Undrafted WR Quincy Adeboyejo Could Get a Shot
Looking for a spark at wide receiver, the Ravens could give big, fast undrafted rookie wide receiver Quincy Adeboyejo a shot in the second half of the season.
That is, once he gets healthy.
Head Coach John Harbaugh said Monday, as the team heads into its bye, that Adeboyejo is still recovering from a knee (PCL) injury that he suffered in training camp.
"It's one of those slow-healing type injuries," Harbaugh said. "He told me about two weeks ago that he's about 75 percent and he told me last week that he's about 85 percent. So hopefully he's getting closer to 100 percent. He did look quicker last week, and faster."
The Ravens opted to keep Adeboyejo on the practice squad instead of placing him on injured reserve, showing their hope and commitment to getting him on the field.
Adeboyejo made a ton of big plays in Ravens practices before his injury. The 6-foot-3, 197-pound Ole Miss product was one of the team's biggest surprises, and showed great promise.
The knee injury slowed him once the preseason rolled around, however, and Adeboyejo failed to make a splash in the team's four warm-up games. He made just three catches for 31 yards.
But with the Ravens currently struggling to make big plays down the field, Adeboyejo could help. Outside of Mike Wallace, Breshad Perriman and Jeremy Maclin, the Ravens don't have another big, speedy pass catcher on the roster.
"As soon as he gets back to speed, to me, he becomes part of the conversation," Harbaugh said.
Nick Boyle Is a 'Centerpiece' of Ravens Run Game
Don't overlook what the loss of tight end Nick Boyle meant to the Ravens running game in Tennessee.
Boyle was ruled out because of a toe injury that kept him off the practice field all last week, and Baltimore's ground attack, which entered the game ranked No. 7 in the league, stumbled.
The Ravens gained just 73 yards on 22 carries with a long of 14 yards. Alex Collins had 13 carries for 43 yards, an average of 3.3 yards per carry.
"Nick was kind of the centerpiece of the run game. That position does a lot of things for us. There's a lot of multiple different blocks that Nick excels at," Harbaugh said.
"Maxx [Williams] went in that role and did pretty well; he did OK. He's coming off the ankle [injury], so I don't think he's 100 percent. He wasn't like Nick, in all honesty."
Harbaugh talked about his excitement to get some players healthy over the bye, and Boyle is near the top of that list. Harbaugh said he's looking forward to the diversity that's going to give Offensive Coordinator Marty Mornhinweg and Senior Offensive Assistant Greg Roman in game-planning the run game and play-action passing.
"When you talk about being positive going forward, that's the kind of thing to be excited about," Harbaugh said.
Za'Darius Smith Needs to Clean up Penalties, But Played Well in Tennessee
Outside linebacker Za'Darius Smith had one of the Ravens' key mistakes in a 23-20 loss to the Titans when he was flagged for a late hit on quarterback Marcus Mariota. Instead of settling for a field-goal attempt, the Titans punched in a touchdown.
Replays showed that Smith hardly grazed the Titans quarterback, but it's not Smith's first brush with that particular penalty. He's been flagged three times this year for late hits on quarterbacks.
After seeing replays, Harbaugh didn't give Smith a pass.
"It's your responsibility," Harbaugh said. "You could look at each one of those different plays and explain them any way you want, but it wasn't necessary. He and I talked about it on the plane, and he's coachable and wants to do the right thing."
Harbaugh outlined the Ravens' policy on whether to hit a quarterback running outside the pocket. If the defender is close enough to tackle a quarterback legally while throwing the ball, then go for it. That's well within the rules.
"That's what Matt Judon did earlier [in Sunday's game]," Harbaugh pointed out. "Good football play and I don't think anyone questioned that one, except for their crowd, maybe."
Judon's hit on Mariota was definitely harder, but it wasn't as late as Smith's. As Harbaugh noted, Smith wasn't even looking at Mariota and certainly wasn't trying to knock him down.
"He just kind of bumped into him," Harbaugh said. "But still, it wasn't a natural football type of play and the quarterback went flying in the air. So, if you're not close enough to tackle him, you've got to pull off."
While Harbaugh didn't like that play, Smith will get more chances to get after quarterbacks. The third-year outside linebacker has 1.5 sacks and 13 tackles so far this season.
"'Z,' other than that play, played a really good football game," Harbaugh said. "He played really hard and made a number of plays for us. We don't want to lose that. 'Z' just has to clean that up."
Harbaugh Details Bye Week Schedule
Harbaugh said the Ravens met Monday and will practice Tuesday and Wednesday before players are given a four-day weekend off. Coaches will get the weekend off after self-scouting and getting a head start on game-planning for the Green Bay Packers.
"The timing is very good; maybe a week or two earlier, even, would have been good timing with the fact that we've had so many injuries," Harbaugh said.
"There's a little bit of excitement in the sense that we're going to get some guys back. This is a something that we'll have a chance to be pretty much full steam ahead with the guys that are up and active on the 53, the guys who are not on IR. So I'm excited about that, the guys are excited about it."
Among those players who could return are running back Danny Woodhead (hamstring), Boyle, running back Terrance West (calf) and rookie outside linebacker Tim Williams (thigh).
Harbaugh said the two practices will be spent on getting some timing back and to improve on different aspects of the game. It will mostly be fundamentals, technique, timing and precision. Veterans will get a lighter workload and will let their position coaches know what they individually need to improve on.
"They won't be long practices, but they'll be very directed at specific issues," Harbaugh said.