As if their loss to the Cleveland Browns 13-3 in Week 15 wasn’t bad enough, the Baltimore Ravens will reportedly be without two a pair of key starters on defense who left that game with injuries and did not return for a “some time”.
Three-time Pro Bowl cornerback Marcus Peters left with a calf injury and did not return and six-time Pro Bowl defensive lineman Calais Campbell exited with a knee injury and didn’t return either.
In his Monday press conference on December 19, 2022, head coach John Harbaugh refrained from giving an update on either player nor did he confirm the report by NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport that they’re ‘hopeful’ to have quarterback Lamar Jackson back at practice this week and ready to start in their next game.
“I’m going to climb behind the barricade of it’s probably not the time to put a lot of information out there on our injuries, just for competitive purposes,” he said. “We’re just going to let that develop and see where we go with it and not try to walk the tightrope of what we say.”
While Harbaugh wasn’t forthcoming with any updates on any of the team’s banged-up star players for the Ravens’ Week 16 interconference matchup with the Atlanta Falcons and beyond, a pair of insiders with sources close to the players or within the organization did provide some clarity on both Peters and Campbell.
Peters’ Absence ‘Should Be a Short One’
The two-time All-Pro is the other half of the Ravens’ elite cornerback tandem opposite of fellow All-Pro Marlon Humphrey. According to another report by Rapoport, he suffered a “mild calf strain” and although he is likely to miss “some time, the absence should be a short one” per an informed source.
Even though Peters only has one interception this season through 13 games, he still leads the NFL in that statistical category since he came into the league in 2015 and is a renowned ball hawk with dangerous playmaking ability.
It seems like it’s an annual tradition that the Ravens lose a starting cornerback when they can least afford it or after their depth has been depleted. With veterans Kyle Fuller and Daryl Worley as well as rookie Jalyn Armour-Davis on season-ending injured reserve, they’re short on healthy players at the position with three games left in the regular season and hopefully a deep playoff run ahead of them.
As it currently stands, their last remaining corners on the active 53-man roster include veteran Kevon Seymour who has exclusively played on special teams in all 11 games he’s been active for this year, rookie Damarion ‘Pepe’ Williams who has been a healthy scratch the past two weeks and better suited in the slot, and second-year pro Brandon Stephens who has the experience and is capable of playing both cornerback and safety.
Stephens is the most likely candidate to step into a more prominent role in Peters’ absence and is better suited to play on the perimeter at corner anyways. The Ravens also have recently signed third-year pro Bopete Keyes on the practice squad who could get elevated to the game-day roster to provide more depth during the stretch that their starter is out.
Campbell’s Week 16 Status is ‘Up In The Air’
Unlike Peters, the severity of the future Hall of Famer’s injury is “uncertain” and he could also “miss some time” according to an informed report from ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler. Per his source, Campbell’s status for the team’s upcoming game against the Falcons is “very much up in the air” and likely in doubt.
While the Ravens are much deeper on their defensive line than they are in the defensive backfield at cornerback, the 15-year veteran has been one of the best players on the entire team this season. He ranks second on the team in sacks with 5.5 and first in quarterback hits with 14 in 13 games, both of which are highs during his time in Baltimore.
If he is to miss any amount of time, his absence won’t be as glaring as the dropoff from Peters’ to their third-best corner but it will still be notable nonetheless. However, they still have third-year pros Justin Madubuike and Broderick Washington who have both made huge strides in their play and consistency this season, veteran Brent Urban who has played well in spelling Campbell this year, and rookie Travis Jones on the active roster.
They also have rookie Rayshod Nichols and third-year pro Isaiah Mack on the practice squad who showed a lot of promise in the preseason. Either player could be a candidate to get elevated on game day to provide depth for whatever period of time that Campbell misses.