Ravens John Harbaugh on the possibility of linebacker Pernell McPhee being out for the season with a torn triceps.
Ravens outside linebacker Pernell McPhee suffered a torn triceps during Sunday’s 30-16 win over the Seattle Seahawks and will likely miss the rest of the season, coach John Harbaugh announced Monday.
McPhee suffered the injury in the first half of Sunday’s game and didn’t return.
The Ravens signed McPhee — who spent his first three years in the league with the team — to a one-year deal in May to bring experience to a defense that had lost outside linebackers Terrell Suggs and Za’Darius Smith in free agency.
McPhee, 30, was a stout edge-setter and provided an interior pass rush for a defense that has struggled to sack the quarterback this season. He is second on the team with three sacks, only behind outside linebacker Matthew Judon (four).
“I feel like he wanted to prove himself,” Harbaugh said of McPhee, who dealt with knee and shoulder injuries during his time with the Chicago Bears. “He wanted to get back on track and demonstrate that he still can play. To do it here, to be the leader that he was, he’s been instrumental. ... I see no reason why he can’t recover from a triceps injury and be back next year, stronger than ever.”
Through six games, McPhee had a larger workload than he was accustomed to and Harbaugh said that the team was looking to reduce his snaps. Entering Sunday’s game, McPhee played 69.27% of the defensive snaps, a career-high for the nine-year veteran.
In McPhee’s absence, the Ravens relied more on young linebackers Jaylon Ferguson and Tyus Bowser. Both played well against the run Sunday, finishing with three tackles apiece.
The Ravens have lost three defensive players for the season in as many weeks. Safeties Tony Jefferson and DeShon Elliott suffered season-ending knee injuries against the Pittsburgh Steelers and Cincinnati Bengals, respectively.
With Monday’s release of special teams standout Justin Bethel and McPhee expected to be placed on injured reserve, the Ravens will have two open roster spots.
Harbaugh said he is “very optimistic” that the team will have multiple key starters, including rookie wide receiver Marquise “Hollywood” Brown, inside linebacker Patrick Onwuasor and cornerback Jimmy Smith, return to the field after the bye week.
Brown and Onwuasor missed the team’s past two games and haven’t practiced since suffering ankle injuries in the team’s win over the Steelers two weeks ago.
The Ravens’ passing game has struggled without Brown, who is second on the team with 21 receptions for 326 yards.
Veteran pickups Josh Bynes and L.J. Fort have played well with Onwuasor out of the lineup. Bynes tied a team-high with eight tackles against Seattle, while Fort recorded six tackles and a sack.
Smith hasn’t played since spraining his knee in the season opener against the Miami Dolphins but returned to practice this past week and was limited.
After struggling with blown coverages, the Ravens’ pass defense has regrouped in the past few games. New Ravens cornerback Marcus Peters, who made his Ravens debut Sunday, played 65 defensive snaps and returned an interception for a touchdown.