Several notable players missed practice Wednesday as the Ravens prepared for Sunday’s home game against the Denver Broncos. Absent were running back Alex Collins (illness), inside linebacker C.J. Mosley (knee), defensive tackles Michael Pierce (foot) and Willie Henry (abdomen), and tight end Hayden Hurst (foot).
Left tackle Ronnie Stanley (elbow) practiced on limited basis wearing a brace on his right arm. Stanley sat out the final 12 snaps of Thursday’s loss to the Cincinnati Bengals. Outside linebacker Matthew Judon (hamstring) was also limited.
Collins’ status is important, with the Ravens hoping to get more from their rushing attack. Collins has gained just 48 yards on 16 carries through two games, which still made him the Ravens’ leading rusher. Collins did not have a touch during the fourth quarter in Cincinnati.
Pierce is a pivotal piece of the Ravens run defense, which did not play up to its normal standards against the Bengals. Ravens defensive tackle Brandon Williams talked about Pierce’s value before Wednesday’s practice.
“He’s doing great things,” Williams said. “When I come out, it’s a new rotation. Nothing falls off, he comes in and does the same kind of work. We have that kind of play mentality. We gel that well together.”
Mosley left the game Thursday after the first series with a knee bone bruise. He is one of the NFL’s top inside linebackers, but the 10-day gap between games gives the Ravens more time to adjust should they face Denver without Mosley. Kenny Young and Patrick Onwuasor are expected to start at inside linebacker should Mosley be unavailable. Veteran inside linebacker Albert McClellan was also re-signed this week to give the Ravens more depth.
“If C.J. doesn’t play and those linebackers get the practice reps this week, then that will be a big plus, certainly, especially with young guys,” Ravens Head Coach John Harbaugh said. “But, all those guys are in their meetings. They know how we’re playing stuff. Some guys have more experience than other guys, and that’s just how it works. The next guy has to be ready to go. Whoever plays, plays, and they need to play well.”
Harbaugh said Monday that neither Henry (hernia surgery) nor Hurst (stress fracture) would practice this week. Both were injured last month and have not played this season. Veteran cornerback Jimmy Smith will miss the next two games, completing his four-game suspension for violating the NFL’s conduct policy.
For the Broncos, starting quarterback Case Keenum (knee) did not practice Wednesday, but he was expected to practice Thursday and play Sunday, via Mike Klis of 9News in Denver.
Others who missed not practice for the Broncos were cornerback Adam Jones (thigh), linebacker Brandon Marshall (knee) and offensive tackle Jared Veldheer (concussion).