While the Ravens got some players back this week, they still ruled out five players for Sunday’s game in Cleveland Browns Stadium.
Baltimore ruled out wide receivers Odell Beckham Jr. (ankle) and Rashod Bateman (hamstring), outside linebackers Odafe Oweh (ankle) and David Ojabo (knee/ankle), and cornerback Marlon Humphrey (foot).
Left tackle Ronnie Stanley (knee) is doubtful after not practicing Friday. He was limited Wednesday and Thursday.
Center Tyler Linderbaum (ankle), safety Marcus Williams (pectoral), safety Kyle Hamilton (back) and running back Justice Hill (foot) are all questionable to play. Running back Gus Edwards (concussion) has no injury designation and is ready to go.
Ravens ruled out five players vs. Browns:
Odell Beckham, Rashod Bateman, Odafe Oweh, David Ojabo, Marlon Humphrey
Ronnie Stanley is doubtful to play after not practicing today.
Gus Edwards has no injury designation and Justice Hill is questionable after full practice today. pic.twitter.com/4kTszCITwf
— Ryan Mink (@ryanmink) September 29, 2023
Here’s a look at each situation:
Ravens Have Faith in Wide Receiver Depth
The Ravens will be without starters Beckham and Bateman, but rookie first-round pick Zay Flowers has seen the most targets (25) by a wide margin of the group anyway.
Baltimore’s offense has used three wide receivers on 64% of its plays so far this season. Does that continue with Beckham and Bateman out?
“That’s why Nelson Agholor is here as a player. Devin Duvernay has made plenty of plays here in the past, and Zay is a fantastic rookie and only going to get better,” said Offensive Coordinator Todd Monken, who also mentioned Thursday that tight end Mark Andrews is back to full speed for the first time in weeks.
It would have been Beckham’s first time back in Cleveland since the Browns released him in 2021.
Ravens May Have Backup Tackle vs. Myles Garrett
Stanley could miss his third straight game with a knee injury suffered in Week 1.
If so, that would leave left tackle Patrick Mekari going up against top Browns pass rusher Myles Garrett, who has 4.5 sacks in the first three games and 16 sacks each of the past two seasons.
The Ravens could also look to use extra blockers to slow down Garrett, such as fullback Patrick Ricard.
Running Back Room Back in Good Shape
The Ravens were down to their fourth- and fifth-string running backs, Melvin Gordon III and Kenyan Drake, late in the game against the Colts, but are in better shape going into Cleveland.
Edwards looks on track to play and Hill is trending in the right direction after being a full practice participant on Friday.
The two running backs combined for 103 rushing yards and a touchdown in the Ravens’ Week 2 win in Cincinnati.
Kyle Van Noy Could Help Immediately at OLB
Without Oweh and Ojabo, the Ravens signed veteran outside linebacker Kyle Van Noy this week and he could be elevated from the practice squad Saturday.
Van Noy impressed teammates and coaches in practice this week with how quickly he picked up the defense. Defensive Coordinator Mike Macdonald laughed when he said Van Noy has already come to him with some third-down ideas.
“Similar to when Roquan [Smith] showed up here; it’s like, ‘OK. This dude, he knows his stuff,'” Macdonald said. “He’s an impressive guy all the way around. Obviously, [he’s] a great football player from what we’ve seen already on the practice field, and he has a great track record.”
Harbaugh said Van Noy “looked good” in practice and will be ready if he’s activated.
Rookie Tavius Robinson and second-year player Jeremiah Moon played 55 and 46 snaps last week, respectively.
Secondary Stronger If Marcus Williams Can Play
Williams was a full participant Thursday and Friday in practice, putting him on the right track to make his return in Cleveland after suffering a Week 1 pectoral injury.
In addition to having the defense’s best ballhawk back on the field, it could give the Ravens more flexibility at safety and cornerback.
Geno Stone could remain at safety with Hamilton, who was a full participant in Friday’s practice, staying at nickel cornerback. Or Hamilton could move back to safety alongside Williams and veteran cornerback Arthur Maulet could step in at nickel.
Deshaun Watson Questionable to Play
Browns starting quarterback Deshaun Watson was limited all week long with soreness in his right throwing shoulder and is questionable to play.
If Watson doesn’t play, it would be rookie fifth-round pick Dorian Thompson-Robinson, a dual threat quarterback who played well in the preseason, who would step in.
“We’ll be prepared. But everything coming out of there is that Deshaun is going to play,” Head Coach John Harbaugh said.
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