The Baltimore Ravens were snakebitten about as bad as anybody that we have seen in recent years last season when it comes to injuries, and that no doubt played a big role in their crawling to a dismal 5-11 season that gave them the sixth-overall selection in the 2016 NFL Draft. Though the Steelers no doubt wish they’d gone 3-13, since two of the Ravens wins came against Pittsburgh.
Baltimore suffered any number of injuries to many of their key players throughout the season, many of which they are counting upon to be healthy this season and resume their integral roles to the team. While quarterback Joe Flacco has seemingly recovered well from his ACL tear that he suffered last season, there are lingering questions about others.
Recently, head coach John Harbaugh was asked to update some of their walking wounded, and he said that while he expects them to be ready for the season opener, he doesn’t know whether or not they will be able or allowed to participate in the preseason.
The group of players includes not only their pair of starting outside linebackers, but also, ostensibly, their starting wide receivers as well. Two of the four missed all or nearly all of the 2015 season, while the other two either missed significant time or played through injury, which cost him in the long run.
Breshad Perriman was the Raven’s first-round draft pick in 2015, a wide receiver that they were counting on to come in right away and contribute in a major way, if not start. He certainly should be in the starting lineup by now had he never been injured. There was an injury scare earlier this offseason that was originally thought to cost him the whole year, but they now believe he will be back for the regular season.
Steve Smith has been the Ravens’ most important wide receiver for the past two years, but he only played in seven games before being placed on injured reserve with an Achilles injury. In spite of that, he was still averaging nearly 100 yards per game.
Outside linebacker Terrell Suggs also suffered an Achilles injury in the season opener and immediately when to injured reserve without even recording a statistic during the season. His pass-rushing partner, Elvis Dumervil, played throughout the year with a foot injury, and is still making his way back fully from offseason surgery.
There are other injuries to be monitored as well, but this group of injuries alone are enough to make any head coach groan. The injuries to Perriman in particular have to be galling, given that he has had very little practice in his two offseasons, and never played in a game.
While the Steelers have had their injuries, to be sure, no team could envy what the Ravens went through in 2015 on the health front. They are still feeling the after-effects of that tumultuous season as they prepare for the next one.