The Ravens put running back Kenneth Dixon on injured reserve Wednesday and promoted practice squad member De’Lance Turner to the active roster.
Dixon, who hurt his knee Sunday, and reserve cornerback Maurice Canady (thigh) were listed as out on the team’s injury report earlier Wednesday, joining tight end Hayden Hurst (foot) and defensive tackle Willie Henry (abdomen). Hurst and Henry have not practiced since late in the preseason, and Dixon and Canady were unable to participate this week.
Ravens coach John Harbaugh said Monday that the Ravens have entered games before with just two running backs available, but Turner impressed throughout preseason. The 5-foot-11, 214-pound undrafted rookie from Alcorn State led all Ravens who had double-digit carries in yards per carry (7.2) and had the team's longest play from scrimmage in the preseason, a 65-yard touchdown run against the Miami Dolphins.
With Dixon’s IR designation, the former fourth-round draft pick and third-string running back will miss at least eight games, the latest absence in a career marred by them. He sat out the first four games of his rookie season two years ago with a knee injury, then all of last year with a torn meniscus and a pair of NFL suspensions. A bothersome hamstring kept him out for parts of this preseason. He left Sunday’s 47-3 win over the Buffalo Bills as the Ravens’ leading rusher (13 carries for 44 yards and a touchdown).
“It was just hard,” Dixon said last month of his lost 2017. “You did a lot of things that you know you shouldn’t have did. You look at your team coming back in, and you’re not able to go. It’s like you know you want to mature on a lot of levels, and try to do things a lot of different ways to get back in.”
At cornerback, the team has rookies Anthony Averett and Darious Williams available to step in. Averett, a fourth-round pick, played 17 defensive snaps Sunday against the Bills, while Williams, who went undrafted, did not see the field.
Wide receiver-returner Janarion Grant (hand) was listed as questionable after being limited at practice Tuesday and Wednesday. If Grant is unable to play, wide receivers Willie Snead IV and Chris Moore could assume his role as the team’s primary returner. Practice squad member Tim White also was the runner-up in the preseason battle for the job.
Preparing for Mixon
After watching Cincinnati running back Joe Mixon rush 17 times for 95 yards and a touchdown and catch five passes for 54 yards in Sunday’s 34-23 victory at the Indianapolis Colts, wide receiver A.J. Green said his teammate deserves to be mentioned in the same breath as the Pittsburgh Steelers’ Le’Veon Bell and the Los Angeles Rams’ Todd Gurley.
Although Ravens middle linebacker C.J. Mosley was not inclined to take the same leap that Green did, Mosley did agree that Mixon could be in similar company “in due time, yeah.”
Mosley and the rest of the defense will try to delay Mixon’s ascension until after Thursday night. The Ravens held Bills running back LeSean McCoy to 22 rushing yards on seven carries and minus-1 yard on one reception Sunday, but they understand that Mixon poses a different threat.
“He’s really turned into a complete back,” said strong safety Tony Jefferson, who earlier praised Mixon as both are Oklahoma products. “He can catch out of the backfield, and he’s obviously been doing a great job running the rock. So we’ve got to be on our P’s and Q’s with him.”
While quarterback Joe Flacco threw three touchdown passes for the first time in nearly two years against the Bills, Bengals coach Marvin Lewis was not surprised by Flacco’s aerial display. “Joe’s a fine, accomplished quarterback, and I don’t think he did anything different,” Lewis said. “Every time out, Joe Flacco can throw for three to six touchdowns, and he’s a very fine player. He’s been a fine player since he came into the league in ’08, and you’ve got to take care of business with him all the time.” … The Ravens unveiled their plan for rookie quarterback Lamar Jackson, employing the first-round selection for four plays with Flacco on the field and substituting for Flacco for another snap. Lewis promised that the Bengals defense would do its homework on Jackson. “Lamar’s a good athlete and a good player, and they’re going to utilize him a little bit in the offense, and we’ve got to respond,” he said. … Green caught six of eight targets for 92 yards and a touchdown in Sunday’s win. But in his past three meetings with the Ravens, the seven-time Pro Bowl selection has 11 receptions for 125 yards and one score. Cornerback Brandon Carr said the key is to get physical with Green. “These receivers, some of these high-caliber ones, you can’t give them the opportunity to get it going,” Carr said. “We stayed on him early and often and tried to take the ball out of his hands. You just have to compete for 60 minutes, each and every down. You know he’s going to get targeted and get his plays, but you just have to battle back and make your own plays as well.”
Baltimore Sun reporter Edward Lee contributed to this article.