Best- And Worst-Case Scenarios For Five Players On PUP
It wasn't a huge surprise to see the six players that will start training camp on the *active *physically unable to perform (PUP) list. Note the word "active," meaning they can return to practice at any point during training camp.
We already knew outside linebackers Terrell Suggs and Elvis Dumervil, wide receivers Steve Smith Sr. and Breshad Perriman, running back Trent Richardson and cornerback Jumal Rolle weren't likely to participate in the first practice Thursday. Rolle reportedly suffered a season-ending Achilles tear in May.
The good news is injured players on the mend, including quarterback Joe Flacco, cornerback Jimmy Smith and tight end Dennis Pitta, were not on the list, indicating they'll be ready to go this week.
While the list wasn't a surprise, that doesn't mean there aren't questions and concerns about each player's ability to perform at a high level once they're on the field.
CSNMidatlantic.com writers Clifton Brown and Bo Smolka have written over the last couple of weeks the best- and worst-case scenarios for many Ravens players heading into the season, and here's what they see for five of the players who will start camp on PUP:
Terrell SuggsExpected return date:Unclear, but Ravens are hopeful for at least Week 1 of the regular seasonBest:Makes a full recovery from Achilles injury, returns as a double-digit sack artist and three-down linebacker
Worst: Achilles injury limits Suggs and he is no longer an impact player
Steve Smith Sr.
Expected return date:Unclear, but Ravens are hopeful for at least Week 1 of the regular seasonBest: Enjoys a typical 1,000-yard season, remains Ravens' top receiver
Worst: Body betrays him; the Ravens' depth at wide receiver reduces his playing time and role
Elvis DumervilExpected return date:Some time during training campBest:Among the NFL's sack leaders and spearheads a rebirth of the Ravens' pass rushWorst:No longer an elite pass rusher
Breshad PerrimanExpected return date:Some time during training campBest: Becomes the playmaker the Ravens expected when they drafted him
Worst: Knee injury keeps him off the field for an extended period
Trent RichardsonExpected return date:Some time during training camp
Best/Worst: CSN didn't do a complete best- and worst-case look at Richardson, but offered this upon the PUP announcements: "His lingering hamstring issue could ruin his bid for an NFL comeback. The Ravens are deep at running back, and Richardson needs to get healthy to have any chance to win a roster spot."
Steelers RB Le'Veon Bell Facing Four-Game Suspension
One of the NFL's top running backs, the Steelers' Le'Veon Bell, is reportedly facing a four-game suspension for violating the NFL's drug policy by missing a drug test.
If the suspension is indeed enforced, he'll still be free to play in the AFC North showdown with the Ravens in Week 9. But his absence will have an indirect effect on the Ravens' bid to regain the division crown.
"[I]t certainly could affect how the AFC North plays out, as the Steelers are considered by many pundits as the preseason favorite to win the division," wrote The Baltimore Sun's Jeff Zrebiec. "Pittsburgh is already playing the season without wide receiver Martavis Bryant, who was suspended for at least a year for violating the league's substance-abuse policy.
"Now, Bell, one of the league's top all-purpose backs, will be suspended for the first four games unless he wins his appeal."
Suspension Latest Setback For Former Raven Arthur Jones
Former Ravens defensive lineman Arthur Jones is also facing suspension for the first four games of the season for violating the NFL policy on PEDs.
As The Baltimore Sun points out, this is the latest setback for Jones after he Ravens allowed him to walk via free agency for a big payday in Indianapolis in 2014. Jones had developed in Baltimore as a former fifth-round pick, and Colts Head Coach and former Ravens Defensive Coordinator Chuck Pagano was hoping Jones' ascension would continue.
It hasn't worked out that way.
Flacco Has Same MVP Odds As Winston And Mariota
Sixteen quarterbacks have a better chance of winning the 2016 NFL MVP award than Flacco, according to sportsbook Bovada.lv.
Flacco received 100/1 odds to win the league's most prominent distinction, which is the same as the Titans' Marcus Mariota and the Bucs' Jameis Winston. Giving a Super Bowl MVP and two second-year players the same odds didn't sit right with Brown.
"People who think Flacco is an elite quarterback may view that as disrespect," Brown wrote.
"[D]o Blake Bortles (66/1) of the Jaguars or Brock Osweiler of the Texans (66/1) really have a better chance of winning the MVP than Flacco? …* *That's also an indication that not much is expected from the Ravens overall after their 5-11 season. The better your team does, the better your chances of winning the MVP."
The quarterbacks at the top of the list are more understandable:
Packers' Aaron Rodgers (4/1)
Steelers' Ben Roethlisberger (7/1)
Panthers' Cam Newton (15/2)
Seahawks' Russell Wilson (8/1)
Patriots' Tom Brady (9/1)