Ronnie Stanley Is 'Really Confident' He Can Come Back From Ankle Injury
The past year has been challenging for Ronnie Stanley to say the least.
Just days after signing a five-year contract extension reportedly worth $98.75 million last November, the All-Pro left tackle suffered a season-ending ankle injury during a game against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Stanley returned to the field for the 2021 season opener against the Las Vegas Raiders after undergoing surgery and rehabbing the injury, but the ankle was still giving him problems. Stanley ultimately decided to undergo another surgery, which ended his season after one game.
Stanley, wearing a cast on his lower leg, spoke with The Athletic's Jeff Zrebiec this week about his injury, and The Ronnie Stanley Foundation, whose mission is to improve the quality of life for rescue dogs and individuals in need.
Here are some excerpts from the interview:
Dealing with the injury mentally: "The toughest part of that is it being back-to-back years I've kind of had the same exact thing. Not exactly the same thing, but the same body part being the issue. That's probably the hardest part and just dealing with the what-ifs and talking about the what-ifs if I had to go through this again. Then, I just have to remind myself of all the positives. You can't really stay focused on that stuff. I was actually way way more injured when I was in high school and I feel like that kind of set me up, at least mentally to deal with this. I know I can get through it. This isn't the worst thing that I've been through."
Coming back from the injury: "You know, I honestly am really confident that I can come back from this. I think a lot of it was just me trying to really get back into playing and maybe I should have waited a little bit longer, whatever the case may be, build up a little more strength around this ankle. Just doing it this time around, I think I'm just going to do everything the exact right way. Not to say I didn't do it the right way before. I think I could have just used a little more time. This time around, there's just going to be no pushing past what I should do."
His mindset going forward: "I'm just taking it a day at a time. That's been my approach, taking it one day at a time. When I'm able to really get into rehab and really work out again and get things moving, just push myself. But be smart about things. Yeah, just taking it one day at a time. That's been my motto through this whole injury."
Prediction: Excluding Lamar Jackson, Marlon Humphrey Will Be Ravens' MVP Over Final Eight Games
During a roundtable discussion about the second half of the Ravens' season, Baltimore Sun reporters Childs Walker and Jonas Shaffer agreed that other than Lamar Jackson, All-Pro cornerback Marlon Humphrey will be the team's most valuable player over the final eight games.
It's been an uncharacteristically uneven season for Humphrey thus far, but Walker and Shaffer believe he will play to his usual high standard going forward.
"The Ravens will need Marlon Humphrey to play like an All-Pro down the stretch given the other players they have lost," Walker wrote. "Not only will they count on him to neutralize the other team's top pass catcher, but he will also have to be a leading voice as they try to get everyone in the secondary operating on the same page. The Ravens bet $97.5 million on Humphrey becoming their next defensive centerpiece. He has not always played up to that status in 2021, but he understands his importance to the culture of the team, and the guess here is that he will meet the moment."
Shaffer wrote: "Just look at the No. 1 wide receivers the Ravens will probably ask him to cover: Cleveland's Jarvis Landry, Pittsburgh's Chase Claypool (or Diontae Johnson), Cincinnati's Ja'Marr Chase, the Green Bay Packers' Davante Adams, the Los Angeles Rams' Cooper Kupp. Humphrey has looked more and more like himself since the Ravens' Week 7 debacle against Cincinnati, and he's taken responsibility for the team's secondary struggles, even when other players have seemed more deserving of the blame. Physically, Humphrey is built for the rigors of a 17-game season. Mentally, he'll help the Ravens learn from their early-season struggles. And sooner or later, those punch-out attempts will start connecting."
During a recent appearance on "The Lounge Podcast," Humphrey, who is known for being passionate about his craft, said he is determined to raise his level of play in the second half of the season.
"I feel like there's been a lot of plays I've given up this year that I really haven't in the past," Humphrey said. "I feel like my better ball will be in the second half. That's really what I'm hoping for without pressing it too hard."
329: Marlon Humphrey Stops By The Lounge
Baltimore Ravens All-Pro CB Marlon Humphrey talks about entering the podcast world, his large home project in Alabama, how he's dealt with some struggles this season, what's been hurting the secondary and more.
Jackson Is One of the Leaders of Quarterback Evolution
Sports Illustrated's Conor Orr took a deep dive into the evolution that is happening at quarterback, specifically the rise of athletic players at the position who defy convention, such as Jackson, the Kansas City Chiefs' Patrick Mahomes, Arizona Cardinals' Kyler Murray and Buffalo Bills' Josh Allen.
"Quarterbacks have to evolve," says John Beck, a former NFL quarterback who trains Zach Wilson, Matt Ryan and Trey Lance, among others, and is currently on contract as a consultant with the Jets. "Look what defenses can do. Pass rushes. Coverage. Everyone tries to use all their weapons. Athleticism is one of those weapons. Everyone is going to use it. So the quarterback cannot stay the same."
Joshua Harris, who has trained Jackson, told Orr that roughly a third of their practice time has become devoted to making off-platform throws or nontraditional arm slots.
"We've lived in this false narrative for so long of, 'Get your feet like this.' Well, it's never really like that," Harris said. "The pocket is never really clean at any level of football."
Harris talked about encouraging, rather than discouraging, Jackson's use of sidearm throws.
"He didn't think much of it when he saw Jackson make that throw the first time, because he was playing with children," Orr wrote. "Jackson, who allows kids to approach him during training sessions and throw the ball around, began twirling passes from absurd arm angles while maintaining a foundational base with his lower half. Harris's fear that he risked becoming the man who ruined Lamar Jackson began to dissipate as he designed practice routines that included the sidearm throws, along with a new credo for training the NFL's most fascinating quarterback."
"Yo, does it work?" Harris asks. "If it works, let's do it."
Dolphins' Xavien Howard Wins AFC Defensive Player of the Week for Performance Against Ravens
Dolphins cornerback Xavien Howard's 49-yard fumble return for a touchdown in the fourth quarter of Miami's upset win over the Ravens Thursday night was a game-changer, but it stung even more because Baltimore reportedly tried to acquire Howard before the trade deadline.
Howard, who also had a forced fumble and five tackles in the game, was named AFC Defensive Player of the Week yesterday.