It’s starting to feel like 2021 all over again for the Baltimore Ravens with a brutal loss to the Miami Dolphins compounded by a season-ending Achilles injury to veteran outside linebacker Steven Means.
Means went down early on his first snap of the game in the second quarter of the Ravens’ Week 2 loss to the Dolphins and did not return.
Ravens head coach John Harbaugh confirmed on Monday that Means tore his Achilles, sidelining the eight-year veteran for the rest of the season.
Means had just been promoted to the Ravens’ 53-man roster from the practice squad after two of Baltimore’s starters – left tackle Ja’Wuan James and cornerback Kyle Fuller – suffered season-ending injuries in Week 1.
Ravens Running Out of OLBs
Now, the Ravens are back to just two healthy outside linebackers in Justin Houston and Odafe Oweh, with four others, improbably, all sidelined by the same injury, including Means.
Veteran Vince Biegel tore his Achilles in training camp, while last year’s sack leader Tyus Bowser and rookie second-round pick David Ojabo are still rehabbing Achilles injuries from earlier this year.
Even 2021 fifth-round pick Daelin Hayes will spend the season on injured reserve with an undisclosed injury after playing just one game as a rookie.
Means’ injury leaves Baltimore precariously thin at outside linebacker. Odafe Oweh is not having the sophomore breakout most expected, and the Ravens can’t rely on a 33-year-old Justin Houston to carry the edge-rushing group.
Malik Harrison has been unproductive as an outside linebacker, so the Ravens will need to look for other options, at least until Bowser and/or Ojabo are healthy enough to play. Undrafted rookie Jeremiah Moon will likely see some action in the coming weeks, but recently-signed veteran Kyle Fackrell was cut from the practice squad on Monday, per Luke Jones of WNST.
That should have Moon in line to receive a standard elevation from the practice squad in Week 3, or even an outright promotion to the 53-man roster if the Ravens can’t find better options in free agency.
Few Free Agent OLBs Available
It’s already two weeks into the regular season, so the Ravens will have to scour the bargain bin. They may even have to poach a player or two from another team’s practice squad.
The Arizona Cardinals may be a good target with veteran Devon Kennard and rookie Jesse Luketa on their practice squad. If either is signed by the Ravens, they would immediately go onto the 53-man roster, where they would have to stay for at least three weeks. With reinforcements in the form of Bowser and Ojabo not expected before October, Baltimore
Kennard was a surprise cut in August who has been activated for both of the Cardinals’ games this season, so he should be ready to play right away.
Luketa, a seventh-round pick, may not be worth a roster spot in Baltimore, but the Ravens are running out of other options. They may have to take a shot on an unproven player just to have extra depth at outside linebacker.