Hensley: Breshad Perriman Returns Before Camp Ends And Is Ready Week 1
Predicting Perriman will return from his knee injury during training camp is rather bold considering his injury history, and ESPN's Jamison Hensley knows fans will have a hard time buying it.
"Cue the eye roll now," Hensley wrote after making his projection.
Perriman, a 2015 first-round draft pick, was initially expected to miss only a couple days after a knee injury last year during training camp, but ended up missing the entire season. That's why nobody's holding their breath for a Week 1 debut this year. But that doesn't mean it absolutely can't happen.
"[He] was expected to miss only eight weeks after partially spraining his ACL this offseason," Hensley wrote. "He is showing progress in his rehab and should be ready by the middle of August, which would give him enough time to get up to speed for the regular season. Perriman … has a chance to be an impact playmaker early in the season."
If Perriman indeed comes back in mid-August, that would give him about a month's worth of practice before the season-opener at M&T Bank Stadium on Sept. 11. That would be invaluable time for him and quarterback Joe Flacco to build chemistry.
Of all the people missing from practice, Flacco told Peter King of The MMQB that he is most affected by the absence of Perriman.
"The really important one is Breshad. I've only practiced with him, like, twice last year," said Flacco, who was injured during Perriman's brief time practicing at Organized Team Activities. "I really need to get on the same page with him."
The importance of playing together is compounded by the fact that Flacco is changing his throwing approach this year.
He is trying to get the ball out quicker than usual, releasing it before wideouts turn their eyes back to him at the top of their routes, per King. The purpose is to make quicker decisions and churn out plays before defenses can adjust. The Ravens have simplified their playbook to ensure it's more feasible.
"He's definitely been putting it in spots and trusting us to get there," receiver Kamar Aiken told King. "I think it will help him a lot. It will help him get his reads quicker, get the ball out quicker, let us get the ball quicker to turn up field and get more yards after contact."
The upside is clear, but it requires the connection on both ends.
That's another reason why it'd sure be nice if Hensley's prediction came true. Giving the quarterback and his highest-drafted weapon ever with at least a month to work together would go a long, long way.
Barber: Terrance West May Win Starting Running Back Job
It's only been a week of training camp. But it's been a phenomenal week for hometown star Terrance West. It's been so strong that we are getting another very daring prediction.
"N]ot only is West receiving a job with Baltimore, he [may be winning the starting gig," wrote Baltimore Beatdown's Kyle P Barber.
Barber argues that West is "crushing" Lorenzo Taliaferro and Trent Richardson, which is obvious because they've both been on the physically unable to perform list. Richardson was released from the team Tuesday (more on that below). But West is also outperforming last year's two starters in Justin Forsett and Buck Allen, says Barber.
While The Baltimore Sun's Jeff Zrebiec hasn't gone as far as saying West will be the starter this season, he agrees the third-year player has been the "most impressive" running back so far and the "most explosive offensive player."
"I've read plenty of snarky comments in response to my observation," Zrebiec wrote. "Look, I get it. West has been a disappointment so far in the NFL. It also needs to be said that West understands he is playing for a job and possibly his NFL career, while fellow running backs like Justin Forsett and Buck Allen are more focused on being ready and healthy for the Sept. 11 opener and may not share the same sense of urgency as West. Again, I get it.
"But in watching training camp practices so far, it's been obvious that West, who shed 15 pounds in the offseason, has been in a different gear than the Ravens backs. We'll see if he keeps that momentum going throughout the rest of the summer and the preseason, but he's off to a really good start in his effort to secure a roster spot and an offensive role."
Head Coach John Harbaugh teaches his players to focus on W.I.N., or What's Important Now. And that's what West is trying to do. He just wants to stack days in training camp and let everything else work itself out.
But after a standout performance at Monday night's stadium practice, the media provided a tempting mental image. A reporter asked West what it would mean if he started Week 1.
"That would be a dream come true," he said. "A lot of people in this city are depending on me. That would mean a lot to this city. That would be big."
Trent Richardson Experiment Didn't Hurt Ravens; Wishing Him Luck
West is having the training camp that Richardson needed in order to keep his comeback bid alive.
Richardson wasn't shy this offseason about saying he not only hoped to resuscitate his career, but he wanted to wind up "putting on a yellow jacket." Unfortunately, the injuries that had plagued him since becoming the third-overall pick in the 2012 draft led, ultimately, to his demise in Baltimore, too. His time as a Raven lasted three months.
The good news for the team is that experimenting with Richardson was a no-lose situation, and the organization isn't really any worse off after cutting him from the roster.
On a human level, you can't help but root for somebody who wants so badly to realize his NFL dream, even if it isn't in Baltimore.
"Many will continue to write off Richardson, but his comeback attempt is an admirable one, and hopefully isn't over just yet," wrote Baltimore Beatdown's Jacob Louque.
Chris Moore 'Clearly Going To Miss More Time'
Several reporters spotted fourth-round rookie receiver Chris Moore wearing a walking boot Monday night, which doesn't signal that he'll be back on the field catching more 60-yard bombs from Flacco any time soon.
"Harbaugh is not going into detail about injuries, but Moore is clearly going to miss more time," wrote CSNMidAtlantic.com's Clifton Brown. "Moore had some impressive practices before his injury. But this could set him back in the battle for playing time at wide receiver."
Moore joins a long list of players who have sustained injuries in the first week of training camp, but don't think the Baltimore is the only one getting dinged up. It could be much worse …
Bad Injury Day For Bengals And Steelers
On top of the five players on the physically unable to perform list, the Ravens have sustained six new injuries in the first week of training camp. That list includes Pitta (finger), Moore (foot), Kenneth Dixon (knee),* *Crockett Gillmore (hamstring), Timmy Jernigan (ribs) and Maurice Canady (undisclosed).
Here's the good thing about the Ravens' injured players so far: none of them are in serious danger of missing the season opener. (Knock on wood.)
The same can't be said for other teams around the NFL, including chief AFC North rivals Pittsburgh and Cincinnati. Both have lost key players recently.
Steelers To Wear All-Black 'Color Rush' vs. Ravens On Christmas
Steelers President Art Rooney II revealed that when his team hosts the Ravens on Christmas Day, it will do so in it's monochromatic "Color Rush" uniform.
Team brass didn't unveil what the alternate uniform will look like, but Pittsburgh Tribune-Review's Mark Kaboly tweeted it will be black on black. The folks at 247Sports.com did a mockup of what it could look like.
Ravens fans would like nothing more than to make the Steelers never want to wear the all-black look again by beating them on Christmas day.
- "It's a bit surprising that the Ravens haven’t added another running back when the only healthy ones they have are Justin Forsett, Buck Allen and Terrance West," wrote Zrebiec. "They are going to need more than that once the preseason schedule starts next Thursday. Perhaps, they are counting on Dixon, who was diagnosed with a relatively minor knee sprain, returning soon." -- The Baltimore Sun
- "Eric Weddle loves his new life in Baltimore," wrote King. "Weddle was one of the final few players left on the field signing autographs 15 minutes after practice ended. He only headed back to the locker room after hearing the stadium-wide announcement saying, "Coach Harbaugh needs all players in the locker room now." Weddle's experience and leadership is good for Baltimore's secondary, a unit that finished with an NFL-worst six interceptions last season." -- The MMQB