With Ravens Receivers Banged up, Expect Added Reinforcements and Changes
With the receiving corps suddenly banged up, the Ravens will reportedly sign a familiar face back to the active roster and more moves are being speculated.
The Ravens flew receiver into Baltimore and they're expected to sign him prior to this morning's practice, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport.
Whalen, 27, has experience with the Ravens offense after spending all of training camp and preseason in Baltimore. As such, he can play on short notice. But he doesn't bring a lot of overall game experience after bouncing between New England, San Diego, Miami and Indianapolis. The 5-foot-11, 190-pounder has played in 41 NFL games, catching 47 passes for 509 yards and three touchdowns.
The Ravens need reinforcements as Wednesday's injury report included three top receivers Mike Wallace (back, limited), Jeremy Maclin (shoulder, limited) and Breshad Perriman (concussion, did not practice). It also included top receiving tight ends Benjamin Watson (knee) and Maxx Williams (ankle).
As of this point, the injuries to Wallace and Watson don't appear to threaten their game status. But it didn't appear that way with Maclin last week either when he was a limited participant, and then he ended up missing the Chicago Bears matchup.
Maclin wore a red non-contact jersey in Wednesday's practice, and didn't give away any clues about his status for the visit to Minnesota Sunday. He said he's feeling "alright" and is trusting the doctors' advice.
As for Perriman and Williams, there's speculation that their injuries could be more serious and they could potentially land on injured reserve (IR). Again, that's just speculation.
Zrebiec likes the idea of moving Michael Campanaro to slot receiver. It's unclear what Whalen's role would be beyond depth, but he has a similar body build to Campanaro's and can also return punts.
"Whalen is a quick, scrappy wide receiver who has reliable hands," wrote Baltimore Beatdown's Logan Levy. "He can definitely make an impact for the Ravens, who desperately need receivers that can catch the football."
If Perriman and Williams are down for a longer period of time, other reinforcements may be necessary.
"It will be interesting to see whether the Ravens are patient with Williams, who is again dealing with a left ankle injury, or put him on IR if they find a player they want to add," Zrebiec wrote.
"If it looks as if Perriman will miss some time with a concussion, why not promote Quincy Adeboyejo from the practice squad and give him a shot?"
Oh, and if you're hoping the Pittsburgh Steelers might trade wide receiver Martavis Bryant to the Ravens, don't hold your breath. After initial reports of Bryant wanting to be traded, he more recently said he's happy where he is. Plus, as Garrett Downing and Ryan Mink point out in the video to the right, teams don't trade good players to their rivals.
The NFL (and Ravens) Panic Meter: How Every Fan Base Is Feeling Now
With 25 NFL teams either leading the division or within one loss of the division leader, nobody is feeling comfortable. Things are too tight and anything can happen in this unpredictable league.
The Ravens (3-3) are one of those teams that is just one game out of the division lead (the Pittsburgh Steelers are 4-2). Still, there is a palpable uneasiness in Baltimore.
Ravens fans aren't alone.
ESPN came up with a panic meter to help rate just how panicked (or not panicked) each team is feeling. There is a five-point scale, and the Ravens landed in the middle at 3.5.
"There's reason to panic after Baltimore lost Sunday to the 2-4 Bears, who were coming off a short week and going with a rookie quarterback making his first NFL road start," ESPN writes. "But, technically, the Ravens trail the Steelers by one game in the AFC North. So, it's difficult to entirely write them off. It's just hard to have confidence in a team whose wins have come against these quarterbacks: Andy Dalton, DeShone Kizer and EJ Manuel."
Here's where all 32 teams land on the scale:
5) Outright panic: Where is the hope? (There isn't much): Cleveland Browns, Green Bay Packers, New York Giants, San Francisco 49ers
4) On the brink: A couple more losses and it's time to think about the draft:Chicago Bears, Oakland Raiders
3.5) Uneasy, but still not on the edge:Ravens, Dallas Cowboys
3) Don't get comfortable: Season could go either way, depending on the next few games: Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Arizona Cardinals, Atlanta Falcons, Cincinnati Bengals, Denver Broncos, Detroit Lions, Houston Texans, Jacksonville Jaguars, Los Angeles Chargers, Miami Dolphins, New England Patriots, New Orleans Saints, New York Jets, Washington Redskins
2) Good, but uneasy: Buffalo Bills, Carolina Panthers, Kansas City Chiefs, Los Angeles Rams, Vikings, Steelers, Seattle Seahawks
* 1) Everything is fine: Better than expected so far:*Philadelphia Eagles
To sum it up, The MMQB.com's Peter King declared the 2017 season so far as the year of "a mishmash of mediocrity, where no team is great, some are good (and one is perfectly bad)."
