Ravens nose tackle Kelly Gregg underwent arthroscopic knee surgery yesterday and will be sidelined at least two weeks.
Gregg becomes the second defensive starter who will miss Sunday's home opener against the Pittsburgh Steelers (linebacker Peter Boulware is out the first six weeks of the season with a knee injury).
"It's a huge loss for us because you are taking away a Pro Bowl-type player," defensive line coach Rex Ryan said. "But the guys will be ready to go. Both of them, it's time for them to step up, and I have all the confidence in the world that they will do a good job."
Gregg had hoped to wait until the bye week to have the surgery to avoid having to miss games, but the knee hindered his effectiveness in the Ravens' 20-3 loss to the Cleveland Browns on Sunday. He had been playing with a torn meniscus in his knee for the past couple of weeks.
While Gregg is undersized for his position, the Ravens will miss his strength and ability to hold up offensive linemen to clog up holes.
Kemoeatu will primarily be asked to do the same on running plays.
"Kemo is bigger and stronger than anybody out there," Ryan said. "He's just got to play with the kind of temperament that we want on this defensive line. We expect him to carry the torch until Kelly is ready to get back. We also think Franklin will help us there."
Gregg, who led the defensive line with 104 tackles last year, finished with just two against the Browns. The Ravens hope to have him back for the Oct. 4 Monday night game against the Kansas City Chiefs.
Right tackle Ethan Brooks also sprained his medial collateral ligament against the Browns, an injury considered more severe than Jonathan Ogden's hurt knee.
Brooks is expected to miss at least two weeks, leaving the Ravens with Tony Pashos and Damion Cook as the only backup linemen. Ogden is expected back for the Steelers game after sitting out Sunday.
Had receiver Travis Taylor's groin held up, the Ravens might be basking in the glow of a win instead offering up explanations on the loss.
Coach Brian Billick believes Kyle Boller's pass on a third-and-one that sailed about 5 yards over the head of an open Taylor would have been right on the mark had Taylor not re-injured his hamstring on the run.
Taylor might have scored a touchdown in the first quarter had he made the reception.
"It was outstanding play-action, outstanding throw, right where he practiced it," Billick said. "The problem was that Travis, when ... he had beaten his man, re-pulled his groin."
Wilcox makes start
No matter how the rest of his career turns out, tight end Daniel Wilcox can now boast that he once started an NFL game.
Wilcox started for the first time in his three-year career in a rare three-tight end set the Ravens introduced against the Browns. In fact, it was Wilcox's first sustained action from scrimmage in his career.
He caught two passes for 18 yards, but fumbled one of his receptions (the Ravens recovered).
"I was definitely pleased with the amount of playing time I got," Wilcox said. "I wasn't expecting to play that much. When they put the package in, I was just happy to be on the sheet at all. For me to get out there and play 15, 20 plays, I was definitely happy, plus I feel like I need the experience."
Right tackle Orlando Brown will be away from the team until tomorrow dealing with the death of his mother, which happened on Saturday.
Brown played every offensive snap against the Browns and performed well, according to Billick.
"It's important to Orlando that he do so given his mother's situation," Billick said. "He wants that for himself, for her. She wanted that for him."