Boy, has it not been a good week for the Baltimore Ravens. Sunday in particular was brutal. All on the same day, they lost to the Pittsburgh Steelers, thereby ceding control of the AFC North; they had their All-Pro cornerback test positive for Covid-19 and place half of their defensive starters on the reserve list; and they actually lost not one, but two starters along the defensive line.
It was highly publicized that All-Pro left tackle Ronnie Stanley suffered a severe ankle injury in the first half of Sunday’s loss against the Steelers, just days after signing a five-year contract extension worth nearly $100 million, and which would end his season, leaving the Ravens to shuffle the line for the rest of the year.
It was less publicized that rookie third-round draft pick Tyre Phillips, who had been the team’s starting guard all season, also suffered an ankle injury in that game, and also was placed on the injured reserve list. While the Ravens have not deemed his injury to be season-ending, it goes without saying that they will not have him for at least a stretch of time.
For at least the next three games, and perhaps more, Phillips will be unavailable to them after starting six of the first seven games of the season, missing one previously due to a shoulder injury. The Ravens just so happen to play the Steelers again four games from now.
Of course, the loss of an All-Pro left tackle is the bigger story. Baltimore will shift right tackle Orlando Brown to the left side of the line, as they have in the past, while placing D.J. Fluker at right tackle to start. Patrick Mekari, a second-year player who started five games at center last year while Matt Skura was injured, filled in for Phillips.
Truth be told, the Ravens are fortunate to have some quality depth along the offensive line. A starting five of Brown, Bradley Bozeman, Skura, Mekari, and Fluker is certainly a unit that they can still function with, even if it is not at full strength. Ben Powers and Ben Bredeson are among the depth that they would have available.
But make no mistake, the Ravens were made a weaker team because of these injury, and the loss of Phillips should not be underestimated, either. After all, he won the starting job. And yes, they continued to run the ball successfully against the Steelers on Sunday after these two went down, but it certainly is not that simple.
Meanwhile, they are still waiting to see when they will have Mark Ingram back. He missed Sunday’s game with an ankle injury of his own, and he did not practice yesterday in preparation for this upcoming game against the 5-2 Indianapolis Colts.