By Kevin McGuire
The Baltimore Ravens took a beating in Denver in week one, but a week in California preparing for the Oakland Raiders will hopefully have the team as healed and fresh as possible for Week 2. The Ravens will not be without its share of injuries, though.
Starting left tackle Eugene Monroe has been out of action all week due to a concussion, and he is out for Sunday’s game. Without Monroe at left tackle, the Ravens will likely call on James Hurst to handle the job this weekend. Second-year lineman John Urschel has proven to be a flexible asset on the offensive line, but he is more suited for the middle of the line at center or either guard position. Hurst is a backup tackle that can play either side of the line.
The offense will also be without wide receiver Breshad Perriman, who has been out of practice all week with a knee injury. Another backup receiver, Darren Waller, is also listed as questionable due to a thigh injury. In addition to Perriman being out all week, Melvin was limited all week long in preparing for the Raiders. The potential loss of two backup receivers puts Baltimore on edge at the position with veteran Steve Smith playing a physical game and Kamar Aiken filling the other starting spot at receiver.
There are more Ravens playing through injuries this week as well, although they should be available. Running backs Justin Forsett (shoulder) and Lorenzo Taliaferro (knee) are each listed as probable and have been available for full practices this week, with the exception of Forsett being limited on Wednesday. Both backs should be able to go on Sunday without much cause for alarm at this point, and each should have a role running the football for the Ravens. With the supporting cast all around quarterback Joe Flacco already hurting this season, the pressure will be on the franchise quarterback to keep things moving smoothly after a rough debut against the Denver defense.
Baltimore’s defense will also be banged up this week. Already without Terrell Suggs for the rest of the season, Baltimore may play Oakland with some concern with depth at secondary. Backup cornerback Rashaan Melvin (thigh) is listed as questionable after being limited in practices all week. That would suggest he will not see any game time at this point in the week, trimming the defensive secondary options down by one.
Two defensive players, DL Chris Cantry and LB Daryl Smith, are listed as probable after non-injury-related absences this week. Defensive tackle Timmy Jernigan is listed a sprobable this week after putting in full practcies all week. Jernigan missed last week’s game in Denver due to his knee injury, but it looks as though he could be available to play this weekend in Oakland. He should start at defensive tackle, replacing Haloti Ngata.
Chris Cantry, DL (NIR)
Justin Forsett, RB (shoulder)
Timmy Jernigan, DT (knee)
Daryl Smith, LB (NIR)
Lorenzo Taliaferro, RB (knee)
Rashaan Melvin, CB (thigh)
Darren Waller, WR (ankle)
Eugene Monroe, LT (concussion)
Breshad Perriman, WR (knee)
Kevin McGuire is a Philadelphia area sports writer covering the Philadelphia Eagles and college football. McGuire is a member of the FWAA and National Football Foundation. Follow McGuire on Twitter @KevinOnCFB. His work can be found on Examiner.com.