When it rains, it pours sometimes, and the Baltimore Ravens are getting drenched on the offensive side of the ball. The organization has been hit hard this offseason with injuries, and have now lost several starters for the season as a result of them. The team just announced the loss of another.
Alex Lewis, a fourth-round draft pick last season, started for the majority of the year for what was an all-rookie left side of the offensive line. The only games that he missed were the games in which he dealt with a torn labrum. The second-year player has now reportedly aggravated that injury in a manner that will require surgery next week.
The news was initially reported by Jeff Zrebiec of The Baltimore Sun.
Ravens announce that Alex Lewis and WR Tim White will both have season-ending surgery. Lewis on shoulder; White on thumb
— Jeff Zrebiec (@jeffzrebiecsun) August 11, 2017
The former Nebraska lineman played in all 10 games in which he was healthy, starting eight of them. The Ravens were very encouraged by his performance as a rookie and were counting on him this year to anchor an offensive line that is looking incredibly thin on the eve of the regular season.
During free agency, Baltimore lost starting tight tackle Rick Wagner in free agency and traded center Jeremy Zuttah, whom they would have otherwise cut as a salary cap casualty. Following the retirement of potential starter John Urschel and the season-ending injury of rookie Nico Siragusa, who was also being looked at to potentially start, the injury to Lewis is devastating.
The Ravens last week signed Austin Howard, a veteran starting right tackle, to a three-year contract, but he has yet to even practice with the team for unknown reasons.
Assuming, however, that Howard takes over the starting tight tackle spot by the time the regular season begins, then he joins only All-Pro right guard Marshal Yanda and second-year former first-round left tackle Ronnie Stanley as the entrenched starters.
With the news of Lewis’ season-ending injury, one would think that the Ravens will be even more inclined to attempt to reunite with Zuttah after the 49ers released him earlier this week. They could certainly use any competent starters that they can find.
One possibility for the Ravens at left guard to replace Lewis could be their other rookie lineman, fifth-round pick Jermaine Eluemenor. Alternatively, they could move Howard inside and allow James Hurst to start at right tackle, which he would have done had they not signed Howard. In other words, their options are running out.
In totally, completely unrelated news, the Ravens also announced that quarterback Joe Flacco will return to practice “at some point this season, but won’t play in the preseason”. Totally unrelated.