Ravens Veteran Defensive End Ruled Out Against Raiders

Ravens Derek Wolfe

Getty Baltimore Ravens defensive end Derek Wolfe lines up against the Dallas Cowboys during a December 2020 matchup.

The Baltimore Ravens released their official injury report for tonight’s matchup against the Las Vegas Raiders on Saturday, ruling veteran defensive end Derek Wolfe out due to a back injury.

Wolfe sustained the injury during joint practices with the Carolina Panthers in August and has missed practice ever since.

The only other Ravens listed on the injury report were veteran cornerback Jimmy Smith and rookie outside linebacker Daelin Hayes, both given a status of questionable.

The Raiders ruled guard Richie Incognito out for tonight’s game, with safety Roderic Teamer listed as doubtful after not practicing this week.

Vincent Bonsignore of the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported that the Raiders are in “wait and see mode” with Josh Jacobs, their Pro Bowl running back, who was downgraded to questionable yesterday due to an illness.

Ravens Look to Attack Inexperienced Raiders O-Line

Even with Wolfe out, the Ravens will look to take advantage of a Raiders offensive line that only has 65 career starts between them, including three players with fewer than three.

That inexperience will likely spell trouble for Raiders quarterback Derek Carr against the Ravens’ blitz-happy defense

Ravens defensive coordinator Don ‘Wink’ Martindale dials up blitzes at a higher rate than anyone else in the NFL, with a whopping 45.4 blitz percentage last season, per Next Gen Stats.

Defensive linemen Calais Campbell, Brandon Williams, Justin Madubuike and Broderick Washington will take on increased snaps in Wolfe’s absence, while outside linebacker Pernell McPhee could showcase his versatility by kicking inside to the defensive end position.

The Ravens are hoping that Madubuike can kickstart a breakout season with a big night against the Raiders interior offensive linemen.

While Daelin Hayes was a full participant in practice on Saturday, his knee injury may limit his snap count against the Raiders, potentially opening up more playing time for Jaylon Ferguson.

Tyus Bowser, Odafe Oweh and Justin Houston will still dominate snaps on the edge, with Houston and Oweh making their much-anticipated regular season debuts for the Ravens.

Expect the Ravens to generate pressure on Carr as often as possible to disrupt the Raiders offense and keep the pressure off the Ravens’ banged-up offense.

Smith Could Be a Factor Against Waller

Jimmy Smith suffered a low ankle sprain early in training camp and has been gradually working his way back to the field, returning to practice last week.

While the Ravens initially seemed content to take Smith’s recovery slowly, Marcus Peters’ season-ending ACL tear may have accelerated their plans. Smith may now be pressed into service tonight against the Raiders, especially if the Ravens are struggling to contain tight end Darren Waller.

In the past, Smith has been used in specific matchups due to his physicality and football I.Q., which allow him to cover all types of receivers and even tight ends. Waller’s lethal combination of speed and size makes him a nightmare for most cornerbacks and linebackers.

While Chris Westry’s 6-foot-4, almost 200-pound frame can certainly handle Waller physically, his relative inexperience may expose him against last year’s leader in receptions by a tight end.

Smith was a limited participant in Saturday’s practice, but don’t be surprised to see him on the field against the Raiders. The Ravens have several high-upside, young defensive backs, but early in the season, experience is king, so Smith’s number may be called.

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