Baltimore Ravens John Harbaugh talks about several of the players fighting at the opening practice at M&T Bank Stadium and the play of running back Terrance West. (Kevin Richardson/Baltimore Sun video)
By the time the Ravens practice ended Monday, the team was down to three healthy tight ends and seven healthy receivers. The rash of injuries at those positions has complicated the Ravens plans for who plays and who doesn't in Thursday's preseason opener against the Carolina Panthers.
At tight end, the Ravens were already without Crockett Gillmore (hamstring) and Dennis Pitta (finger). An hour into Monday's practice, Maxx Williams left the field with what coach John Harbaugh described as a non-contact injury. Harbaugh didn't believe it was significant, but he wasn't sure. Then, Daniel Brown walked woozily to the locker room after he was the victim of a vicious high hit by undrafted rookie cornerback Sam Brown.
That left Benjamin Watson, Nick Boyle and Darren Waller as the only healthy tight ends, and both Boyle and Waller are suspended to start the 2016 regular season.
At wide receiver, Steve Smith Sr. (Achilles) and Breshad Perriman (knee) remain on the physically unable to perform list. Chris Moore (lower leg), Chris Matthews (soft tissue injury) and Michael Campanaro ("little strains here and there," according to Harbaugh) also are all not practicing. That leaves Kamar Aiken, Mike Wallace, Dobson Collins, Kaelin Clay, Jeremy Butler, Keenan Reynolds (Navy) and Chuck Jacobs as the only healthy receivers.
Harbaugh spoke excitedly about the competition for a couple of the open wide receiver spots but acknowledged that injuries are factoring in the team's decision making.
"Who is going to make the plays? If you make plays, there's a place for you on this team because we need guys out there making plays to help us win games. That's what we're going to find out in the next couple of weeks," Harbaugh said. "If you're not out there, you're not making plays. You have to show us not only that you can do it, but you're going to be there to do it."
"Michael Campanaro is one of my favorite guys. I love the guy because his worth ethic is so outstanding. His attitude is just outstanding," Harbaugh said. "Now, he needs to get out there and play. He's working in the training room to get himself back. I'm confident that he will be back. … He's the most frustrated guy of anybody right now because of all the work he's put in. Certainly, he has to get out there and do it, and show us he can do it. The best guy is going to make it. This roster is way too tight for anybody to be a project. It's going to be guys that we like."