Depending on Injuries, It Might Be Smart to Activate Quincy Adeboyejo and Terrance West
Could Saturday mark the return of two familiar, but off-the-radar players?
Depending on the Ravens' injury situation,* *it could.
If there are any reservations about the health of wide receiver Jeremy Maclin or running back Alex Collins, then it might not be a bad idea to activate Quincy Adeboyejo and Terrance West as insurance policies, say the Baltimore Sun's Jeff Zrebiec.
After leaving Sunday's Cleveland Browns game early, Maclin (knee) has not practiced this week. Head Coach John Harbaugh said Monday it's possible Maclin can play this week (even if he doesn't practice), and Offensive Coordinator Marty Mornhinweg described his status Wednesday as "day-to-day."
"Assuming Maclin will miss some time, it makes sense to promote Quincy Adeboyejo from the practice squad before Saturday's game," wrote Zrebiec. "It would be tough to bring in a receiver off the street and get him quickly acclimated to the offense, but Adeboyejo and fellow practice squad wideout Kenny Bell have been around for long enough."
When the Ravens were especially low on receivers back in October, the Ravens had to sign Griff Whalen off the street to play against the Minnesota Vikings and Miami Dolphins. Adeboyejo could have gotten the call back then, but Harbaugh said he was still recovering from a PCL knee injury.
Just before the bye, Adeboyejo told Harbaugh he was 85 percent healed. Assuming the undrafted free agent reached 100 percent over the last six weeks, Adeboyejo could be an option if Maclin isn't ready to go. The Ravens chose to put Adeboyejo on the practice squad instead of injured reserve for a reason.
"As soon as he gets back to speed, to me, he becomes part of the conversation," Harbaugh said during the bye.
As for Collins, his status seems much more certain than Maclin's.
Harbaugh nodded in the affirmative when media asked Monday if Collins got out of Cleveland healthy. And further solidifying his status, Collins hasn't even been listed on this week's injury report and hasn't missed practice.
The reason journalists asked, however, is because Collins looked banged up and left the game a few times. The CBS sideline reporter said during the game that the Ravens were simply being cautious with Collins, who has become the biggest offensive playmaker this season.
Even if Collins does play, which looks likely at this point, Zrebiec likes the idea of activating West, who was the Ravens' starter for 17 games going back to last season before Collins took over the job for good in Week 6.
"It was obvious Sunday that [Collins] is banged up," wrote Zrebiec. "He jogged slowly off the field on about four occasions against Cleveland. Collins is just 5 feet 10 and 210 pounds, and he absorbs a lot of contact. That's why many within the organization believe that holding him to 15 to 18 touches a game is ideal.
"As an aside on Collins, Saturday would be a good time to get running back Terrance West, who has been inactive for nine straight weeks, back into the game plan. The Colts are hurting on defense and vulnerable against the run. West is fresh and motivated."
Yes, It's True. Ravens Are AFC's Highest Scoring Team in Second Half of Season
It seems like yesterday that people were begging the Ravens to score just three more points per game in order to be a more legitimate contender.
You know, because in the first seven weeks of the season, Baltimore was averaging just 18.6 points per game. If the team could put up just 21 points per game, with the way the defense was playing, that would be enough to win a lot of contests.
Well, the Ravens saw our 21 and raised us nine more.
Yes, believe it or not, Baltimore has averaged 30.7 points per game since Week 8, and as ESPN points out, that's the best mark in the AFC. It only trails the Philadelphia Eagles and Los Angeles Rams across the entire NFL.
"For those who think it's unlikely that the Baltimore Ravens will reach the Super Bowl this season, consider this: How many thought the Ravens would have scored more points than the Pittsburgh Steelers entering the final two weeks of the regular season?" asked ESPN.
"The Ravens have surprisingly become the highest-scoring team in the AFC in the second half of the season, after being touchdown-challenged at the start of it."
How in the world did the offense turn things around by such a large margin?
Well, quarterback Joe Flacco said Tuesday that it's a combination of things. After early season injuries, the unit finally found some sustained health along the offensive line and with receivers. Flacco wouldn't say there has been a major difference in the way he feels after overcoming an offseason back injury, but admitted there's maybe a little improvement.
"It could also be argued that the foundation for the success is an offensive line that has overcome injuries and early-season struggles to emerge as one of the more solid units in the NFL," wrote The Baltimore Sun's Edward Lee.
The offensive line ranks second in the league in fewest quarterback hits allowed with 51, and ranks ninth in sacks allowed with 25. The unit has done it despite losing guards Alex Lewis and Marshal Yanda.
Left tackle Ronnie Stanley was the only projected starter after last season. James Hurst and Matt Skura had to take over the starting guard spots. Ryan Jensen became the starting center after the sudden retirement of John Urschel in training camp, and Austin Howard became the starting right tackle after his signing in August.
Overall, Flacco said everyone on offense is playing better. He said when you multiply a little improvement by all 11 players on offense, you get big results. The offense has finally found its identity, and it's now bursting with confidence.
"The Ravens are getting into a groove with the right balance of running the ball to set up play-action passes for big plays downfield," ESPN wrote. "The evolution has included Alex Collins' ascension to the No. 1 running back role, continuity along the offensive line (six out of seven weeks with same starters) and Flacco's improved health from an early-season back injury."
Morgan Cox Jokes About Sam Koch's 'Random' Testing
Punter Sam Koch just turned in one of the best games of his career by pinning the Browns inside their own 5-yard line three times Sunday.
It was so impressive that Koch was named the AFC's Special Teams Player of the Week. It also seemingly won him a random NFL drug test, although, long snapper Morgan Cox joked that he wondered how "random" it really was.
Pat McAfee, a former Pro Bowl punter and current comedic podcaster, responded to Cox's question, writing, "Ain't nothing random #ForTheBrand..It's understandable that @nflcommish thinks your cheating.. the year you, Tuck, and Koch have put together is nothing short of a beautiful thing.. Give the commish some majestic [urine], and keep it movin."
All week, media has asked various people about how Koch is able to be so precise with his punts. The group asked Harbaugh and Special Teams Coordinator Jerry Rosburg. Both said they didn't know, but wouldn't reveal the secret even if they did.
But Koch finally let the cat out of the bag, and it turns out, Justin Tucker is the secret ingredient.
Bears Put Pernell McPhee on Injured Reserve; Career in Chicago at 'Crossroads'
The Chicago Bears announced Wednesday that they've placed outside linebacker and former Raven Pernell McPhee on injured reserve (shoulder), ending his 2018 season.
The Ravens drafted McPhee in the fifth round of the 2011 NFL Draft. After a few years of development, McPhee became a key pass rusher, who logged 7.5 sacks in 2014, but was always in a rotation. As such, the Ravens let him walk in 2015 when he got a big payday from the Bears.
Three years later, that appears to have been the right decision.
"McPhee's career with the Bears appears to be at a crossroads," wrote ESPN's Jeff Dickerson. "The veteran linebacker is out of guaranteed money and scheduled to earn $7.575 million (that includes workout and roster bonuses) in 2018. The Bears would open up $7.075 million in cap space if McPhee, 29, is released in the offseason.
"Either way, it's difficult to envision the Bears bringing McPhee back at that price. McPhee, while a spirited leader, has been reduced to a rotational role because of chronic knee issues. McPhee spent the last two preseasons on the PUP list and missed seven total games in 2016. McPhee played 14 games and tallied six sacks, one interception and 10 tackles for loss in his first season with the Bears (2015)."