The Ravens placed five more players on the reserve/COVID-19 list on Wednesday, destabilizing their defense ahead of Sunday’s crucial game against the AFC north-leading Cincinnati Bengals.
Safety Geno Stone, defensive tackle Justin Madubuich, inside linebackers Chris Board and Christian Welch and practice squad offensive tackle David Sharp, all of whom played crucial snaps in at least one leg of Sunday’s loss to the Green Bay Packers, were added to the list. added.
The Ravens now have 11 active roster players and four practice squad members have been sidelined. Wide receiver Sammy Watkins, center Tristan Colon, outside linebackers Justin Houston and Pernell McPhee, cornerbacks Jimmy Smith and Chris Westree and safety Chuck Clark were among those placed on the reserve list last week. It is unclear how many people could return for Sunday’s game, which could essentially determine the AFC North champion.
Under the NFL’s updated COVID-19 protocol, fully vaccinated players who test positive can clear the protocol within a day if they record two negative tests and are asymptomatic. Players who have not been vaccinated will have to quarantine for 10 days, which will exclude any players who test positive for any game within that time frame.
In total, due to injuries, the coronavirus and the rest of the schedule, just 13 Ravens defensive players were in practice on Wednesday, moved indoors and closed to the media under NFL protocol.
When asked about the team’s COVID-19 situation, coach John Harbaugh said on Wednesday morning, “It is what it is.” “Protocols are what they are. Days, tests, all that stuff, it’s kind of complicated. I don’t spend much time with it. It’s what it is, and we’ll be where we are. We’re ready for practice now.” are.”
Five Ravens were among 38 players placed on the NFL’s surround reserve/COVID-19 list on Wednesday after testing positive. The league suspended three games last week because of the COVID-19 outbreak, and NFL Players Association president Jesse Tretter said Wednesday that the NFL was close to canceling those games instead. Over 150 positive cases were reported around the league in week 15.
Stone’s absence could prove particularly damaging if Clarke is not cleared to return. Early in his career, the second-year safety played every defensive snap on Sunday and wore the green dot as the unit’s signal-collar.
“Boy, he took that green dot and ran with it,” Harbagh said on Monday. “He had great communication there. We didn’t really miss a beat back between him and Chuck. [Clark], which is exactly what you want to see.”
With starter DeShawn Elliott and rookie Ar’Darius Washington ruled out for the year, Tony Jefferson’s recent addition to the practice squad could have an expanded role against Cincinnati. He played nine defensive snaps and 13 special teams snaps upon his return to Baltimore on Sunday.
After star defensive lineman Kallis Campbell was sidelined with a thigh injury on Sunday, Madubiuk again played more than half of the Ravens’ defensive snaps and had his second sack of the season. As a run defender, he is particularly strong against zone attacks like Bengals. The Ravens also missed a Week 3 game against the Detroit Lions while on the Madbuike Reserve/COVID-19 list.
Board and Welch, who support Patrick Queen and Josh Bynes on inside linebackers, combined for only 26 defensive snaps on Sunday, but they led the Ravens with 21 special teams. Malik Harrison, who started the season as a starter but only played in special teams on Sundays, could earn more playing time if neither of them was available.
After taking charge from a right tackle for an injured Tyre Phillips (knee), Sharpe played 47 snaps as a practice team call-up on Sunday and impressed Harbaugh. Patrick McCreery, who missed the last two matches due to a hand injury, started off right, was limited in practice on Wednesday and could be an option on Sunday.
With Houston and McPhee sidelined, the Ravens received much-needed help from outside linebacker with the return of rookie Dallin Hayes. A fifth-round pick has not been played since late September due to a knee injury and subsequent clean-up process.
The Ravens also added Jimmy Murray to their practice squad. Murray, who last played in a game in 2018, was recently on the Tennessee Titans’ practice squad.