Ravens’ New Signings Suggest Ronnie Stanley Could Miss Significant Time

Ravens Ronnie Stanley

Getty Baltimore Ravens left tackle Ronnie Stanley takes the field for a 2018 matchup against the Denver Broncos.

The Baltimore Ravens added two more offensive tackles to their practice squad on Tuesday, indicating that injured left tackle Ronnie Stanley could miss more time after sitting out Sunday night’s thrilling upset over the Kansas City Chiefs.

The team signed tackles Jaryd Jones-Smith and David Sharpe, per the NFL’s official transaction report, joining veteran Andre Smith and undrafted rookie Adrian Ealy on the practice squad.

Stanley suffered a season-ending ankle injury against the Pittsburgh Steelers in November 2020, but worked hard throughout the offseason to recover in time to take the field for the Ravens’ regular season opener against the Las Vegas Raiders on September 13.

The Notre Dame product was not his usual All-Pro self against the Raiders, allowing nine pressures in 40 pass blocking snaps, per Pro Football Focus. Stanley subsequently missed the entire week of practice following the game and was listed as ‘questionable’ on the Ravens’ official injury report ahead of their pivotal matchup against the Chiefs.

Head coach John Harbaugh told reporters after the game that Stanley “was not close to playing” against the Chiefs, adding that the 2016 first-round pick would need further evaluation before he could be declared fit to play.

The Ravens’ offensive line struggled against the Raiders, leading many to believe that their performance would decline even further without Stanley and starting left guard Tyre Phillips, who was carted off the field with a knee injury in Week 1.

But the shuffled offensive line rose to the occasion, winning all but five pass block reps and holding the Chiefs to zero quarterback pressures on their way to a collective 91.5 pass blocking grade from PFF, who named the unit the league’s top offensive line for Week 2.

With the success of their new-look offensive line, the Ravens may opt to keep Stanley out until he’s 100% healthy rather than risk another injury setback.

Ravens Bolster OT Depth

But with Stanley and Phillips out, the Ravens only have two tackles on their 53-man roster. They elevated former first-rounder Andre Smith to the active roster on game day to serve as a swing tackle, but struggles throughout his career make Smith an uninspiring backup.

Undrafted rookie Adrian Ealy had a solid preseason, albeit exclusively against backup and third-string competition, earning a 90.0 overall grade from PFF, highest out of any rookie offensive linemen.

Tuesday’s signings of Jaryd Jones-Smith and David Sharpe will give the Ravens plenty of extra options at offensive tackle.

Jones-Smith has spent time with several NFL teams, but only has three career appearances, all coming with the Raiders last season.

Sharpe was drafted in the fourth round of the 2017 NFL Draft by the Oakland Raiders, appearing in 34 games in his career. 19 of those appearances, including four starts, have come in the last two seasons on the Raiders and the Washington Football Team.

The former Florida Gator played well for the Raiders in 2019, earning a 74.7 run blocking grade from PFF, but struggled after moving to Washington in 2020. His experience at right tackle will be valuable to a Ravens offensive line that currently lacks a true RT.

Don’t be shocked if Sharpe sees the field for the Ravens this season. Baltimore listed him as one of their practice squad protections, suggesting that they are confident in his ability to provide depth at left tackle.

Ravens Cut LB, Backup Punter From Practice Squad

To make room for Jones-Smith and Sharpe on their practice squad, the Ravens cut linebacker Blake Gallagher and punter Johnny Townsend, as well as offensive lineman Foster Sarell, per the NFL’s official transaction report.

Neither Gallagher nor Townsend were projected to see the field for the Ravens this year, so their releases are not surprising, but Sarell played extensively in the preseason at every spot on the offensive line except for center.

With a lack of OT talent, the Ravens likely preferred reliable tackle play to Sarell’s positional versatility.

The Ravens also signed cornerback Linden Stephens to their practice squad, per Jeff Zrebiec of The Athletic. Stephens is a journeyman with stints on eight teams since he was drafted in 2018. He played well in the preseason, earning a 69.3 overall grade from PFF while playing for the Washington Football Team.

With two cornerbacks on injured reserve and veteran Jimmy Smith yet to play this season, the Ravens can never have too many cornerbacks in case of additional injuries.

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