As the Ravens prepare for their regular-season opener against the Buffalo Bills, they’re much healthier than they were a year ago.
Despite the longest training camp and preseason in the NFL, Baltimore didn’t have any projected starters fall to season-ending injuries (knock on wood).
The biggest names to land on injured reserve were veteran journeyman cornerback Stanley Jean-Baptiste and rookie safety DeShon Elliott. However, the Ravens do have some key players that are banged up.
Hayden Hurst, Willie Henry Are Sidelined
First-round rookie tight end Hayden Hurst and third-year defensive tackle Willie Henry were the only two Ravens players who did not practice Wednesday.
Hurst underwent surgery on a stress fracture in his foot on Aug. 24 and was then expected to miss three-four weeks. That timeline puts him out this week with a possible return for the Ravens’ Week 3 game against the Denver Broncos.
For now, Baltimore will roll with Nick Boyle, Maxx Williams and third-round rookie Mark Andrews.
Henry had surgery to repair an umbilical hernia and was also estimated to also miss a few weeks, according to Head Coach John Harbaugh. That puts him on a similar schedule as Hurst.
On the Ravens’ first depth chart, defensive tackle Brandon Williams, nose tackle Michael Pierce and defensive end Brent Urban are listed as the starters. Chris Wormley, rookie Zach Sieler and Patrick Ricard will help fill out the depth.
Rookie Linebacker Kenny Young Is Limited
One of the best roster competitions this summer was between third-year inside linebacker Patrick Onwuasor and rookie fourth-round pick Kenny Young.
Both had excellent preseason games in Miami, including a sack each, and there wasn’t a clear winner heading into the preseason finale. That is until Young was forced to leave the game early because of a knee injury. That put his Week 1 status up in the air.
“Probably day-to-day is the best way to describe it,” Harbaugh said Monday. “We’ll see how he looks today, looks Wednesday, Thursday, and see if he’s ready to go Sunday.”
It’s perhaps a good sign that Young was limited in practice Wednesday. He has the potential to build up to Sunday’s game. If Young is not ready, the Ravens would turn to Onwuasor and perhaps use undrafted rookie Chris Board.
Maurice Canady Still Hampered by Thigh Injury
Third-year cornerback Maurice Canady has stood out on the field when he’s been on it. Unfortunately, he’s been off it too much.
Canady was limited in Wednesday’s practice because of a thigh injury that first struck during a Ravens-Colts joint practice on Aug. 17. Harbaugh then called it “not serious,” but it’s still affecting Canady.
Canady missed the first eight games of last season because of a knee injury. A hamstring injury sent him to injured reserve after four games during his rookie year.
If Canady can’t play Sunday, it would leave Baltimore’s cornerback group a bit thin. With Jimmy Smith suspended, the Ravens would have Marlon Humphrey, Brandon Carr, Tavon Young, fourth-round rookie Anthony Averett and undrafted rookie Darious Williams as their only healthy corners.
Williams, who comes from Alabama-Birmingham, was perhaps the biggest surprise to make the Ravens’ 53-man roster, but he could be active on gameday if Baltimore feels it needs more depth.
“It’s just fun to know that you’re part of a great team, a great defense,” Williams said. “I can’t wait. I can’t wait to see the atmosphere.”