Boy, that Baltimore Ravens offensive line sure has taken a beating. Even its backups have gotten injured. Surprisingly, career reserve Ryan Jensen’s early stint in the starting lineup at center has gone above and beyond expectations, so far, but clearly, the line’s play as a whole has been a big part of the team’s offensive struggles.
After losing their best player, Marshal Yanda, for the season, he was ultimately replaced by Matt Skura, who was called up from the practice squad. But he left last week’s game with a knee injury and has been ruled out for today’s game, which means that yet another change is coming.
Rookie fifth-round draft pick Jermaine Eluemenor is going to start in Skura’s place, and, all things considered, he is about the fourth or fifth option, or lower, if you recall everything that has gone on within that unit since the end of last season.
Remember, the Ravens already lost their other starting guard, second-year Alex Lewis. And their long-time reserve, John Urschel, retired. And then their fourth-round rookie draft pick, Nico Siragusa, was also lost for the season.
Last year, the Ravens had an offensive line that consisted, from left to right, of Ronnie Stanley, Alex Lewis, Jeremy Zuttah, Marshal Yanda, and Rick Wagner. The only one of those five who is currently on the field for the Ravens is Stanley, their top draft pick from a year ago.
They lost Wagner to free agency and had to use free agency to replace him with veteran Austin Howard, who has been serviceable at right tackle. Zuttah’s abilities have evidently fallen off a cliff, because nobody is even interested in him anymore, the Ravens having moved on with Jensen.
With Lewis and Yanda both gone at the guard positions, veteran reserve James Hurst has been playing left guard, though the majority of his prior starting experience has been at tackle. And now the void left by Yanda is already on its second contender in Eluemenor.
He and Skura had actually already been splitting the reps with the first-team unit in practice since Yanda went down, so it’s not as though the team views this as a major step back, but considering how many components they have lost in free agency or to injury, the whole unit has been ravaged and is now scraping the bottom of the barrel.
To top things off, the Ravens are also going to be without their primary running back, Terrance West, who has already been ruled out for the game. Considering that Kenneth Dixon has been out for the year and Danny Woodhead still has a few weeks before he is even eligible to come off injured reserve, this is another position that has been beaten down.
Alex Collins and Buck Allen are the remaining running backs on the roster. Jeremy Maclin and Breshad Perriman at wide receiver are also questionable to play, though Perriman was a full go the final two days of practice. Maclin was limited all week.