Michael Pierce (biceps) has opted to have season-ending surgery, which means other defensive linemen will be asked to step up.
That includes rookie defensive tackle Travis Jones, who played 29 snaps in his season debut Week 3 after missing the first two games with a knee injury. The Ravens still have a deep defensive line group led by Calais Campbell, Justin Madubuike, Broderick Washington and Brent Urban. But Defensive Coordinator Mike Macdonald liked what he saw from Jones against the Patriots, following a strong training camp and preseason prior to his injury.
Macdonald said Assistant Head Coach/Defensive Line Anthony Weaver would continue to work with Jones on his technique.
"I think you see his strength, just his brute strength at times," Macdonald said. "But if you ask 'Weav', he's probably going to be a little more detailed in the things that he needs to do. But I'm pleased with his start. We expect him to keep growing as he gets more opportunities.
"It's obviously a challenge for Travis moving forward, but he's up for it. I think we have our D-line depth, there's guys to step in. We'll see what happens on how we mix-and-match the pieces."
Macdonald said it was tough to see Pierce go down early in the season, abruptly ending what could've been one of his best seasons.
"Mike was playing great," Macdonald said. "Anytime someone goes down it presents challenges, and personally you feel for them for all the work he's put in."
Kyle Hamilton Said Confidence Remained High Before His Huge Forced Fumble
Rookie safety Kyle Hamilton made the biggest play of his young career in Week 3, stripping the ball from Patriots wide receiver Nelson Agholor and allowing Marcus Peters to recover the fourth-quarter fumble.
The popular narrative was that Hamilton needed that play to boost his confidence. But Hamilton said he was never down on himself after making some coverage miscues during the Ravens' Week 2 loss to Miami.
"I don't think it had a major boost or change in my confidence," Hamilton said. "Playing this position you have to be confident, you have to have a short memory. I feel like I was just as confident going into last game as I am going into this game. It was good to make plays last week but now I have to make more."
Peters gave Hamilton the ball that he punched out as a keepsake and the rookie let out a guttural scream when he got to the sideline with Geno Stone and Marlon Humphrey.
"I guess screaming is a thing for the DB group around here. Maybe it's just 'Marlo'," Hamilton said.
Ravens Practice With Wet Ball Anticipating Inclement Weather on Sunday
With Sunday's weather forecast calling for rain, the Ravens spent part of Thursday's practice using a wet ball in anticipation of slippery conditions. Ball security could become more challenging and the weather could influence Offensive Coordinator Greg Roman's play calling.
"I think we definitely take that into account, you saw us out there with the wet balls today getting ready for that eventuality," Roman said. "It will probably change the course of how the game goes. We've got to do a great job challenging the weather and the elements."
The Ravens have done an excellent job avoiding turnovers this season, and their plus-five turnover ratio (eight takeaways, three turnovers) is second only to Jacksonville which leads the NFL at plus-six.
Jordan Stout Working on Consistency
Jordan Stout is averaging 45.9 yards on 11 punts this year, including a 64-yarder Week 1 against the Jets. However, Stout has two punts he'd like to have back – a 36-yarder in Week 2 against the Dolphins and a 23-yarder against the Patriots. Both occurred in the fourth quarter, and Special Teams Coordinator Chris Horton wants to see Strout finish games stronger.
"Jordan is a young guy," Horton said. "You look at those first two punts he had, they were great. Our focus with him is just consistency and finishing. These things are coming up late in the game. We'll correct those things. Those first two punts, again, they were outstanding. We just talked about, 'Finish the game.' It was a miss-hit. We'll try to get him under control - just take care of his business."