Jamison HensleyESPN staff writer2 min read
OWINGS MILLS, Md. – All week, the Baltimore Ravens have talked about how they’ll be “the next guy up” in Sunday’s game at the Cincinnati Bengals. To be precise, it would be next men Even for the crows that destroyed the injury.
On Friday, the Ravens revealed how short they were against the two-time defending AFC North champion, cutting four key players: offensive tackle Ronnie Stanley (knee), center Tyler Linderbaum (ankle), cornerback Marlon Humphrey (foot) and safety Marcus Williams (pectoral). ). All but Humphrey were injured in a pyrrhic 25-9 season-opening win over the Houston Texans.
Along with running back JK Dobbins, who tore his Achilles tendon against the Texans, these five players represent 21.4% of Baltimore’s salary cap in 2023.
“It’s not excuses,” Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson said earlier this week. “It’s tough just because they’re starters, but we have guys that are going to step up and get us out there on that field and do what they’re supposed to do.”
The good news for Baltimore is that Pro Bowl tight end Mark Andrews was a full participant in Friday’s practice, meaning he’s headed toward action after missing the season opener with a quadriceps injury. The bad news is that it is uncertain when any of these other injured players will return.
Dobbins, who underwent surgery Friday, will miss the season. Stanley and Linderbaum could be out for several weeks, and Williams is expected to be sidelined for an extended period. Humphrey is considered the player most likely to return.
This continues a string of injury issues for the Ravens as they face the Bengals. Jackson has been injured during the team’s past three trips to Cincinnati, all of which are losses. Now, with Jackson healthy, Baltimore will be without half of its starting secondary against quarterback Joe Burrow and will not have two starters on the offensive line.
“Everybody supports each other, and we know that if one guy goes down, the next guy has to fill the void,” Ravens wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. said. “It’s just a mentality that I think good teams have, and I know we have that here.”
Patrick Mekari is expected to replace Stanley at left tackle, and Sam Mustipher will likely replace Linderbaum at center. Geno Stone will likely take over for Williams at free safety.
“Our players are confident teammates and brothers in arms,” Ravens coach John Harbaugh said. “They believe in each other, and they’re excited to see these guys play. I understand why it’s a topic, but it’s not really a topic in our inner circle. We’re just going to play the game.”
With Dobbins finished for the season, it has been speculated that Baltimore will split the backfield between Gus Edwards and Justice Hill.
When asked which Ravens would start for his fantasy team, Harbaugh smiled and said, “I’m sorry, I don’t have the fantasy answer. I apologize for that.”
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