The Baltimore Ravens currently have (or will have by the end of the day) a total of 15 players on their Reserve/Covid-19 List who were at one point primary starters during the 2020 season. That includes 10 players who are currently in primary starting roles for the team, though it is possible that they get at least one of those players—nose tackle Brandon Williams—back in time for tomorrow’s game. Let’s run down the list of these players, and how big of an impact their absence will represent:
RB J.K. Dobbins: Coupled with the simultaneous Covid case of Mark Ingram, Dobbins’ status leaves the Ravens’ rushing attack with just Gus Edwards and Justice Hill in the backfield. Edwards is a competent runner in his own right, but without Lamar Jackson and several key starters and blockers, it will be difficult for Baltimore to have success on the ground against a mostly healthy Steelers defense.
QB Lamar Jackson: Even though Jackson hasn’t lived up to the same standards he set for himself a year ago, he has still been a potent dual threat this season, accounting for 18 combined touchdowns, with nearly 600 rushing yards and 2000 passing yards. Robert Griffin III’s own running ability can maintain some of the backfield threat, but not at the same level.
C Matt Skura/Patrick Mekari: Between the two of them, they have accounted for all of the Ravens’ center starts since the beginning of 2019. Skura ended the 2019 season injured. He was benched for their last game due to some bad snaps, but John Harbaugh hadn’t ruled out putting him back in the lineup. Instead, both will be out, and they’ll be starting a rookie college free agent who’s never played a down. During a week in which they’ve only had simulated practices.
DL Calais Campbell: Campbell had been missing time with an injury, anyway. Even with the postponement, we don’t know that he would have been a go. Nevertheless, his absence, along with that of much of their defensive line depth—Jihad Ward and Broderick Washington are believed to have tested positive, and Justin Madubuike is at least a close contact who will probably miss the game—they are incredible thin on the front line.
TE Mark Andrews: This is huge, because Mark Andrews was the Ravens’ biggest receiving threat—and they were already down Nick Boyle at tight end. They recently signed Luke Willson, a veteran, to the practice squad, but he was listed as questionable to play…with an illness. They have two other tight ends on the practice squad—and none on the 53-man roster.
OLB Matt Judon: The recent acquisition of Yannick Ngakoue makes this somewhat less significant, but Judon is their best pass rusher…and the Ravens also put Pernell McPhee and Jaylon Ferguson on the Reserve/Covid-19 List. Tyus Bowser, who has had a good season as a rotational player, will have to start and play basically all game.
WR Willie Snead: Though largely forgotten about, Snead has been their most productive wide receiver in recent weeks. They will have to rely on second-year and rookie players Marquise Brown (who has struggled recently), Miles Boykin, Devin Duvernay, and James Proche. Dez Bryant was also recently signed to the 53-man roster.
LS Morgan Cox: Cox is one of the most experienced and most veteran long snappers in one of the most experienced and veteran specialist groups in the entire league. He hasn’t missed a game since 2014. The Ravens do have a first-year long snapper, Nick Moore, on the practice squad, who has been there all year.
DT Brandon Williams: One of the first players to be placed on the Reserve/Covid-19 List, he, like Calais Campbell, had also been missing time due to injury. Even though he didn’t practice at all leading into their week 11 game, he was listed as doubtful. Williams was considered a close contact. He could be activated today if he has consistently tested negative.
D.J. Fluker: Fluker has been starting at right tackle since Ronnie Stanley went down, moving Orlando Brown to left tackle. It’s not clear if he tested positive or was a close contact. He was only added to the list on Saturday, so that makes it more difficult for him to get back. To be honest, I don’t even know who would start at right tackle if he doesn’t play. Right guard Tyre Phillips, who is listed as questionable? Left guard Bradley Bozeman? Ben Bredeson? Former Steeler R.J. Prince, who is on the practice squad?