Ravens' news, notes and opinions as minicamp nears

Ravens fearing worst on Breshad Perriman; Eugene Monroe takes shot at his employer and then deletes it.

The Ravens will find out more on the severity of Breshad Perriman’s left knee injury as early as today when he’s expected to get arthroscopic surgery by renowned orthopedist, Dr. James Andrews. They, however, are bracing for the worst, which would be Perriman missing another full season because of a knee injury.

There will be plenty of time to dissect Perriman’s latest injury, but here are two points.

1.) Obviously, it’s going to be hard to trust Perriman going forward, but all this talk about how the Ravens should have known the wide receiver would be vulnerable to injuries is unfair. Durability was never one of Perriman’s issues in college. He missed one game in three seasons at Central Florida. Perriman obviously didn’t handle his knee injury well emotionally last season, but his biggest issue has been really bad luck.

2.) Two weeks ago, the big question was how the Ravens were going to be able to keep so many talented receivers on their regular-season roster. Now, with Perriman potentially done for the season, Michael Campanaro dealing with a calf injury, Steve Smith Sr. still sidelined because of his Achilles and Keenan Reynolds navigating a steep learning curve at a new position, people are wondering if the Ravens need to go out and add another receiver.

Assuming Smith remains on track to be ready for the start of the regular season, I still think the Ravens should be fine there. Smith, Kamar Aiken and Mike Wallace should be productive. The Ravens need fourth-round pick Chris Moore and Reynolds to grow up fast. Between Campanaro, Jeremy Butler, Chris Matthews, Daniel Brown and possibly even Darren Waller, the Ravens should be able to find two contributors.  

Monroe a giant bunch of question marks: This week may provide some answers to left tackle Eugene Monroe’s tenuous status with the Ravens. Will he still be a Raven when players take the field Tuesday for the mandatory three-day minicamp? If he is, is he healthy enough to participate after having shoulder surgery last December? And where will he line up?

Monroe had another interesting week last week on Twitter, indicating Wednesday that he had been cleared to play again. He, however, did not participate in voluntary organized team activities on either Wednesday or Thursday.

On Friday, he continued his outspoken advocacy for medical marijuana and took a shot at his employer in the process. In a since-deleted Tweet, Monroe wrote that the Ravens “continue to distance themselves from me and my cause.”

It’s admirable for anybody to take up the cause and bring attention to the health and wellness of current and former players. Monroe has certainly donated both his time and money. But I’m not sure what’s to be gained by calling out the Ravens. If you didn’t know any better, you’d think he was trying to get released.

That remains the likely outcome, and if it does happen, there will be undoubtedly be some speculation the Ravens got rid of him because they felt he had become a distraction. Monroe’s fate, though, was likely sealed when he wasn’t able to start 17 of the Ravens’ 34 games over the past two seasons after signing a big contract extension. When he started and finished just three games all of last season. And when the Ravens drafted his replacement in Ronnie Stanley in April.

More beef on the line: The early returns on fourth-round offensive lineman Alex Lewis have been very good. Center Jeremy Zuttah raved last week about the former Nebraska starter who can play both tackle and guard. Let’s see how Lewis fares in training camp and the preseason. However, if he proves more than capable this season, it certainly increases the likelihood that starting right tackle Rick Wagner, a free agent next offseason, is entering his final season with the Ravens.

Tucker looks loyal: There were some people around the team who wondered whether kicker Justin Tucker would stay away from the Ravens “voluntary” OTAs to make a statement about wanting a contract extension. Several other players given the franchise tag, including Von Miller (Denver Broncos), Muhammad Wilkerson (New York Jets) and Alshon Jeffery (Chicago Bears), either missed all or most of the OTAs with their respective teams.

Of course, given his position, Tucker is not at as much risk for a significant injury as the other “franchise” players eyeing a big payday. Still, Tucker had one reason to stay home that the others didn’t: His wife gave birth to the couple’s first child just two weeks before the OTAs began.

Yet, Tucker was not only in attendance at the sessions, he did some extra-curricular stuff for the team in delivering season-ticket packages to fans. In doing so, Tucker reiterated his long-term commitment to the organization. I still think the Ravens will reward him with a lucrative contract extension before the July 15 deadline to sign franchise players.

A more mature Jernigan: When the Ravens drafted Timmy Jernigan in the second round of the 2014 draft, there were some concerns about the defensive tackle’s maturity. Jernigan hasn’t always used the best judgment on the field over his first two seasons as he’s been the culprit of a few ill-advised personal fouls.

However, if his comments this offseason are any indication, Jernigan has grown up quite a bit in his young career. His comment following the first OTA session about his focus being on rebounding from a 5-11 year – and not on any individual accolade – had to be music to coach John Harbaugh’s ears. And then Jernigan last week took the high road in the whole foolish jersey number flap with Warren Sapp, telling ESPN’s Jamison Hensley that all he’s worried about is “winning football games here in Baltimore.”

Actions speak louder than words, but Jernigan looks to be in very good shape and could be primed for a breakout season under new defensive line coach Joe Cullen.

Top 100...Who cares?: It amazes me that anybody – players, reporters or fans – gets worked up about the annual top-100 player rankings put out by the NFL Network. Perhaps, I’m so indifferent to them because I’ve seen firsthand the lack of seriousness that many of the players who do vote put into their rankings. Or maybe I’ve just never put much stock in the power ranking craze.

Don’t misunderstand: I’m not blaming NFL Network. The rankings create programming during the one relatively quiet part of the NFL year, following the draft and before training camp begins. And people obviously talk about the rankings and react to them, but they’re completely meaningless in the grand scheme of things.

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