The Ravens could open the regular season Thursday night in Denver without their two top defensive tackles in uniform.
Starter Arthur Jones has been ruled out of the game with a personal health issue, and reserve rookie lineman Brandon Williams (toe) is doubtful for the game. Neither player practiced this week, and now the Ravens will bring just five healthy defensive linemen into Denver.
With Jones out and Williams likely sidelined, veteran Marcus Spears could get the start at defensive end. Spears is known as a quality run stuffer with the versatility to play multiple positions. Second-year lineman DeAngelo Tyson will also be counted on to play a larger role.
Another option for the Ravens could be to move Haloti Ngata to defensive tackle, where he played some last year, and then have Terrence Cody start at nose tackle.
The Ravens have rotated their defensive linemen between multiple positions during training camp and the preseason, and that will likely be the expectation* *Thursday night.
Broncos Rule Out CB Bailey
Denver ruled out 12-time Pro Bowl cornerback Champ Bailey, who didn't practice all week due to a foot injury. Wide receiver Torrey Smith torched Bailey with three catches for 98 yards and two touchdowns in last year's playoffs.
This year, Smith will likely see cornerback Tony Carter as a starting cornerback. Carter, a former undrafted rookie out of Florida State, has one career start in his first four years.
The Broncos also ruled out backup tight end Joel Dreessen (knee), and running back C.J. Anderson (knee). Chris Kuper (ankle) is doubtful, meaning Manny Ramirez will likely start at center.
Dickson Practices All Week, Probable To Play
Tight end Ed Dickson appears poised to make his return to the field this week after coming back from a hamstring injury.
Dickson was a full participant in practice all week and is listed as probable on the final injury report.
"I feel pretty healthy, feel pretty optimistic about my chances to play in this game," Dickson told reporters Monday. "I always feel like I'm playing, so I'm working towards that, and we'll see what the trainers and the coaches say."
Dickson is expected to start at tight end, with Dallas Clark as the No. 2 tight end.
McPhee Probable After Being Limited
Third-year outside linebacker Pernell McPhee (knee) is probable on the final injury report after being limited in practice Tuesday and Wednesday.
McPhee's knee swelled up during the preseason, but he said that now he feels completely healthy.
"I feel great," he told reporters. "It just swelled up on me, but that was it," he said. "It's just from the banging on the turf. At Stevenson and NAVY, the turf was kind of hard and we were just banging on the turf all day."
McPhee is expected to be an important part of the pass rush along with Terrell Suggs and Elvis Dumervil.
Thompson, Jensen Doubtful
Wide receiver Deonte Thompson (foot) does not appear likely to make his return to the field after sitting out practice all week. The second-year receiver has not practiced since spraining his foot in the preseason opener.
That leaves the Ravens with five healthy receivers for this week: Torrey Smith, Jacoby Jones, Marlon Brown, Aaron Mellette and Brandon Stokley.
The only other player listed as doubtful for the Ravens is rookie offensive lineman Ryan Jensen (foot). Jensen injured his foot early in training camp and missed the entire preseason.