The Baltimore Ravens are anticipated to have a stacked group of explosive options come September 10.
The team surrounded Lamar Jackson with more speed in Super Bowl champ Odell Beckham, spry veteran Nelson Agholor, and freakishly fast rookie Zay Flowers. However, will Jackson have his longtime No. 1 target ready to go?
Baltimore Ravens Still Without Top Receiving Target?
As of August 28, the Ravens were still without tight end Mark Andrews. However, on Monday, Ravens head coach John Harbaugh says the multiple Pro Bowler is expected to return to practice on Wednesday.
Head coach John Harbaugh on Mark Andrews status: pic.twitter.com/jD66OdaBWa
— Baltimore Ravens (@Ravens) September 4, 2023
He’s not just any tight end. Andrews has emerged as a three-time Pro Bowler and the first option for Jackson in his Baltimore career. He’s also the same Andrews who just two seasons ago, snatched an uncanny 107 passes for the Ravens.
Andrews has been out of the lineup with what the team is calling an “undisclosed injury.” There has, however, been no sight of him on crutches, wearing one arm on a sling or being in concussion protocol. However, sports medicine physician Jesse Morse remembered that Andrews is Type 1 diabetic — and he could be missing time because of that.
I’ve been curious about this ‘injury.’
While this doesn’t give us any details, it does confirm that #RavensFlock Mark Andrews will be playing Week 1.
I also think about the fact that he’s a Type 1 diabetic during these hot summer months, and wonder if that impacts his health… https://t.co/TMk6crN61w
— Jesse Morse, MD (@DrJesseMorse) August 28, 2023
While his absence is cause for concern for a team with Super Bowl aspirations, especially with the new targets on board, head coach John Harbaugh sent out this message to the media and Ravens fans back on August 28.
“You don’t need to panic about that, tell the fans it’s going to be okay,” Harbaugh said to reporters. “He’ll be out there practicing next week, we expect him to play in the game, and he should be fine.”
Mark Andrews’ Impact on the Ravens
For his career, Andrews has never started an entire season.
Only twice in his career has the 6’5″ TE played every regular season game. However, last season witnessed the former Oklahoma Sooner start in a career-high 15 contests. He has, however, battled his share of ailments.
In 2017, he sustained a knee strain. In 2019, he suffered an ankle sprain. Then, last season, Andrews injured his shoulder on October 27.
When healthy, Andrews ranks as one of the top red-zone targets in the league and in the last four seasons, has produced between 5-10 regular season touchdowns and more than 800 receiving yards.
Even with the arrival of the new WR trio, Baltimore still needs someone who can handle the inside dirty work and spring loose the running backs. Andrews provided both elements. While there’s no official word of why Andrews hasn’t been in practice, Harbaugh is an ardent believer his prized tight end will be ready to go versus the Houston Texans to kick off the ’23 campaign.