The Baltimore Ravens’ defense has already been on a dominant streak as of late and is in line to get reinforcements in the very near future in both the trenches and secondary. Rookie outside linebacker David Ojabo is expected to make his debut very soon and the team’s defensive backfield is slated to get a major boost as well with the return of one of its best players and prized free agent acquisition.
When the team took the practice field on Wednesday, November 23, veteran safety Marcus Williams, who signed a five-year, $70 million deal in the offseason, was not in attendance but he was participating. It marked his first time doing so since being placed on injured reserve on October 12 following their Week 5 divisional matchup with the Cincinnati Bengals where he suffered and played through a dislocated wrist.
“He looked good – it was individual – he looked good, he moved well,” Head Coach John Harbaugh said in a press conference on November 23. “It’s his wrist. We have to get him back moving, get him back in shape, and he has a week or two or all that before he’ll be ready to go, but the main thing is the wrist will heal; we just need to make sure he’s in football shape.”
Prior to his untimely injury, Williams was off to a blazing start to the season in his first with the Ravens. Through the first five games, he led the team in total tackles with 33 including one for a loss, and was among the league leaders in interceptions with three. He also had recorded I’ve pass deflections, and one fumble recovery, and was allowing a career-low passer rating of 67.1 according to Pro Football Reference.
Since the team officially designated him to return from injured reserve, it opens the 21-day window for them to activate him to the 53-man roster or place him on season-ending injured reserve. Harbaugh already ruled Williams out for the team’s Week 12 AFC matchup with the Jacksonville Jaguars but is confident that he’ll be ready to go in the near future.
In his absence, third-year pro Geno Stone has been serving as the team’s starting free safety. In five starts, the former sixth-round pick has recorded 26 total tackles, one pass deflection, one forced fumble, one fumble recovery, and one pass deflection.
Prognosis of Injured 1st Rounders Remains Positive
The Ravens saw both All-Pro left tackle Ronnie Stanley and versatile rookie defensive back Kyle Hamilton exit their Week 11 victory over the Carolina Panthers with injuries before it was over and neither returned. Fortunately, Hamilton’s X-rays showed that his knee was stable and Stanley’s MRI didn’t reveal any structural damage to his already surgically repaired ankle.
Harbaugh is still optimistic about the chance of either of them missing little to no time with their respective injuries. He didn’t rule out either for Week 12 and the final call for both won’t come until the day of their game with the Jacksonville Jaguars.
“We’re still kind of working our way through the week,” Harbaugh said. “I’d put him (Stanley) on a day-to-day, gameday decision right now. If that progresses later in the week, I’ll let you know. Kyle would be in the same category.”
Stanley has looked every bit of his former All-Pro self since returning from his devastating setback and Hamilton was recently revealed as Pro Football Focus’ highest-graded safety and rookie defender overall.
Lamar Jackson Given Rest Day
Whenever a team’s starting quarterback misses a practice, it’s almost always a cause for pause, worry, and anxiety. When that star signal caller is a former unanimous league MVP, a generational dual-threat, and the focal point of the entire offense, it is especially worrisome.
Harbaugh quelled some of that nervousness and speculation after Jackson wasn’t present for the portion of practice open to the media when he told reporters that “he will play in the game” against the Jaguars this upcoming Sunday and that he was just given an extra rest day.
“We had an issue from the game,” Harbaugh said. “He’s going to play in the game, but I just wanted to hold him back and let him rest today for practice.”
Jackson and the rest of the members of the Ravens’ offense will be looking to bounce back and get back on track in Week 12 after a lackluster performance coming off their bye in Week 11 that left much to be desired by scoring just 13 points including just one touchdown.
He could potentially have veteran wide receiver, DeSean Jackson, back at his disposal this week since the seasoned speedster returned to practice Wednesday after missing all of last week and this past Sunday’s game with a hamstring injury.