The Baltimore Ravens are sitting at 5-1 through the first six weeks of the season, with the best record in the AFC. A few of those wins were virtual toss-ups, but nevertheless, they got them. And truth be told, they’ve achieved this through an uncanny string of injuries.
The most notable pattern was the three torn ACLs suffered by their top running backs heading into the season, with J.K. Dobbins, Gus Edwards, and Justice Hill all going down with knee injuries to be shelved for the rest of the season. They have primarily been getting by with former veteran Pro Bowlers who are past their prime, particularly Latavius Murray.
But they’ve had a number of other significant injuries as well, such as to left tackle Ronnie Stanley. The former All-Pro suffered a setback in his return from a torn ACL that he originally sustained a year ago. He played in the season opener this year, but had been sidelined since, and has now had season-ending surgery. He reflected on the past year in a Twitter thread.
(1)As I sit here in my hospital bed post surgery, I have a lot of mixed emotions. On one hand I’m angry, sad, upset, depressed knowing things could’ve been different. I should be gearing up for our superbowl run but instead I’m back in the same hospital I was in almost a year ago
— Ronnie Stanley (@megatronnie) October 20, 2021
As I sit here in my hospital bed post surgery, I have a lot of mixed emotions. On one hand I’m angry, sad, upset, depressed knowing things could’ve been different. I should be gearing up for our superbowl run but instead I’m back in the same hospital I was in almost a year ago. Not being able to fight, compete, physically sacrifice for my teammates for the second season in a row is mentally debilitating. On the other hand I’m grateful, hopeful, excited that I get another opportunity to do this the right way. I have a chance to be everything I need to be for my team and that wouldn’t be possible without this surgery. Im thankful for all the support from my family, teammates, friends, and the best fans, #Ravensflock . I will take full advantage of the chance I’ve been given. It will be challenging but with Gods grace and will, I’m confident..
Originally drafted sixth overall in 2016, Stanley has developed into one of the best left tackles in the league, but he has been limited to just seven games over the past two seasons due to this torn ACL. The Pittsburgh Steelers’ Zach Banner knows a little something about how such an injury can impact multiple seasons.
Former Steelers left tackle Alejandro Villanueva, who was originally signed to play on the right side and struggled there a lot in the season opener, has played on the left side since Stanley’s set back, and has by and large settled in there. Former backup center Patrick Mekari has played surprisingly well at right tackle.
There is an outside chance that the Ravens could get Ja’Wuan James on the field this season to play right tackle, though that may be a move they would only make if Mekari struggles. But their depth at tackle is paper thin, so they would be able to use him either way.