The Ravens have their first major injury, as cornerback Tavon Young has suffered a neck injury that will likely end his 2019 season.
Head Coach John Harbaugh said it’s a disc issue. While Young isn’t officially out for the year yet, it appears he’s headed for surgery.
“Tavon has a more serious issue than we thought,” Harbaugh said. “He has a neck issue. Doctors can explain it, but it’s a disc issue. That’s a serious injury. He could be out for the remainder of the season. We’ll know soon, but it doesn’t look good for Tavon.”
Harbaugh said there’s an “outside chance” that they could see if Young’s neck injury would heal, but he indicated that the Ravens feel it’s in his best interest to get the procedure done and make sure he’s back and ready to go next season.
The Ravens signed Young to a three-year contract in February, making him the highest-paid nickel cornerback in the league at the time. He’s one of the top players in the league at that difficult job.
Young is a bulldog in a critical spot in the Ravens’ defense. He made 37 tackles, two sacks and one interception last season. He also returned two fumbles for touchdowns.
“It’s very tough,” safety Earl Thomas III said. “You’re talking about a Pro Bowl-caliber guy. I feel like he was just coming into his own. The thing that’s going to challenge us is we don’t really have any weak links. Cyrus is going to step right in and do a great job for us, too.”
Jones has played with the first-team defense since Young left practice and started Thursday night’s game against the Packers.
The 2016 second-round pick of the New England Patriots was a top-flight cornerback in college at Alabama, though he’s made most of his impact so far as a returner in the NFL. Now he’ll get his chance to show more of what he can do on defense.
Jones saw plenty of action against the Packers and finished with three tackles. He also showed his prowess as a blitzer on one play in the second quarter.
“He has looked good,” Harbaugh said. “That’s the thing that makes us feel good about it. Cyrus has looked good, and we have other guys we work in there. Most of our corners play nickel, except for our two starters [Jimmy Smith and Marlon Humphrey]. … We’d rather have Tavon than not have him, but we are blessed at that position with some depth.”
Veteran Brandon Carr has also been practicing some at nickel cornerback during the preseason and Maurice Canady also has experience in the slot.