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Ravens offensive line dealt a blow with James Hurst and Alex Lewis inactive

Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco is playing some of his best football in years. Maintaining that level against the New Orleans Saints on Sunday may be a difficult task with two starters on the offensive line being deactivated.

The team announced before the game that right tackle James Hurst and left guard Alex Lewis will not play Sunday. Hurst had not been an injury concern until Saturday when the Ravens listed him as questionable because of a back ailment. Lewis had already been ruled out on Friday as he had not practiced all week after suffering a pinched nerve in his neck in the fourth quarter of Sunday’s 21-0 victory at the Tennessee Titans.

Their absence could mean that a pair of rookies will get the first starts of their NFL careers. Orlando Brown Jr., the organization’s first of two third-round selections in April’s NFL draft, is slated to start at right tackle, while Bradley Bozeman, the third of three sixth-round picks, could line up at left guard.

Brown could see a lot of defensive end Cameron Jordan, who is tied for 10th in the league in sacks with five.

The team also scratched starting cornerback Marlon Humphrey, who injured his hamstring during Thursday’s practice and did not participate in Friday’s session. He will likely be replaced by Jimmy Smith, but the defense — which also deactivated rookie cornerback Anthony Averett (hamstring) — will have only four cornerbacks in Smith, fellow starter Brandon Carr, slot cornerback Tavon Young and backup Cyrus Jones (Gilman).

Quarterback Robert Griffin III, rookie wide receiver Jordan Lasley and rookie defensive end Zach Sieler are the Ravens’ other inactive players.

New Orleans will also be without a starter on the offensive line as left guard Andrus Peat (head) was ruled out on Friday. But starting right guard Larry Warford (back), who was listed as questionable, is active.

The Saints scratched defensive linemen Trey Hendrickson, Mitchell Loewen and rookie Taylor Stallworth (ankle), left tackle and Towson graduate Jermon Bushrod (not injury related), rookie center Will Clapp and rookie defensive back J.T. Gray.

edward.lee@baltsun.com

twitter.com/EdwardLeeSun

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