Eisenberg: 50 Words or Less

Left: OT Alejandro Villanueva; Right: G/C Patrick Mekari

Various thoughts on various things, all in 50 words or less:

The fact that Ronnie Stanley will miss the rest of the season is, no question, disappointing, especially on top of the loss of so many other key players to injury. But the Ravens' Plan B at tackle actually is working quite well, so against the odds, they should be fine.

Alejandro Villanueva, Stanley's replacement at left tackle, is grading higher as a run blocker than a pass blocker, according to Pro Football Focus. But the Ravens have to be absolutely delighted/relieved they signed him in free agency. Bottom line, it appears he is quite capable of handling a difficult job.

During the offseason, most fans would have scratched their heads if they'd known Patrick Mekari would be the right tackle, as he had never started a game there. But to his great credit, he ranks No. 27 in the league out of 79 tackles through six games, according to PFF.

Interesting to speculate about what might have happened if the Ravens had known Stanley wouldn't be able to play in 2021. They might not have traded Orlando Brown Jr., which means they probably wouldn't have rookie linebacker Odafe Oweh, who was drafted with a pick obtained in the Brown trade.

It's winding up as a win because the Ravens are surviving without Brown, and Oweh has been among the league's most impactful rookies. He leads the Ravens in sacks, forced fumbles, quarterback hits, and get this, he hasn't missed a tackle all season, according to Pro Football Reference.

I'm guessing most fans envision quarterback Joe Burrow leading his team into Baltimore for Sunday's game at M&T Bank Stadium. And he certainly is the face of that franchise. But please note, the improved Bengals have a higher league ranking in total defense (No. 8) than total offense (No. 15).

If Latavius Murray is unable to play Sunday because of a sprained ankle, my guess is Devonta Freeman becomes the starting running back after exhibiting more explosiveness against the Chargers last week. But also look for Le'Veon Bell to have his largest role yet if Murray is out.

You can't overstate the importance of the potential return of tight end Nick Boyle, who is back at practice and could start playing again in November, after the bye, if all goes well. No player better embodies how the Ravens want to play than Boyle, a hole-opener like no other.

If the season ended after Week 6, this would be the AFC playoff seeding: 1) Ravens, 2) Chargers, 3) Titans, 4) Bills, 5) Bengals, 6) Raiders, 7) Steelers. I'm sure the Ravens would gladly take the absence of the Chiefs. (The Browns are No. 7 now after winning Thursday night.)

Remember when the knock on the Ravens' safeties was they didn't make plays? Chuck Clark and DeShon Elliott are disproving the charge in 2021. After listening to the coaches rave about Elliott, it sure seems the organization wants to sign him to a new deal and keep the duo together.

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