Ravens head coach John Harbaugh talks about Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford and their passing attack. (Baltimore Sun video)
The Ravens ruled out only one player for Sunday’s game against the Detroit Lions, and even though five players are listed as questionable, all are likely to be available for the game.
Coach John Harbaugh was pleased by the roster’s overall health in light of Monday night’s 23-16 victory over the Houston Texans.
“We had a PR [personal record] last week for health, and we’ve broken it this week,” he said after Friday’s practice. “So that’s good. We’re heading in the right direction with that. We need all of our guys. We need to have everybody up and rolling. We have to make some tough decisions, which is a good problem to have.
“I feel bad for a few guys that really want to play and deserve to play, but aren’t going to get to play. That’s different than what we had the rest of the year. So we feel good about that.”
Cornerbacks Jimmy Smith (Achilles tendon) and rookie Marlon Humphrey (hamstring), running back Alex Collins (calf), middle linebacker C.J. Mosley (right ankle), and left tackle Ronnie Stanley (right knee) are questionable. But barring a sudden setback, all five players are expected to play against the Lions.
Smith, Humphrey, and Mosley practiced on a limited basis on Friday for the third straight day. Collins and Stanley fully participated on Friday for the second consecutive day.
Detroit will play without center Travis Swanson (knee) and rookie cornerback Jamal Agnew. Swanson has started 10 of 11 games, while Agnew leads the NFL in punt return average at 16.8 yards and has five punt returns of 20 yards or more, which is also a league best.
Two starters — running back Ameer Abdullah (neck) and right guard T.J. Lang (foot) — practiced on Friday for the first time this week and are listed as questionable. Quarterback Matthew Stafford (sprained right ankle) and defensive end Dwight Freeney (non-injury related) were full participants for the second straight day and were removed from the injury report.
Hello, old friend: When the Lions visit Sunday, they will bring a fair number of individuals with ties to the Ravens.
Head coach Jim Caldwell was the Ravens offensive coordinator in 2012 and 2013. Defensive coordinator Teryl Austin was the secondary coach from 2011 to 2013. Right tackle Rick Wagner was selected by the Ravens in the fifth round of the 2013 draft and spent four years with the organization before joining Detroit as a free agent. And defensive tackle Haloti Ngata, who will miss the game because of a season-ending biceps injury, was chosen in the first round by the franchise in 2006 and earned five Pro Bowl invites in nine seasons before leaving in 2015.
Harbaugh sounded happy about seeing Caldwell and Austin, both of whom played roles in the Ravens’ run to the Super Bowl XLVII title.
“It was so great having him here for two years,” Harbaugh said of Caldwell. “I learned so much from him football-wise, Xs-and-Os-wise, situationally, demeanor, the way he handles himself, talking to the team, all those things. Just a great leader. And Teryl Austin is just intense, smart, focused, a really creative coach. You don’t forget those things. And when you share the Super Bowl experience and when you win a Super Bowl, you say we’ll walk together forever, and I think our experience since then has proven that true.”
Caldwell pointed out that he and Austin returned to Baltimore for a preseason game last year.
“I see the guys a lot during the combine and on the road during the time that we’re out evaluating prospects and things of that nature in preparation for the draft,” Caldwell said. “So it’s not like I’ve been alien from the place or the guys that were there. But yeah, a lot of great memories.”
End zone: Detroit has not played since Thanksgiving (Nov. 23), when the team lost to the Minnesota Vikings, 30-23. Harbaugh said the extra rest should benefit the Lions. “It’s always a factor, and we’ve had that,” he said. “Everybody gets those kinds of situations during the course of the year. They get a little more rest, and that’s the nice thing about Thursday games.”