Ravens roster move roundup ahead of Titans game

The Baltimore Ravens promoted a trio of offensive players from the practice squad to the active roster on Saturday afternoon 24 hours ahead of their Week 11 AFC matchup with the Tennessee Titans at home in the confines of M&T Bank Stadium at 1 PM eastern standard time.

Here’s a brief breakdown of every move that transpired:

The most notable name that popped up on the transaction wire was that of 10-year veteran wide receiver Dez Bryant. The former three-time Pro Bowler will presumably be active for the second time this season since signing to the Ravens’ practice squad in late October.

Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Dez Bryant (88) runs after a catch before an NFL football game against the Indianapolis Colts in Indianapolis, Sunday, Nov. 8, 2020. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

This will not count as his second “free callup” from the practice squad since he has been designated as the replacement on the active roster for third-string quarterback Trace McSorley who placed on the Reserve/COVID List on Friday.

Bryant was first called up for Baltimore’s Week Nine win over Indianapolis. He wasn’t targeted and only played two snaps on offense and none on special teams. He has been steadily learning the playbook, building chemistry with Lamar Jackson, and impressing the coaching staff with his performance in practice.

“Dez is doing a good job,” Offensive Coordinator Greg Roman said Thursday. “He’s really getting caught up, he’s working hard at practice. It’s good to have him aboard. We’ll see where that leads moving forward. I don’t think there’s any real timeline right now. I do think if Dez keeps progressing he will definitely become a factor in what we do.”

Roman also told reporters Thursday that the offense will need to “forge a new identity moving forward” following the season ending injury of veteran blocking tight end Nick Boyle. Part of that new identity could be greater contributions from the receiver position which will likely lead to greater involvement in the offensive game plan for Bryant this time around.

Expect for him to play much more than just two measly snaps on offense and record his first reception(s) in a regular-season game since Dec.31, 2017, when he was a member of the Dallas Cowboys.

While Bryant is the most notable of the three players that were called up from the practice squad, the player that will likely see the most playing time, have the largest role on offense, and be the most impactful will be tight end Luke Willson.

The eight-year vet was signed to the practice squad two days after Boyle suffered his major knee injury last Sunday. He will join 2019 Pro Bowler Mark Andrews as the only true tight ends on the active roster for this week’s game.

Willson is a complete tight end who isn’t the same dominant blocker as Boyle but he’s capable of making the second and third level blocks that the Ravens require players at the position and he is a solid receiving threat that can attack the seam off defenses.

I really like Luke,” Head Coach John Harbaugh said Wednesday. “He’s a guy that our personnel department knows really well, and of course we’ve played against him before so we know him a little bit. Good guy, experienced player. So that helps us. It’s good to have a guy who’s been out there before, knows how to play. We’ll just have to see how he fits in with what we’re doing.”

If he impresses on Sunday as he has in practice since arriving at the team facility then his promotion could lead to a permanent stay on the active roster.

The third player that was called up for this week’s game was offensive guard/tackle Will Holden who will likely serve as a swing tackle and provide additional depth at guard if he suits up for the game.

Arizona Cardinals offensive guard Will Holden (69) during an NFL football game against the New York Giants, Sunday, Dec. 24, 2017, in Glendale, Ariz. The Cardinals won 23-0. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

Holden is in his fourth year and on his sixth team since entering the league as a fifth-round pick of the Arizona Cardinals out of Vanderbilt in 2017. This will be his first time getting called up to the active roster this season and could see some playing time on Sunday with changes expected to be made on the starting offensive line this week.

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