Ravens Decline to Activate 2 Newly Signed RBs Against Raiders

Ravens Devonta Freeman

Getty Former Atlanta Falcons running back Devonta Freeman dives into the end zone during Super Bowl 51 against the New England Patriots.

The Baltimore Ravens have elevated veteran defenders Anthony Levine Sr. and Justin Ellis ahead of tonight’s regular season opener against the Las Vegas Raiders, per ESPN’s Field Yates.

Many fans were hoping that the Ravens would activate one of the two Pro Bowl running backs on their practice squad, but Le’Veon Bell and Devonta Freeman will remain inactive in Las Vegas.

Ty’Son Williams will lead the Ravens’ backfield, with Latavius Murray next in line for carries and Trenton Cannon available as a change-of-pace back.

The Ravens signed Bell to their practice squad on September 7 following season-ending injuries to running backs J.K. Dobbins and Justice Hill.

Freeman was added to the practice squad two days later after Gus Edwards tore his ACL, giving the Ravens much-needed depth at running back.

Fans across the NFL were clamoring to see Freeman and Bell make their debuts for the Ravens, but with only a few practices in Baltimore under their belts, neither back was ready to hit the field in Las Vegas.

While Murray and Cannon also joined the Ravens last week, their game readiness is far beyond that of Bell and Freeman.

Bell was unsigned for the entire offseason, so despite his All-Pro pedigree, he needs more time to get up to speed with the Ravens’ run-heavy offense.

Freeman did play in the preseason with the New Orleans Saints, but the Ravens are more than confident in Ty’Son Williams, whose standout preseason had already earned him more playing time before Dobbins, Edwards and Hill went down.

Ravens Defense Preps for Raiders

Instead, the Ravens opted to fortify their defense ahead of tonight’s game, activating defensive back Anthony Levine Sr. and defensive tackle Justin Ellis.

Levine will serve as extra depth in the secondary with Marcus Peters out for the season and Jimmy Smith not yet fully recovered from a low ankle sprain suffered in the preseason. A longtime team leader, ‘Co-Cap’ will also be a valuable sideline presence to a Ravens team demoralized by recent injuries.

Defensive end Derek Wolfe has been ruled out for tonight’s game, so Ellis will provide rotational depth on the defensive line against an inexperienced Raiders offensive line.

Raiders Call Up RB From Practice Squad

The Raiders elevated running back Trey Ragas from their practice squad ahead of tonight’s game, per the NFL’s official transaction report, but 2019 first-round pick Josh Jacobs is expected to play after being listed as questionable. 

ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that Jacobs participated in the Raiders’ walk-through earlier today and felt good enough to play following a bout with a non-COVID illness.

The Alabama product will lead the Raiders’ rushing attack against the Ravens, who allowed the eighth-fewest rushing yards in the NFL last season.

Ragas signed with the Raiders as an undrafted rookie in May, playing sparingly during the preseason. With Kenyan Drake and Peyton Barber ahead of him, Ragas is unlikely to receive many carries during tonight’s game.

The Ravens have finished as a top-10 run defense in four of the last five seasons, so Jacobs and the rest of Las Vegas’ backfield could be in for a tough night behind the Raiders’ subpar offensive line.


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