Eisenberg: The Sky Still Hasn't Fallen (I Looked This Time)

CB Marcus Peters

Yup, I'm the guy who wrote earlier this week that I was tired of talking about injuries. Because absent Lamar Jackson going down, the Ravens could still win a lot of games, no matter what they're forced to endure.

I still stand by every word of that.

And I'm still tired of talking about injuries.

But I realize it's a subject that really needs addressing after running back Gus Edwards and cornerback Marcus Peters went down with major knee injuries during a light practice Thursday.

Coming just days before the season opener in Las Vegas, the stunning news floored fans and knocked the Ravens sideways. It just seemed incomprehensibly bad after the many other injuries the team has experienced since training camp began.

I admit, I looked outside to see if the sky had, in fact, actually fallen this time.

But the sky was still where it belonged, high above my lawn that needed mowing. So I went out and mowed, indulging in a routine that, come think of it, was a fitting metaphor for the occasion.

Life goes on.

Indeed, the Ravens aren't cancelling their season because they won't have Edwards, Peters and others.

They've still got a playoff-caliber team, a bunch of gifted players, a strong mindset and a winning culture.

I can't say for certain that they'll be fine; losing Peters and Edwards is a setback to their prospects, no question. But they've got plenty of resources to draw on that can help them endure.

I'll repeat what I wrote earlier this week: Unless it's Jackson going down, injuries aren't going to determine the arc of the Ravens' season.

Good teams figure out a way to handle them. And the Ravens are already on the case.

Peters is a big subtraction, no question. With his instincts and swagger, he gives the Ravens a unique presence at a key position. He leads the NFL in interceptions since he entered the league.

But the Ravens are deep in true talent at cornerback. Peters' replacement, Anthony Averett, would start for most other teams. He is fast, a sure tackler and younger than Peters.

Believe me, other teams would love to have a Plan B so airtight for their key injuries. (Which all teams have, by the way.)

The Plan B at running back is more complicated because injuries have wiped out the entire depth chart the Ravens envisioned, with J.K. Dobbins, Justice Hill and Edwards all going down for the season. I've never seen that before. I hope I don't again.

But the inevitable predictions of doom for the Ravens' league-leading ground game omit a key fact: The running back, whoever he is, is the second-best rusher in the backfield. Jackson is No. 1.

At 24, he is already acknowledged as the most dangerous running quarterback in NFL history. The backs who've lined up beside him have also done big things, but Jackson's presence opens things wide for them.

I'm guessing Ty'Son Williams will start at running back Monday night in Las Vegas. After a year on the Ravens' practice squad, he ran hard during the preseason and looks ready to shoulder a load. What an opportunity for him.

The Ravens also have signed three accomplished, veteran backs this week – Latavius Murray, Devonta Freeman and Le'Veon Bell. What an opportunity for them, too. They all want to show they've still got it. Lining up with Jackson puts them in a best-case situation.

It's too early to know how things will shake out. Murray was quite productive with the Saints last season. But Williams and the veteran backs are talented and Jackson is primed for a big season. I'd be surprised if the running game falls off much, if at all.

Depth is obviously an issue at these positions – all positions, actually. The run of injuries and subtractions needs to stop at some point. Enough already.

But they haven't changed the big picture, which Harbaugh addressed Friday with the simplest of declarations.

"We've got a good team," he said.

Related Content