So looking at the field, that's enough to give hope in Baltimore despite the Ravens' 500 record. There's just one problem.
"The good news is the NFL reeks of mediocrity more than ever and the Ravens' schedule appears even more favorable after the Aaron Rodgers injury," wrote WNST's Luke Jones. "The bad news is that Sunday's loss confirms that Baltimore could also lose any of its remaining 10 games. Yes, even the one in Cleveland."
The Ravens seemingly get a break with their upcoming schedule as their next four opponents may not have their starting quarterbacks. But after losing to rookie Mitchell Trubisky in his first road game, that isn't bringing as much confidence as it once did.
"If the offense can't perform at even a competent level, it won't matter if the Ravens are facing Case Keenum or Sam Bradford, Brett Hundley or Aaron Rodgers, Jacoby Brissett or Andrew Luck," wrote Zrebiec.
For those who haven't lost faith in Baltimore, defensive tackle Brandon Williams is thankful.
155 NFL Players Respond to Quarterback Survey
Who is the biggest trash-talking quarterback? Who do you most want to sack? Who is the most overrated?
These are the types of questions NFL Nation reporters asked 155 players about the league's quarterbacks.
Cam Newton was named as the biggest trash-talker. Tom Brady and Ben Roethlisberger are the two quarterbacks that players most want to sack (yes please and thank you). Brady was named the most likely to win the next Super Bowl. Players think Deshaun Watson is the rookie who will have the most success.
Eli Manning was named the most overrated quarterback with 14 percent of 72 votes, but Joe Flacco also appeared on the list at No. 3 with 10 percent. Both are Super Bowl MVPs.
"Players don't have much faith in either Manning or Flacco to return to their previous glory," ESPN's Kevin Seifert wrote.
Rushing Attack is Good, But Good Enough to Carry Offense?
The Ravens have made good on their offseason vow to improve their rushing attack. Through six weeks of the season, they boast the No. 7 running game with 129.5 yards per game.
Give credit where it's due. That's a massive jump up from the No. 29 ranking Baltimore finished with last year.
But is it enough to offset the struggles in the passing game and carry the offense? Just as sharply as the rushing offense has improved, the passing offense has fallen.
Baltimore currently averages 159.7 passing yards per game, down by more than 100 yards per game from last year. The last time a team has experienced such a drop, according to ESPN, was in 2011, when the Colts were moving on from Hall of Famer Peyton Manning and the Broncos were adjusting to life with rookie Tim Tebow.
"The rushing attack had another strong day [Sunday], but is the ceiling high enough for it to all but single-handedly win games in a fashion similar to what the Bears did?" asked Jones. "Considering how inept the passing offense has been across the board, that's what it might take to be successful."
Thoughts on Playing Brandon Williams Twice in Five Days, Haloti Ngata in the Ring of Honor, Working Jaylen Hill Into a Rotation
Zrebiec published another one of his "News, Notes and Opinions," which is full of interesting insight that's worth your time. Below are just four of more than a dozen of his ideas …
- "Fans have the right to say whatever they want, but all the mocking of injured players on social media, along with the accusations that players are feigning injuries and counting their money rather than playing, is sad and ridiculous."
- "It seems that [Brandon] Williams is nearing a return, but the Ravens will have to decide whether he's ready to play two games in five days (Sunday against the Minnesota Vikings; Thursday against Miami Dolphins) after weeks of inactivity, or whether they should hold him out until the Thursday night game."
- "In case you missed it, former Raven and current Detroit Lions defensive tackle Haloti Ngata was put on season-ending IR after tearing his biceps last week. You have to wonder if this could be it for Ngata, a 12-year veteran who will turn 34 in January. … Ngata is a devoted family man, so it wouldn't be a surprise if he opted to hang it up this offseason. If he does, his next likely stop will be the Ravens' Ring of Honor."
- "I've sort of been amused by the fan obsession about when undrafted rookie cornerback Jaylen Hill will make his debut. … [T]here's not an obvious and immediate role for Hill. But it's probably time to give Hill a look to see what you have. You can line him up in the slot, use [Lardarius] Webb more in a deep safety role and push Jefferson closer to the line of scrimmage, where he's at his best. That certainly would be a way of getting more speed on the field."