The Ravens are a little banged up coming out of the preseason, as two potential starters and two top backups are all still out of practice.
Baltimore had four players sit Wednesday: defensive tackle Timmy Jernigan (knee), cornerback Rashaan Melvin (thigh), wide receiver Breshad Perriman (knee) and running back Lorenzo Taliaferro (knee).
On the bright side, the entire starting offensive line is back on the field together again, as well as cornerback Lardarius Webb (thigh) and wide receiver Michael Campanaro (soft tissue).
Jernigan Still Not Ready
Jernigan is the man charged with stepping into the shoes vacated by defensive tackle Haloti Ngata, but he's had a hard time staying on the field.
After missing time last season due to a knee injury, Jernigan sustained another knee injury near the start of the third preseason game against the Redskins on Aug. 29. The injury came on a clean cut block that Jernigan didn't avoid.
Head Coach John Harbaugh called the injury "not overly serious," but didn't put a timetable on his return.
If Jernigan can't suit up in Denver, defensive tackle Kapron Lewis-Moore is listed next on the depth chart. The Ravens could also lean on rookie third-round pick Carl Davis, who they have been highly impressed with this preseason, or returning backup veteran Lawrence Guy.
Melvin's Thigh Injury Lingering
Soft-tissue issues have plagued the Ravens this year, and one is hindering the progress of cornerback Rashaan Melvin.
Melvin has dealt with the thigh injury on and off during the later parts of training camp and the preseason. He first walked off the field with a trainer during a practice on Aug. 24. Melvin returned, however, to play against the Redskins several days later.
The Ravens didn't use Melvin in the preseason finale and he's missed some practice time since.
Baltimore could especially use Melvin this week considering it will be facing Peyton Manning and the Broncos' talented passing attack. Webb is back on the field, but the Ravens need as much help as they can get in the secondary. Free-agent addition Kyle Arrington may see a lot of action in Denver.
Not A 'Big Chance' Perriman Plays
On Saturday, Harbaugh said there was a "chance" that Perriman could play Sunday in Denver. On Tuesday, Harbaugh clarified his comments, essentially ruling out the first-round rookie receiver.
"I think I was pretty clear. It's probably not a real big chance* *because he hasn't practiced," Harbaugh said.
Perriman has been out since the first day of training camp with a knee injury. Since he's been out for more than a month, the rookie would need some time just to get his legs back under him and get into football shape.
"When he comes [back] ... I don't have a time frame from the doctors," Harbaugh said. "I don't think it's tremendously far down the road, or we would have done something else with him, as far as his [roster] status."
Wide receiver Kamar Aiken is expected to start in Perriman's place, followed by Marlon Brown and Michael Campanaro.
Taliaferro Progressing But Still Out
Taliaferro went down during the Aug. 22 preseason game in Philadelphia and is making progress towards a return.
The Ravens could have added a more experienced running back on the free-agent market after cuts, but didn't end up making a deal, other than adding undrafted rookie Terrence Magee. It could be a sign that Taliaferro isn't far off.
The second-year running back, who looked strong in the preseason, has removed his knee brace and was seen walking off the field following Tuesday's practice in street clothes.
For now, the Ravens will lean on a pair of rookies, fourth-rounder Javorius Allen and Magee, behind starter Justin Forsett.