The Ravens have three more practices to prepare for the Denver Broncos, but one projected starter has already been ruled out for the season opener.
Defensive tackle Arthur Jones (illness) has been ruled out for the matchup. The fourth-year defender has not practiced since the third preseason game because of a personal health issue that has not been disclosed.
"Art had an issue," Head Coach John Harbaugh said on Aug. 27. "It's not football-related. I'm going to leave it to Art to explain what it was. It's more of a personal health thing that's not serious. We just held him back this week."
With Jones out, the Ravens will likely have to do some shuffling on their defensive front. Veteran Marcus Spears could play defensive tackle, or they could also start Haloti Ngata at defensive tackle and have Terrence Cody start at nose tackle.
Jones is a valuable run stuffer who had a strong training camp, and now the Ravens will have to rely on the re-built defensive front to make up for the loss.
**Dickson Practices, Optimistic About Playing
Tight end Ed Dickson is working his way back from a slight hamstring tear that knocked him out of the entire preseason, and he was a full participant for Monday's practice.
"I feel pretty healthy, feel pretty optimistic about my chances to play in this game," Dickson told reporters. "I always feel like I'm playing, so I'm working towards that, and we'll see what the trainers and the coaches say."
The Ravens currently have only two viable tight ends on the roster with Dickson and Dallas Clark. Dennis Pitta is still on the 53-man roster, but he's expected to get moved to injured reserve (IR)Tuesday and the team could then bring in another tight end.
Dickson injured the hamstring early in training camp, which cost him valuable practice and preseason reps with quarterback Joe Flacco. Dickson has been back at practice for the last two weeks, and he feels confident about getting back into a rhythm with Flacco.
"I feel like I'm building that chemistry with Joe now," Dickson said. "We're back to where I was before I got hurt."
NT Williams Misses Practice
Rookie defensive tackle Brandon Williams sat out practice with a toe injury.
The third-round pick was wearing a walking boot when he came into the locker room during the open media portion, but he did not provide specifics about the injury when asked by reporters.
Williams said that he can walk under his own power.
"I'm doing [rehab] now, just getting back, icing and that stuff," Williams said.
McPhee Feels 'Great' After Knee Injury
Outside linebacker Pernell McPhee was not listed on the injury report after sitting out the final preseason game with a knee injury, meaning that he was a full participant.
"I feel great," he told reporters. "Come out to practice and watch me run around and make plays."
The third-year outside linebacker said that his knee swelled up after training camp practices on the turf at NAVY and Stevenson University.
"It just swelled up on me, but that was it," he said. "It's just from the banging on the turf. At Stevenson and NAVY, the turf was kind of hard and we were just banging on the turf all day."
McPhee dealt with a knee injury during training camp last season, but he's not concerned that the knee could be a lingering problem.
"In this point after training camp, all of us got something that is bothering us and we just have to treat it and make sure we keep it as healthy as possible," McPhee said.
Pitta Ruled Out, Thompson and Jensen Sit
As expected, Pitta did not practice Monday and has been ruled out for Thursday.
Pitta is going to miss most, if not all, of the season with a hip injury, and he could likely be headed to IR-designated to return on Tuesday.
The only other players on the injury report for the Ravens were second-year receiver Deonte Thompson (foot) and rookie offensive lineman Ryan Jensen (foot), who both did not practice.
Thompson injured his foot in the preseason opener and missed the next three games, and Jensen missed the entire preseason with the foot injury suffered in training camp.
Bailey Limited In Practice
The most glaring injury concern for the Denver Broncos is the foot problem for cornerback Champ Bailey. The Pro Bowler suffered the injury in the preseason, and he has been sidelined for the last three weeks.
Bailey did not practice Monday, and his status for the opener is reportedly up in the air.
In addition to Bailey's absence, running back CJ Anderson (knee) and tight end Joel Dreessen (knee) did not practice. Guard Chris Kuper (ankle) was limited, and the full participants were wide receiver Wes Welker (ankle), defensive end Robert Ayers (achilles), tackle Ryan Clady (shoulder) and quarterback Brock Owsweiler (shoulder).