Ravens rookie wide receiver Rashod Bateman was not activated ahead of Monday night’s game against the Indianapolis Colts, delaying the first-round pick’s NFL debut for at least another week.
Wide receiver Miles Boykin, however, who along with Bateman was designated to return from injured reserve two weeks ago, will play Monday after missing the season’s first four games.
Boykin’s return will boost the Ravens’ special teams — he’s played nearly a third of the unit’s snaps over his first two seasons — and could help their running game. Offensive coordinator Greg Roman has called Boykin one of the NFL’s five most physical blockers at the position.
It’s unclear what role Boykin will have on offense, especially early. Before a hamstring injury sidelined him days into in a disappointing training camp, Ravens coaches were hoping to use Boykin more in the slot, where he was most successful last season. The former third-round pick, who’s started 24 games since 2019, could help ease the workload on outside receiver Sammy Watkins, who’s played over 70% of the offensive snaps in every game this season.
Bateman, who underwent groin surgery in mid-August, has practiced the past two weeks and is expected to be activated by Oct. 20, the Ravens’ deadline for placing him on their 53-man roster. The team will host the Los Angeles Chargers and Cincinnati Bengals over the next two weeks before reaching its Week 8 bye.
“He has to show that he’s ready and that he’s ready to play in a game,” coach John Harbaugh said of Bateman last week. “It’s a game, and he hasn’t been out there for a while. So we’ll have to see that.”
Even without Bateman and Boykin, the Ravens’ passing game has impressed, with quarterback Lamar Jackson averaging 269.3 passing yards per game entering Week 5. His career high for a season, set in 2019, is 208.5 yards per game.
The Ravens also promoted offensive tackle Andre Smith and safety Jordan Richards from the practice squad for Monday’s game. Smith is a COVID-19 replacement for outside linebacker Jaylon Ferguson, who’s set to miss his third straight game, and he could see time if left tackle Alejandro Villanueva (knee) is unable to play.
The Ravens did not promote running back Le’Veon Bell from the practice squad, as they did for a Week 4 win over the Denver Broncos. With Bell inactive, Ty’Son Williams is expected to rejoin Latavius Murray and Devonta Freeman in the running back rotation after being a healthy scratch in Denver.