When Head Coach John Harbaugh filled out his list of inactive players for Sunday's game against the Texans, he did not have too many decisions to make.
All he had to do was take a look at who was healthy. If a player was good to go, he was on the 46-man gameday roster and the Ravens needed him on the field.
"We had no healthy scratches," Harbaugh said. "I don't know if I can remember the last time that's happened."
Every team in the NFL deals with injuries, but the Ravens have been particularly snake-bitten early this season. Just three games into the year, the Ravens have dealt with injuries to key starters and players expected to see significant playing time.
The list includes:
- Running back Ray Rice (hip, could return this week)
- Tight end Dennis Pitta (hip, could miss entire season)
- Wide receiver Jacoby Jones (knee, injured Week 1 and could miss four- to six weeks)
- Defensive lineman Chris Canty (groin, could return this week)
- Inside linebacker Arthur Brown (chest, could return this week)
- Nose tackle Terrence Cody (knee, injured Week 3 and expected to miss this week)
- Wide receiver Deonte Thompson (foot, has not played since preseason opener)
- Defensive lineman Brandon Williams (toe, missed first three games and could return this week)
- Linebacker Jameel McClain (neck, on PUP list and eligible to return Week 7)
The injuries, combined with the roster overhaul this offseason, has given the Ravens almost a completely new team. When they took the field Sunday against the Texans, they were without 16 players from last year's roster who had starting experience.
To make up for the losses, the Ravens have turned to young players like wide receiver Marlon Brown and running back Bernard Pierce, or veteran free-agent signings like tight end Dallas Clark and defensive lineman Marcus Spears.
The new faces have stepped into starting roles and helped the Ravens pick up wins in each of the last two games.
"For us to play the way we did [against Houston] and to win a game like that says a lot about our coaches and a lot about our players and the 'Next Man Up' philosophy." Harbaugh said. "It was important, and those guys really came through."
The good news on the injury front is that Pitta is the only one that's considered a serious, long-term issue. Rice and Canty may end up only missing a game, and Thompson and Williams appear close to returning after practicing last week.
The Ravens have not made a big deal out of the injuries in the early part of the season, and Harbaugh likes the approach that he's seen from his team up to this point.
"Our attitude is as good as I've ever been around as a football team – and even individually, across the board – and our work ethic is as good as any that I've been around," Harbaugh said. "I'm just proud of these guys for the way they work and the way they approach their job, and you would like to think that that shows up in how they improve."