The Baltimore Ravens have a physical style of play that has impacted their roster over the last few seasons. They’ve had 10 or more players on injured reserve each season dating back to 2019. So far, 2023 is no different.
The Ravens added Tylan Wallace to injured reserve this week because of an injured hamstring. That takes them to six players and they’re only three games into the season.
Take last week’s 22-19 loss to the Indianapolis Colts for instance. The Ravens were without seven starters. Wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. (ankle); Justice Hill (foot); Marlon Humphrey (foot); Tyler Linderbaum (ankle); Odafe Oweh (ankle); Ronnie Stanley (knee); and Marcus Williams (pectoral) were all missing in action.
But Ravens coach John Harbaugh isn’t making any excuses.
“It’s not ideal that we have all these guys out because of injuries,” Harbaugh said on Monday. “We’re not making excuses for that. We trust the guys that are going in there to play well and our guys are going to go play their hearts out.”
Sunday’s game saw five more players get hurt including Wallace. Rashod Bateman (hamstring); Gus Edwards (concussion); David Ojabo (ankle); and Geno Stone (ribs) are the latest players to get hurt.
Our guys were competing, fighting [and] throwing their bodies around. It was a very physical game, and [they] were doing everything that they could to find a way to win the game.
Baltimore takes pride in being the kind of team that beats up on opponents. They play the game hard. The physical style of play lends itself to more injuries.
“If you look at each injury this year, they’ve almost all been guys getting caught in piles,” Harbaugh said when asked about the mounting injuries. “It’s all been football contact-related injuries. That’s what you’re looking at this year. I don’t think you can have a theme for that, other than it’s football, and that’s the way it’s been.”
As long as that style remains the same, injuries will continue to pile. It’s up to the player personnel staff to keep the roster stocked with players that can step up when called upon. The running back group has been depleted due to injury. J.K. Dobbins was already out for the year after tearing his Achilles. Injuries to Hill and Edwards made things even more grim.
Help could be on the way if running back Keaton Mitchell is added from injured reserve. Harbaugh didn’t reveal whether or not that was a possibility on Monday. The Ravens also have Melvin Gordon on the practice squad. They elevated him to the gameplay roster last week. Kenyan Drake and Owen Wright are other options.
Although they haven’t made any major additions at running back, Baltimore added veteran Kyle Van Noy to help out at outside linebacker. Van Noy can fill in for Oweh if the ankle injury keeps him from playing next Sunday against the AFC North rival Cleveland Browns.
The offense is already banged up. Hitting the road to face an aggressive, tough Cleveland defense won’t be any kind of break for the Ravens in Week 4.