By Samuel Njoku
The Baltimore Ravens are set to battle the Denver Broncos on Sunday. Injuries have plagued the Ravens all year and look to be a major factor in the outcome of their game against Denver. As to who will actually suit up on Sunday remains to be seen. Besides Jameel McClain who was ruled out earlier this week, it appears Baltimore isn’t fully aware of who can actually play given the circumstances. But the more starters that can suit up against Denver, the better the Ravens chances will be.
Ray Lewis hasn’t been cleared……yet.
Against Peyton Manning, there may be no greater injury concern than that of Ray Lewis. Many speculated that Lewis could be able to return against the Broncos to face off against Peyton Manning. But so far, Baltimore has made no indication for or against that notion. If Baltimore were to remove Lewis from IR, it would need to take place before the game against Denver. Lewis has dealt with a triceps tear that has kept him off the field since the game against Dallas. If he is unable to go, Josh Bynes would likely take his place. An uncomfortable thought when Bynes was a member of the practice squad 8 weeks ago. Simply put: Baltimore needs Ray Lewis.
Ed Dickson, TE, (knee): Doubtful
One of the reasons Baltimore’s offense has faltered in recent weeks is because of the absence of Ed Dickson. The Ravens love to run their 2-TE set on almost any given situation. They run a similar style of offense to that of New England. But with his absence, the Ravens lack a tight end that can cause match-up nightmares for opposing defenses. For at least one more week, Dickson will probably not suit up for this contest.
“It’s day-to-day and I’m living in the treatment center getting it ready,” Dickson stated. “I don’t want to be out there 50 percent, that’s not going to help the team.”
TE Billy Bajema will get the 2nd tight end spot in place of Dickson.
Terrell Suggs, LB/DE, (biceps): Questionable
If the field was more favorable last week in Washington, Suggs may have suited up. This week, it appears as though Suggs may get back on the field. After being limited in practice on Wednesday, Suggs fully participated on Thursday and Friday. His questionable status may have a lot to do with discomfort he is still dealing with in his biceps.
Dannell Ellerbe, LB, (ankle): Questionable
Ellerbe may have saved the Ravens season with his exceptional play following the injury to Ray Lewis. But over the past few weeks, Ellerbe has dealt with an ankle injury. It could come as no surprise that the Ravens have lost both games since his departure. Baltimore would get a huge boost if he is able to make it on Sunday. He was limited in practice on Thursday and Friday but feels good about his chances about making it out there against the Broncos.
“Anytime you get to rest your injury it’s beneficial,” Ellerbe told reporters. “I’m looking forward to being out there. I’m going to work it [out] before the game, and if I feel good I’m going to go. If not, I’m not going to hurt the team. It’s definitely feeling better.”
Marshall Yanda, G, (ankle): Questionable
Yanda suffered a pretty significant ankle injury against the Redskins last week. He hasn’t practiced all week. But on the injury report, he is listed as questionable. Yanda is one of the toughest players on the team and will give it his all to try and play. But if he can’t, Bobbie Williams will likely start in his place. Williams has extensive experience playing in the RG spot, but there will be a drop-off in talent if Yanda can’t go.
Banged up Secondary
Bernard Pollard didn’t practice all week as he deals with a chest injury that has plagued him since Week Two. Whether he re-aggravated the injury in Washington is unknown, but he is listed as questionable for his game against the Broncos. Jimmy Smith, who recently had sports hernia surgery, has practiced fully all week and looks to return against a Peyton Manning squad that loves to throw the football. It is unknown whether he will relinquish his starting role or not as Corey Graham has played exceptional in his absence.
Samuel Njoku was born and raised in Baltimore, MD and is a graduate of the University of Maryland Eastern Shore. Samuel has covered the Ravens for Examiner.com since 2010. Prior to 2010, Samuel was an avid blogger and radio personality in Salisbury, MD. He can be reached for comments at SamuelN870@gmail.com. His work can be found on Examiner.com. You can also follow him on Twitter @Ravens_Examiner.