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Mailbag: When Could We See Keaton Mitchell?

RB Keaton Mitchell

Mink: Keaton Mitchell was designated for return from injured reserve Wednesday. That opens a 21-day practice window. He could be moved to the 53-man roster any time within that window. As of now, it doesn't seem like the Ravens have a huge need for the undrafted rookie, however.

The Ravens' running back situation is better than it was a week ago when Justice Hill was coming back from a foot injury and Gus Edwards was an unknown after being evaluated for a concussion. But both returned and played well in Cleveland. Hill did see only seven snaps, but we don't know whether that's because he's still dealing with foot pain or because the game was a blowout.

The No. 3 running back spot is the question mark. Melvin Gordon III has been activated from the practice squad the maximum three times. So if he's going to play in a game from here on out, he has to be moved to the 53-man roster. Kenyan Drake has only been activated once (for the Colts game), so he still has two practice squad elevations left.

Once both veterans' elevations have been exhausted, Mitchell would be needed as the No. 3 running back. He could get the call sooner if there's an injury to one of the Ravens' top two backs or Hill's foot isn't right, but I think Baltimore feels good about the Edwards/Hill duo.

Downing: Head Coach John Harbaugh never provided a definitive timetable regarding Marlon Humphrey's return from foot surgery. He said that Humphrey is "in the range" and that it could happen for Sunday's game against Pittsburgh. "If it's not this week, it will probably be next week," Harbaugh said. The Ravens opted not to put Humphrey on injured reserve to start the season, which would have sidelined him for at least four games, so it's reasonable to expect that he's back on the practice field soon.

His ability to return to game action will depend on how his foot responds to being back on the practice field, and how long he needs to get back into football shape. Humphrey has been sidelined since mid-August, so it could be tough to return to practice and play in the same week. The Ravens are also pleased with the play of Brandon Stephens, Ronald Darby, and Rock Ya-Sin. But Humphrey is a competitor who wants to get back on the field, and once he's able to do it, he'll be back out there.

Mink: The Ravens have used a fair amount of jumbo formation already this season, but not THAT jumbo. In Weeks 2 and 3, Daniel Faalele saw seven combined snaps as an extra blocker. With Morgan Moses dealing with a shoulder injury, Faalele could be called upon to start at right tackle. Or it could be Patrick Mekari if Ronnie Stanley is ready to return. We'll see. Either way, I don't think the Ravens will use two extra blockers on the line of scrimmage.

One interesting thing to watch, however, is whether Baltimore starts using a bigger blocking tight end. They brought back Eric Tomlinson on the practice squad Tuesday, and he could serve in the Josh Oliver/Nick Boyle role of past years to give the offensive front some more blocking prowess. With the way the Ravens' run game is looking, they could lean into that more by improving their tight end blocking.

Downing: The London trip is major change for the organization in terms of the weekly routine, and it's particularly taxing on the operations team and behind-the-scenes staff such as equipment, nutrition, and medical personnel. The Ravens will travel to London on Monday after playing the Steelers, meaning they basically have to pick up their entire operation and take it across the ocean for a week. That's logistically challenging and it can take a physical toll on the players.

However, once the team arrives in London, they will attempt to settle into a new routine as quickly as possible. Practices will resemble a similar schedule to what the Ravens have in Owings Mills on a weekly basis. The movements of the team will be organized and precise so that the players and coaches can just simply focus on the football aspect of the week. The logistical challenge of playing in another country is real, but the Titans are doing the same thing. They have to handle the travel and jet lag just like the Ravens, so there's no real advantage from that standpoint. Once the game kicks off on Sunday, it will be a normal game, and that will be the mindset of this team.

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