The Ravens, practicing for the first time Wednesday since returning from their bye week, had two key starters return to practice ahead of Sunday night’s matchup against the New England Patriots.
Rookie wide receiver Marquise “Hollywood” Brown and inside linebacker Patrick Onwuasor practiced Wednesday for the first time since injuring their ankles Oct. 6 against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Both Brown and Onwuasor were limited.
Before practice, Brown said he wasn’t sure whether he would suit up Sunday, but said he wants to play if given the opportunity.
“[I am] very excited to keep progressing every day and getting better,” Brown said. “It’s very tough, just sitting and watching since I’ve been here is tough. But [I’ve] got good teammates and good people around me. ... I’m just taking it day by day. I want to be out there.”
Coach John Harbaugh said Monday that he was confident that Brown, Onwuasor and cornerback Jimmy Smith would be able to play Sunday.
Smith hasn’t played since spraining his knee in Week 1 but returned to practice before the team’s bye week and was limited. He was limited again Wednesday.
Cornerback Maurice Canady (thigh) was also limited. Safety Earl Thomas III, who typically receives a vet day on Wednesday, missed practice with a knee injury.
Boyle: Patriots haven’t ‘seen anyone like our offense or like Lamar’
The Patriots will enter Sunday’s game ranked No. 1 or near the top of the league in several defensive statistics. New England has taken advantage of a schedule filled with first- and second-year quarterbacks but has yet to face a quarterback this season that provides matchup problems like Lamar Jackson.
“I don’t think they’ve seen anyone like our offense or like Lamar — special player,” Ravens tight end Nick Boyle said Wednesday. “They’re a good team and we’re really going to need to bring our A-game to make sure we’re on everything.”
Jackson’s mobility could be an important counter against the Patriots defense. New England has confused young quarterbacks this season with Cover Zero tendencies in which multiple defenders blitz and the secondary plays man coverage, leaving no safeties in the back end.
When asked if Jackson’s threat as a runner will make it harder for New England’s defense to disguise its looks before the snap, guard Marshal Yanda responded, “Yes and no.”
“Obviously, yes, it’s going to be a two-way ... He’s going to have that keep and get out in space and make guys miss, but obviously, they’re going to have a plan for it,” Yanda said. “So, it’s up to us to execute and do our job at a high level. But obviously, you know [the Patriots are] going to have a certain type of plan for Lamar and our offense.”