By Danny Cox
With a 1-1 record, the Baltimore Ravens are already one game behind the Cincinnati Bengals in the AFC North and tied with the Pittsburgh Steelers and Cleveland Browns. Quarterback Joe Flacco and the rest of the Ravens want to put together a win streak, but the Browns won’t be a simple victory and they will need everyone as healthy as possible. Unfortunately, the running game is a bit more banged up than they’d like.READ MORE: Maryland Natural Resources Police Seek Boat Operator Who Fled Magothy River Collision Site
Flacco missed Wednesday of this past week’s practice with an illness, but it didn’t last very long. While Tyrod Taylor would always be ready to step in as the starter, that won’t be necessary this week. Flacco was back at practice in a full capacity on both Thursday and Friday so he’ll be ready to start on Sunday.
The biggest concern for the Ravens is that of the rushing attack. Ray Rice is gone as everyone knows, but now starting running back Bernard Pierce is dealing with a thigh injury. Pierce missed Wednesday’s practice and was limited on both Thursday and Friday. Currently, he’s listed as questionable for the game with the Browns, but may be a game-time decision.
After a big game against the Steelers last week (22 carries for 96 yards), the Ravens really want Pierce on the field. If he can’t go, Justin Forsett will get the start and he’ll at least get extra carries with Pierce’s thigh injury likely limiting him.
No players are listed as out but defensive tackle Timmy Jernigan is doubtful with a knee injury that has been plaguing him. It kept him out of practice all week and means he likely won’t dress against the Browns. Jernigan’s loss means that a very reliable backup to Haloti Ngata is gone and the team will have to rely more on backup defensive end DeAngelo Tyson at times.
Starting left tackle Eugene Monroe is probable after missing Wednesday’s practice with a knee injury, but he will be in place to start against the Browns. He practiced fully on both Thursday and Friday.
Starting cornerback Lardarius Webb (back) and reserve cornerback Asa Jackson (concussion) both are also listed as probable for this week. Both of them participated in practice this week so there shouldn’t be any issues and they will be ready to go.
Asa Jackson appears to have passed through all concussion protocol steps, but the team will reevaluate him one more time on Saturday and possibly again on Sunday morning. If all looks good, he’ll be ready for nickel and dime packages in the secondary.
Out:READ MORE: SLIDESHOW: AVAM's Fourth Of July Pet Parade
DT Timmy Jernigan – Knee
RB Bernard Pierce – Thigh
QB Joe Flacco – Illness
CB/RS Asa Jackson – Concussion
T Eugene Monroe – Knee
CB/RS Lardarius Webb – Back
For more Ravens news and updates, visit Ravens Central.MORE NEWS: Maryland Weather: Warm & Dry Fourth Of July Forecast
Danny Cox knows a little something about the NFL, whether it means letting you know what penalty will come from the flag just thrown on the field or quickly spouting off who the Chicago Bears drafted in the first round of the 1987 draft (Jim Harbaugh). He plans on bringing you the best news, previews, recaps, and anything else that may come along with the exciting world of the National Football League. Danny is a freelance writer covering all things NFL. His work can be found on Examiner.com.