- This was a question that was relevant at the beginning of training camp and may be even more relevant heading into a pivotal week four matchup against the rival Pittsburgh Steelers. After Brent Urban, who I assume will be heading there, the Ravens will have a league leading sixteen players on injured reserve.
Names like Marshal Yanda, Kenneth Dixon, Tavon Young, Alex Lewis, and Danny Woodhead, all who were expected to play major roles on a Ravens team that has set major expectations for themselves this season must sit at home and watch the next man up try and get the job done.
That’s not to say that any one of these guys make or break the team. But when you add the impact of all five of the players listed above this team would probably be sitting at the top of the NFL with a perfect 3-0 record.
The offensive line is a mess. The unfortunate and surprising retirement of projected starting center John Urschel hurt but his replacement Ryan Jensen is capable of getting the job done. But the same cannot be said for both Yanda and Lewis. Alex Lewis and Ronnie Stanley could have been one of the best left side tandems in the NFL. Marshal Yanda, one of the greatest right guards arguably in NFL history can not and will not be replaced. Yanda had not allowed a quarterback hurry since week seven of the 2015 season. Think about that. That is almost two years where not one single defensive player beat Marshal Yanda. A player like that is impossible to replace.
Kenneth Dixon and Danny Woodhead were both expected to be valuable pieces to an improving offense. Dixon shined in the limited chances he got throughout his rookie season. Although he was suspended for the first four games of the season his return would’ve added a different element to the offense. Danny Woodhead has had a knack for torturing defenses ever since he stepped into the league. Catching passes out of the backfield and the ability to make people miss after the catch was something the Ravens hadn’t had since the days of Ray Rice. However Woodhead has had a injury prone career and the Ravens knew this before they signed him. Woodhead is expected to return this season however.
Tavon Young was possibly the Ravens best cornerback last season. The second year player out of Temple had two interceptions during his limited rookie campaign. The team and fans were expecting big things from Tavon in his second season as the Ravens starting nickel back. But after suffering a torn ACL in OTA’s that spot is now filled by nine year veteran Lardarius Webb. Webb hasn’t played bad, but he was expected to be in more of a mentor role to Tavon and the younger defensive backs after being cut and then resigned by the Ravens.
Injuries are a part of the game, everyone knows that. But it seems like the football gods have some type of gripe with the Ravens. Hopefully they can overcome these setbacks and accomplish the steep goals that were set.