens hard.

QB Joe Flacco hasn’t played in the pre­sea­son, but the team has main­tained that his back in­jury will be healed in time for the Sept. 10 opener.

Ex­pected starters or con­trib­u­tors at run­ning back and tight end have been lost to in­juries, and a re­made re­ceiv­ing corps has been limp­ing along.

But the de­fense should be stout against the run, and OLB Ter­rell

Suggs should have help in the pass rush from Z’Dar­ius Smith, OLB Matthew Judon and rookie OLB Tim Williams. C.J. Mos

ley re­mains one of the NFL’s top mid­dle lineback­ers, and the Ravens paid big to keep DT Bran­don

Williams (five-year, $54 mil­lion deal) be­cause he’s one of the league’s best run stuffers.

Rookie watch: Williams slipped to the third round be­cause of off-field is­sues and ques­tions about whether he was more than a pass rusher. For now, the Ravens don’t need him to be any­thing more than that and are ex­cited about his nat­u­ral abil­ity and progress. He has an ex­plo­sive first step and a knack for get­ting to the ball, and the Ravens think he’ll be ready for a big role this sea­son.

Note­wor­thy: Head coach John Har­baugh was given a one-year ex­ten­sion through the 2019 sea­son, ac­cord­ing to the

Bal­ti­more Sun. ... Un­drafted rookie RB Taquan Mizzell con­tin­ues to make a strong case to be on the reg­u­lar-sea­son ros­ter. Vet­eran RB Danny Wood­head is deal­ing with a ham­string in­jury, so the Ravens might keep an ex­tra run­ning back on their ros­ter. ... WRs Chris Moore and Keenan Reynolds and vet­eran Michael

Cam­pa­naro are on the bub­ble.

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