Ravens TE Nick Boyle suffers season ending knee injury
The Baltimore Ravens long list of starters and key contributors on both sides of the ball got even longer on Sunday in their Week 10 loss to the New England Patriots.
Veteran tight end Nick Boyle will miss the remainder of the 2020 season after suffering a serious knee injury according to Head Coach John Harbaugh.
“Injuries are part of the game but it sucks to see Nick go down because he’s just a hard worker and he’s a big part of our running game and everything that we do offensively,” wide receiver Willie Snead IV said. “It just really sucks to see him go down like that. It’s part of the game, unfortunately. I know he’s going to come back strong from this like Ronnie (Stanley) will. Keep them in your prayers.”
Boyle went down in the third quarter after Patriot linebacker Terez Hall tackled him low after he caught a short pass from quarterback Lamar Jackson.
His leg bent awkwardly and New England players began frantically signaling for the medical staff to come to evaluate him as he was writhing in pain on the turf.
He was in clear discomfort when he was carted off the field and did not return to the game. Harbaugh confirmed what most feared during his post-game presser when he announced that Boyle’s season is over.
This injury may go under-reported by the media and disregarded by some fans because he isn’t premier pass cat her at the position like Mark Andrews. However, Boyle’s impact on the success, flexibility, and versatility of Baltimore’s offense is profound and his absence will be felt.
“It’s hard to really quantify what Nick does for us as an offense and as a team,” Andrews said. “He’s a person that people gravitate towards. For me, he’s meant a ton to me, and it sucks. It sucks for him; he’s worked so hard to get to where he’s at. Everyone in this locker room loves him to death, and he’s one of the most loved people on this team. We’re going to miss him dearly. We know he has our backs, and we have his. It’s just sad. It’s sad to see.”
While Boyle isn’t known for his pass-catching prowess, he’s been a reliable and sure-handed target for Jackson and his predecessor Joe Flacco since joining the team as a fifth-round pick out of the University of Delaware in 2015.
Even though he wasn’t on pace to set new career highs in most of his statistical receiving categories, his catch percentage was the highest of his career in seasons where he targeted a minimum of 16 times.
In nine games this season, he posted a mark of 81.3 percent by hauling in 13 of his 16 targets for 109 yards and two touchdowns which did tie his previous career-high he set last season.
An area where Boyle was particularly proficient at in the passing game was uncovering late when Jackson was scrambling to throw.
More often than not when the reigning league MVP began running around the line of scrimmage to extend a play, Boyle would be one of the first to make himself available either as the check-down option or sneaking behind defenders downfield.
He is best known for his reputation as a dominant and punishing blocker in the run game where he has earned by being one of the key cogs in the Ravens rushing attack that shattered records last year and was still ranked No.1 in the league through the first nine weeks of the season.
“Nick (Boyle) has a very unique skillset, and we try to tap into that like we do with all our players,” Offensive Coordinator Greg Roman said earlier this month. “Nick’s a bit of a ‘throwback’ tight end. I feel like he’s getting better every year in all areas; understanding of defense, technique, run game, pass game. So, we’re fortunate to have him. And yes, when you look around the league, he’s very unique. And really and truly, because he’s here on the team, we get to do certain things that we probably wouldn’t do if he wasn’t here.”
Boyle hasn’t missed a game since 2017 and his injury leaves the team short-handed at a vital position in the offense that will take a collaborative effort from Andrews, Pro Bowl fullback Patrick Ricard and likely whatever veteran reinforcements the team brings in to offset,
Replacing him might on the roster and depth chart could result in the signing of veteran tight end Luke Willson who the team brought in for a workout last week and is recognized as one of the better blockers at the position as well albeit not quite at Boyle’s elite level.