The return of wide receiver Donte’ Stallworth (broken bone in left foot) and inside linebacker Tavares Gooden (dislocated left shoulder) forced the Ravens to make some tough decisions regarding their 45-man active roster against the Miami Dolphins on Sunday.
The team elected to sit defensive tackle Brandon McKinney, who had made four consecutive starts, and inside linebacker Dannell Ellerbe, a capable run-stopper. Making those decisions was not easy, but it also wasn't based on folly, coach John Harbaugh said.
"It's not going to be random," he said after Monday's practice. "It's going to be based on the 45 [players] that we think give us the best chance to win the game. Like I said, there is a competitive element to that – how guys practice, who can do more in certain areas. Special teams is obviously a big part of that, and then how many players in each position that we want to put up based on who we're playing. So all of those things will go into it, and we'll just do the best that we can, but there will be guys – as long as we stay healthy – there will be guys who are good players that aren't playing, and that's just the reality of it."
Pressed about the reasoning behind scratching McKinney and Ellerbe, Harbaugh said, "Yeah, we just felt that they weren't in the 45 [players] for that game. So we'll just have to see how it goes this week. They could be [active against the Atlanta Falcons on Thursday night]. I mean, they're good enough to be. It's not that they weren't practicing well enough. But, you look at the guys that were up, and I think you can understand it."
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