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John Harbaugh Gives Update on Injuries, Ravens Make Two Roster Moves

From left: WR Zay Flowers, CB Marlon Humphrey
From left: WR Zay Flowers, CB Marlon Humphrey

Having a bye gave the Ravens time to get healthier, and Head Coach John Harbaugh has "optimism" that he'll see players gradually return to practice this week.

Zay Flowers (calf), Marlon Humphrey (calf), Odafe Oweh (ankle), Malik Harrison (groin) and Del'Shawn Phillips (shoulder) did not practice Friday, the most recent session open to the media. Humphrey and Harrison, who did not play in the regular-season finale against the Steelers, were both running on an adjacent field Friday during the early portion of practice.

"We're pretty optimistic about everybody, varying degrees of optimism with certain guys," Harbaugh said. "It's just like any week, you have to see it unfold. Some guys are good to go. Other guys are going to be more day by day."

In another development Friday, Pro Bowl tight end Mark Andrews returned to practice for the first time since ankle surgery, opening his 21-day window to be moved from injured reserve to the active roster. Andrews hopes to return at some point in the playoffs. The Ravens now have two open spots on their 53-man roster.

In Monday roster moves, second-year cornerback Pepe Williams (ankle) was placed on injured reserve and veteran wide receiver Laquon Treadwell was released. The Ravens also have wide receiver/returner Devin Duvernay and defensive back Ar'Darius Washington in the middle of their injured reserve practice window.

Harbaugh said the coaching staff would make a determination this week if veteran running back Dalvin Cook would be activated off the practice squad for the divisional playoff game. The Ravens signed Cook last week after he was released by the Jets, and he is itching for an opportunity.

"We'll just look at it and see from a gameplan standpoint and opportunity standpoint what makes our team the strongest at this particular time based on what we're going to try and do offensively," Harbaugh said.

Saturday Stadium Practice Was Good 'Psychologically'

The Ravens held a closed Saturday practice at M&T Bank Stadium, something they didn't do in 2019 when they had a first-round bye. Harbaugh said he was pleased with the results.

"I thought it was really good," Harbaugh said. "We had an hour and a half practice. We were running around, fast timing, execution and good spirits. It was cold and windy, and we had a sense of the stadium.

"I think it was good to get in there psychologically just to feel that. Just even driving down to the stadium, you felt that it's like a game because that's what we do. We drive to the stadium for our home games. All of that, to me, helped us stay psychologically in the right place."

Harbaugh felt the entire bye week went well, with the Ravens practicing Wednesday through Saturday to stay sharp, while players who were injured focused on improving their health.

"I think it was good just from the mental standpoint and also certainly the recovery standpoint," Harbaugh said. "It's the late season of a long season. We had a lot of very physical games down the stretch.

"I think the mental rest was valuable. You work hard to get that bye. I don't think anybody's ever requested not to have the bye when they've earned it, have they? It's definitely a positive, and I know our guys looked at it that way. We had a really good week of practice. We did what we needed to do."

Ravens Not Concerned With Possibility of Cold Temps for Playoff Game

The weekend weather forecast in Baltimore is calling for high temperatures in the upper 20's to low 30's, dropping to the mid-to-low 20's in the evening. However, that's quite balmy compared to the snow in upstate New York that postponed the Bills-Steelers game until Monday, or the sub-zero temperatures during the Chiefs' victory over the Dolphins on Saturday night.

Harbaugh said he was not worried about the forecast.

"It's not going to be as cold as it was in Kansas City," Harbaugh said. "It's not going to be as much snow as there was in Buffalo. So we're good."

The decision to move the Bills-Steelers game from Sunday to Monday made the Ravens wait longer to know their next opponent, or whether they would play Saturday or Sunday. Harbaugh said the team was taking the different possibilities in stride.

"There's no frustration," Harbaugh said. "We're excited to be in this situation. We're fired up to have an opportunity to play in the divisional round. That's deep in the playoffs. We're hoping to play our best football game of the season. Really, that's all that's on our minds."

Weight Room and Conditioning Work Has Played Vital Role in Success

Harbaugh gave props to first-year Strength and Conditioning Coordinator Scott Elliott and the entire strength and conditioning staff for the work they are doing this season.

"We have a great group with [Assistant Strength and Conditioning Coaches] Ron [Shrift], Anthony [Watson], Kay [Buskey]," Harbaugh said. "All three do a fantastic job and [Football Performance Coordinator] Sam Rosengarten, who I put in that category as well. But Scott led it, and it was really an evolution of what we've been doing. We felt we were doing a lot of great things in the weight room.

"We felt like we had a very good program, and I have a lot of respect for [Former Strength & Conditioning Coordinator] Steve Saunders. He worked really hard and did a heck of a job and made us a strong and in-condition football team. Scott stepped in, and in maybe a little bit of a tough circumstance, right? He just handled it gracefully and aggressively and did a great job. He's one of the stars of the season – not just Scott, but the whole group I just mentioned before. That weight room is one of the stars of the season for sure. The guys love going in there."

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