The Baltimore Ravens’ bye couldn’t have come at a better time for their banged-up roster.
Perhaps at the top of the list of players needing a break is starting running back Gus Edwards, who sat out Week 9 after injuring his hamstring during Week 8.
“Gus will be back next game, that’s the plan,” coach John Harbaugh said during his November 8 press conference, in which he provided updates on several starters. The Ravens will return to action on November 20, when they host the Carolina Panthers.
Veterans DeSean Jackson and Jason Pierre-Paul were expected to be available for the Panthers game, too.
“He should be fine coming back from the bye,” Harbaugh said of Jackson, who caught one of his two targets before hurting his hamstring against the New Orleans Saints in his Ravens debut. He was held out for precautionary reasons.
Meanwhile, Pierre-Paul, the veteran pass rusher, played a season-low seven snaps before suffering a minor lower extremity injury.
“He kind of tweaked his ankle a little bit,” Harbaugh said. “Nothing too serious, it just wasn’t something that we felt like we wanted to challenge too much with the way the game was going. He should be fine coming back from the bye.”
In addition to getting Pierre-Paul back, they’ll have rookie edge defender David Ojabo available as well. He was activated to the active roster last week but didn’t get to make his NFL debut.
“It’s really a good problem to have, in the sense that we’re adding these guys,” Harbaugh said. “Ojabo maybe on the horizon at some point — or not maybe; he will be. It’s a good thing.”
Ravens Activate Rookie TE to Active Roster
Harbaugh did not specifically discuss the status of All-Pro tight end Mark Andrews, who missed the first game of his career against the Saints with shoulder and knee injuries. But the Ravens will have rookie tight end Charlie Kolar available for the first time since losing him to sports hernia surgery in late July.
Kolar, a fourth-round pick at No. 128 overall, has been practicing for the past three weeks.
“He’s looked really good,” Harbaugh said. “He’s a young player, and he missed a lot of time during training camp so he’s still developing, but he’s out there [and] he looks good. He’s so talented, he’s so big, he has great hands. He wants to do well; he’s very conscientious. He had three good weeks of practice, so I anticipate him being brought up this week.”
Kolar, 6-foot-6 and 250-pounds rejoins a talented tight end group that also includes standout rookie Isaiah Likely, Nick Boyle, Josh Oliver and Patrick Ricard. He fills the roster spot that was vacated when wide receiver Rashod Bateman was placed on injured reserve after electing to have season-ending foot surgery.
Starting Safety on Track to Return In December
Harbaugh said the Ravens expect to get free safety Marcus Williams back before Christmas. He has missed the team’s last four games with a dislocated wrist.
“He’s looking good. It’s just one of those deals where it’s a bone that has to heal,” Harbaugh said. “It’s pretty straightforward as long as there’s no setbacks. There have been no setbacks so far, and I think it’s sometime in December is when they expect him back. We’ll see, but so far so good.”
Prior to going down, the Ravens prized free agent was already outplaying the sizable contract he signed with the team this offseason. In five games, he recorded 33 total tackles (including one for a loss), five pass deflections and a fumble recovery. His three interceptions still lead the team and are tied for the third-most in the league.
In Williams’ absence, third-year pro Geno Stone has been admirably filling in for him. The former sixth-round pick out of Iowa has started the last four games and recorded 21 total tackles (including 20 solos), one pass deflection, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery.
Stone has been playing “super football,” Harbaugh said.