After hitting a two-game losing skid and failing to hit 20 points in three of their first five games, the Baltimore Ravens parted ways with offensive coordinator Marc Trestman and replaced him with quarterbacks coach Marty Mornhinweg, hoping that that will be the catalyst for improved offensive play, and sustainable scoring.
But he isn’t being given any favors in his debut as the Ravens’ offensive coordinator, as he will be calling the shots have been dealt for less than a whole deck, and that is particularly the case as it concerns the front line, where as many as three starters could possibly miss the game.
Rookie first-round draft pick Ronnie Stanley, a plug and play starter at left tackle, has missed the past two games—both losses—with a foot injury, and while he returned to practice for the final two sessions on Thursday and Friday, he is listed as doubtful to play today against the Giants, who are also looking to right their own ship.
Even more of a concern is the fact that Pro Bowl guard Marshal Yanda is also listed as doubtful as he deals with a shoulder injury. Even right tackle Ricky Wagner is designated as questionable to play, although I believe he is expected to play in spite of a thigh injury, even if it will limit him some.
The Ravens do have experience filling in for interior linemen, as both Ryan Jensen and John Urschel made five-plus starts for Baltimore last season. Each of them have also started a game this season. They have also recently acquired veteran reserve Vladimir Ducasse, who could potentially start if another tackle is needed.
As if that were not enough, the Ravens’ best wide receiver, Steve Smith, is also listed as doubtful to play against New York after being unable to practice all week. He suffered an ankle injury after getting rolled up on playing against Washington. He tried to play after the injury but had to leave the game after being unable to go on the ankle.
Of course, the Ravens also gained experience playing with a short hand at the wide receiver position last year as well, although, of course, we are talking about a team that only managed to win five games. They are already sixty percent of the way there, but these injuries are looking to sidetrack their 2016 season.
Baltimore is facing a very real risk of hitting a three-game skid and falling down to a .500 team, which could potentially put them two games back in the division race already. They can’t afford to lose ground now, especially with the Steelers heading into their bye in two weeks and facing the Patriots just before it.
Mornhinweg had better be able to pull something out of his sleeve if he is going to be dealing with a makeshift offensive line and minus his best wide receiver, as it will be a struggle to both run the ball and throw it as well. The defense will probably have to win this one again.