In what is being recognized as the most important game since the Super Bowl, the Baltimore Ravens face off against the arch-rival Pittsburgh Steelers. The Ravens are coming into the game at a crucial point in a critical season, without two starters along the offensive line. Both the starting left tackle, Ronnie Stanley, and right tackle, James Hurst is suffering from a back and ankle injury respectively. Baltimore has felt the strain of a makeshift offensive line for the past few weeks. Against the Steelers in a game that may decide the future of the Ravens franchise, Baltimore’s offensive line must persevere.
While the Baltimore Ravens lost the two starting tackles, the Ravens may see the return of reinforcements. Guard Alex Lewis, who missed the past two games with a neck injury, is listed as questionable and was a limited participant in Friday’s practice. He is joined by the rookie, and fellow guard, Bradley Bozeman. Bozeman stood in for Lewis against the Saints, before leaving the game with a calf injury, he was also a limited participant in Friday’s practice. The possible return of both guards would ensure depth at the interior of the offensive line. Baltimore will likely start Alex Lewis at left guard, and Marshal Yanda at right guard, with Bradley Bozeman and Hroniss Grasu ready in waiting. The Ravens will also keep Matt Skura at center, and put rookie tackle Orlando Brown Jr. at right tackle, and second-year player Jermaine Eluemunor at left tackle. The Ravens could also opt to place Marshal Yanda at right tackle, and move Orlando Brown to left tackle. This would require either Eluemunor or Bradley Bozeman to substitute for Yanda at right guard.
While the loss of the two tackles was a blow to the Ravens, Baltimore dodged an even bigger bullet. Marlon Humphrey missed the past two games. His position was filled by Jimmy Smith and Brandon Carr. While Carr faired well, Jimmy Smith could not manage to return to his 2017 form. Instead of performing like a lockdown cornerback, Smith played like a dazed and confused rookie. Humphrey is listed as questionable in Baltimore’s injury report and was a limited participant on Thursday and Friday’s practices. Despite being limited, however, Humphrey looked quick and fluid on the field, and Baltimore is confident he can play on Sunday. Against the Steelers, with weapons Antonio Brown and JuJu Smith-Schuster, the Ravens need all hands on deck in the secondary.
The Ravens also listed four other players, Alex Collins, Jordan Lasley, Tony Jefferson, and C.J. Mosley, as questionable for Sunday’s home game. Collins was dealing with a foot injury which seems to have subsided, as he was a full participant in Friday’s practice. This is a good sign for the team’s starting running back. Jordan Lasley was limited in practice on Friday, and although he is listed as questionable, it is hard to imagine that he will touch the field. Baltimore has consistently deactivated the rookie throughout the season, and one has to imagine that he will remain deactivated on Sunday. Tony Jefferson was a limited participant on Friday’s practice, but he told the media that he will play on Sunday, and he “wouldn’t miss this game for the world.”. Finally, star linebacker C.J. Mosley was also limited on Friday’s practice. There’s no indication that he will or won’t play, but one has to imagine he will be on the field for such an important game.
Outside linebacker Tim Williams was also ruled out for Sunday. William’s impact on the Ravens pass rush has been greater this year than last, but the Ravens have plently of depth at the outside linebacker position.