No, no, no, no. Those must have been the words, likely with a few expletives thrown in, uttered by John Harbaugh and Eric DeCosta after two of the Baltimore Ravens‘ remaining best players in Gus Edwards and Marcus Peters went down in practice Thursday — reportedly in consecutive plays.
Marcus Peters, Gus Edwards go down with injuries in practice Thursday
NFL Network first reported that cornerback Marcus Peters and running back Gus Edwards each suffered what is believed to be serious knee injuries in the span of a few minutes, prompting Harbaugh to call off practice early to prevent any further carnage.
The damage, however, has already been done to a team built to compete this year. Ravens camp has been a MASH unit all summer. Baltimore has over $20 million of their 2021 cap on injured reserve, and the season hasn’t even started yet.
We don’t believe in curses, but this summer, what’s unfolded in Owings Mills, Maryland, has us rethinking that stance.
- RB1 J.K. Dobbins is out for the season after tearing his ACL in Baltimore’s preseason finale.
- RB3 Justice Hill (Achilles) is also unavailable until 2022.
- Linebacker L.J. Fort (knee) won’t play in 2021.
- First-round pick Rashod Bateman (groin) begins the season on IR after getting hurt in practice on Aug. 10, although Baltimore expects him back at some point.
- Cornerback Jimmy Smith has been dealing with an ankle issue for more than a month.
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What does the Ravens’ secondary look like without Peters?
Assuming Peters is out for the year, the Ravens are dangerously thin at corner — mostly because of injury, but partially because of their roster management.
The club had enough confidence in depth coverage that DeCosta traded rookie Shaun Wade to New England before the final round of cuts.
Now, the Ravens will have to go through the AFC North gauntlet with a 33-year-old Smith, Marlon Humphrey, Tavon Young, and Anthony Averett. Young has appeared in just 17 games since the start of the 2017 campaign, while Averett’s next interception will be his first in the NFL.
Advantage Ben Roethlisberger, Baker Mayfield, and Joe Burrow.
Who can Baltimore target to make up for any losses?
At this point of the NFL calendar, the Ravens will be unable to significantly upgrade at corner. Peters is a four-time All-Pro and three-time Pro Bowler. His loss will be profound.
But there are options at running back if they decide to look outside of the building. The Dobbins’ injury prompted DeCosta to sign Le’Veon Bell to Baltimore’s practice squad this week.
It’s a certainty now that Bell will play in the Ravens’ Week 1 Monday Night Football showdown with the Las Vegas Raiders. Ty’Son Williams is the only back left on Baltimore’s active roster and will be asked to do far more than Harbaugh’s staff could have possibly envisioned a month ago.
Regardless, that’s not nearly enough for a team built to win a title this year. They need someone else to take the pressure off Lamar Jackson. Will Devonta Freeman be that person? Baltimore is signing him to the practice squad, ESPN first reported. Still, it’s unclear how much he has left. After going over 1,000 yards in back-to-back seasons, his production has declined significantly since 2017.
Our sense is more is needed, so allow us to suggest one really intriguing name: Adrian Peterson, the fifth-leading rusher in NFL history.
Peterson, we hear, is in top shape and ready for a 15th NFL season. He proved he still had plenty left to give while playing for the Lions last year, scoring 7 touchdowns and averaging 3.9 yards per carry.
Other options include Latavius Murray, cut just this week by the Saints, and Todd Gurley. However, perhaps the Ravens simply reacquire Mark Ingram, who is buried on the Texans’ depth chart. Ingram went for over 1,000 yards and 10 touchdowns for Baltimore in 2019.