Ravens Almost out of Cornerbacks After Latest Injury to Starter

Ravens Anthony Averett

Getty Baltimore Ravens cornerback Anthony Averett suffers an injury against the Cincinnati Bengals.

The Baltimore Ravens have lost yet another cornerback. with starter Anthony Averett suffering a rib fracture during a 41-20 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals, per NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport.

Averett took a knee to the ribs when tackling Bengals tight end C.J. Uzomah in the second quarter, and he ultimately needed to be carted off the field. His return was initially listed as questionable by the Ravens, but he was downgraded to out later in the game.

While the Cincinnati offense likely would have lit up the Ravens defense even with Averett in, his absence likely contributed to the heights reached by Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow. Burrow’s 525 passing yards on December 26 are the most allowed by the Ravens in franchise history, as well as being the fourth-highest single-game tally in NFL history.

Ravens head coach John Harbaugh would only confirm that Averett suffered a rib injury during his postgame press conference, and he was again coy about the fifth-year cornerback’s status on December 27.

“He’s got some rib issues,” said Harbaugh, “It’ll be a matter of whether he can move around and play with it.”

Harbaugh added that the team would reevaluate Averett’s status later in the week, though if Rapoport’s report of fractured ribs is accurate, Averett will be unlikely to suit up against the Los Angeles Rams on January 2.

Veteran Defenders Return From COVID List

Harbaugh did provide some good news, telling media that he expects to get a few cornerbacks back from the Reserve/COVID-19 list, per Jonas Shaffer of The Baltimore Sun.

Baltimore confirmed that prediction by activating veteran cornerback Jimmy Smith, per the Ravens’ Ryan Mink, as well as outside linebacker Pernell McPhee.

Smith has missed the Ravens’ last two games, while McPhee was on the sidelines in Cincinnati alongside fellow veteran outside linebacker Justin Houston.

While Smith has only played defensive 160 snaps this season, 32% of the Ravens’ total on defense, his return will be a massive boost to a struggling and inexperienced secondary. He and Tavon Young are the only two Ravens cornerbacks that were on the roster to start the season, with midseason practice squad signings like Kevon Seymour, Robert Jackson and Daryl Worley having to play key snaps in recent weeks. That forced defensive coordinator Don “Wink” Martindale to come up with some creative coverages against the Packers’ deadly duo of Aaron Rodgers and Davante Adams, as well as an ineffective plan to slow down Burrow and the Bengals.

McPhee was on injured reserve right before he was moved to the COVID-19 list, so his return against the Rams will be his first action in more than a month.

Tony Jefferson Moved to COVID List

But just as the Ravens get two defenders back from the COVID-19 list, another tested positive.

Recently re-signed veteran safety Tony Jefferson tweeted on the morning of December 27 that he was “randomly selected for a Covid test,” and his placement on the COVID-19 list indicates that Jefferson did test positive.

His stellar game in Cincinnati was one of the few bright spots for the Ravens, as he led the team with 10 tackles, one sack and one tackle for loss.

Jefferson also posted his reaction to testing positive: “They got me gang.”

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