Full Reaction to Reported Season-Ending Injuries to Gus Edwards, Marcus Peters
One can expect to hear the phrase "next man up" whenever an NFL player suffers an injury. With the Ravens' unbelievable spate of injuries this offseason, "next man down" seems more apt.
After All-Pro cornerback Marcus Peters suffered a reported season-ending ACL tear one play after running back Gus Edwards reportedly did the same Thursday, words such as snake-bitten, cursed and unlucky didn't seem strong enough to describe the preseason from hell for a team with lofty postseason expectations.
"There are difficult preseasons, and then there is what has happened to the Baltimore Ravens," The Ringer's Nora Princiotti wrote.
In a cruel twist of fate, just hours earlier, Peters was talking to the media about his love of playing for the Ravens and confidence in Edwards picking up the slack after the loss of Dobbins.
As difficult as it was to see yet another running back lost for the season, there's a feeling that the Ravens can overcome it because of Lamar Jackson's skill set and Offensive Coordinator Greg Roman's system.
The loss of Peters, one of the key players on defense, is more troubling in pundits' eyes.
"As for cornerback, it was arguably the Ravens' deepest position. But there's no replacing Peters' playmaking ability," Zrebiec wrote. "He has 31 interceptions and seven defensive touchdowns in six NFL seasons. … Anthony Averett, a cornerback Defensive Coordinator Don 'Wink' Martindale has hailed numerous times as a starter, figures to start on the outside opposite Pro Bowler Marlon Humphrey."
Princiotti wrote: "The Ravens need good man-to-man players (like Peters) in the secondary so that their defensive front is free to blitz to Defensive Coordinator Wink Martindale's heart's desire. The loss of Peters puts pressure on corner Marlon Humphrey, who will be the clear no. 1 instead of part of a tandem of multi-time Pro Bowlers. Baltimore has some depth in slot corner Tavon Young and Jimmy Smith, though Smith is 33 and has not played a full season since 2015 due to injuries."
The addition of Edwards and Peters to the Ravens' injury woes set off a tweeting frenzy on Twitter. Here's a sample of what was being said:
Ravens Reportedly Close to Finalizing Deal With Latavius Murray
Three days ago, free-agent running back Latavius Murray expressed interest in playing for the Ravens. It appears he's going to get his wish.
In the wake of Edwards reportedly suffering a torn ACL at yesterday's practice – thus becoming the third Baltimore running back to suffering a season-ending injury in a span of 12 days – a deal between the Ravens and Murray has reportedly been finalized, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter and The Athletic's Jeff Zrebiec.
"His durability, efficiency and ability to catch balls out of the backfield should help Baltimore's running back group as the team sets its sights on the playoffs," Bleacher Report's Paul Kasabian wrote.
Murray, who was cut by the New Orleans Saints earlier this week after reportedly declining to take a pay cut, would be the third former Pro Bowl running back to sign with the Ravens this week.
Devonta Freeman reportedly was signed to the practice squad following the injury to Edwards, and Le'Veon Bell was signed to the practice squad a couple days earlier to add depth after season-ending injuries to J.K. Dobbins and Justice Hill.
The Ravens can activate two players from the practice squad before Monday night's season opener at the Las Vegas Raiders. The Ravens also signed running back/special teams standout Trenton Cannon to the 53-man roster this week.
Ty'Son Williams, who spent last season on the practice squad, made the 53-man roster after an outstanding preseason and is now the No. 1 running back on the depth chart.
"The Ravens running back room is gaining a huge boost with Latavius Murray," Ebony Bird's Justin Fried wrote. "Following the losses of Dobbins, Edwards, and Hill, Williams and Murray could very well be the top duo in Baltimore with Freeman, Bell, and Cannon sprinkled in."
Murray, 31, rushed for 656 yards and four touchdowns and averaged a career-best 4.5 yards per carry last season as the No. 2 running back in New Orleans behind Alvin Kamara. He played 15 games last year and has missed just four games over his seven seasons.
"Murray can still produce," Pro Football Focus wrote. "Murray tied his career-high in PFF rushing grade last season (77.4) and set a new high in overall grade (81.5) on 150 carries for the Saints. A powerful and direct runner, Murray has averaged 2.57 yards per carry after contact for his NFL career and has never had a rushing grade below average in seven seasons."
Before being cut by the Saints, Murray's $2.95 million salary was set to become fully guaranteed this weekend. Since Murray is a vested veteran, his full salary for the season is guaranteed if he is on the 53-man roster in Week 1.
The team created $2.63 million in cap space by restructuring the deals of safety Chuck Clark and kicker Justin Tucker, ESPN's Jamison Hensley reported.
There's Still Cause for Optimism for 2021 Ravens
Despite all the injuries, the Ravens still have a talented roster. That said, it's understandable if Ravens fans view the proverbial glass as being half empty rather than half full.
In fact, I wouldn't blame them for thinking of the glass as being shattered into pieces all over the floor.
"This is despair land," Michael Wilbon said on ESPN's "Pardon The Interruption" podcast. "You lose this many guys — your No. 1 running back, then your No. 3 running back, then your second running back, and you lose a great defensive player apparently who you paid a lot of money a couple years ago. … Wow."
Perhaps we should all just take a deep breath.
As Head Coach John Harbaugh said on the sideline after Dobbins' season-ending injury during the Ravens' final preseason game, "to have a great comeback, you gotta have a setback."
As the setbacks have multiplied, the opportunity for a truly great comeback is there. Russell Street Report's Darin McCann encouraged fans to believe.
"I believe that this team can persevere," McCann wrote. "I believe that the oft-maligned Greg Roman is as equipped as any offensive mind in the NFL to put together a dangerous and effective rushing offense out of spare parts, and I believe a deep and cohesive defense can keep the team in just about any game out there. And I believe that Lamar Jackson — one of the most electric individual offensive players the sport has ever seen — will be asked to do more than ever before in his young career, and that he will not disappoint.
"Choose to bail on this team, if you'd like. Choose to moan and complain and whine that the season was stolen by some strange and twisted wrath of the Gods. Choose to gloat about the injuries if you're a fan of a rival team, and go ahead and put that 'W' next to the Ravens game on your little printed-out schedule sitting on your counter. Those are all your choices to make. I choose to believe. I choose to believe in this team, and this coaching staff and the will of this city and fan base to boost the Ravens who are left on this roster."