All eyes are on Mark Ingram II's calf, as Baltimore's Pro Bowl running back did not practice for a second straight day on Wednesday.
Last Friday, Head Coach John Harbaugh said he expected Ingram to be full speed this week and ready to play in Saturday's divisional playoffs. But Ingram hasn't practiced this week, leaving his status in question.
"It's day to day, so we'll see," Offensive Coordinator Greg Roman said. "But that's how it is in this league. You just have to be ready to adapt and adjust as it happens, like in the course of a game."
The Ravens have an excellent Plan-B, and the "B" stands for Bus. Gus Edwards is preparing to take on the lead role that he carried into last year's playoffs, and he's proven he's up for the task.
"I'm prepared for whatever they give me. I'm hoping it's a lot," Edwards said. "I like to carry the ball. I've just got to get my mind ready, my body ready, and I'll be ready when my name is called."
When Ingram sat out the regular-season finale, Edwards ran for a career-high 130 yards against a tough Steelers defense, behind an offensive line without two Pro Bowl starters.
Edwards has been the clear No. 2 back this year, but he's still flourished when given the opportunity. His 5.3 yards per carry this year is a tick better than last year's 5.2.
"I like to take every rep with that mindset that it's my opportunity to show what I can do," Edwards said. "It's unfortunate what Mark is going through right now. But I've got to step up. That's why I'm here. I'm here to make plays and run the ball and help my team win games."
Edwards was dealing with an ankle injury down the stretch last year, which hampered him in the wild-card loss to the Los Angeles Chargers, in which Baltimore's ground game was largely shut down. Edwards ran eight times for 23 yards in that game.
Early fumbles doomed Baltimore in last year's playoff loss. With rain in the forecast for Saturday's game, Edwards knows that ball security is of the utmost importance. He lost fumbles in back-to-back games to end the regular season.
"With our offense running the ball so much, you definitely have to protect the football," Edwards said. "We got a taste of an L [last year] and we don't want to taste that again. We feel like we're definitely a better team. We have that under our belt now."
If Ingram can't play or isn't 100 percent, it could also mean more action for rookie running back Justice Hill, who has flashed more down the stretch and scored touchdowns in each of the final two regular-season games.
"We love our backs, and Gus is obviously a very important part of that group," Roman said. "I think he would love lots of action, like you want him to. He'll be ready. We really don't have to skip a beat."
Two Ravens Rookies Not Named 'Hollywood' Who Will Have Huge Roles
Last year, the storyline of Ravens rookies heading into their first playoff game has serious merit with Lamar Jackson, Mark Andrews, Orlando Brown Jr., Hayden Hurst and Edwards having such big roles.
This season, the Ravens' rookies haven't taken center stage as much, but two other than top wide receiver Marquise Brown will be quite critical in Saturday's game.
Third-round outside linebacker Jaylon Ferguson and undrafted center Patrick Mekari will be in the playoffs for the first time, and they can expect stiff tests against the Tennessee Titans.
Ferguson will be largely responsible for holding up one edge of Baltimore's front seven against big runs from the NFL's bruising leading rusher, Derrick Henry. Henry did much of his damage on the edges of the Patriots' defense last week, and Ferguson said he expects the Titans will want to test him first.
"I'm excited about the challenge," Ferguson said. "It's just part of growing up. I can't run from it. All I can do is put my feet in the ground and get ready."
Ferguson is a big, strong force on the edge, and he's grown a lot since some tougher moments early in the season when the Ravens were gashed on the ground. Now he can showcase that growth against a similarly big, strong running back in Henry.
"He's big, and you've got to watch that stiff-arm," Ferguson said. "But we've got 11 wild dogs over here ready to take him down."
Mekari will have one of the tougher offensive matchups as he'll occasionally tussle with four-time Pro Bowl defensive tackle Jurrell Casey, who is one of Tennessee's best defenders.
Controlling Casey and getting off clean snaps – particularly in wet conditions that are being called for Saturday – will be imperative for the Ravens offense.
"I feel like I'm a little nervous before every game, but that's kind of normal," Mekhari said. "I'm treating it like another game, but obviously the focus has to be that much more dialed in."
Wink Martindale Reacts to Not Getting Giants Job
The Ravens are now assured to have at least one of the coordinators back next year, as the Cleveland Browns are the only team still with an opening after the New York Giants hired Joe Judge, the former special teams and wide receivers coach of the New England Patriots.
Martindale interviewed for the Giants' opening on Saturday. According to the New York Daily News' Pat Leonard, Martindale "had reason to believe he was the leader in the clubhouse as late as Monday evening."
Martindale said interviewing with the Giants was a "great experience." He sat down with Giants President and CEO John Mara.
"I was telling my wife, 'By the end of the interview, it was – I'm sitting there talking with John Mara down at the Four Seasons – it was just like going out to Challedon and playing golf with Dale Fogle by the end.' It was really a good experience for me," Martindale said.
"Am I disappointed about it? Sure. I think that any time you interview for something you, obviously, have interest in that job. I'm not going to act like I didn't have interest in that job, but like I said, I felt like I was playing on house money and look where I'm still standing."
Roman interviewed with the Browns last week, so he's still in the running for the job. Roman was asked Wednesday how the interview went.
"I'm focused on the game, focused on our preparations for the game," he said. "Today is a normal Thursday for us, so we have a lot of third down, short yardage, goal line work to do."
Titans Rookie WR A.J. Brown Is a 'Young Anquan Boldin'
The 2019 wide receiver draft class has had one heck of a rookie year, but the Titans' A.J. Brown led the way.
Brown, who was a second-round pick at No. 51 overall (the fourth wide receiver off the board), posted 52 catches for 1,051 yards and eight touchdowns. His 20.2 yards per catch were second in the NFL to Los Angeles Chargers wideout Mike Williams.
He only had one catch for four yards against the Patriots in his playoff debut, but the Titans didn't throw the ball much. Baltimore isn't sleeping on the rookie.
"I said it the other day watching it: he's a young Anquan Boldin," Martindale said. "He can catch, and we need to tackle the talent. That's for sure."
The Ravens want to make sure Brown doesn't have a playoff run like Boldin did in 2012. Besides Henry, the Ravens have to watch out for play-action passes with big shots to Brown.