Mailbag: Will Ronnie Stanley Play Week 1?

LT Ronnie Stanley

Mink: Head Coach John Harbaugh said Tuesday that Stanley is in "really good shape" and has been attacking his conditioning, which is seemingly the last piece of the puzzle before taking the field again.

Stanley had his second ankle surgery on Oct. 19. He's had more than 10 months to recover and rehab. At the end of minicamp in June, Harbaugh said Stanley's "ankle is looking great" and the mission was to get into the best shape of his life. Stanley has seemingly been working to do just that.

It wouldn't surprise me if we saw Stanley come off the PUP list this week. If not, Monday after the Ravens' final preseason game would be the next logical time. That would give Stanley just under two weeks to shake off the rust and get some practice reps to get ready for Week 1.

Harbaugh would ideally like players coming back from major injuries and rehab to have three weeks of practice before playing, but with somebody as important as Stanley, exceptions can be made if they look good and feel good in practice. Stanley is an All-Pro player the Ravens need for this offense to thrive, and I think if he's physically ready to play, he'll suit up. If not, it'll be Ja'Wuan James, which is still a better situation than last season.

Brown: I think the Ravens will lead the NFL in multiple tight end sets, primarily two tight ends, with a dose of three tight end formations as well.

Isaiah Likely has announced his presence quickly as an important weapon in the passing game. I think Mark Andrews is the NFL's best tight end and he has great chemistry with Lamar Jackson, who loves throwing to the middle of the field. Nick Boyle looks much healthier than last year, and he may be the league's best blocking tight end.

Every opponent has trouble matching up with Andrews, and now Likely gives Baltimore another tight end who can move around formations and win against single coverage. Offensive Coordinator Greg Roman loves using tight ends, and he's likely (pun intended) drawing up even more ways to play Andrews and Likely together. Likely's potential is one of the biggest storylines of the summer. Some teams don't have one tight end who gets open consistently and makes huge chunks of yardage after the catch. The Ravens have two, and Roman will utilize them in tandem.

Mink: One key distinction to pay attention to as roster cuts are being made is whether the player is being "released" or "waived." A player with less than four years of accrued NFL seasons is waived and, thus, must go through waivers where any team in the NFL can claim them, which adds them to their 53-man roster. If a player is released, they are free to sign with any team immediately, including the one they were just released by. This is a mechanism teams have used to put players on injured reserve, because if a player didn't start training camp on the reserve/physically unable to perform list, then they can't start the regular season on the reserve/PUP list (as Gus Edwards did).

Now that we know the rules, here are three players that could be cut and re-signed: safety Tony Jefferson, outside linebacker Steven Means, cornerback Kevon Seymour. The flip side, however, is that the Ravens don't have many candidates for IR (which is a great thing). Rookie tight end Charlie Kolar, who underwent sports hernia surgery, would be an obvious one. So would outside linebacker David Ojabo, who is still on the active roster but could land on reserve/non-football injury and then reserve/PUP list or injured reserve.

Brown: I see the Ravens keeping 10 defensive backs – six corners and four safeties. Three safeties are easy to predict – Marcus Williams, Chuck Clark and Kyle Hamilton. Two other safeties also deserve a spot – Geno Stone and Jefferson. I think Stone will be on the initial 53-man roster. I also think Jefferson will be on the roster Week 1. Either the Ravens will keep him on their initial 53, or he'll rejoin them after another player goes to injured reserve.

As for the corners, I think Marlon Humphrey, Marcus Peters, Brandon Stephens, Kyle Fuller, Pepe Williams and Jalyn Armour-Davis will be the corners on the initial 53. If Peters isn't ready Week 1, that could open a spot for Kevon Seymour, who can play special teams. However, David Vereen and Daryl Worley have also had shining moments during camp. You're right, the Ravens have an abundance of secondary talent, and I think their pass defense will improve dramatically over last season.

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